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Compendium of Free Black Thought
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A searchable, topically-arranged bibliography of heterodox black thinkers

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Introduction

I. ESSENTIAL TWITTER ACCOUNTS and PODCASTS

A. Twitter

B. Podcasts/YouTube Channels

II. ESSENTIAL READING: A selection of (mainly) written resources organized by topic

1619 Project

Academia

Academic freedom (see Free speech)

“Acting white”

Activism (see Politics & Activism)

Affirmative Action

Afrocentrism

Afropessimism

Aid, Foreign (see Foreign Aid)

Allyship

American History (see also 1619 Project; Civil Right/Civil Rights Era; Juneteenth;

Thirteenth Amendment; Slavery)

Anti-racism (see also White fragility and Wokeness)

Art & literature

“Authenticity”

Bias / Implicit bias (see Racism)

Black America, state of

Blackface

Black intellectual history

Black Lives Matter

Black Nationalism

Cancel Culture (see also Free speech)

Civil Rights/Civil Rights Era

Class: see also Wealth gap

Coates, Ta-Nehisi

Colonialism / Decolonialism

Coronavirus / COVID-19

Crime & Incarceration

CRT / Critical Race Theory (see also Anti-racism, White fragility, and Wokeness)

Cultural Appropriation

Decolonialism (see Colonialism)

DEI / Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (see also Anti-racism; CRT; White fragility)

DiAngelo, Robin (see White fragility, Anti-racism)

Discrimination (see also Racism)

Disparity (see also Equality and Equity)

Diversity/Diversity Training: (see DEI; see also Anti-racism; White fragility)

Economics

Education & Schools

Equality and Equity (see also Disparity)

Experience, lived (see Lived experience)

Family & Marriage

Feminism (see Women / Feminism)

Foreign Aid & International Development

Free Speech (see also Cancel culture)

Fryer, Roland

Gentrification

Guns/2nd Amendment

Hate crime

Humor

Immigration

Integration

Intersectionality

Juneteenth

Kendi, Ibram X. (see Anti-racism)

Labor

Lived experience

Marriage (see Family & Marriage)

Murray, Albert

N-Word

● QJ, Steve. (Writer: https://steveqj.medium.com/.)

Patriotism

Police

Politics & Activism

Race

Racism / structural racism / institutional racism

Religion

Reparations

Respectability politics

Slavery

Sports

Standpoint epistemology (see Lived experience)

Thirteenth Amendment

Victimhood

Voting / Voter Suppression

Wealth gap: see also Class

Western Civilization

White fragility

Whiteness

White people posing as black/non-white

White Privilege

White Saviors

Wokeness (see also Anti-racism)

Women / Feminism

Working class (see Labor)

III. COMPREHENSIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY: Sorted by genre

A. PRINT MEDIA

Articles, editorials, opinion, reviews

Books: Fiction, poetry, drama

Books: Non-fiction

Books: Memoir

B. AUDIO/VISUAL/WEB-BASED MEDIA

Podcasts / YouTube channels

● See https://bit.ly/3hWTWWC

Radio shows

Video/Film/Audio

Web-based content: blogs, vlogs, organizations, resources, reports, social media


Introduction

“Isn’t pigeonholing a person based on their skin color the definition of anti-Black? Shouldn’t the community protect the right to diverse thoughts? Furthermore, wouldn’t that diversity help destroy the stereotype that Black Americans are monolithic?”

—Brittany Talissa King, “Free Black Thought.” Tablet Magazine. 

https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/arts-letters/articles/dubois-washington-black-lives-matter

In a now-deleted Tweet from May 22, 2020, Nikole Hannah-Jones (@nhannahjones) opined, “There is a difference between being politically black and being racially black.” The implication seems to be that you can have dark skin, textured hair, and perhaps even some “culturally black” traits regarding tastes in food, music, and ways of moving through the world. But unless you hold the “correct” political beliefs and values, you are not authentically black.

Hannah-Jones’ Tweet is valuable as a clear example of the sort of policing of the boundaries of black identity that is projected constantly but subtly by elite institutions, including news and entertainment media, corporate virtue-signaling, academic scholarship, and “Black Twitter.” You know beforehand what certain celebrated columnists and sought-after commentators are going to say on a given topic. The thrust of their message is unequivocal: there is a single authentic black narrative, black perspective, and black position on every issue that matters.

We recognize the value of the contributions of black authors and creators in what might be called the mainstream: these are the elites who write for the New York Times, constitute the familiar faces on CNN, and produce the books pushed by Amazon and adapted by HBO. But we seek here to offer an alternative to the mainstream elite. The Compendium is our attempt to create an index of a much wider range of voices. It consists of a bibliography of books, articles in academic journals, newspapers, online magazines, and social media, arranged by topic. The authors include black socialists and libertarians, conservatives and liberals, and even “race abolitionists” who disavow the very concept of race.

As editors of this collection, we have no particular politics or agenda to push, beyond the maxim, articulated beautifully by Chloe Valdary, that we should "treat people like human beings, not political abstractions." Thus, you will discover in our lists black Marxists rubbing shoulders with black Trump supporters: we have no desire to tell you who is “blacker” or whom to prefer.

It’s worth noting that FBT features heterodox black thinkers from the Anglophone world, for now mainly the USA and the UK. But we hope to diversify our geographic representation soon. We’ve also made all sorts of barely defensible judgments about who qualifies as heterodox, or outside of the mainstream. We are very much just getting started with this project, and our Compendium is far from complete or settled. We welcome your input regarding our choices and about heterodox books, articles, blogs, podcasts, and Twitter pages that we may have missed, including your own work. We'll be glad to know about it. You can email us at FBT@freeblackthought.com or send a message through the web: https://www.freeblackthought.com/about/contact.

Finally, please feel free to copy the Compendium, in whole or in part, and use it in your own research, teaching, or discussion group. Just be sure to check back frequently for updates!

We close this introduction with a selection of Tweets from free black thinkers whose perspectives are valuable correctives to the politics of authenticity represented by the Tweet from Nikole Hannah-Jones with which we opened this Introduction. We hope you will enjoy, and we invite you to free your mind with Free Black Thought.  

Having the acceptable view on social issues doesn’t innately make you a better person, it may only indicate how easily influenced you are.

—Ayishat Akanbi: https://twitter.com/Ayishat_Akanbi/status/1338792758543310850

The problem with the idea that behaviours and beliefs make you ‘less black’, is you end up buying into any idea, so long as you fit in.

—Lara: https://twitter.com/laracentric/status/1324460112736649216

This is me. I’m often attacked and torn down, because my skin colour doesn’t ‘match’ my views, but that’s what comes with speaking your mind. But just know, I won’t let anyone impose their stereotypes on me, and to do so is not only discriminatory, but completely misguided.

—Dominique Samuels: https://twitter.com/dominiquetaegon/status/1318234286810595332

The idea that you should see me, note my skin color, and then make a whole host of assumptions about my lived experiences is absurd, but entire institutions are now fully committed to exercising this incredibly dehumanizing practice in the name of my liberation.

        —Chloe Valdary: https://twitter.com/cvaldary/status/1304923766758178817

Deferring to the easiest Black voices is another way of abdicating the responsibility to do the thinking yourselves. It’s still patronising af - we are worthy of rigour.  

—Annie Olaloku-Teriba: https://twitter.com/annie_etc_/status/1342373585457967105

Yep one of the reasons why I hate it when white people say their job is only to listen and never question ideas from black voices. I mean if you [think] that you are pretty much in a cult. THINK FOR YOURSELF

—Nate Steele:

https://twitter.com/whymeldn/status/1343522970803855360


    I. ESSENTIAL TWITTER ACCOUNTS and PODCASTS

  1. Twitter

  1. Podcasts/YouTube Channels


    II. ESSENTIAL READING: A selection of (mainly) written resources organized by topic

                

1619 Project

“‘1776’ is an assembly of independent voices who uphold our country’s authentic founding virtues and values and challenge those who assert America is forever defined by its past failures, such as slavery. We seek to offer alternative perspectives that celebrate the progress America has made on delivering its promise of equality and opportunity and highlight the resilience of its people. Our focus is on solving problems. We do this in the spirit of 1776, the date of America’s true founding.”

—The essay from which the 1619 Project derives (without attribution) its negative assessment of Abraham Lincoln. On this assessment of Lincoln, see Mitgang, Herbert. (Feb. 11, 1968).  “Was Lincoln Just a Honkie?” New York Times. 

“I continue to recoil in horror at how blacks are presented in the national media, and how the New York Times introduced us to The 1619 Project, which ignores the history of my tradition and presents blacks as going from slavery to poverty, with no role models.”

“A lot of their focus seems to be the founding of the United States as a nation. The way I would look at that, is that at that time, for a variety of reasons, you have a predominant group, white men, beginning to articulate a human rights ideal. We can study why that happened when it happened. It had to do with the Enlightenment, the spread of literacy, the rise of working class movements. All of these factors led people to start talking in terms of human rights. It was both an intellectual movement from the top down and a freedom struggle from the bottom up. People begin to speak in terms of rights: that, I, we, have rights that other people should respect. The emergence of that is important. And it does affect African Americans. We know that from Benjamin Banneker and lot of other black people who realized that white people were talking about rights and said, ‘well we have rights too.’ That’s an important development in history, and an approach to history that doesn’t say we should privilege only the rights talk of white people. There’s always a dialogue between that and oppressed people. You have to tell the story from the top down, that intellectuals began to articulate the notion of rights. But simultaneously, non-elites are doing that—working class people, black people, colonized people.”

 

"Interpreted as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a GLORIOUS LIBERTY DOCUMENT."

“The story, for me, isn’t about Nikole Hannah-Jones... It’s about how social-media protagonists confuse their own stories for social-justice narratives.”

American culture often takes its cue from movements in African American culture. African Americans who believed in America’s founding ideals and called on the nation to live up to them made patriotism more real for everyone. But if we keep the critique of our nation and lose the sense of universal ownership and belonging that our patriotic symbols are meant to instill, there is nothing left to stand for. And that is the beginning of the fall.”

“[Nikole Hannah-Jones] wanted me to verify some statements for the project. At one point, she sent me this assertion: “One critical reason that the colonists declared their independence from Britain was because they wanted to protect the institution of slavery in the colonies, which had produced tremendous wealth. At the time there were growing calls to abolish slavery throughout the British Empire, which would have badly damaged the economies of colonies in both North and South.” I vigorously disputed the claim. Although slavery was certainly an issue in the American Revolution, the protection of slavery was not one of the main reasons the 13 Colonies went to war. [...] Despite my advice, the Times published the incorrect statement about the American Revolution anyway, in Hannah-Jones’ introductory essay. In addition, the paper’s characterizations of slavery in early America reflected laws and practices more common in the antebellum era than in Colonial times, and did not accurately illustrate the varied experiences of the first generation of enslaved people that arrived in Virginia in 1619.”

“America has always been a place of regeneration, renewal, and self-examination; a place where peoplehood is not a given or a smug achievement, but, rather, a long and continuous aspiration.”

The 1619 Project "marks a conservative retreat from the much-needed materialist road of anti-racist historiography. [...] The problem lies in the project’s implicit naturalization of race, a process essential to all racist thought."

“I didn’t know about the 1619 Project until it came out, and frankly when I learned about it my reaction was a big sigh. But again, the relation to history has passed to the appropriation of the past in support of what whatever kind of ‘just-so’ stories about the present are desired. This approach has taken root within the Academy. It's like all bets are off.”

“The 1619 essays almost universally ignore or minimize four critical pieces of context that any unbiased school curriculum would include. These are the truly global prevalence of slavery and similar barbaric practices until quite recently; the detrimental economic impact of the Peculiar Institution on the South and on the American national economy; the nuanced but deeply patriotic perspectives on the United States expressed by the black and white leaders of the victorious anti-slavery movement that existed alongside slavery; and the reality that much of American history in fact had nothing to do with this particular issue. Not teaching about slavery or Jim Crow segregation in schools would be a deeply immoral act of omission, but it is almost equally bizarre to define these decades-past regional sins as the main through-line of American history.”

That is what is so disturbing and dangerous about the 1619 Project’s aspiration for children: to create in the minds of students and teachers of all races a vision of America that is imbued with a permanent malignancy that is hostile to the dreams of students of color.”

https://www.chronicle.com/article/bad-history-and-worse-social-science-have-replaced-truth

“What you could say the 1619 Project is doing at its best is to talk about the African American contribution to making America live up to its ideals. That’s actually a very traditional point of view within the African American community — that it’s our struggle that transformed America and makes it live up to its ideals. So everybody has done this, and we should continue to talk about different ways in which collectivities have shaped the country.

[...]

The people who want to pretend that we started teaching about Critical Race Theory and stopped teaching about the American Revolution, that’s false. If they think schools have been teaching that the Revolution was caused by slavery, it’s not really taught that way. But let’s also not deny that the 1619 Project was poised to go into public schools teaching precisely that. They were moving at 100 miles per hour, and if people didn’t scream and yell, that’s what would have been printed and disseminated to teachers.

[...]

I can’t be that partisan in the culture war — I know it’s going nowhere good. You’re not going to get the reparations that some people think you’ll get from amassing this evidence of repression. And you’re certainly not going to get it by poking the other fella in the eye with this history that you say indicts them. It’s just not how this is going to be done, unless there’s some third party that takes over the entire government and gives what you think you deserve as the spoils for destroying the country.”

Academia

“Although highly educated people tend to be more politically engaged on average, their involvement is also much less likely to be oriented toward pragmatic ends. Instead, those with high levels of education gravitate toward ‘political hobbyism’ and ‘expressive voting’ -- that is, engaging in political research, discourse and participation for the purposes of self-aggrandizement, entertainment, validating one’s identity and views, and so forth.”

“If we get more people of color, more immigrants and international students, more low-income and first generation students, more students from rural areas, post-industrial regions and small towns – they will bring with them a much wider range of viewpoints than we currently have, including with respect to politics and religion. Again, the challenges related to demographic diversity and ideological diversity are intimately interrelated — and they are best addressed in tandem.”

“Contemporary white college students (and increasingly college-educated people writ large) skew liberal and tend to be more ostensibly ‘woke’ on racial issues than most people of color. So when racial issues come up, most whites know what they ‘should’ say, and fully expect that their expressed opinions will be endorsed and celebrated by their white peers and any minorities in the room. For African Americans, the situation is much more difficult. Most black people do not live in poverty or inner cities. Most African Americans do not feel as though they have ever been stopped or detained by police primarily on the basis of their racial background, and do not have experience with police violence. [...] And yet, when topics like racial inequality, poverty, crime or criminal justice come up on campus, people ‘in the room’ often pause and turn to the black students, waiting on them to weigh in on these topics. They have been taught that this is the respectful thing to do. [...] They have been taught that black people, almost purely in virtue of their race, have a deeper understanding of these issues than most others could. So in pausing and turning to the African Americans, white students are engaging in behaviors they view as respectful. However, in reality, incidents like these are often incredibly alienating for black students – whose peers seem to be assuming that they must be from a poor and ‘troubled’ background in virtue of their race, when this is simply not the case for most. And it pressures them to say something about topics they would perhaps not speak on.”

“What we need are not singular, racial narratives about how to live our lives; rather, we need multiple narratives, which are only possible when persons of different cultural, ethnic and racial backgrounds converse with one another in neutral, multicultural, educational environments. A segregated black university militates against these cosmopolitan environments. Instead, it institutionalises an ideology of ‘essential difference’ among races.”

https://harvardlawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Kennedy-Racial-Critiques-of-Legal-Academia.pdf

“[T]he writings of Bell, Delgado, and Matsuda reveal significant deficiencies - the most general of which is a tendency to evade or suppress complications that render their conclusions problematic. Stated bluntly, they fail to support persuasively their claims of racial exclusion or their claims that legal academic scholars of color produce a racially distinctive brand of valuable scholarship. My criticism of the Bell/Delgado/Matsuda line of racial critiques extends farther, however, than their descriptions of the current state of legal academia. I also take issue with their politics of argumentation and with some of the normative premises underlying their writings.”

