Eddie Glaude, Moyers & Company
About 2,000 New Yorkers marched in Manhattan, bringing traffic to a halt for hours in a demonstration demanding police accountability and remembering Delrawn Small, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the three men recently shot dead by police. (Photo by Erik Mcgregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Moyers & Company Editor's Note: We asked a number of contributors to share their reactions to a post by activist and author Michelle Alexander that we published earlier this month in the aftermath of the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Here is a response from Eddie Glaude, author of Democracy in Black. You can view all other responses by clicking on the “building a new America” tag.
July 19, 2016 | Conversations about race in the United States fall short of their stated aims. We declare, usually after some horrific event, that Americans need to have a hard talk about racism. Politicians and pundits convene town hall meetings. Television and radio invite people like me to offer an account of the crisis. And we find ourselves, all of us — once again — as if we were in this eternally recurring tragedy, participating in the traditional theater of American racial politics. Liberals bleed sentimentality. Conservatives demand personal responsibility. Rarely, if ever, does something significant come of it all. We always return to business as usual.
We often refuse to tell each other the truth when we talk about racism in this country. Calls for unity protect a kind of contrived innocence.
These conversations fail, in part, because of the bad faith of those who participate in them. We often refuse to tell each other the truth when we talk about racism in this country. Calls for unity protect a kind of contrived innocence. And, for some, that’s more important than facts and truth.
Eddie Glaude, Jr. was raised in the Deep South, in Moss Point, Mississippi, and still remembers the Ku Klux Klan burning a cross at the fairground. He’s now a professor of religion and African-American studies at Princeton University, where he also chairs the Center for African-American Studies. His third book is Democracy in Black.
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11 Common Ways White Folks Avoid Taking Responsibility for Racism in the US, Robin DiAngelo, AlterNet / Everyday Feminism
- A structural understanding recognizes racism as a default system that institutionalizes an unequal distribution of resources and power between white people and people of color. This system is historic, taken for granted, deeply embedded, and it works to the benefit of whites.
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