Category: Race & Race Relations

Anchoring an Argument

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Scott McLemee considers Leo R. Chavez's Anchor Babies and The Challenge of Birthright Citizenship, which makes clear how little has been added to the stock of anti-immigrant rhetoric over the past century.

Reports of the forcible separation of parents and children at the border by U.S. immigration authorities tell only part of the story of the violence now being directed against hard-won norms of civil society.

The 2018 National Prison Strike: A Movement Making its Mark

ImageOn August 21st, forty-seven years after the assassination of key movement organizer and theoretician George Jackson, prisoners across the country have once again begun mobilizing. Ranging from sit-ins to work stoppages, boycotts to hunger strikes, their actions have followed a nationwide call for sentencing reform, improved living conditions, greater access to rehabilitative programming, and an end to what strike organizers call “modern day slavery.”

Race, Capitalism, and Resistance in the United States

 

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Introduction and My Experiences

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and protect one another other. We have nothing to lose but our chains”.

You may recognize this as the rallying cry for the Black liberation movement in the United States, as written by Assata Shakur.

Black Neighborhoods Matter

An Interview with Lawrence Brown on Community Trauma and Healing

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Lawrence Brown associate professor of public health in the School of Community Health and Policy at Morgan State University. He is the grandson of sharecroppers who lived in the Mississippi Delta and a native of West Memphis, Arkansas. He is a historian, critical geographer, and political economist who sees public health from a critical, interdisciplinary perspective and advocates for holistic approaches to healing the Black communities of Baltimore. His book The Black Butterfly: Why We Must Make Black Neighborhoods Matter (Johns Hopkins Press) is forthcoming.

Libya under Gaddafi

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A CNN report last November about slave auctions in present-day Libya shocked the world.1 The existence of these slave auctions was widely treated as a new development in the country and a result of the chaos that resulted from the NATO-supported overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. In truth, however, what CNN discovered is but a surviving remnant of Gaddafi’s regime—the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya—a police state with systematic racism and abuse both of Libyans of sub-Saharan African descent and of sub-Saharan African migrants.

The AFT, Janus, and the fall of the Berlin Wall

Reflections on AFT's national convention

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Reflecting on the days I spent as a delegate during the AFT national convention in Pittsburgh (held July 13-16), I was reminded of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet Communism in 1989-90. No one predicted it, and it seemed to come out of nowhere. But peace activists in the West who organized international support for struggles of dissidents in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe saw the social ferment.

UFT shows how Not to protect unions and the public sector

ImageIn its January meeting, after a pro-forma discussion, the Delegate Assembly of the UFT (United Federation of Teachers), which still has the legal right to bargain collectively on behalf of New York City's teachers, voted down a resolution to work with community groups to support Black Lives Matter in the schools in February. LeRoy Barr, UFT's assistant secretary, co-staff director, and Chairperson of the Unity Caucus, gave the UFT leadership's rationale for rejecting the motion. Support for BLM was, he contended, a splinter issue, divisive, at a time when the union had to stay focused on what was key, the Janus decision and the threat to collective bargaining rights.

Racist Societal Views of The Black Male Body

And Appreciating My Black Body for What It Is

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This work is a creative nonfiction work which highlights the imperialist white supremacist capitalist colonial gaze of the Black male body, conventional beauty standards, systemic weightism, and instances of subversion against these oppressive norms in appreciating my body for the way it is.

On the 98th Anniversary of His Birth

Theodore W. Allen’s Work on the Centrality of the Struggle Against White Supremacy

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Theodore W. “Ted” Allen (1919-2005) was an anti-white supremacist, working class intellectual and activist. He developed his pioneering class struggle-based analysis of “white skin privilege” beginning in the mid-1960s; authored the seminal two-volume The Invention of the White Race in the 1990s; and consistently maintained that the struggle against white supremacy was central to efforts at radical social change in the United States.  Born on August 23, 1919, in Indianapolis, Indiana, he grew up in Paintsville, Kentucky and Huntington, West Virginia and, after moving to New York City, lived his last fifty-plus years in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn.

Racism — North and South

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A well-researched article by John Eligan in the Aug. 18  N.Y. Times goes beyond denouncing the symbolic racism of Charlotteville’s Confederate statues to expose the more pernicious structural racism embedded in the separate-but-unequal physical segregation of the city. (See “In Charlottesville, Some Say Statue Debate Obscures a Deep Racial Split.”) [1]

Ironically, this segregation was imposed, not during the rise of the KKK in the 1920s, but during the 1960s under the progressive guise of ‘urban renewal.” It was then that the vibrant, relatively prosperous, historical black neighborhoods like Charlotteville’s Vinegar Hill were deliberately razed, left long vacant, and ultimately replaced by soulless public housing and institutional projects.

Trump Set Them Free

ImageAmidst so much to read and digest about events in Charlottesville and Trump’s response to them, and what seems (but is not) a new, highly violent emergence of neo-Nazis, the KKK, and white supremacist organizations, this blog by Adam Shatz on the website of the London Review of Books seems to me one of the more eloquent, insightful analyses.