“[B]eing on the side of anti-racism is no inoculation against error. An allegation of systemic racism leveled against a university is a serious charge. If the allegation is substantiated, it ought to occasion protest and rectification commensurate with the wrong. If an allegation is flimsy or baseless, however, it ought to be recognized as such. Engaging in the urgent work of anti-racist activism should entail avoidance of mistaken charges that cause wrongful injury, exacerbate confusion, and sow distrust that ultimately weakens the struggle. [...] The fact is that this moment of laudable protest has been shadowed by a rise in complacency and opportunism. Some charges of racism are simply untenable. Some complainants are careless about fact-finding and analysis. And some propose coercive policies that would disastrously inhibit academic freedom.”

“I didn’t feel good. It felt as if I were trying to gain pity. I knew what I went through was tough and to overcome those challenges was remarkable, but was that all I had to offer?"

http://southtexasenglish.blogspot.com/2009/12/new-beginnings-volume-1-issue-1.html

https://www.city-journal.org/african-american-viewpoint-diversity-in-academia

“When it comes to academia, I have never been the ‘right’ kind of black man. My comfort around whites, my embrace of classical liberal values, and my refusal to embrace victimhood has confused black and white academics alike. I remember talking to a white college president, who considered himself a card-carrying liberal, about black life and telling him that, even within the black community, there is much diversity. He looked at me as if I had three heads.”

Academic freedom (see Free speech)

“Acting white”

Activism (see Politics & Activism)

Affirmative Action

Afrocentrism

Afropessimism

“[Between 2001 and 2017] the incarceration rate for black men aged 25–29, 20–24, and 18–19 declined, respectively, by 56 percent, 60 percent, and 72 percent. For young black women, the story is similar: a 59 percent drop for those aged 25–29, a 43 percent drop for those aged 20–24, and a 69 percent drop for those aged 18–19. [...] 2018 census data showed that 37 percent of black Americans aged 25–34 had some kind of college degree. If black America were its own country, that would place it in between Germany (31 percent) and Spain (43 percent) in terms of educational attainment. What’s more...black women, though less likely to attend college than white women, are now more likely to attend college than white men from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. [...] [W]hen we compare black outcomes to white outcomes and blame all of the gaps on institutional racism, we treat American society as if it were a simple 8th-grade science experiment: white people are treated as the “control group”; black people are treated as the “experimental group”; and the “independent variable,” applied only to blacks, is institutional racism. [...] What do we gain by acknowledging progress? For one thing, ignorance of how much progress blacks have made in recent years leads many to mistakenly believe American institutions are so racist that nothing short of complete overhaul would suffice to repair them. The fact that those very same institutions have allowed for, if not ushered in, huge amounts of progress for black people in recent years suggests a more sober-minded approach. We should not burn the system down. We should reform it one increment at a time.

“Every society has a murderous hierarchy: someone’s always knocking at the basement door, trying to get free. But life is prismatic—it’s possible to be Black and degraded in America while also profiting from wanton extraction of resources overseas, oppressing millions of non-Black others, and living on land stolen from indigenous people. We are always joined in our sufferings, often by somebody we can’t see through the darkness. We speak of solidarity precisely because the empathetic act of analogy is a way of acknowledging this complexity, and of training our ethical senses, again and again, to widen the circle of our concern. Any system of thought that has refined itself beyond the ability to imagine kinship with the stranded Guatemalan kid detained at the U.S. border, or with the functionally enslaved Uyghur in China, or, again—I can’t get over it—with the Native American on whose stolen ancestral ground you live and do your business, is lost in its own fog.

        Black thought at its best has been a vehicle for and a product of analogy. Black Christians saw the liberatory potential in the story of the Hebrews rescued by God from beneath Pharaoh’s thumb and, still more, in the life of the Jewish Palestinian preacher Jesus, put to death by the colonizers of his homeland. Some of them looked to Latin America, where liberation theology blossomed; they created Black liberation theology, and forever transformed the flavor of American religion. A feeling of kinship with the colonized people of India, and with Gandhi in particular, helped make nonviolence a core practice of the civil-rights movement. A study of the revolutionary struggles in Algeria, Fanon’s great subject, helped to make the case—argued most famously by the Black Liberation Army, an influence on Wilderson—for the occasional necessity of violence. None of this is incidental: the impulse toward freedom is always seeking friends.”

“Racial exceptionalism, political immutability, “antiblackness” as structural antagonism, and abjection in the form of “social death”: each of these concepts predates Afropessimism, and as I see it, together they form its foundation. Indeed, it is the synthesis of all of these ideas into one purportedly coherent worldview that I take to be the innovation of Afropessimism. [...]

Is being talked down to in the faculty lounge really the same as being whipped at the post, or slinging rock on the corner, or being placed in solitary on Rikers Island as a juvenile? Is working at Merrill Lynch in New York as a Black woman really the same as working shifts as a Black gay man in a McDonald’s in Alabama? Is it ethical or desirable to confound all of these into a tortuous equivalency while telling those who propose to fight at your side to shut up because you don’t like the analogies they are using to connect themselves with your suffering? [...]

No serious Black intellectual today thinks antiblack racism is not a matter of life and death. The question is still the old one: what is to be done? There has to be room for a serious debate and the flexibility of open-minded conversation on that score. [...]

It is possible for a nominally leftist rhetoric, especially one that is explicitly ethno-nationalist and directed by actors professionally linked to the governing class, to weaponize superficial and symbolic gains in ways that serve to advance their own professional and middle-class interests. This work happens at the expense of broadly based and genuinely popular political strategies that could have otherwise advanced the interests of the Black poor and working classes who are most vividly affected by the forces that the movement alleges it is dismantling. [...]

[B]eyond the noise of social media and well outside of academic groves, the Black working and middle class has little interest in seminars about the power of whiteness or its fragility. It is looking for tangible, pragmatic answers and solutions in the present that will enable people to protect Black boys and girls from being mowed down without a chance; to exercise control and agency over police, schools, courts, and prisons that act with indifference or hostility to their humanity. [...]

[A] theory of Afropessimism still holds an understandable appeal to those of us who for whatever reason hold positions of greater social security and standing. Who feel ambivalent and insecure about the balance of power in our lives between Black and non-Black friends — and who can thus find in Wilderson a language that speaks to our survivor’s guilt. It feels good to suture your identity back to the collective, to pronounce that you share in equal measure the plight of all Black people throughout history. But that doesn’t make it so. This doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the impulse; nor should the pain of an alienated bourgeois intelligentsia be dismissed. [...]

Nonetheless, the fact [is] that the main current of Afropessimist thinking runs counter to all of Black political history and tradition thus far. [...] Perhaps it’s worth reminding ourselves that when he was murdered, Fred Hampton was encouraging poor whites to analogize their position to that of poor Blacks. At the time of his assassination, Malcolm X was embracing and actively seeking to incorporate a cross-racial coalition into his new organization. Ella Baker actively encouraged the deepening of organizational ties and activist links across different communities by emphasizing common struggle and common oppression. What evidence do we have, on the other hand, that the power behind the status quo is quaking at the thought of Black folk gathering in isolation to mourn the end of the world? [...] Are we to jettison our entire tradition? Were all those who came before us so hopelessly naïve? [...]

Clearly Fanon is central to all of his thinking; indeed, all Afropessimist theorists consider Black Skin, White Masks (1952) a cornerstone text. [...] But even if one were to read only Black Skin, White Masks, it is impossible to miss the humanist assumptions that it opens onto in its conclusion. What else can one make of Fanon stating that ‘I am not a slave to slavery that dehumanized my ancestors,’ and that ‘the density of History determines none of my acts. I am my own foundation’? How can one miss the assumption of a shareable humanity when he insists that ‘at the end of this book we would like the reader to feel with us the open dimension of every consciousness.’ [...]

Wilderson’s Afropessimism insists that we are still slaves. Walker insisted in 1829 that the slaves are (and were even then) “colored citizens” of the United States and of the world. That if we are oppressed it is only because we are ignorant of our true strength, because we have been taught to disbelieve and disavow our worth to the world, to the nation, and to each other. Which of these two views is the correct one? I think the historical record and the present state of our politics tells us all we need to know on that score. For it is no coincidence that today it is Black Americans who are once again trying to save the country, to invest in finishing the work of making this place a home that we can live in. [...]

Much of the work ahead will necessarily involve a growing capacity for self-reflection, self-criticism, irony, and joy in our politics. [...] If we look to history, we can see more than enough concrete evidence and example to support the conclusion that a racially defined caste system is unlikely to ever again prevail. [...] We are not at the end, but near the beginning of something new. [...] The hardest truth is that all the uncertainties that govern the question of what can be done, what will be done, and the difference between the two, remain in our hands.”

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/06/07/ta-nehisi-coates-afro-pessimist-temptation/

“Afro-pessimism and its treatment of withdrawal as transcendence is no less pleasing to white supremacy than Booker T. Washington’s strategic retreat into self-help. Afro-pessimism threatens no one, and white audiences confuse having been chastised with learning. Unfortunately, black people who dismiss the idea of progress as a fantasy are incorrect in thinking they are the same as most white people who perhaps believe still that they will be fine no matter who wins our elections.”

Aid, Foreign (see Foreign Aid)

Allyship

“People keep asking me, how do I be an ally? Well first off, don’t make ultra cringe #takeresponsibility videos. My life and my experiences are not your responsibility. Let’s start with that. If you want to be an ally, start by treating me the same as you treated me yesterday. Respect me, respect my ideas, respect my experience, realize that we are both human, we both make mistakes, we both are making our way through this maze called life. [...] Although my experience is different don’t assume you know who I am. Don’t assume because I’m black a vote a certain way or feel oppressed. Don’t assume because I’m black I fall in line with what you see on tv or read on social media. Don’t assume you know more about my experience than me, don’t assume because you read a book or taking a college course you somehow know what it’s like or what it means to be a black in America. [...] Know that my race doesn’t define me, but my race and culture is a significant part of who I am. Know that I love who I am and I wouldn’t have it any other way. [...] Know that I’m an individual, not a political pawn.”

American History (see also 1619 Project; Civil Right/Civil Rights Era; Juneteenth;

Thirteenth Amendment; Slavery)

Anti-racism (see also White fragility and Wokeness)

“It is no longer just racists who hold to the colour line, but anti-racists, too. They obsess over racial identities, eulogise identitarian divisions, and subordinate their thoughts and praxis to race. Indeed, anti-racists are gripped by what the philosopher and cultural theorist Kwame Anthony Appiah called the ‘racial fixation’ — the idea that race determines everything essential and decisive in people.”

“Part of it has to deal with the liberal anti-racists evacuating the class content of American society. So they can talk about race and racism in a vacuum. As soon as you do it that way you are in a self-defeating cycle because then you have people you’ve identified as a race who are permanent targets and victims…”

“[White nationalists and white anti-racists have] five shared understandings about whiteness: (1) whiteness as the norm; (2) whites as victims; (3) white paternalism; (4) a desire for racial otherness; and (5) perceived expertise in racial knowledge. These ideas combine to form a hegemonic whiteness that manifests itself in members’ personal and political beliefs and actions. In the end, both groups are wedded to understandings of race that are ‘laced with racist, reactionary, and essentialist schemas’.”

“Far from challenging the establishment, wokeness has become a means through which the establishment reinvents itself. Corporations and public figures can gain woke points by engaging in superficial gestures which win social validation and accumulate capital, while real social issues remain unsolved. The woke worldview has merely repackaged racial essentialism for a new age.”

“I write this letter to you with great dismay, and great concern for the perversion of history that is being perpetrated by the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC). If this model curriculum is approved, it will inflict great harm on millions of students in our state. [...] It is a fact that the Black Freedom Movement of the 1950s and 1960s under Dr. King's leadership transformed our country, overthrowing a century of Jim Crow segregation and white supremacist terror throughout the former Confederate States. This fact, which I had thought was well known to all educated persons, has been removed from the ESMC. This is morally unacceptable and renders the entire curriculum suspect. Moreover, it appears that this omission was deliberate.

“[T]he major factor this contemporary movement of 2020, has in common with Dr. King in the 1960's, is the fight for an Anti-Racist America. But, the major difference here is, how these two eras define ‘anti-racism.’ And how each organized to achieve this goal from their POV.”

“Some are convinced that having whites identify with the worst actors in Western history is the best way to address our dark past. But I think the goal should instead be for them to see a bit of themselves in Emmet Till. You don't do that by inducting today's children into groups of oppressors and oppressed. You certainly don't do that by segregating white victims of police brutality from Black ones, distinguishing morally between the Tony Timpas of the world and the George Floyds. You do it by eliminating the barrier to empathy between races. In other words, by eliminating the perceived reality of race.”

The book is “a humanist critique of identity-based anti-racism, a movement which, instead of challenging racial thinking, has emphasised it & abandoned the goal of eliminating racial divisions."

https://www.thedailybeast.com/antiracism-our-flawed-new-religion 

“We must wonder...how confidently university leaders will be able to resist the demands that would destroy the very functioning of their institutions. But awkward and painful as it may be, they must. They must resist destructive demands, even by self-proclaimed representatives of people of color, and even in a society where systemic racism is real. To give in to anti-intellectual, under-considered, disproportionate, or hostile demands is condescending to the signatories and the protesters. It implies that they can do no better, and that authorities must suspend their sense of logic, civility, and progress as some kind of penance for slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, and the deaths of people such as Floyd. That ‘penance’ would hurt only the community in the end, through lower educational quality.”

There’s “a contradiction at ‘left’ antiracism’s conceptual core: it hinges on the fantasy of a non-essentialist racial essentialism. No matter how elaborate, clever, absurd or heroic the efforts or how genuine and powerful the will to do so may be, it is simply not possible to square that fucking circle.”

“it is important, as we look toward the daunting prospect of building a movement capable of changing the terms of debate in American politics to center the interests and concerns of working people—of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and whatever immigration status—who are the vast majority of the country, that we recognize that race-reductionist politics is the left wing of neoliberalism and nothing more. It is openly antagonistic to the idea of a solidaristic left.”

“After learning that diversity trainings may be ineffective and at-will employment is a structural constraint for diversity workers, I have concluded that it is reasonable for an antiracist to support policies that provide protections for people who push for organizational change. One way to accomplish this goal is to support the unionization of employees.”

“Apparently, only white people are allowed to be individuals: black people have to abide by certain criteria that determine authenticity. Academics with the critical tools to know better are some of the loudest and most consistent offenders in this. White people have heard a one-dimensional account of the black voice so often that they are perplexed by black people who don’t fit the media-driven, prefabricated model. Many activists are not pro-black: they are pro a particular kind of black. But more than one black voice exists. Virtue racism is real. Regardless of its intended effects, it is still essentialism, it is still the policing of black behavior and it is still white supremacy.”

“[I]s the black individual a necessary casualty of the current culture war? If one sees black essentialism as a powerful tool for bringing about racial justice, the answer is probably a resounding yes. Gayatri Spivak calls this the embrace of “strategic essentialism,” the deliberate projection of a characteristic for rhetorical purposes. But I bristle at the thought that injury or victimhood is the most essential black characteristic, in line with the Critical Race Theory tenet that America is irredeemably racist and all whites complicit (at the very least) in racism. Ideally, any strategically essentialized image of black people could be revisited once justice had been achieved—but how can justice ever be achieved if white people in America and America itself are irredeemably racist? Critical Race Theory seems to guarantee the perpetual essentialized victimhood of black people.”

“I just want an anti-racism that does not require a feeling of victimization or, at times, infantilization and learned helplessness in people of color. I want an empowering anti-racism that provides and maintains racial dignity while encouraging deliberative engagement with the social and material realities of American society. Unfortunately, most contemporary anti-racism suffers from a primacy of identity that consists of four parts: a narcissistic embrace of lived experience as its primary ethos and epistemology, a tendency to essentialize people based on race, a demonization of critical inquiry (let alone blunt disagreement), and a neglect of fundamental aspects of rhetoric like context and audience consideration.”

“It is impossible to simultaneously lower standards and raise performance, whether on the playing field or in the classroom. The people who believe merit is racist will leave this generation ill-equipped to interpret and deal with the complexities of life.”

“We honor God when we acknowledge all members of the human race have equal worth. We dishonor Him when we ascribe certain sins to people based on skin color.”

