It’s time (well past time) for old white guys to shut up and to highlight People of Color speaking for themselves about the natural outrage that’s all around us. Each of the following references are a exceprts from gifted writers. (But please read all of each article.)
- New York Times columnist Charles Blow: The Destructive Power of Despair
It is exceedingly dangerous to assume that oppression and pain can be inflicted without consequence, to believe that the victim will silently absorb the injury and the wound will fade.
The protests are . . . about the savagery and carnage that [George Floyd’s] death represents: The nearly unchecked ability of the state to act with impunity in the oppression of black bodies and the taking of black life.
Our intransigence on the issue of social justice and use of force by the police is making last-straw extremists of members of a generation that feels unheard and disrespected.
- Orchestral conductor Brandon Keith Brown: Notes on Racism and White Supremacy in Classical Music
I was enraged when Chicago cops ran up to my car at night and put guns to my head. I’m enraged I’ll never drive in the US for fear of being shot. I’m enraged that my heart jumps wherever I see police worldwide.
Republicans and overt racist are not the problem. The problem is silently complacent self-proclaimed white liberal allies. They USE liberality as escapism, eschewing reflecting on their racism, while Blacks remain absent from their daily lives, minds and hearts.
- Nonprofit blogger, Vu Le: Have nonprofit and philanthropy become the “white moderate” that Dr. King warned us about?
The leaders of color I know, especially Black leaders, are exhausted, driven to burn out and despair, and often it is not because of overt racists and bigots, but by those moderates within our own sector. Often they are our colleagues, our peers, our supporters: board members and executive directors who are most concerned about offending donors or upsetting sponsors.
Getting on the right path, the path heading away from white moderation and toward true equity and justice, will be hard to do. Let us take inspiration from Ruhel Islam, the owner of Gandhi Mahal, a beloved restaurant in Minneapolis that burned down during the protests. While white moderates lecture against violence and property damage as the right response to the murder of George Floyd and countless other Black people, Mr. Islam said: “Let my building burn, Justice needs to be served, put those officers in jail.“
I believe this is the first post in Engaging Matters’ nine year history that does not attempt to frame itself in the context of community engagement and the arts. This topic is too important to be subsumed in a discussion of community engagement; however, for anyone who truly understands community engagement, the connection is obvious.
Image: Created by User:KeithTyler. It is a variant of the clenched fist motif which has been widely used by leftist, workers, and liberationist groups since the nineteenth century. The motif itself is not under copyright. –
Uploaded by User:KeithTyler, who created this image., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1682523