The intersectionality of racism, classism, and immigration policy is as pertinent today as in the past. Who is deemed legal and illegal, afforded full citizenship rights or not, is almost always determined by master-class politics and race.
By Lisa Brock, Senior Editor, Praxis Center and Academic Director of the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership
When I first thought of writing about the film Twelve Years a Slave, my primary angle was going to be about what the film teaches us about the legacy of slavery. I planned to focus on the physical and psychic violence meted out to enslaved African families in the US over a 250-year period and the tremendous pain and trauma that it caused. In fact, scholars have begun to point to what might be called “historical trauma” within black communities, as well as the disproportionate presentation of Hypertension and other illnesses among African-Americans. This, they argue is due in part to a history of racism that has given rise to health and environmental disparities today.
Dr. Nancy Krieger at Harvard University states in Unnatural Causes that:
We carry our histories in our bodies. How would we not? We carry with us the conditions under which we were being conceived, under which we grew as a fetus. If we were born a low birth weight, that has implications for our health as an adult. So when you measure things like people’s cholesterol levels, for example, it’s not just an innate property of people. It’s a function of who people are and what they’re exposed to in the world, what their opportunities are. You start to see biology as a biological expression of the social conditions in which we live.
This is where I had hoped to start.
And then this happened. I was on a plane flying from Detroit to Kalamazoo, Michigan when I sat next to a nice white man about 40 years old. There was a People magazine in the seat pocket in front of me and I began flipping through it. On the front was Lupita Nyong’o, the young actor who won an Oscar for her role as Patsey in Twelve Years a Slave. This row mate of mine pointed to Ms. Nyong’o and asked if I knew who she was, if I had seen the film and what I thought of it. I told him I did know who she was and I thought the film was well done. I had a few critiques but in general, I thought it was a historically sound treatment of slavery. (more…)
By Jim Van Sweden, Director, College Communications, Kalamazoo College Reposted from Kalamazoo College News and Events Chokwe Lumumba ’69, mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, died on February 25, 2014. He was 66. He came to K from Detroit, Michigan, as Edwin … Continue reading
By Regina Stevens-Truss, Contributing Editor, Science and Social Justice When did we lose our humanity and accept circumstances in which we are allowed to say, “I have a right to be here and to prove that I’m going to shoot … Continue reading
Repost from the Huffington Post On February 15, the city of Charleston, South Carolina unveiled a long-overdue monument to one of its most controversial historical figures. In scenic Hampton Park on the upper part of the peninsula, crowds gathered under … Continue reading
Repost from Women in the World. Samina Ali interviews Pratibha Parmar, who most recently directed Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth, celebrating the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Parmar speaks about retelling Walker’s words. Read more at … Continue reading
Repost from Portside What happened the night Michael Dunn killed Jordan Davis depends on whose story one believes. Dunn’s fiancé Rhonda Rouen went inside the gas station, while Dunn waited in the car. At some point, Dunn asked the young … Continue reading
Repost from Bill Flecher Jr. The election loss at the Chattanooga plant of VW was, first and foremost, a loss suffered by the workers. Secondarily it was a loss suffered by the United Auto Workers. The workers at that facility … Continue reading
Repost from Lawyer, Guns, and Money The United Auto Workers lost its attempt to unionize the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga after Tennessee politicians interfered to defeat the vote when VW acquiesced to unionization. Read more at Lawyer, Guns, and Money.
Repost from NPR. This article discusses the atypically diverse March issue of Vanity Fair, which features six actors of African ancestry on the cover.
Repost from Yes! In restorative justice, those who commit crimes have to face the consequences of their actions. After this Colorado policeman tried it out, he came to believe it’s part of the answer to America’s prison problem. Continue reading … Continue reading
By Mariame Kaba and Andrea Smith, reposted from Prison Culture Before writing this piece, we thought about whether we should bother. Was this a discussion worth engaging? Ultimately, we decided that we had some thoughts to share and that it … Continue reading
Repost from NPR, Morning Edition, January 28, 2014 This NPR interview highlights what many Americans already know: social mobility in the United States is difficult to attain. The interview reveals that other countries offer their residents more opportunities for social … Continue reading
Repost from HNN A vital segment of Solomon Northup’s amazing and sometimes tragic life is stunningly portrayed in Steve McQueen’s celebrated film, 12 Years a Slave. But there is far more to his story than the dozen years he suffered … Continue reading
By Dan S. Wang As we turn into a New Year, I wish for a corresponding turn in progressive priorities, away from the current fixation on so-called microaggressions. As readers undoubtedly know, microaggressions are the slights, subtle insults, unfair prejudgments, … Continue reading
On MLK Day, we often celebrate King’s accomplishments but many of us forget or fail to take further action necessary to make his dream a reality. Although injustices may be less visible today, structural racism continues to exist. By asking this question, I wanted to provoke people to think about what actions they might take to challenge racism today. Continue reading Continue reading