Racist slave traders considered black people property. Antiracism advocates today consider us pawns. Their respective conceptions have different starting points but they both reach the same conclusion — absent benevolent interventions, the American Negro is without agency, direction or purpose, a vessel of melanated chaos driven by historical trauma and extant oppression. Both groups see black people as incapable of moral reasoning and bearing no responsibility for our own actions. The former argues the issue is blood and genes; the latter, environment and access to resources. The racist was driven by contempt; the antiracist by condescension. [...] When searching for a guide for opposing race-hatred, choose a worldview that sees all people as individuals created in God’s image with the capacity for good and evil, and reject the one that asserts some people are exempt from moral responsibility because of historical trauma. Always choose that which speaks to the eternal and universal over that which appeals to the ephemeral and specific. Always choose the side that sees humanity before skin color.”

“I learned three things:

• One. All whites in America are racists.

• Two. No blacks in American are racist. They’re prejudiced just like everybody else, but they lack the power of institutional resources to force other racial groups to submit to their will. Thus they can’t be racist because racism in this conceptual scheme is defined as prejudice + power.

• Three. Whites must be shown that they are racists and confess their racism.”

“[I]n the words of the Pulitzer Prize-winning hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar, we all have “power, poison, pain, and joy” inside us — regardless of our racial identity. We are all assailed by the fear of death, haunted by the specter of insignificance, and tempted by the possibility of attaining unfettered power. I also believe that we are all sacred, made in the image of the Divine, in need of love and belonging, and searching for a sense of worth and meaning. Understanding this is the first step toward building and renewing a truly antiracist, multiethnic country.”

“The false choice between acknowledging the repugnant history of racism that informs the present, and the wish to accept the reality that a growing number of black people may nonetheless experience the freedom to define ourselves, is infantilizing. What this current moment of protest and awakening must lead us to, if it is to lead us anywhere, is a dignified means of fully inhabiting our ever more complicated identities.”

“The most shocking aspect of Mr. Coates’s wording...is the extent to which it mirrors ideas of race — specifically the specialness of whiteness — that white supremacist thinkers cherish.”

Art & literature

“So will Trumpism force the head of American literature out of its cocoon of sand? I doubt it. And it’s because there is a new liberal political orthodoxy that I believe will stifle art, particularly literature, in America. Will Trumpism be the subject of literature? I’m sure it will be. But will it succeed as art? I doubt it. Because it would require, for example, the acknowledgment of a Trump-supporting character as fully human, and I can already imagine a fiction writer getting panicky at the thought of a social media backlash for the crime of ‘enabling the evils of Trump’ or something of the sort. Ideological purity is dangerous and is becoming the lens through which many approach storytelling in America. The idea that Trumpism is “not us”, which is a mainstream idea among those who produce and consume literature in America, will also probably make it difficult to engage honestly with Trumpism.”

“There are many social-media-savvy people who are choking on sanctimony and lacking in compassion, who can fluidly pontificate on Twitter about kindness but are unable to actually show kindness. People whose social media lives are case studies in emotional aridity. People for whom friendship, and its expectations of loyalty and compassion and support, no longer matter. People who claim to love literature – the messy stories of our humanity – but are also monomaniacally obsessed with whatever is the prevailing ideological orthodoxy. People who demand that you denounce your friends for flimsy reasons in order to remain a member of the chosen puritan class. People who ask you to ‘educate’ yourself while not having actually read any books themselves, while not being able to intelligently defend their own ideological positions, because by ‘educate,’ they actually mean ‘parrot what I say, flatten all nuance, wish away complexity.’”

“Being Black & from poverty, I am what white Americans imagine they are learning about and 'standing in solidarity' with when they imbibe popular culture’s Black offerings. But it never occurs to them that [most black culture-creators] come from a very different class to begin with, and are not necessarily standing in real solidarity with me." [...] "According to the strictures of real Black, the Blackest you can be is a dark-skinned, poverty-raised, adherent of the Black subculture." [...] "People assume a history of poverty for Black skin. Any Black person can claim it, becoming real Black in the process, and there are personal and economic incentives for doing so." [...] “Abject poverty is not normally an advantage, but it can become one if, for example, your livelihood depends upon audiences perceiving you as real Black."

“Just as a genetic mulatto is a black person of mixed parents who can often get along fine with his white grandparents, a cultural mulatto, educated by a multi-racial mix of cultures, can also navigate easily in the white world. [...] We no longer need to deny or suppress any part of our complicated and sometimes contradictory cultural baggage to please either white people or black.”

“Fifty years after his landmark book of essays on race, culture, and the ‘social science paradigm,’ the late, great critic and career Air Force officer Albert Murray speaks loudly to today’s divided United States.”

“Unlike many self-described anti-racists today, who engage in performative demands for white guilt, Fanon states: ‘I have not the right as a man of colour to wish for a guilt complex to crystallise in the white man regarding the past of my race’. What he wants, instead, is respect and dignity: ‘I, a man of colour, want but one thing. May man never be instrumentalised. May the subjugation of man by man — that is to say, me by another — cease. May I be able to discover and desire man wherever he may be’.”

On the perils of “treating poetry as a sub-set of sociology—we should read non-white poets because they offer us insights into social & political issues. If English is simply another variant of sociology or politics, why should the study of it be distinguished from these subjects?

“Last year I was on a podcast in which the presenter asked me to name something about myself that no one could find about me online. I said that during the first lockdown I enjoyed watching an old ITV programme called Rosemary & Thyme. It is a crime drama about two middle-aged women who act as gardeners for the most beautiful homes in rural Britain and as detectives for ghastly acts of murder. The presenter was shocked. The tone of his voice was unambiguous: can a young black man really enjoy a show featuring two middle-aged white women? Maybe he was expecting me to say I have a side-hustle as a rapper. If I told him I liked Jane Austen, he might have fainted.”

What is really being demanded, instead of a more cosmopolitan ethos, is intellectual provincialism couched in the language of moral puritanism. They want black teaching staff teaching black texts and doing so in a way that pays particular attention to the existence of racism in these texts.”

                        

“By pointing up the central place of blacks in American society, Murray’s writing has served as something of an invitation to a black American homecoming, illustrating for blacks the reasons for embracing America; reasons that go beyond the simple lack of an alternative. Simply put, blacks can call America home because they have helped shape this country through labor and through influence both cultural and genetic; in the process, blacks have created their own heroic tradition, one that has called for skill, improvisation, and grit, qualities symbolized, again, by jazz and the blues.”

“The central beauty and puzzle of art is its ability to fascinate people whom its makers never considered.”

An autobiographical novel, considered the first novel published by an African American in North America, and lost until rediscovered by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., in 1981.

“Authenticity”

“Being Black & from poverty, I am what white Americans imagine they are learning about and 'standing in solidarity' with when they imbibe popular culture’s Black offerings. But it never occurs to them that [most black culture-creators] come from a very different class to begin with, and are not necessarily standing in real solidarity with me." [...] "According to the strictures of real Black, the Blackest you can be is a dark-skinned, poverty-raised, adherent of the Black subculture." [...] "People assume a history of poverty for Black skin. Any Black person can claim it, becoming real Black in the process, and there are personal and economic incentives for doing so." [...] “Abject poverty is not normally an advantage, but it can become one if, for example, your livelihood depends upon audiences perceiving you as real Black."

“It’s a perennial question: Can you really tell? The great black jazz trumpeter Roy Eldridge once made a wager with the critic Leonard Feather that he could distinguish white musicians from black ones — blindfolded. Mr. Feather duly dropped the needle onto a variety of record albums whose titles and soloists were concealed from the trumpeter. More than half the time, Eldridge guessed wrong.

[...]

What, then, of the vexed concept of authenticity? To borrow from Samuel Goldwyn's theory of sincerity, authenticity remains essential: once you can fake that, you've got it made.”

“The United States is in actuality not a nation of black people and white people. It is a nation of multi-coloured people. There are white Americans so to speak and black Americans. But any fool can see that the white people are not really white and that black Americans are not black. They are all interrelated in one way or another. Indeed, for all their traditional antagonisms and obvious differences the so-called black and so-called white people of the United States resemble nobody else in the world so much as they resemble each other.”

“I don’t capitalize “black” or “white” in my writing because it promotes essentialism while minimizing individuality. I understand the thoughts and sentiments behind capitalizing Black; to many, it reflects dignity and empowerment. But its constitutive nature may reinforce an illusion. This capitalization potentially presents a nominalism—a term for something that doesn’t really exist—which similarly applies to the term “Black community.” No essential Black community exists. [...] To think otherwise erases the inherent variety and individuality of millions based on skin color. [... A]voiding essentialist language may enhance a sense of liberation. One need not define oneself or others by a particular past or a universal identity kit, instead enjoying the liberation of individuality and “becoming.” This goes double for entire groups which consist of various individuals. Capitalizing “Black” seems like a reification, an obligation to conform. [...] Capitalizing Black may work to perpetuate the erroneous idea that Black people exist with a shared viewpoint. To be clear, I know the benefit of conformity. A united front provides a fortification ideal for confronting systemic discrimination and forcing systemic change. But I believe we can do that sans essentialist rhetoric that, again, erases individuality and, perhaps inadvertently, forces people into confining boxes. Society has lumped minorities together for centuries. They shouldn’t do it to themselves.”

“Apparently, only white people are allowed to be individuals: black people have to abide by certain criteria that determine authenticity. Academics with the critical tools to know better are some of the loudest and most consistent offenders in this. White people have heard a one-dimensional account of the black voice so often that they are perplexed by black people who don’t fit the media-driven, prefabricated model. Many activists are not pro-black: they are pro a particular kind of black. But more than one black voice exists. Virtue racism is real. Regardless of its intended effects, it is still essentialism, it is still the policing of black behavior and it is still white supremacy.”

“[I]s the black individual a necessary casualty of the current culture war? If one sees black essentialism as a powerful tool for bringing about racial justice, the answer is probably a resounding yes. Gayatri Spivak calls this the embrace of “strategic essentialism,” the deliberate projection of a characteristic for rhetorical purposes. But I bristle at the thought that injury or victimhood is the most essential black characteristic, in line with the Critical Race Theory tenet that America is irredeemably racist and all whites complicit (at the very least) in racism. Ideally, any strategically essentialized image of black people could be revisited once justice had been achieved—but how can justice ever be achieved if white people in America and America itself are irredeemably racist? Critical Race Theory seems to guarantee the perpetual essentialized victimhood of black people.”

 https://www.persuasion.community/p/free-black-thought-a-manifesto

“Black people certainly don’t all ‘feel’ or ‘experience’ the same things. Nor do they all ‘experience’ the same event in an identical way. Finally, even when their experiences are similar, they don’t all think about or interpret their experiences in the same way.”

“The call to “listen to the most affected” or “centre the most marginalized” is ubiquitous in many academic and activist circles. But it’s never sat well with me. In my experience, when people say they need to “listen to the most affected”, it isn’t because they intend to set up Skype calls to refugee camps or to collaborate with houseless people. Instead, it has more often meant handing conversational authority and attentional goods to those who most snugly fit into the social categories associated with these ills – regardless of what they actually do or do not know, or what they have or have not personally experienced. In the case of my conversation with Helen, my racial category tied me more “authentically” to an experience that neither of us had had. She was called to defer to me by the rules of the game as we understood it. Even where stakes are high – where potential researchers are discussing how to understand a social phenomenon, where activists are deciding what to target – these rules often prevail. [...]

For those who defer, the habit can supercharge moral cowardice. The norms provide social cover for the abdication of responsibility: it displaces onto individual heroes, a hero class, or a mythicized past the work that is ours to do now in the present. Their perspective may be clearer on this or that specific matter, but their overall point of view isn’t any less particular or constrained by history than ours. More importantly, deference places the accountability that is all of ours to bear onto select people – and, more often than not, a hyper-sanitized and thoroughly fictional caricature of them.

The same tactics of deference that insulate us from criticism also insulate us from connection and transformation. They prevent us from engaging empathetically and authentically with the struggles of other people – prerequisites of coalitional politics. As identities become more and more fine-grained and disagreements sharper, we come to realize that ‘coalitional politics’ (understood as struggle across difference) is, simply, politics. Thus, the deferential orientation, like that fragmentation of political collectivity it enables, is ultimately anti-political.”

Bias / Implicit bias (see Racism)

Black America, state of

“[Between 2001 and 2017] the incarceration rate for black men aged 25–29, 20–24, and 18–19 declined, respectively, by 56 percent, 60 percent, and 72 percent. For young black women, the story is similar: a 59 percent drop for those aged 25–29, a 43 percent drop for those aged 20–24, and a 69 percent drop for those aged 18–19. [...] 2018 census data showed that 37 percent of black Americans aged 25–34 had some kind of college degree. If black America were its own country, that would place it in between Germany (31 percent) and Spain (43 percent) in terms of educational attainment. What’s more...black women, though less likely to attend college than white women, are now more likely to attend college than white men from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. [...] [W]hen we compare black outcomes to white outcomes and blame all of the gaps on institutional racism, we treat American society as if it were a simple 8th-grade science experiment: white people are treated as the “control group”; black people are treated as the “experimental group”; and the “independent variable,” applied only to blacks, is institutional racism. [...] What do we gain by acknowledging progress? For one thing, ignorance of how much progress blacks have made in recent years leads many to mistakenly believe American institutions are so racist that nothing short of complete overhaul would suffice to repair them. The fact that those very same institutions have allowed for, if not ushered in, huge amounts of progress for black people in recent years suggests a more sober-minded approach. We should not burn the system down. We should reform it one increment at a time.

“I would say to fellow African-Americans: No one is coming to save us! The situation in which we find ourselves is unfair, but this is not a question of justice. Nobody is coming, and, more fundamentally, no one can come into the most intimate relations between our women and men, into the families and neighborhoods where our children are being raised, so as to reorder those cultural institutions in a manner that would be more developmentally constructive.            

               These matters are ultimately and necessarily in the hands of African-Americans alone. They require facing up to such questions as: Who are we as a people? How should we live with one another? What will we do to honor the sacrifices that our ancestors made to leave us the opportunities we now enjoy? What do we owe our children?”

        [...]

“While we cannot ignore the behavioral problems of the so-called black underclass, we should discuss and react to those problems as if we were talking about our own children, neighbors, and friends. It will require adjusting ways of thinking on both sides of the racial divide. Achieving a well-ordered society, where all members are embraced as being among us, should be the goal. Our failure to do so is an American tragedy. It is a national, not merely a communal, disgrace. Changing the definition of the American ‘we’ is a first step toward rectifying the relational discrimination that afflicts our society, and it is the best path forward in reducing racial inequality.”

Blackface

“Chude-Sokei contends that Williams’s blackface was not a display of internalized racism nor a submission to the expectations of the moment. It was an appropriation and exploration of the contradictory and potentially liberating power of racial stereotypes.”

Black intellectual history

https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/arts-letters/articles/dubois-washington-black-lives-matter

“I make a case for Black freedom of thought—an unconditional stance no matter if the next idea challenges mine.”

Black Lives Matter

“Even if BLM were a paragon of transparency, its flag should never have been flown outside an American school — for the simple reason that its core principles are antithetical to a sound education. In other words, it is not a flawed organisation with noble ideals; it is a flawed organisation whose ideals are, at best, misguided and, at worst, actively destructive, with the most disastrous results for black children.”

https://quincylsb.com/thoughts-on-george-floyd/

“There are those who want to watch the world burn, others who are just going with the flow, and then others you want that good ole classic SJW attention. Hopefully, you don’t fall into any of those boats, hopefully, you want a solution to the problems that face our society. We need more ideas, solutions and answers and less divisiveness, identity politics, virtue signaling, and empty gestures. There is no ‘us vs. them’.”

“[W]e are no longer associated or connected to the BLM Global Network. [W]e have decided to rename part of our organization The Black Power Collective. [...] The Global Network is a top-down dogmatic organization that promotes certain chapters that choose to align with their direction and sequester the ones that don’t. [...] Leaders that appoint themselves can no longer serve or be seen as leaders.  We can not accept charismatic figures imposing themselves as dictators, nor can we support personality cults. [...T]the LA Chapter [and] the Global Network have...worked to undermine a grassroots movement by capitalizing on unpaid labor, suppressing any internal attempt at democracy, commodifying Black death, and profiting from the...pain and suffering inflicted on Black communities. [...T]he creation of the Black Lives Matter Political Action Committee is a violation of our collective agreement. This agreement was composed of two rules: 1. We do not work with police, 2. We do not endorse politicians. [...] The use of the BLM name...has been commodified and debased. It is now being used to sell products, acquire book deals, T.V. deals, and speaking engagements. We...are opposed to the movement to substitute Black capitalism for white capitalism."

