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Katie O'Brien
Oct 14, 2021
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In Revolutions, Wilkerson tells the story of Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a woman introduced to the reader as a grandmother recounting a speech by Martin Luther King Jr. in Chicago. Gladney notes, “The unequal living condition produced the expected unequal results: blacks working long hours for overpriced flats, their children left unsupervised and open to gangs, the resulting rise in crime and drugs, with few people able to get out and the problems so complex as to make it impossible to identify a single cause or solution.” We were told about the sea of opportunities in America. We were not told about the dam(n) Redlining, Or The Ongoing upcharging of black renters, down valuation of black homes. Glandney wades in The waterfall of consequences of legal decisions to deny black and poor people pay and opportunities. Faced with A state that responds to any demand or request for a lifeline with more incarceration and more police. Not more affordable housing, not safer housing, not more educational resources, not legal policies to ensure access to the same education Dr. king had. The loans got denied. The request for better school supplies got refused. ...But the amount of beds in the prison cells rose like sea levels in a flood. The effort to provide for themselves, and to form communities were criminalized, And so violence washed downstream. King was not running headlong into a northern paradox. He was swimming upstream the currents of legal policies the state enacted to hold black folk on the other side of the dam(n). The inequity in the laws are causing people of color to drown in debt, drown in worry over their children, drown in crowded housing conditions, drown in the pressure of constant surveillance. This is not the sea we imagined. This revolution will be a water cycle. Will be a shower of legal reform Into a sea of changing cultural tides Evaporating to a sky of rising voices who have BEEN ready to be heard Since before Ms. Gladney in Chicago, 1966. Javonne Jenkins Carihanna Morrison Katie O’Brien
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Katie O'Brien
Sep 09, 2021
In Posts
When asked to discuss cancel culture, including past allegations of his sexual misconduct, Michael Eric Dyson likened cancel culture to a modern lynch mob and evoked the memory of Emmett Till. This came off as especially troubling and hypocritical considering arguments he made in his book. In his book he writes “the problem of black girls and women being ignored, taken for granted, or abused is an ongoing plague we have barely addressed.” He indicates that R. Kelly may have been able to continue his misconduct, in part, because his victims were black girls and women. Dyson’s accusers are black women. They should not be dismissed so carelessly. Since the event, I have thought a lot about whether it is fair to consider Dyson’s evocation of the legacy of lynching and Emmett Till as a “lean[] on race” as he described Bill Cosby doing when faced with his serious sexual misconduct allegations. Even if it was not, the comparison was of to things that are different in kind and scale. The purpose of lynching was racial terrorism. The purpose of cancelling someone is accountability for the wrongs they have inflicted on others. If looking at cancel culture divorced from his own situation, I do think it is important to examine how race shapes who society listens to, believes or dismisses. How the stories of white women became the primary narrative of coverage of the # MeToo movement despite Tarana Burke’s founding of it; and how believable the public found Christine Blasey Ford as compared to Anita Hill; and the positively gleeful canceling of Jussie Smollett by the very conservative spokespeople that usually railed against cancel culture are a few examples that demonstrate this.
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Katie O'Brien

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