We Will Replace You

 

ImageThe “Unite the Right” rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend attracted several hundred white men from the "alt-right," the neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan who marched with torches through the University of Virginia chanting, “You will not replace us.” Nothing better explains the fear at the root of their racist movement than that chant. They fear, as their political ancestors feared, that they will be replaced by blacks. They have now come to fear also that they will be replaced by Latinos and by Asians. They fear too that they will be replaced by women, by gay men or lesbians or bisexuals. Or by trans people or the disabled. Above all, they fear.

Beyond Anger: Immigrants and Trump's Presidency

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To understand Trump's ascendance to presidency, instead of looking into the structure of the society, we need to look into the software of the society; the way people operate culturally.

It has been three months since the inauguration of President Trump and the nation still is engaged in agonized self-scrutiny to fathom the ascendance of Trump to the highest office in the country. Some explanations blamed it on the establishment’s inability to read and respond to electors’ interests. Other arguments deplored the Democratic Party for clearing the way for Hillary Clinton despite her trust problem. Other opinions maintained that Hillary Clinton did not speak to young voters, African Americans and working class. She was also censured for not addressing the real grievances; that is the economic concerns of the public. Clinton criticized the FBI for releasing the letter eleven days before the Election Day. Some explorations highlight the large number of people who sat at home and did not vote.

The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: A New Book on the Value of the Enslaved

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The author of The Price for Their Pound of Flesh is Daina Ramey Berry. Professor Berry is an associate professor of history and African and African diaspora studies and the George W. Littlefield Fellow in American History at the University of Texas at Austin. An award-winning historian, she is also a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. Berry is a specialist in the history of gender and slavery in the United States with a particular emphasis on the social and economic history of the nineteenth century.

Fighting Trumpism: where do we go from here?

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It’s been two weeks since Donald Trump’s inauguration sparked some of the largest rallies in American history. Each week since has also seen demonstrations, culminating in those that broke out at airports across the country at the end of January to protest the president’s new Muslim ban barring travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Mass protests are in large measure a bellwether of popular sentiment. They carry an implicit threat that politicians who defy the will of the people will be voted out, but that threat must be channeled strategically, or it will dissipate.

Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community Fifty Years Later

Remembering Martin Luther King’s Last, Most Radical Book

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Marking an anniversary of a book’s publication is, appropriately, reserved for books that were widely read when they first appeared many years ago. Books we commemorate with an anniversary are ones that ushered in a new way of thinking and influenced the way society tries to make sense of the world. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community did neither of these things.1

Labor and "Pussy Power"

 ImageThe Women’s March was glorious. Yes,  I disagree with much said in the speeches, but that wasn’t an issue because like the vast majority of people who participated, I didn’t go to hear celebrities or politicians talk.  I participated to show my rage and frustration at Donald Trump and the policies he and the GOP are preparing to impose on us. Women like me, disgusted, dismayed, enraged at Donald Trump’s misogyny, which the GOP has endorsed, flooded to this demonstration.  

We brought family, friends, supporters, male and female, protesting the human rights and climate deniers whom Trump has brought with him into office. There was some diversity but this was primarily a march of young White women who carried signs about their bodies, “Pussy power” being the most prominent at the New York march.  “Pussy power” strikes me as especially apt. Like women who fight patriarchy, it’s naughty. It evokes the strength in numbers. Most of all, the march birthed a new social movement which will owe its life to pussy.

Statement on My Satirical Christmas Tweet

On Christmas Eve, I sent a satirical tweet about an imaginary concept, 'white genocide.' For those who haven't bothered to do their research, “white genocide” is an idea invented by white supremacists and used to denounce everything from interracial relationships to multicultural policies (and most recently, against a tweet by State Farm Insurance). It is a figment of the racist imagination, it should be mocked, and I'm glad to have mocked it.

Trump, Liberalism and the White Working Class

ImageWe all know very well by now that the white working class did not cause Trump to win the elections. Article after article have made the case, typically pointing to Nate Silver’s finding that the median household income of Trump supporters in the Republican primary was $72,000, roughly $10,000 more than the median household income for all whites. In the general election, Clinton won the majority of all voters earning $50,000 or less. Trump supporters are many things. They are undoubtedly whiter. They are also less likely to be educated and more likely to work in blue-collar jobs. But there’s one thing they’re not: overwhelmingly working-class.

Mass Incarceration and Its Mystification: A Review of "The 13th"

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When prisoners in Alabama last spring proposed a national strike to protest “prison slavery,” they called out the infamous clause in the Thirteenth Amendment. The amendment most known for abolishing slavery included a rider that sanctioned slavery “as punishment for a crime wherein the party shall have been duly convicted.”

Solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and all the Struggles of Indigenous Peoples

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The Black Workers for Justice support the struggles of the indigenous peoples to defend their land and treaty rights and their struggles for environmental justice. And in this moment we are in full support of the resistance of the Standing Rock Sioux to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). We call on all people to support them politically and materially.

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