After BLM’s baffling and poorly timed official statement in support of Jussie Smollett’s innocence during his trial for faking a hate crime, I can finally out myself, shout from the mountain tops: ‘I AM NOT A BLACK LIVES MATTER SUPPORTER.’ I’ve never been a BLM supporter. Though I’m committed to progressive causes, I’m just not an identity politics kinda girl, and adding ‘black’ or #melanin to phrases doesn’t get my juices flowing.

What had they been doing the last 7 years about police brutality? Where were there policy initiatives? What causes were they funding? Had they founded an organization similar to the Innocence Project? It seems that they hadn’t. All they had were slogans.”

“To the best of our knowledge, most chapters have received little to no financial support from BLMGN since the launch in 2013.”

"Some local activists contend that little of the money raised [by BLM] at the national level makes its way to their organizations or to the families of Black people killed by police."

(2022). “Black Lives Matter Secretly Bought a $6 Million House.” New York Mag. https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2022/04/black-lives-matter-6-million-dollar-house.html

The goodwill and naivety of many is being exploited to push a toxic agenda. An agenda that, if taken to its logical conclusion, would produce a new form of racial prejudice. As we’ve seen, groups of white people at protests are kneeling, apologising and begging for forgiveness for actions they did not commit, in a depressing display of self-flagellation and white guilt. It’s embarrassing. And it does absolutely nothing to move society forward. No ideas or policies are being offered – there is just virtue-signalling, power games and a pathetic spectacle that will only breed resentment and lead to a further descent into social disorientation.”

“In elevating a race-centric interpretation of American life and history, Black Lives Matter has actually had the effect of making it more difficult to think critically and honestly about black life as it exists, in all of its complexity and contradictions.”

https://www.city-journal.org/black-lives-matter

“It's not that people care more about statues than they do lives, it's that the vandalism is creating a counterproductive distraction from real efforts at political action.”

“The lies are coming out one by one, and by the looks of it, it’s only a matter of time before someone goes to federal prison for misappropriation of funds.”

“One is therefore driven to ask whether the BLM movement really is concerned about the value of black lives or the suffering of black people or whether it is, instead, a way of harnessing racial identity to achieve power and influence.”

Macdonald-Laurier Institute. https://macdonaldlaurier.ca/files/pdf/20210224_Black_Lives_Matter_Orlu_COMMENTARY_FWEb.pdf

“The increase in murders from roughly 14,000 in 2014 to 17,294 in 2017, following the first wave of Black Lives Matter-associated riots and the resulting police pullback, gained international attention as the ‘Ferguson Effect.’

[...]

While I mourn for dead fellow citizens of any color, a sad and absurd reality of both post-Ferguson and summer 2020 violence is that a great many of those killed unnecessarily were black Americans. In Chicago, 81.8 percent of those murdered in 2020 were African Americans, while 3.9 percent of victims were white. The simplest possible sort of number-crunching shows us that, assuming consistent rates of homicide by race, the Windy City’s vertical move from 481 to 748 deaths by violence cost 218 black lives inside one year. Assuming that murders nationwide increased only by 35 percent from 2019’s total of 16,425 and that only 50 percent of these new victims were black, the equivalent toll country-wide would be 2,874 dead black folks, including horrifying victims such as hero cop David Dorn and little eight-year-old Secoriea Turner.”

Who are we without the malice of racism? Can we be black without being victims? The great diminishment (not eradication) of racism since the ’60s means that our victim-focused identity has become an anachronism. Well suited for the past, it strains for relevance in the present.

      Thus, for many blacks today—especially the young—there is a feeling of inauthenticity, that one is only thinly black because one isn’t racially persecuted. ’Systemic racism’ is a term that tries to recover authenticity for a less and less convincing black identity. This racism is really more compensatory than systemic. It was invented to make up for the increasing absence of the real thing. [...] In the end, only one achievement will turn us from the old victim-focused racial order toward a new, nonracial order: the full and unqualified acceptance of our freedom. We don’t have to fight for freedom so much any more. We have to do something more difficult—fully accept that we are free.”

www.csdd.northwestern.edu/research/black-lives-mattersurvey.html 

“What we are seeing now with Jew-hatred in BLM is merely, “laying the foundation,” according to M4BL and BLM founder. If that is all this is, one shudders to think of what a more fully formed BLM structure will look like for the Jewish people. This will only get worse, and why wouldn’t it? Some prominent activists have successfully linked being against the Jewish people to being a civil rights proponent. They have made Jew-hatred more legitimate, even essential, in bending the arc toward justice. The ones at the forefront of this movement are using a great deal of propaganda and disinformation in exploiting the black community as a prop for antisemitism.”

Black Nationalism

Cancel Culture (see also Free speech)

“The worst thing about cancel culture isn’t the hypocrisy or the mob mentality or the gleeful cruelty. It’s the way it pushes people further into their ideological bubbles. It’s the way it negates our capacity to learn from our mistakes. It’s the way it allows spiteful, insecure, sociopaths to convince themselves that they’re ‘the good guys’. Cancel culture isn’t about kindness or understanding or even political correctness. It’s about making ordinary people too scared to say what they think. It’s about training corporations to fire their employees on-demand. It’s about making the consequences of ‘thoughtcrime’ as humiliating and disproportionate and public as possible so that anyone who dares step out of line will ‘learn what happens’.”

 

Civil Rights/Civil Rights Era

"Interpreted as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a GLORIOUS LIBERTY DOCUMENT."

“Civil liberties are regarded by many as a chief obstacle to civil rights. To be sure, blacks are still on the front lines of First Amendment jurisprudence—but this time we soldier on the other side. The byword among many black activists and black intellectuals is no longer the political imperative to protect free speech; it is the moral imperative to suppress ‘hate speech.’”

“I write this letter to you with great dismay, and great concern for the perversion of history that is being perpetrated by the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC). If this model curriculum is approved, it will inflict great harm on millions of students in our state. [...] It is a fact that the Black Freedom Movement of the 1950s and 1960s under Dr. King's leadership transformed our country, overthrowing a century of Jim Crow segregation and white supremacist terror throughout the former Confederate States. This fact, which I had thought was well known to all educated persons, has been removed from the ESMC. This is morally unacceptable and renders the entire curriculum suspect. Moreover, it appears that this omission was deliberate."

“[T]he major factor this contemporary movement of 2020, has in common with Dr. King in the 1960's, is the fight for an Anti-Racist America. But, the major difference here is, how these two eras define ‘anti-racism.’ And how each organized to achieve this goal from their POV.”

“If our nation had done nothing more in its whole history than to create just two documents, its contribution to civilization would be imperishable. The first of these documents is the Declaration of Independence and the other is that which we are here to honor tonight, the Emancipation Proclamation. All tyrants, past, present and future, are powerless to bury the truths in these declarations, no matter how extensive their legions, how vast their power and how malignant their evil. The Declaration of Independence proclaimed to a world, organized politically and spiritually around the concept of the inequality of man, that the dignity of human personality was inherent in man as a living being. The Emancipation Proclamation was the offspring of the Declaration of Independence. It was a constructive use of the force of law to uproot a social order which sought to separate liberty from a segment of humanity.”

—Essays urging an end to segregation and discrimination by Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown, Mary McLeod Bethune, A. Philip Randolph, W. E. B. Du Bois, Roy Wilkins, and others.

Class: see also Wealth gap

“How do racial attitudes shape policy preferences in the era of Black Lives Matter and increasingly liberal views on racial issues? A large body of research finds that highlighting the benefits of progressive policies for racial minorities undermines support for those policies. However, Democratic elites have started centering race in their messaging on progressive public policies. To explore this puzzle, in this paper we offer an empirical test that examines the effect of describing an ostensibly race-neutral progressive policy with racial framing, as used by Democratic elites, on support for that policy. To benchmark these effects, we compare a race policy frame with class, class plus race, and neutral policy frames. We demonstrate that despite leftward shifts in public attitudes towards issues of racial equality, racial framing decreases support for race-neutral progressive policies. Generally, the class frame most successfully increases support for progressive policies across racial and political subgroups.”

“I’m concerned that the growing popularity of [a race-reductionist] framing will make it that much easier for politicians to exploit the left’s good faith concern about identity-based disparities in order to disperse enthusiasm for policies that seek to transform the economic status quo.”

“This essay is written against the prevailing Black Power nostalgia that informs contemporary struggles against police violence. I argue that the discourse of black ethnic politics that is popular among anti-racist activists is an outgrowth of the class fragmentation and anti-communism of the Cold War period, when black and white came to signify the new urban spatial-class divides. Instead of a left politics predicated on anti-racism and racial affinity, this essay urges a popular, anti-capitalist politics, rooted in situated class experiences, as the only viable means for ending the policing crisis and guaranteeing genuine public safety.”

“Once it was effectively decoupled from political-economic dynamics, “racism” became increasingly amorphous as a charge or diagnosis—a blur of attitudes, utterances, individual actions, and patterned disparities, an autonomous force that acts outside of historically specific social relations. Today it serves as a single, all-purpose explanation for mass incarceration, the wealth gap, the wage gap, police brutality, racially disproportionate rates of poverty and unemployment, slavery, the Southern Jim Crow regime, health disparities, the drug war, random outbursts of individual bigotry, voter suppression, and more. The obvious racial disparities are cause for concern, but the way forward is precisely through the kinds of social and economic policies that address black people as workers, students, parents, taxpayers, citizens, people in need of decent jobs, housing, and health care, or concerned with foreign policy—not to homogenize them under a monolithic racial classification.”

[N]ot only will a focus on the effort to eliminate racial disparities not take us in the direction of a more equal society, it isn’t even the best way of eliminating racial disparities themselves. If the objective is to eliminate black poverty rather than simply to benefit the upper classes, we believe the diagnosis of racism is wrong, and the cure of antiracism won’t work. Racism is real and antiracism is both admirable and necessary, but extant racism isn’t what principally produces our inequality and antiracism won’t eliminate it. And because racism is not the principal source of inequality today, antiracism functions more as a misdirection that justifies inequality than a strategy for eliminating it.”

“Touré F. Reed’s Toward Freedom: The Case Against Race Reductionism presents a forceful critique of race reductionism and makes a persuasive case for the return to a redistributive, public goods approach to governance. Reed brilliantly shows how black political actors have used race reductionism to defeat social democratic policies that would disproportionately help working-class blacks and reveals race reductionism to be a class politics that reinforces black precarity.”

Coates, Ta-Nehisi

        

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/06/07/ta-nehisi-coates-afro-pessimist-temptation/

“The 1960s and 1970s showed that mass movements could bring about systemic change. Angela Davis said so. Unprecedented prosperity made the Great Society possible. But only black people could redefine black people, Stokeley Carmichael and Charles V. Hamilton said in Black Power (1967). West has remembered entering Harvard in 1970 and feeling more than prepared by his church and family. The future of the world as he could imagine it then and how it evidently strikes Coates these days is a profound generational difference. ‘The warlords of history are still kicking our heads in, and no one, not our fathers, not our Gods, is coming to save us’.”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/17/ta-nehisi-coates-neoliberal-black-struggle-cornel-west

“The essential premise of Between the World and Me is that blacks in America live entirely conditional lives. [...] The capacity of humans to amount to more than the sum of a set of circumstances is ignored.”

“The most shocking aspect of Mr. Coates’s wording [...] is the extent to which it mirrors ideas of race—specifically the specialness of whiteness—that white supremacist thinkers cherish.”

(2018). “Kanye and Ta-Nehisi.” American Scholar. https://theamericanscholar.org/kanye-and-ta-nehisi/

Colonialism / Decolonialism

That is the quintessential post-colonial complex: living dominated by anxieties over how white people see us. Instead we should liberate ourselves from the shackles of these historical complexes that yes, were thrust upon us, but that only we can shake off ourselves; those complexes that limit what we feel we can say about ourselves once white people are listening. Discussing colonialism frankly is a sign of strength, not weakness.”

“Colonialism brought massive disruptions to the ways of life of millions of people in colonised territories, rubbishing their cultures, belief-systems, values and traditions — all the things Queen Elizabeth is praised for upholding here in Britain. Postcolonial Africans are yet to recover (and may well never recover) from this assault on their identities and are still trying to figure out what exactly they are or want to be. People were also killed, something that cannot be glossed over. Colonialism wrought serious damage. But it is not to blame for everything.”

“The truth of the matter is that empires come into power for complex reasons. They’re able to persist for complex reasons. And their legacies are complex too. Not everything that an empire does is evil and bad or wrong and needs to be torn down or whatever — you have to get into the nuances of these legacies.”

“One is therefore driven to ask whether the BLM movement really is concerned about the value of black lives or the suffering of black people or whether it is, instead, a way of harnessing racial identity to achieve power and influence.”

(2021). “Anti-colonial Diktat.” https://www.wanjirunjoya.com/home/anti-colonial-diktat

“Black people who have come up out of colonialism do not need to be protected from the idea that maybe some good stuff emerged from the colonial experience. We know that so many good things came out of colonialism. We were there. That's how we know. We experienced both the trauma and the liberation of colonialism ourselves, and nobody from their blinkered and mollycoddled ivory tower can tell us that what we experienced in the trenches is not true. I know what is true, because I was there and the anti-colonial artists who want to 'decolonise' everything were not. They know nothing about the matter. All they know, is how woke they are, and how important it is to destroy anyone who does not admire the woke way of life.”

On the perils of “treating poetry as a sub-set of sociology—we should read non-white poets because they offer us insights into social & political issues. If English is simply another variant of sociology or politics, why should the study of it be distinguished from these subjects?

What is really being demanded, instead of a more cosmopolitan ethos, is intellectual provincialism couched in the language of moral puritanism. They want black teaching staff teaching black texts and doing so in a way that pays particular attention to the existence of racism in these texts.”

“The Queen’s decades of service within the Commonwealth display a more nuanced picture of the relationship between the British empire and the postcolonial world. This is a story that is about more than conflict. To have the Commonwealth — that legacy of the Empire — embraced by leaders who also embraced Frantz Fanon and Karl Marx illustrates the complexities of the post-colonial relationship to Britain. These leaders detested white supremacy and brutal economic exploitation. But they also loved the Queen. Through the dignity of her character, she transcended hateful divisions.”

Coronavirus / COVID-19

Crime & Incarceration

CRT / Critical Race Theory (see also Anti-racism, White fragility, and Wokeness)

“CRT’s greatest utility, like certain other aspects of postmodern philosophy, is its ability to deconstruct and identify ‘problems’ and ‘social inequities.’ Also, like other postmodern philosophies, it is not good at re-constructing after it deconstructs. In other words, the fixes offered to society’s problems are almost always superficial and fundamentally undermine the very project of CRT.”

“Civil liberties are regarded by many as a chief obstacle to civil rights. To be sure, blacks are still on the front lines of First Amendment jurisprudence—but this time we soldier on the other side. The byword among many black activists and black intellectuals is no longer the political imperative to protect free speech; it is the moral imperative to suppress ‘hate speech.’”

        “Why would you entrust authority with enlarged powers of regulating the speech

of unpopular minorities unless you were confident that unpopular minorities would be racists, not blacks?”

This paper established one of the central tenets of CRT, i.e., whiteness as property: “Professor Harris examines how whiteness, initially constructed as a form of racial identity, evolved into a form of property, historically and presently acknowledged and protected in American law.” https://harvardlawreview.org/1993/06/whiteness-as-property/

 

“I write this letter to you with great dismay, and great concern for the perversion of history that is being perpetrated by the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC). If this model curriculum is approved, it will inflict great harm on millions of students in our state. [...] It is a fact that the Black Freedom Movement of the 1950s and 1960s under Dr. King's leadership transformed our country, overthrowing a century of Jim Crow segregation and white supremacist terror throughout the former Confederate States. This fact, which I had thought was well known to all educated persons, has been removed from the ESMC. This is morally unacceptable and renders the entire curriculum suspect. Moreover, it appears that this omission was deliberate."

https://harvardlawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Kennedy-Racial-Critiques-of-Legal-Academia.pdf

“[T]he writings of Bell, Delgado, and Matsuda reveal significant deficiencies - the most general of which is a tendency to evade or suppress complications that render their conclusions problematic. Stated bluntly, they fail to support persuasively their claims of racial exclusion or their claims that legal academic scholars of color produce a racially distinctive brand of valuable scholarship. My criticism of the Bell/Delgado/Matsuda line of racial critiques extends farther, however, than their descriptions of the current state of legal academia. I also take issue with their politics of argumentation and with some of the normative premises underlying their writings.”

(2019). “Derrick Bell and Me.” Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 19-13

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3350497

“Just like every passionate atheist is in some sense an inverted believer, people like Bell who are so antagonistic to American idealism belie their underlying attachment to it. This is true of critical race theory in general."

See Erec Smith discuss the topics of the book here: https://youtu.be/fez0cN_FhoM

“We honor God when we acknowledge all members of the human race have equal worth. We dishonor Him when we ascribe certain sins to people based on skin color.”

Racist slave traders considered black people property. Antiracism advocates today consider us pawns. Their respective conceptions have different starting points but they both reach the same conclusion — absent benevolent interventions, the American Negro is without agency, direction or purpose, a vessel of melanated chaos driven by historical trauma and extant oppression. Both groups see black people as incapable of moral reasoning and bearing no responsibility for our own actions. The former argues the issue is blood and genes; the latter, environment and access to resources. The racist was driven by contempt; the antiracist by condescension. [...] When searching for a guide for opposing race-hatred, choose a worldview that sees all people as individuals created in God’s image with the capacity for good and evil, and reject the one that asserts some people are exempt from moral responsibility because of historical trauma. Always choose that which speaks to the eternal and universal over that which appeals to the ephemeral and specific. Always choose the side that sees humanity before skin color.”

“[CRT] stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of the complexities of our social and political realities, reducing them to a single factor: racism. But when it comes to how race and power intersect, black history is far, far richer than critical race theorists allow.”

Cultural Appropriation

“For critics of ‘cultural appropriation’, no one can defy the generally accepted orthodoxy laid down by cultural segregationists. It appears no one can appreciate, or appropriate objects, words, or ideas from another culture, without the segregationists’ permission.”

Decolonialism (see Colonialism)

DEI / Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (see also Anti-racism; CRT; White fragility)

“The average impact of corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training is zero and some evidence suggests that the impact can become negative if the training is mandated. [...] Our intuition for how to decrease race and gender disparities in the workplace has failed us for decades. It’s time to stop guessing and start using the scientific method. Here is a three-step approach that can turn earnest intentions into good science.”

DEI “perversely rehabilitates racial thinking—arguing that seeing race & judging by race is not unjust but a virtue so long as it is done by the right sort of person. [However] stereotyping should be rejected no matter who it comes from.”

“DiAngelo holds that all whites are complicit in racism by virtue of their skin color. To argue otherwise is racist; to object to the label proves that the label fits. This racial double bind negates King’s belief in the capacity for human goodness. In “The Current Crisis in Race Relations,” King wrote that “the important thing about a man is not the color of his skin or the texture of his hair but the texture and quality of his soul.” For DiAngelo, no distinction exists between skin and soul. She and other purveyors of such thinking embrace a reductive and repellent vision of racial guilt.”

DiAngelo, Robin (see White fragility, Anti-racism)

Discrimination (see also Racism)

Disparity (see also Equality and Equity)

“[Between 2001 and 2017] the incarceration rate for black men aged 25–29, 20–24, and 18–19 declined, respectively, by 56 percent, 60 percent, and 72 percent. For young black women, the story is similar: a 59 percent drop for those aged 25–29, a 43 percent drop for those aged 20–24, and a 69 percent drop for those aged 18–19. [...] 2018 census data showed that 37 percent of black Americans aged 25–34 had some kind of college degree. If black America were its own country, that would place it in between Germany (31 percent) and Spain (43 percent) in terms of educational attainment. What’s more...black women, though less likely to attend college than white women, are now more likely to attend college than white men from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. [...] [W]hen we compare black outcomes to white outcomes and blame all of the gaps on institutional racism, we treat American society as if it were a simple 8th-grade science experiment: white people are treated as the “control group”; black people are treated as the “experimental group”; and the “independent variable,” applied only to blacks, is institutional racism. [...] What do we gain by acknowledging progress? For one thing, ignorance of how much progress blacks have made in recent years leads many to mistakenly believe American institutions are so racist that nothing short of complete overhaul would suffice to repair them. The fact that those very same institutions have allowed for, if not ushered in, huge amounts of progress for black people in recent years suggests a more sober-minded approach. We should not burn the system down. We should reform it one increment at a time..

“I would say to fellow African-Americans: No one is coming to save us! The situation in which we find ourselves is unfair, but this is not a question of justice. Nobody is coming, and, more fundamentally, no one can come into the most intimate relations between our women and men, into the families and neighborhoods where our children are being raised, so as to reorder those cultural institutions in a manner that would be more developmentally constructive.            

               These matters are ultimately and necessarily in the hands of African-Americans alone. They require facing up to such questions as: Who are we as a people? How should we live with one another? What will we do to honor the sacrifices that our ancestors made to leave us the opportunities we now enjoy? What do we owe our children?”

        [...]

“While we cannot ignore the behavioral problems of the so-called black underclass, we should discuss and react to those problems as if we were talking about our own children, neighbors, and friends. It will require adjusting ways of thinking on both sides of the racial divide. Achieving a well-ordered society, where all members are embraced as being among us, should be the goal. Our failure to do so is an American tragedy. It is a national, not merely a communal, disgrace. Changing the definition of the American ‘we’ is a first step toward rectifying the relational discrimination that afflicts our society, and it is the best path forward in reducing racial inequality.”

[N]ot only will a focus on the effort to eliminate racial disparities not take us in the direction of a more equal society, it isn’t even the best way of eliminating racial disparities themselves. If the objective is to eliminate black poverty rather than simply to benefit the upper classes, we believe the diagnosis of racism is wrong, and the cure of antiracism won’t work. Racism is real and antiracism is both admirable and necessary, but extant racism isn’t what principally produces our inequality and antiracism won’t eliminate it. And because racism is not the principal source of inequality today, antiracism functions more as a misdirection that justifies inequality than a strategy for eliminating it.”

“Put simply we no longer see a Britain where the system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities. The impediments and disparities do exist, they are varied, and ironically very few of them are directly to do with racism. Too often ‘racism’ is the catch-all explanation, and can be simply implicitly accepted rather than explicitly examined. The evidence shows that geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture and religion have more significant impact on life chances than the existence of racism. That said, we take the reality of racism seriously and we do not deny that it is a real force in the UK.”

“If there were a contest for the most stupid idea in politics, my choice would be the assumption that people would be evenly or randomly distributed in incomes, institutions, occupations, or awards, in the absence of somebody doing somebody wrong.”

“It is impossible to simultaneously lower standards and raise performance, whether on the playing field or in the classroom. The people who believe merit is racist will leave this generation ill-equipped to interpret and deal with the complexities of life.”

Diversity/Diversity Training: (see DEI; see also Anti-racism; White fragility)

Economics

“I would say to fellow African-Americans: No one is coming to save us! The situation in which we find ourselves is unfair, but this is not a question of justice. Nobody is coming, and, more fundamentally, no one can come into the most intimate relations between our women and men, into the families and neighborhoods where our children are being raised, so as to reorder those cultural institutions in a manner that would be more developmentally constructive.            

               These matters are ultimately and necessarily in the hands of African-Americans alone. They require facing up to such questions as: Who are we as a people? How should we live with one another? What will we do to honor the sacrifices that our ancestors made to leave us the opportunities we now enjoy? What do we owe our children?”

        [...]

“While we cannot ignore the behavioral problems of the so-called black underclass, we should discuss and react to those problems as if we were talking about our own children, neighbors, and friends. It will require adjusting ways of thinking on both sides of the racial divide. Achieving a well-ordered society, where all members are embraced as being among us, should be the goal. Our failure to do so is an American tragedy. It is a national, not merely a communal, disgrace. Changing the definition of the American ‘we’ is a first step toward rectifying the relational discrimination that afflicts our society, and it is the best path forward in reducing racial inequality.”

Education & Schools

http://urbancharters.stanford.edu/summary.php:

“Our findings show urban charter schools in the aggregate provide significantly higher levels of annual growth in both math and reading compared to their TPS [Traditional Public School] peers. Specifically, students enrolled in urban charter schools experience 0.055 standard deviations (s.d.’s) greater growth in math and 0.039 s.d.’s greater growth in reading per year than their matched peers in TPS. These results translate to urban charter students receiving the equivalent of roughly 40 days of additional learning per year in math and 28 additional days of learning per year in reading.”

“We examine charter schools across the quality spectrum in order to learn which practices separate high-achieving from low-achieving schools. An expansive data collection and analysis project in New York City charter schools yielded an index of five educational practices that explains nearly half of the difference between high- and low-performing schools. We then draw on preliminary evidence from demonstration projects in Houston and Denver and find the effects on student achievement to be strikingly similar to those of many high-performing charter schools and networks. The magnitude of the problems in our education system is enormous, but this preliminary evidence points to a path forward to save the 3 million students in our nation’s worst-performing schools, for a price of about $6 billion, or less than $2,000 per student.”

https://scholar.harvard.edu/fryer/publications/injecting-charter-school-best-practices-traditional-public%C2%A0schools%C2%A0evidence-field

“This study examines the impact on student achievement of implementing a bundle of best practices from high-performing charter schools into low-performing, traditional public schools in Houston, Texas using a school-level randomized field experiment and quasi-experimental comparisons. The five practices in the bundle are increased instructional time, more-effective teachers and administrators, high-dosage tutoring, data-driven instruction, and a culture of high expectations. The findings show that injecting best practices from charter schools into traditional Houston public schools significantly increases student math achievement in treated elementary and secondary schools – by 0.15 to 0.18 standard deviations per year – and has little effect on reading achievement. Similar bundles of practices are found to significantly raise math achievement in analyses for public schools in a field experiment in Denver and program in Chicago.”

“Contemporary white college students (and increasingly college-educated people writ large) skew liberal and tend to be more ostensibly ‘woke’ on racial issues than most people of color. So when racial issues come up, most whites know what they ‘should’ say, and fully expect that their expressed opinions will be endorsed and celebrated by their white peers and any minorities in the room. For African Americans, the situation is much more difficult. Most black people do not live in poverty or inner cities. Most African Americans do not feel as though they have ever been stopped or detained by police primarily on the basis of their racial background, and do not have experience with police violence. [...] And yet, when topics like racial inequality, poverty, crime or criminal justice come up on campus, people ‘in the room’ often pause and turn to the black students, waiting on them to weigh in on these topics. They have been taught that this is the respectful thing to do. [...] They have been taught that black people, almost purely in virtue of their race, have a deeper understanding of these issues than most others could. So in pausing and turning to the African Americans, white students are engaging in behaviors they view as respectful. However, in reality, incidents like these are often incredibly alienating for black students – whose peers seem to be assuming that they must be from a poor and ‘troubled’ background in virtue of their race, when this is simply not the case for most. And it pressures them to say something about topics they would perhaps not speak on.”

“This article applies the paradigm of Black insurgency and social uplift to the teaching of the Greek and Latin classics at Black colleges and universities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It demonstrates how study of the classics helped construct the tools of Black agency by imparting three important lessons: the knowledge that African Americans were indeed linked to the classical civilizations through northern Africa, which therefore gave them the inherent right to study the classics; the development of leadership training, particularly through study of the classical rhetoricians; and a variety of techniques of resistance, ranging from dissimulation to overt acts of physical resistance.”

“I write this letter to you with great dismay, and great concern for the perversion of history that is being perpetrated by the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC). If this model curriculum is approved, it will inflict great harm on millions of students in our state. [...] It is a fact that the Black Freedom Movement of the 1950s and 1960s under Dr. King's leadership transformed our country, overthrowing a century of Jim Crow segregation and white supremacist terror throughout the former Confederate States. This fact, which I had thought was well known to all educated persons, has been removed from the ESMC. This is morally unacceptable and renders the entire curriculum suspect. Moreover, it appears that this omission was deliberate."

“[B]eing on the side of anti-racism is no inoculation against error. An allegation of systemic racism leveled against a university is a serious charge. If the allegation is substantiated, it ought to occasion protest and rectification commensurate with the wrong. If an allegation is flimsy or baseless, however, it ought to be recognized as such. Engaging in the urgent work of anti-racist activism should entail avoidance of mistaken charges that cause wrongful injury, exacerbate confusion, and sow distrust that ultimately weakens the struggle. [...] The fact is that this moment of laudable protest has been shadowed by a rise in complacency and opportunism. Some charges of racism are simply untenable. Some complainants are careless about fact-finding and analysis. And some propose coercive policies that would disastrously inhibit academic freedom.”

“We must wonder...how confidently university leaders will be able to resist the demands that would destroy the very functioning of their institutions. But awkward and painful as it may be, they must. They must resist destructive demands, even by self-proclaimed representatives of people of color, and even in a society where systemic racism is real. To give in to anti-intellectual, under-considered, disproportionate, or hostile demands is condescending to the signatories and the protesters. It implies that they can do no better, and that authorities must suspend their sense of logic, civility, and progress as some kind of penance for slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, and the deaths of people such as Floyd. That ‘penance’ would hurt only the community in the end, through lower educational quality.”

“I didn’t feel good. It felt as if I were trying to gain pity. I knew what I went through was tough and to overcome those challenges was remarkable, but was that all I had to offer?"

Abstract: “This article studies the impact of changing job skills on career earnings dynamics for college graduates. We measure changes in the skill content of occupations between 2007 and 2019 using detailed job descriptions from a near universe of online job postings. We then develop a simple model where the returns to work experience are a race between on-the-job learning and skill obsolescence. Obsolescence lowers the return to experience, flattening the age-earnings profile in faster-changing careers. We show that the earnings premium for college graduates majoring in technology-intensive subjects such as computer science, engineering, and business declines rapidly, and that these graduates sort out of faster-changing occupations as they gain experience.”

“Colleges and policymakers should be mindful of an important tradeoff; technology-specific skills may make for a smoother entry into the workforce than more general skills, but may also have a shorter shelf life due to rapid technological change. Much of the longer-term value of a bachelor’s degree may therefore come from breadth rather than depth.”

It’s ironic that critics deem classics racially exclusive when black people fought so hard after the Civil War for the right to a classic education. And now black students are once again being told that a formal education is not for them.

“‘The educational success of these charter schools undermines theories of genetic determinism, claims of cultural bias in the tests, assertions that racial ‘integration’ is necessary for blacks to reach educational parity and presumptions that income differences are among the ‘root causes’ of educational differences,’ Mr. Sowell writes. ‘This last claim has been used for decades to absolve traditional public schools of any responsibility for educational failures in low-income minority communities.’”

The narrative that white people ‘hold the power’ conveys a wrongheaded notion of white superiority and creates an illusion of black dependency on white largess. This false assignment of responsibility, while coming from an authentic desire to produce change, can create a new kind of mental enslavement. [...] There are pathways to power for young black people. That’s why our nation’s educators must help black girls and boys cultivate a sense of personal agency and convince them that their deliverance is determined more by their own actions than by the incantations of a newly enlightened majority.”

“Once I encountered the Who’s Your Daddy? truck in the Bronx three years ago, I was forced to confront my own beliefs about the factors that drive the progress we have made (or not) in educational outcomes. Why have some groups of children consistently succeeded while others remain stagnant or grow worse? In answering that question, I have found that convenient categories of race, class, and gender generally do not hold, and that a deeper analysis is always necessary to get to the truth.”

“In an effort to build a better future for American education, Seeking Educational Excellence (SEE) is currently partnering with several grassroots organizations throughout the United States who are committed to the mission of ending the political social justice agenda affecting our schools.”

“It is impossible to simultaneously lower standards and raise performance, whether on the playing field or in the classroom. The people who believe merit is racist will leave this generation ill-equipped to interpret and deal with the complexities of life.”

https://www.citizenstewart.com/writing/2020/11/14/lets-be-honest-about-school-choice

“I understand if you see school choice as a stealth scheme, devised by racist wealthy people to destroy wonderfully performing public schools that produce annual bumper crops of democratic fruit in the form of well-adjusted citizens. Our teachers work so hard, and our schools get so little funding. Fix those two things, and there is no need for choice. Or, so we're told. [...] I write about choice frequently because having been a parent for three decades I know kids have different needs. My little mathematician may need an other school than my baby artist or my special needs student. Sending them through one all-purpose schoolhouse door may not only be suboptimal, but it might also be inhumane knowing what I know about their needs. Does it help to tell families like mine that we should concern ourselves more with the impact our school choices have on the system than how the system impacts our children?”

“Booker T. Washington’s focus on Black schooling was key. His focus on building educational capital where Blacks owned the means of knowledge production is in my mind the most powerful asset we ever lost. While W.E.B. DuBois focused on civil rights for the educated few who would use their education and political power to lead the Black masses out of the darkness of ignorance, Washington focused on raising the Black masses to the level of shareholders in Black-owned schools and businesses. Washington saw the reality, capital speaks with a resolute voice in a capitalist nation. Civil Rights built without capital is like a MasterCard with a low credit limit.”

https://citizen.education/2021/04/16/the-story-that-needs-to-be-told-is-about-the-good-black-father/

“Honest debate about us should start by admitting that the majority of Black dads—about 2.5 million of around 4.2 million—live with their children. And, of fathers who live with their children, Black fathers are the most involved.”

“[T]o handicap a student by teaching him that his Black face is a curse and that his struggle to change his condition is hopeless is the worst sort of lynching.

[...]

History shows that it does not matter who is in power...those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they did in the beginning.”

Equality and Equity (see also Disparity)

“We certainly won’t achieve greater equality if we fall for the narrative that this country [the UK] and its institutions are fundamentally racist.”

Experience, lived (see Lived experience)

Family & Marriage

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2021/06/17/single-moms-great-families-dads-better/7705997002/

“We can no longer be more consumed with the history and society our ancestors endured than with the future and society our descendants will inherit.”

“The path forward for our community must revolve around restoring the nuclear family. Accomplishing that goal is a complex and multi-dimensional effort that requires addressing a range of historical, ideological, and political root causes.”

https://citizen.education/2021/04/16/the-story-that-needs-to-be-told-is-about-the-good-black-father/

“Honest debate about us should start by admitting that the majority of Black dads—about 2.5 million of around 4.2 million—live with their children. And, of fathers who live with their children, Black fathers are the most involved.”

“This is not a story of black victimhood. This is, instead, an essay about a flaw in black culture that is just as uncomfortable for me to speak about as it is for my black brothers and sisters to hear. But a problem must be acknowledged before it can be fixed. And the failure of black fathers is among the worst problems afflicting our community. [...] I have been beaten by whites and called a nigger. I have been refused jobs, and was denied the right to vote in my state after I returned dazed and traumatized from the blood-spattered jungles of Vietnam. However, America has changed enormously since my youth and some of us do not seem to want to leave the dark caves of slavery and Jim Crow behind. Yes, racism persists, but it is no longer the principal cause of our damnation; that spot has been seized by cultural deviance. Progress cannot be made until we admit this and free ourselves from self-victimization.”

Feminism (see Women / Feminism)

Foreign Aid & International Development

Free Speech (see also Cancel culture)

“The ‘woke’ mobs seem strong, but they do not speak for everyone. If university administrators only ever feel their pressure and hear their demands, they may succumb to an illusion of unanimity. One-sided pressure, sporting a guise of ‘holding people accountable’ for offensive views, can have a deleterious effect on academic life if left unchallenged. In a groundbreaking survey conducted this year, 60 percent of college students admitted to self-censoring their views for fear of how others would respond, while only one in four said they were ‘very comfortable’ discussing a controversial political topic with their peers. Universities where students and professors feel uncomfortable asking challenging questions dismally fail their communities."

“What endears me most to Fryer is that he seems to easily meld the urban swagger familiar in many black men with a staggering intellectual excellence, without regard for the opinions of his peers—qualities that Montz and Loury believe hold the key to understanding Harvard’s clearly unfair treatment of the superstar economist.”

“Civil liberties are regarded by many as a chief obstacle to civil rights. To be sure, blacks are still on the front lines of First Amendment jurisprudence—but this time we soldier on the other side. The byword among many black activists and black intellectuals is no longer the political imperative to protect free speech; it is the moral imperative to suppress ‘hate speech.’”

“Why would you entrust authority with enlarged powers of regulating the speech of unpopular minorities unless you were confident that unpopular minorities would be racists, not blacks?”

“People have misinterpreted the dynamics surrounding free speech. People in Western nations have more free speech than any group of people in modern history. There are fewer speech taboos than ever before. Moreover, the cause of these taboos are not to be found in leftist academics, but instead in broad cultural shifts in societal expectations. Unfortunately, the sanctions for violating these taboos may be the most severe since the McCarthy era.”

“Given the hostility to open expression on campuses today, American colleges and universities could benefit from learning why Douglass saw free speech as “the great moral renovator of society and government.” Douglass’s concern for the right to speak was no abstract consideration. He and other abolitionists routinely faced ruffians, even in New England, who tried to shut down their rallies. Below the Mason-Dixon line, slave states employed despotic measures to silence opposition. “Slavery cannot tolerate free speech,” he declared in 1860. “They will have none of it there, for they have the power.” They censored the mail of abolition publications, mobbed speakers who argued for emancipation, and prohibited slaves from learning to read. Douglass would be shocked to find that American colleges, which should be promoting knowledge through robust protection for diversity of thought, instead allowing the harassment and de-platforming of invited speakers. He pointed out that slave societies required “violations of free speech,” but was confident that “truth must triumph under a system of free discussion.” Douglass affirmed Thomas Jefferson’s confidence “that error might be left free, so long as truth was free to combat it.” What better place to provide a diversity of opinions regarding the most important matters of human existence, both material and spiritual, than a college campus?”

Fryer, Roland

“We examine charter schools across the quality spectrum in order to learn which practices separate high-achieving from low-achieving schools. An expansive data collection and analysis project in New York City charter schools yielded an index of five educational practices that explains nearly half of the difference between high- and low-performing schools. We then draw on preliminary evidence from demonstration projects in Houston and Denver and find the effects on student achievement to be strikingly similar to those of many high-performing charter schools and networks. The magnitude of the problems in our education system is enormous, but this preliminary evidence points to a path forward to save the 3 million students in our nation’s worst-performing schools, for a price of about $6 billion, or less than $2,000 per student.”

https://scholar.harvard.edu/fryer/publications/injecting-charter-school-best-practices-traditional-public%C2%A0schools%C2%A0evidence-field

“This study examines the impact on student achievement of implementing a bundle of best practices from high-performing charter schools into low-performing, traditional public schools in Houston, Texas using a school-level randomized field experiment and quasi-experimental comparisons. The five practices in the bundle are increased instructional time, more-effective teachers and administrators, high-dosage tutoring, data-driven instruction, and a culture of high expectations. The findings show that injecting best practices from charter schools into traditional Houston public schools significantly increases student math achievement in treated elementary and secondary schools – by 0.15 to 0.18 standard deviations per year – and has little effect on reading achievement. Similar bundles of practices are found to significantly raise math achievement in analyses for public schools in a field experiment in Denver and program in Chicago.”

https://issues.org/21st-century-inequality-the-declining-significance-of-discrimination/

DOI: 10.1257/pandp.20181004

Gentrification

Guns/2nd Amendment

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/24/opinion/why-i-bring-my-gun-to-school.html

 

Hate crime

Humor

Immigration

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/31/untangling-the-immigration-debate

Integration

Intersectionality

Absent the narrative of one oppressor class, it's difficult to imagine what might unify, say, Muslims & OnlyFans feminists, lesbians & trans women, or illegal immigrants & Black union workers."

Juneteenth

https://www.texasmonthly.com/arts-entertainment/annette-gordon-reed-on-juneteenth-review/

“The modern-day naysayers understood that devious forces—Texas slave owners, dodging President Lincoln’s order—had delayed the news of freedom. They just wondered why anyone would celebrate the fact that Black Texans were the last to know. The answer, as the historian Annette Gordon-Reed explains in her new book On Juneteenth (Liveright/W. W. Norton & Company), is that Juneteenth was never about commemorating a delayed proclamation but about celebrating a people’s enduring spirit, before and after General Granger’s decree.”

"Juneteenth asks Americans to recognize that our nation’s principles are neither grossly hypocritical nor naively aspirational. We have inherited lofty yet practical ideals, and it falls to us to implement them as best we can. [...] We can’t let Juneteenth become just another holiday or, worse, a holiday for only one segment of the country. We should see it for what it really is: the other half of the Fourth of July. These two holidays, which fall a mere two weeks apart, represent the best of America. One celebrates the Declaration of Independence, which contains what the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass called ‘saving principles.’ The other celebrates America’s journey to live by those principles."

Kendi, Ibram X. (see Anti-racism)

Labor

“Talk of restyling conservative parties as “pro-worker parties” may be in earnest, but it’s almost comically out of touch with reality. As a project, it is barely past the planning stage, and internal contradictions are rife; too often and too easily, the supposedly pro-worker right falls back into the settled grooves of Thatcherite orthodoxy. As for the left, it has become increasingly hard to find people who even bother to pretend to care about these workers. Which means that the farmers, truckers, pilots, and so on will have to go it alone for quite a while.”

Lived experience

“Experience, alas, is never unmediated and self-interpreting. Ideology, though it can be shaped by experience, also shapes our experiences. The twins Shelby Steele and Claude Steele – a former professor of English and a professor of psychology – draw on their lived experience to produce opposite pictures of the black American condition. Claude has emphasised the detrimental effects of racial stereotypes; Shelby sees the real threat in efforts, such as affirmative action, to remedy racial disparities. Justice Clarence Thomas, a black conservative, draws from his lived experience to confirm a bootstrapping position (If I can make it, so can you), just as the late Congressman John Lewis, hero of the civil rights left, could do so to confirm the need for social intervention (I almost didn’t make it). There’s no guarantee what message people will take from their experience: no guarantee that we’ll all be singing the Song of Myself in the same key.”

“The spectrum of thought amongst African Americans is and has always been much broader and multifarious than commonly perceived. Neglect of that fact has led to an homogenization that has tended to submerge African American individuality. [...]

“Fervent debates about scores of subjects – indeed every imaginable subject — have roiled African Americans ideologically: accommodation versus protest; interracial socialism versus black nationalism; Gandhian non-violence versus ‘by any means necessary,’ support for affirmative action versus detestation of ‘lowered standards,’  ‘integration’ versus ‘black power,’ ‘respectability politics’ versus ‘I don’t give a fuck’ authenticity politics. Black thinkers have even disagreed over the years about the preferred term by which they designate ‘Blacks,’ ‘blacks,’ ‘African Americans,’ ‘Negroes,’ ‘colored people,’ and ‘people of color.’ [...]

“There are several implications to be drawn from recognizing the frequently underestimated breadth, complexity, and variety of beliefs and perspectives found amongst African Americans.  One is the dubious utility of resorting to ‘experience’ as an explanation for a given way of thinking. [...]

“A wide variety of thought is discernible amongst people who have undergone a similar experience because experience does not dictate thought. It is undoubtedly influential which is why one can detect notable demographic patterns from which one can chart probabilities. [...] Experience affects thinking in all sorts of subtle, complex, mysterious, and surprising ways. But it does not determine thought. Hence, we ought to be skeptical about claims regarding ‘the authority of experience’ and efforts to make a credential of experience. [...]

“An experience is, at most, a fragile and uncertain opportunity. What matters is what one does with whatever experience one happens to have. [...] When discussing an African American thinker — when discussing any thinker — make sure to recognize appropriately the individuality of that person’s intellectual offering. Mere experience has never produced a book or poem or essay or story. Accomplishment in whatever form it takes is always the upshot of some individual’s peculiar effort.”

“The call to “listen to the most affected” or “centre the most marginalized” is ubiquitous in many academic and activist circles. But it’s never sat well with me. In my experience, when people say they need to “listen to the most affected”, it isn’t because they intend to set up Skype calls to refugee camps or to collaborate with houseless people. Instead, it has more often meant handing conversational authority and attentional goods to those who most snugly fit into the social categories associated with these ills – regardless of what they actually do or do not know, or what they have or have not personally experienced. In the case of my conversation with Helen, my racial category tied me more “authentically” to an experience that neither of us had had. She was called to defer to me by the rules of the game as we understood it. Even where stakes are high – where potential researchers are discussing how to understand a social phenomenon, where activists are deciding what to target – these rules often prevail. [...]

The social dynamics we experience have an outsize role in developing and refining our political subjectivity, and our sense of ourselves. But this very strength of standpoint epistemology – its recognition of the importance of perspective – becomes its weakness when combined with deferential practical norms. Emphasis on the ways we are marginalized often matches the world as we have experienced it. But, from a structural perspective, the rooms we never needed to enter (and the explanations of why we can avoid these rooms) might have more to teach us about the world and our place in it. If so, the deferential approach to standpoint epistemology actually prevents “centring” or even hearing from the most marginalized; it focuses us on the interaction of the rooms we occupy, rather than calling us to account for the interactions we don’t experience. This fact about who is in the room, combined with the fact that speaking for others generates its own set of important problems (particularly when they are not there to advocate for themselves), eliminates pressures that might otherwise trouble the centrality of our own suffering – and of the suffering of the marginalized people that do happen to make it into rooms with us.

The dangers with this feature of deference politics are grave, as are the risks for those outside of the most powerful rooms. For those who are deferred to, it can supercharge group-undermining norms. In Conflict is Not Abuse, Sarah Schulman makes a provocative observation about the psychological effects of both trauma and felt superiority: while these often come about for different reasons and have very different moral statuses, they result in similar behavioural patterns. Chief among these are misrepresenting the stakes of conflict (often by overstating harm) or representing others’ independence as a hostile threat (such as failures to “centre” the right topics or people). These behaviours, whatever their causal history, have corrosive effects on individuals who perform them as well as the groups around them, especially when a community’s norms magnify or multiply these behaviours rather than constraining or metabolizing them.

For those who defer, the habit can supercharge moral cowardice. The norms provide social cover for the abdication of responsibility: it displaces onto individual heroes, a hero class, or a mythicized past the work that is ours to do now in the present. Their perspective may be clearer on this or that specific matter, but their overall point of view isn’t any less particular or constrained by history than ours. More importantly, deference places the accountability that is all of ours to bear onto select people – and, more often than not, a hyper-sanitized and thoroughly fictional caricature of them.

The same tactics of deference that insulate us from criticism also insulate us from connection and transformation. They prevent us from engaging empathetically and authentically with the struggles of other people – prerequisites of coalitional politics. As identities become more and more fine-grained and disagreements sharper, we come to realize that ‘coalitional politics’ (understood as struggle across difference) is, simply, politics. Thus, the deferential orientation, like that fragmentation of political collectivity it enables, is ultimately anti-political.”

Marriage (see Family & Marriage)

Murray, Albert

https://www.salon.com/2016/10/26/black-white-and-blues-henry-louis-gates-jr-breaks-down-albert-murrays-legacy-on-race-and-culture-in-america/

“Fifty years after his landmark book of essays on race, culture, and the ‘social science paradigm,’ the late, great critic and career Air Force officer Albert Murray speaks loudly to today’s divided United States.”

“The United States is in actuality not a nation of black people and white people. It is a nation of multi-coloured people. There are white Americans so to speak and black Americans. But any fool can see that the white people are not really white and that black Americans are not black. They are all interrelated in one way or another. Indeed, for all their traditional antagonisms and obvious differences the so-called black and so-called white people of the United States resemble nobody else in the world so much as they resemble each other.”

“By pointing up the central place of blacks in American society, Murray’s writing has served as something of an invitation to a black American homecoming, illustrating for blacks the reasons for embracing America; reasons that go beyond the simple lack of an alternative. Simply put, blacks can call America home because they have helped shape this country through labor and through influence both cultural and genetic; in the process, blacks have created their own heroic tradition, one that has called for skill, improvisation, and grit, qualities symbolized, again, by jazz and the blues.”

N-Word

"I insist upon advancing the message that, in circumstances in which 'nigger' is aired for pedagogical purposes, there is no good reason to feel hurt. It does no favor to students to spare their feelings if doing so comes at the expense of valuable education."

“Lurking behind the angst about the N-word is the belief that White people hold some immutable power over Black people. That a word from their lips harms us in a way that carries unique weight.”

Patriotism

American culture often takes its cue from movements in African American culture. African Americans who believed in America’s founding ideals and called on the nation to live up to them made patriotism more real for everyone. But if we keep the critique of our nation and lose the sense of universal ownership and belonging that our patriotic symbols are meant to instill, there is nothing left to stand for. And that is the beginning of the fall.”

Police

“The comprehensive platform of research-based policy solutions to end police brutality in America.”

“[R]esearchers concluded that as the ratio of black officers in police departments rose — up to a certain threshold — so did the number of fatal encounters between officers and black residents. [...] The tipping point appears to be 25 percent. When black officers reach that ratio in the force, the rate of fatal police-involved incidents levels off. The study also found that once a police department became about 40 percent black, the trendline flipped — the more black officers a department has after that point, the less likely the incidence of fatal encounters with black people. But the study suggests that what departments really need isn't just to simply add more black officers, but to reach a critical mass of black officers. In fact, so many black officers that they would be overrepresented relative to the local black population.”

“Elite institutions have committed themselves to a theory, program, and performance increasingly detached from the aspirations, worldviews, and everyday concerns of millions of blacks. Activists have secured pledges to “defund” or “dismantle” police departments, but black Americans haven’t received concrete, alternative public-safety plans to curb violence. Most African-Americans clearly desire police reform over abolition. [...] Their perspectives deserve consideration. Any “antiracist” movement that disregards how working and middle-class African-Americans define and pursue the good life is not worth its name.”

DOI: 10.1257/pandp.20181004                                

“[W]e find...that blacks are 27.4 percent less likely to be shot at by police relative to non-black, non-Hispanics.                                 

[...]

For those of us who desire a more perfect union, police use of force has become our Gettysburg. Of course, black lives matter as much as any other lives. Yet, we do this principle a disservice if we do not adhere to strict standards of evidence and take at face value descriptive statistics that are consistent with our preconceived ideas. ‘Stay Woke’—but critically so.”

“On non-lethal uses of force, blacks and Hispanics are more than fifty percent more likely to experience some form of force in interactions with police. Adding controls that account for important context and civilian behavior reduces, but cannot fully explain, these disparities. On the most extreme use of force – officer-involved shootings – we find no racial differences in either the raw data or when contextual factors are taken into account.”

“Black civilians who were recorded as compliant by police were 21% more likely to suffer police aggression than compliant whites. We also found that the benefits of compliance differed significantly by race. This was perhaps our most upsetting result. [...] As economists, we don’t get to label unexplained racial disparities ‘racism.’ [...] No matter how we analyzed the data, we found no racial differences in shootings overall, in any city in particular, or in any subset of the data. [...] When a shooting might be justified by department standards, are police more likely actually to shoot if the civilian is black? [...] The answer appears to be no.”

“We estimate that these investigations [i.e., those “preceded by ‘viral’ incidents of deadly force”] caused almost 900 excess homicides and almost 34,000 excess felonies. The leading hypothesis for why these investigations increase homicides and total crime is an abrupt change in the quantity of policing activity.”

https://www.city-journal.org/reflections-on-race-riots-and-police

“If reforming the medical system were at the top of the national agenda, it would make sense to seek out the perspectives of nurses, doctors, surgeons, and hospital administrators so that the general public might better understand the challenges they face, and the most promising avenues for reform. The same, I would argue, is true of policing.”

 

“I do not believe that policing is our only salvation. I do not believe that we can police our way to public safety. I do not believe that we can attain durable, just, enjoyable public security without a massive effort to improve the provision of employment, wealth, housing, and medical care. I agree that it makes sense to shift functions away from the police and to invest more in nurturing people productively. Healthy, secure, educated, gainfully employed people tend to abjure criminally antisocial conduct. But even after a massive redistribution of resources—even “after the revolution”—there will remain a need for an agency with the authority to use force to investigate, restrain, and detain those who insist upon criminally victimizing their neighbors.”

 https://www.city-journal.org/defunding-police-not-the-answer

“Laurie Cumbo, a Black councilwoman from Brooklyn who is majority leader, compared calls to defund the police to ‘colonization’ pushed by white progressives. Robert Cornegy Jr., a Black councilman also from Brooklyn, called the movement ‘political gentrification.’”

The purpose of this paper is to answer the question: Are white police officers more likely to use lethal force on minority suspects or persons of a specific race? [...] Although we find that while minority suspects are disproportionately killed by police, white officers appear to be no more likely to use lethal force against minorities than non-white officers.”

  https://whatkilledmichaelbrown.com/

"This paper demonstrates that, as a whole, the police are killing white and black decedents under very similar circumstances. Even with advanced machine learning techniques and the high-dimensional PKAP data set, it is not possible to predict decedents’ race more accurately than naïve assignment. These null results suggest that the threefold racial difference in the rate of police killings is most likely due to disproportionate African American contact with the police, rather than racial differences in the circumstances of the interaction or bias in officers’ decision to use lethal force."

“I am black. The unpunished killings of men with skin like mine got me angry enough to voice an unequivocal statement — This must stop! — of the kind I seldom seem able to make. I lack ideological cover. For many, that cover is merely being black; for many, blackness, like a press secretary, determines their responses to life and events, externally if not internally. My own press secretary has long cowered under his desk, driven there by others’ anger at his words, by his own lack of faith in what he says, by his occasional struggle even to form a statement, by new information that would make that statement obsolete.”

“We report the first empirical estimate of the race-specific effects of larger police forces in the United States. Each additional police officer abates approximately 0.1 homicides. In per capita terms, effects are twice as large for Black versus white victims. At the same time, larger police forces make more arrests for low-level “quality-of-life” offenses, with effects that imply a disproportionate burden for Black Americans. Notably, cities with large Black populations do not share equally in the benefits of investments in police manpower. Our results provide novel empirical support for the popular narrative that Black communities are simultaneously over and under-policed.”

Politics & Activism

“American voters are hungry for common sense and purpose. Republicans and Democrats are giving them strife and division instead.”

“How do racial attitudes shape policy preferences in the era of Black Lives Matter and increasingly liberal views on racial issues? A large body of research finds that highlighting the benefits of progressive policies for racial minorities undermines support for those policies. However, Democratic elites have started centering race in their messaging on progressive public policies. To explore this puzzle, in this paper we offer an empirical test that examines the effect of describing an ostensibly race-neutral progressive policy with racial framing, as used by Democratic elites, on support for that policy. To benchmark these effects, we compare a race policy frame with class, class plus race, and neutral policy frames. We demonstrate that despite leftward shifts in public attitudes towards issues of racial equality, racial framing decreases support for race-neutral progressive policies. Generally, the class frame most successfully increases support for progressive policies across racial and political subgroups.”

"We find that rather than moving affect toward minority groups (and majority groups) toward greater consolidation of in-group dominance, Trump and his media counterparts appear to have largely failed from 2016-2020."

“I write this letter to you with great dismay, and great concern for the perversion of history that is being perpetrated by the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum (ESMC). If this model curriculum is approved, it will inflict great harm on millions of students in our state. [...] It is a fact that the Black Freedom Movement of the 1950s and 1960s under Dr. King's leadership transformed our country, overthrowing a century of Jim Crow segregation and white supremacist terror throughout the former Confederate States. This fact, which I had thought was well known to all educated persons, has been removed from the ESMC. This is morally unacceptable and renders the entire curriculum suspect. Moreover, it appears that this omission was deliberate."

https://www.thebellows.org/on-strasserism-and-the-decay-of-the-left/

“The streets of triumphant liberal society might have been gritty, the politicians corrupt and undeserving, but antifascist Batman still rose out of bed every night to protect the craven and the low from monsters lurking in the shadows. Or so they liked to think. Most of the time they just hung out and drank beer.”

“Unfortunately, the correct answer here may very well be that it is not terribly unlikely. What is significant about America today is not that it’s nearing its 250th birthday, but rather the clear and advanced signs of sickness in the body politic.”

“The striking hostility to [a politics centered on economic inequality and working-class concerns] within the higher reaches of antiracist activism illustrates the extent to which what bills itself as black politics today is in fact a class politics: it is not interested in the concerns of working people of whatever race or gender.”

“Preoccupation with race stifles political conflict. Over offices there is conflict aplenty, but the race question muffles conflict over issues latent in the economy. In part the race issue provides in itself a tool for the diversion of attention from issues. When the going gets rough, when a glimmer of informed political self-interest begins to well up from the masses, the issue of white supremacy may be raised to whip them back into line.”

“The striking hostility to [a politics centered on economic inequality and working-class concerns] within the higher reaches of antiracist activism illustrates the extent to which what bills itself as black politics today is in fact a class politics: it is not interested in the concerns of working people of whatever race or gender.”

“By reducing all of black Americans' concerns to race or exploiting the idea of a singular "black vote" in the first place, the elite political class continues to undermine our ability to organize the majoritarian social movement we need to combat the ruling-class assault on all working people in the United States.”

"Touré Reed is the most brilliant historian of the black freedom movement of his generation. This book is the best grasp of our recent past and guide for a progressive future we have!"  —Cornel West, author of Race Matters

"A must-read for scholars and activists. Reed argues that Afro-Americans’ quest for freedom has been most successful when a common-good, rather than identity-group, strategy has determined tactics and alliances. He pin-points deindustrialization and the decline of labor unions as the chief reasons for the current predicament of Afro-American working people, while warning against the latest neoliberal market prescription: reparations.”  —Barbara J. Fields, author (with Karen E. Fields) of Racecraft

“Obama and Coates have assumed complementary roles. While Obama’s post-racialism traces lingering inequities to the cultural deficiencies of the black and brown poor themselves, Coates attributes racial disparities to an inexorable white prejudice. Because each of these frameworks divorces racial inequality from political economy, Obama’s post-racialism and Coates’s case for reparations promote a politics that is responsible for the widening gulf between the nation’s haves and have-nots, whatever their race.”

“By attributing Trump’s victory to the ‘bloody heirloom’ of white supremacy, then, the accounts offered by [Ta-Nehisi] Coates and the DNC obscured the electoral consequences of the neoliberal policies pursued by Obama and the Clintons — policies that did real damage to an important segment of Democratic voters…. Since African Americans are, indeed, overrepresented among the nation’s poor and working class, blacks would have benefited disproportionately from Medicare for All, living wage polices, tuition-free public higher education, and a more robust public sector.”

“By constantly invoking the ghost of Jim Crow, they treat black voters as if they were helpless children.”

http://omarwasow.com/APSR_protests3_1.pdf

The paper that David Shor lost his job at Civis Analytics for Tweeting in 2020:

“Evaluating black-led protests between 1960 and 1972, I find nonviolent activism, particularly when met with state or vigilante repression, drove media coverage, framing, Congressional speech and public opinion on civil rights. Counties proximate to nonviolent protests saw presidential Democratic vote share among whites increase 1.3-1.6%. Protester-initiated violence, by contrast, helped move news agendas, frames, elite discourse and public concern toward “social control.” In 1968, using rainfall as an instrument, I find violent protests likely caused a 1.6-7.9% shift among whites towards Republicans and tipped the election. Elites may dominate political communication but hold no monopoly.”

“Fashionable narratives about the Democratic coalition and its members' goals and ambitions can efface what many minorities think is in their best interest. Such misreadings are not just insensitive but dangerous. They can lead Democrats to pursue ill-conceived, poorly articulated policies that backfire to the benefit of conservatives, or worse, inflict harm on vulnerable communities. [...] "Like the niche semantic preference for 'Latinx,' but with far more direct and dire consequences, viral slogans such as 'abolish the police'...have been foisted on black communities that have a far more equivocal relationship with policing than is often acknowledged. [...] If it was not clear already, one stinging lesson from 2020 is that our countrymen are not buying what the online activist class is trying to sell, no matter how morally righteous their doctrine may be. Whether this will somehow change, & the country can be governed like a graduate seminar on critical race theory, remains to be seen. What is apparent is that, should that profound shift come to pass, significant and growing numbers of nonwhite, non-straight, non-Christian people will ardently oppose it."

Race

What one would not like to see again is the consolidation of peoples on the basis of their color. But as long as we in the West place on color the value that we do, we make it impossible for the great unwashed to consolidate themselves according to any other principle. Color is not a human or a personal reality; it is a political reality. But this is a distinction so extremely hard to make that the West has not been able to make it yet. And at the center of this dreadful storm, this vast confusion, stand the black people of this nation, who must now share the fate of a nation that has never accepted them, to which they were brought in chains. Well, if this is so, one has no choice but to do all in one’s power to change that fate, and at no matter what risk—eviction, imprisonment, torture, death. For the sake of one’s children, in order to minimize the bill that they must pay, one must be careful not to take refuge in any delusion—and the value placed on the color of the skin is always and everywhere and forever a delusion. I know that what I am asking is impossible. But in our time, as in every time, the impossible is the least that one can demand—and one is, after all, emboldened by the spectacle of human history in general, and American Negro history in particular, for it testifies to nothing less than the perpetual achievement of the impossible.”

“Some people argue that to ignore race means that we will ignore racism, but it can and should mean that we consistently argue against instilling race with meaning—positive or negative. It is too easy to become invested in the thing that we are seeking to fight and lose sight of the bigger picture. Martin Luther King’s vision of a future in which people are judged by the content of their character, not the colour of their skin, speaks to a shared humanity, a shared vision of a world beyond race and artificial bonds. I still believe that world is possible. All people have agency and we can all define our destinies. To abandon racial bonds is to choose humanity.”

“Some are convinced that having whites identify with the worst actors in Western history is the best way to address our dark past. But I think the goal should instead be for them to see a bit of themselves in Emmet Till. You don't do that by inducting today's children into groups of oppressors and oppressed. You certainly don't do that by segregating white victims of police brutality from Black ones, distinguishing morally between the Tony Timpas of the world and the George Floyds. You do it by eliminating the barrier to empathy between races. In other words, by eliminating the perceived reality of race.”

“One of the most banal and vulgar ways to think about humanity is to classify and categorise by ‘race’, and especially by skin pigmentation. Racial thinking, no matter how ‘progressively’ arrived at, can only be reactionary. It is irrational, anti-scientific and anti-humanist. It is a fetter on the social development of human beings and their flourishing. Racialism and racism are twin brothers. Solidifying racial categories in mainstream discourse is a grave mistake. Real progress should mean challenging racial thinking at its root and ultimately transcending it.”

The book is “a humanist critique of identity-based anti-racism, a movement which, instead of challenging racial thinking, has emphasised it & abandoned the goal of eliminating racial divisions."

“Today, with the increasing demand to recognize the seemingly insurmountable gap between black people and white people, identity-based anti-racism has become more of a hindrance than a solution for a better and freer world for us all. The shift, from aspiring to transform social organization in order to transcend racial divisions to demanding recognition of racial divisions and identities and protection for minorities, represents the defeat of the universalist and radical politics of the past. Racial thinking, actively promoted by racists, has now become an acceptable tool for identity-based anti-racist activists in their demand for representation, diversity, inclusivity, segregation and safe spaces.”

“Racists assume that black people are all the same. Ironically, anti-racists sometimes do so too.”

“Touré F. Reed’s Toward Freedom: The Case Against Race Reductionism presents a forceful critique of race reductionism and makes a persuasive case for the return to a redistributive, public goods approach to governance. Reed brilliantly shows how black political actors have used race reductionism to defeat social democratic policies that would disproportionately help working-class blacks and reveals race reductionism to be a class politics that reinforces black precarity.”

http://www.omarwasow.com/wasow_sen_2016_annurev.pdf

“Is race best understood under an essentialist or constructivist framework? In contrast to the “immutable characteristics” or essentialist approach, we argue that race should be operationalized as a “bundle of sticks” that can be disaggregated into elements. With elements of race, causal claims may be possible using two designs: (a) studies that measure the effect of exposure to a racial cue and (b) studies that exploit within-group variation to measure the effect of some manipulable element. These designs can reconcile scholarship on race and causation and offer a clear framework for future research.”

“Working towards opposing conclusions, racists and many anti-racists alike eagerly reduce people to abstract color categories, all the while feeding off and legitimizing each other, while any of us searching for grey areas and common ground get devoured twice. Both sides mystify racial identity, interpreting it as something fixed and determinative, and almost supernatural in scope.”

Racism / structural racism / institutional racism

“Understanding racism is fine, but understanding that you are a human being capable of great things is better. [...] You can choose the victim narrative or a hero’s journey. You have the choice, something our recent ancestors didn’t have. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a victim and never will be, no matter the subject of discussion.”

“Most Whites, particularly sociopolitical liberals, now endorse racial equality. Archival and experimental research reveals a subtle but persistent ironic consequence: White liberals self-present less competence to minorities than to other Whites—that is, they patronize minorities stereotyped as lower status and less competent. Liberals— but not conservatives—presented less competence to Black interaction partners than to White ones. The simple effect was small but significant across studies, and most reliable for the self-reported measure of conservatism. This possibly unintentional but ultimately patronizing competence-downshift suggests that well-intentioned liberal Whites may draw on low-status/competence stereotypes to affiliate with minorities.”

“[W]hites tend to be more ‘woke’ on racial issues than the average black or Hispanic; they tend to perceive much more racism against minorities than most minorities, themselves, report experiencing [and] they express greater support for diversity than most blacks or Hispanics. How can phenomena like these be explained? One approach might be to argue that relatively well-off and highly-educated liberal whites – precisely in virtue of their college education and higher rates of consumption of ‘woke’ content in the media, online, etc. — simply understand the reality and dynamics of racism better than the average black or Hispanic. I would strongly advise against anyone taking a stand on *that* hill. What is more plausibly the case is that many whites, in their eagerness to present themselves as advocates for people of color and the cause of antiracism, neglect to actually listen to ordinary black or brown folk about what they find offensive, or what their racial priorities are.”

Democrats and Republicans (and also independents) became significantly warmer in their affect toward minority groups. Democratic and Republican identifiers also become somewhat cooler in their affect toward majority groups."

The book is “a humanist critique of identity-based anti-racism, a movement which, instead of challenging racial thinking, has emphasised it & abandoned the goal of eliminating racial divisions."

“What's the point in tracking racism on campus if racism can be defined as literally anything?”

“If racism explained everything, why would schools exclude white British pupils at a higher rate than black African pupils? Why would educational institutions discriminate against black Caribbean children in favour of black Africans?”

“Apparently, only white people are allowed to be individuals: black people have to abide by certain criteria that determine authenticity. Academics with the critical tools to know better (Journalist and writer.) some of the loudest and most consistent offenders in this. White people have heard a one-dimensional account of the black voice so often that they are perplexed by black people who don’t fit the media-driven, prefabricated model. Many activists are not pro-black: they are pro a particular kind of black. But more than one black voice exists. Virtue racism is real. Regardless of its intended effects, it is still essentialism, it is still the policing of black behavior and it is still white supremacy.”

The left “always projects moral idealisms (integration, social justice, diversity, inclusion, etc.) that have the ring of redemption. What is political correctness, if not essentially redemptive speech? Soon liberalism had become a cultural identity that offered Americans a way to think of themselves as decent people. To be liberal was to be good.”

“Despite their probable good intentions, comedian and commentator Jon Stewart and author Andrew Sullivan recently provided a large viewing audience with a masterclass on how not to talk about race, in a panel that followed a segment of Stewart’s show entitled “The Problem with White People.” This panel discussion did indeed reveal a problem with white people—the difficulties they have in conversing with each other about race. There is a lack of mutual understanding here that must be remedied before this conversation can be of much good to anyone.”

Religion

“CRT’s greatest utility, like certain other aspects of postmodern philosophy, is its ability to deconstruct and identify ‘problems’ and ‘social inequities.’ Also, like other postmodern philosophies, it is not good at re-constructing after it deconstructs. In other words, the fixes offered to society’s problems are almost always superficial and fundamentally undermine the very project of CRT.”

“We honor God when we acknowledge all members of the human race have equal worth. We dishonor Him when we ascribe certain sins to people based on skin color.”

Reparations

https://thehill.com/opinion/civil-rights/576607-what-do-african-americans-owe-america

                        (2019). “My testimony on reparations.” Quillette.

https://quillette.com/2019/06/20/my-testimony-to-congress-on-reparations/

https://freakonomics.com/podcast/reparations-part-2/

“[R]eparations cannot logically rely on a depiction of black Americans as a race still reeling from the brutal experience of slavery and its after-effects. The reality is that in the year 2001 there are more middle-class blacks than poor ones.”

“At the core of the reparation movement is a divisive and demeaning view of both races. It grants to the white race a wicked superiority, treating them as an oppressive people too powerful for black Americans to overcome. It brands blacks as hapless victims devoid of the ability, which every other culture possesses, to assimilate and progress. Neither label is earned.”

Respectability politics

“In recent years, outspoken progressives have railed against respectability using [a] loaded refrain: ‘Respectability will not save you.’ First, this ignores times in history when respectability has worked–at least in so far as it allowed Black people to survive at the height of slavery or during Jim Crow terrorism. Second, this framing suggests that espousing these politics (or opting out) are a matter of basic choice. And finally, this new generation of the allegedly woke makes the mistake of thinking they're first to come up with the idea that respectability might be folly. No, these debates are age-old.”

Slavery

"Interpreted as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a GLORIOUS LIBERTY DOCUMENT."

“The Arab slave trade lasted more than thirteen centuries. It began in the early seventh century and continued in one form or another until the 1960s. In Mauritania slavery was officially outlawed only in August 2007. [It] affected more than 17mm people."

“My great-grandfather…carried a slave-trading license from the Royal Niger Company, an English corporation that ruled southern Nigeria. His agents captured slaves across the region and passed them to middlemen, who brought them to the ports of Bonny and Calabar and sold them to white merchants. Slavery had already been abolished in the United States and the United Kingdom, but his slaves were legally shipped to Cuba and Brazil. … [He] was so esteemed that, when he died, a leopard was killed, and six slaves were buried alive with him. My family inherited his canvas shoes, which he wore at a time when few Nigerians owned footwear, and the chains of his slaves, which were so heavy that, as a child, my father could hardly lift them. When I was about eight, my father took me to see the row of ugba trees where [he] kept his slaves chained up.”

        “The concept of ‘all men are created equal’ was completely alien to traditional

religion and law in his society. It would be unfair to judge a 19th Century man by 21st Century principles. Assessing the people of Africa's past by today's standards would compel us to cast the majority of our heroes as villains, denying us the right to fully celebrate anyone who was not influenced by Western ideology.”

“At the core of the reparation movement is a divisive and demeaning view of both races. It grants to the white race a wicked superiority, treating them as an oppressive people too powerful for black Americans to overcome. It brands blacks as hapless victims devoid of the ability, which every other culture possesses, to assimilate and progress. Neither label is earned.”

“The Thirteenther use of history as propaganda to achieve a political end marks a break with the tradition of black history. From the antebellum period forward, black historians, professional and amateur, have believed that historical falsehoods justified black oppression and that the truth would therefore be an ally in the movement for racial justice and equality. By distorting the history of the Thirteenth Amendment and by denying one of black people's greatest triumphs in American history — the destruction of chattel slavery — this generation has sought to emancipate itself by diminishing its ancestors' prized accomplishment.”

Sports

Standpoint epistemology (see Lived experience)

Thirteenth Amendment

“The Thirteenther use of history as propaganda to achieve a political end marks a break with the tradition of black history. From the antebellum period forward, black historians, professional and amateur, have believed that historical falsehoods justified black oppression and that the truth would therefore be an ally in the movement for racial justice and equality. By distorting the history of the Thirteenth Amendment and by denying one of black people's greatest triumphs in American history — the destruction of chattel slavery — this generation has sought to emancipate itself by diminishing its ancestors' prized accomplishment.”

Victimhood

“Understanding racism is fine, but understanding that you are a human being capable of great things is better. [...] You can choose the victim narrative or a hero’s journey. You have the choice, something our recent ancestors didn’t have. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a victim and never will be, no matter the subject of discussion.”

“Why is Martin Luther King Jr. given hero’s status, but we never listen to our hero’s message? Why is forgiveness seen as a weakness and resentment seen as empowerment?”

“[T]he entity responsible for a harm cannot always redress it. This truth is illustrated by ‘The Parable of the Pedestrian,’ from legal scholar Amy Wax: A reckless driver runs a stop light and hits a pedestrian, injuring her spine. Doctors inform the pedestrian that if she ever wants to walk again she’ll have to spend many painstaking years in physical therapy. Clearly, she bears no responsibility for her injury; she was victimized by the reckless driver. Yet the driver cannot make her whole. He might pay for her medical bills, for instance, but he cannot make her attend her tedious physical therapy sessions; only she can do that. Still, she might resist. She might write historical accounts detailing precisely how and why the driver injured her. When her physical therapists demand more of her, she might accuse them of blaming the victim. She might wallow in the unfairness of it all. But this will change nothing. The nature of her injury precludes the possibility of anyone besides her healing it. The dynamic underlying the Parable of the Pedestrian scales up to entire communities. It is no longer primarily racism that holds blacks back, but a set of cultural elements—some acquired from white southerners, some a consequence of historical racism, others a consequence of the political upheavals of the 1960s, and some which are mysterious in origin—that are ill-suited for success in a modern information economy. Thus, unfair as it may seem, blacks can now do more for themselves than either whites or the government can do for them.”

“The Victim Mentality is popularly known as a martyr complex, and identifies a state of mind in which a person exaggerates their victimhood, is rather numb to that of others, and founds their sense of significance upon this perception of persecution rather than upon their own actions and accomplishments.”

“[I]s the black individual a necessary casualty of the current culture war? If one sees black essentialism as a powerful tool for bringing about racial justice, the answer is probably a resounding yes. Gayatri Spivak calls this the embrace of “strategic essentialism,” the deliberate projection of a characteristic for rhetorical purposes. But I bristle at the thought that injury or victimhood is the most essential black characteristic, in line with the Critical Race Theory tenet that America is irredeemably racist and all whites complicit (at the very least) in racism. Ideally, any strategically essentialized image of black people could be revisited once justice had been achieved—but how can justice ever be achieved if white people in America and America itself are irredeemably racist? Critical Race Theory seems to guarantee the perpetual essentialized victimhood of black people.”

“I just want an anti-racism that does not require a feeling of victimization or, at times, infantilization and learned helplessness in people of color. I want an empowering anti-racism that provides and maintains racial dignity while encouraging deliberative engagement with the social and material realities of American society. Unfortunately, most contemporary anti-racism suffers from a primacy of identity that consists of four parts: a narcissistic embrace of lived experience as its primary ethos and epistemology, a tendency to essentialize people based on race, a demonization of critical inquiry (let alone blunt disagreement), and a neglect of fundamental aspects of rhetoric like context and audience consideration.”

“Who are we without the malice of racism? Can we be black without being victims? The great diminishment (not eradication) of racism since the ’60s means that our victim-focused identity has become an anachronism. Well suited for the past, it strains for relevance in the present.

      Thus, for many blacks today—especially the young—there is a feeling of inauthenticity, that one is only thinly black because one isn’t racially persecuted. “Systemic racism” is a term that tries to recover authenticity for a less and less convincing black identity. This racism is really more compensatory than systemic. It was invented to make up for the increasing absence of the real thing.

[...] In the end, only one achievement will turn us from the old victim-focused racial order toward a new, nonracial order: the full and unqualified acceptance of our freedom. We don’t have to fight for freedom so much any more. We have to do something more difficult—fully accept that we are free.”

Voting / Voter Suppression

“By constantly invoking the ghost of Jim Crow, they treat black voters as if they were helpless children.”

"Black voter turnout has been rising since the mid-1990s even as more states have passed voting requirements that the president & his backers insist are 'Jim Crow 2.0.' In 2020 blacks voted at higher rates than whites in MD, MI, MS & TN."

Wealth gap: see also Class

“[T]he entity responsible for a harm cannot always redress it. This truth is illustrated by ‘The Parable of the Pedestrian,’ from legal scholar Amy Wax: A reckless driver runs a stop light and hits a pedestrian, injuring her spine. Doctors inform the pedestrian that if she ever wants to walk again she’ll have to spend many painstaking years in physical therapy. Clearly, she bears no responsibility for her injury; she was victimized by the reckless driver. Yet the driver cannot make her whole. He might pay for her medical bills, for instance, but he cannot make her attend her tedious physical therapy sessions; only she can do that. Still, she might resist. She might write historical accounts detailing precisely how and why the driver injured her. When her physical therapists demand more of her, she might accuse them of blaming the victim. She might wallow in the unfairness of it all. But this will change nothing. The nature of her injury precludes the possibility of anyone besides her healing it. The dynamic underlying the Parable of the Pedestrian scales up to entire communities. It is no longer primarily racism that holds blacks back, but a set of cultural elements—some acquired from white southerners, some a consequence of historical racism, others a consequence of the political upheavals of the 1960s, and some which are mysterious in origin—that are ill-suited for success in a modern information economy. Thus, unfair as it may seem, blacks can now do more for themselves than either whites or the government can do for them.”

“[Between 2001 and 2017] the incarceration rate for black men aged 25–29, 20–24, and 18–19 declined, respectively, by 56 percent, 60 percent, and 72 percent. For young black women, the story is similar: a 59 percent drop for those aged 25–29, a 43 percent drop for those aged 20–24, and a 69 percent drop for those aged 18–19. [...] 2018 census data showed that 37 percent of black Americans aged 25–34 had some kind of college degree. If black America were its own country, that would place it in between Germany (31 percent) and Spain (43 percent) in terms of educational attainment. What’s more...black women, though less likely to attend college than white women, are now more likely to attend college than white men from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. [...] [W]hen we compare black outcomes to white outcomes and blame all of the gaps on institutional racism, we treat American society as if it were a simple 8th-grade science experiment: white people are treated as the “control group”; black people are treated as the “experimental group”; and the “independent variable,” applied only to blacks, is institutional racism. [...] What do we gain by acknowledging progress? For one thing, ignorance of how much progress blacks have made in recent years leads many to mistakenly believe American institutions are so racist that nothing short of complete overhaul would suffice to repair them. The fact that those very same institutions have allowed for, if not ushered in, huge amounts of progress for black people in recent years suggests a more sober-minded approach. We should not burn the system down. We should reform it one increment at a time..

Western Civilization

“While many white progressives are ashamed of their societies for its past sins, and feel it responsible for today’s global problems, many of my non-white friends acknowledge the West’s relative fairness in private, especially those who have experience of life elsewhere."

White fragility

“White Fragility has two unstated assumptions about nonwhite people in general, and black people in particular. The first is that we are a homogenous mass of settled opinion with little, if any, diversity of thought—a kind of CRT-aligned hive mind. I could marshal all the opinion polls in the world to refute this calumny, but it wouldn’t move DiAngelo an inch. She needs nonwhites to think as a unit, or else her thesis falls apart. How could she tell whites to shut up and listen to the consensus view of nonwhites if that consensus doesn’t exist? The second unstated assumption in White Fragility—and this is where the book borders on actual racism—is that black people are emotionally immature and essentially child-like. Blacks, as portrayed in DiAngelo’s writing, can neither be expected to show maturity during disagreement nor to exercise emotional self-control of any kind. The hidden premise of the book is that blacks, not whites, are too fragile.”

—Review of DiAngelo, Robin, Nice Racism: How Progressive White People Perpetuate Racial Harm.

“Let’s get something straight before we go any further; Robin DiAngelo is a racist. I don’t mean that in some abstract “racism is the water we’re swimming in" way. Or even in an “all white people are racist" way. I mean it in the good old-fashioned “she believes deep-down that black people are inferior” way. I’m confident I won’t be hearing from her lawyers for saying this because she confirms it with almost every word that comes out of her mouth. This is a woman who was “unable to hide [her] surprise” when she discovered that a black man was the school principal. The same woman who felt the need to “ask a Latin woman kneeling in her garden if this is her home”. This is a woman whose “road to Damascus” moment was cracking a joke about a black woman’s braids during (I sh*t you not) a meeting about racism in the workplace. This woman, this woman, has become an international authority on how to be less racist. White Fragility is an entire book — an entire philosophy — dedicated to the idea that being racist is a benign, inevitable consequence of having white skin.”