Occupied Movements, Colonized Minds

October 5, 2011Eda Uca-Dorn

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Some of us who watch in awe and delight at the incredible well of energy, perseverance, and hope of the Occupy Wall Street movement are getting word of anti-racist critiques of the language and organizing strategies, particularly around declarative statements released on the Occupy Wall Street website and dispersed to media outlets. It is important to note- as the organizers do- that “demand is a process” and the new day voice of the community-in-process emerges continually without necessarily being pinned down by the bulletin board messages of the passing day. The voices of people of color, it seems, are being heard and integrated, though not without the fearless contributions of people of color sometimes in the face of serious resistance. I want to highlight some of the discussion as it is occurring mainly through articles and online forums not, as some might fear, to disparage the movement but rather to learn from the anti-racism discussion in progress.

For the sake of utmost transparency: I am a woman of color who approaches movement work predominantly led by white people with a hermeneutic of suspicion and, while I have gotten some word on the happenings in Occupy Boston, I have not gone to see what’s happening on the ground there since it officially started this past Friday. (I do plan to go down there with a faith community of which I’m a part sometime in October.)

As I have seen it, the anti-racist critiques of the movement have been leveled against two aspects of its language and ideology. First there has been concern over the use of the language of a single human race as opposed to the importance of coalition building among diverse peoples in the context of the intersectionality of oppressions. In my experience, it is usually white brothers and sisters who insist that because we are all of equal value, we should be described as one body 1. It is usually sisters and brothers of color who insist that because we have different histories, cultures, relationships with oppressive and friendly bodies (states, religious organizations, ally groups and counter-protestors), agendas, and strategies that we be acknowledged in our multiplicity. It occurs to me that white folks defining what all people are (one race!) and what is good for all people (to be called one race! That’s scientific and the highest moral good!), even in the name of justice, entangles them in the insidious threads of the powers and principalities which serve to silence non-white voices. I have faith that they are being used by systems of injustice to ends they would not desire to serve, if only they could see the ties that bind them. I have experienced that when they do see those ties and struggle to be free of them, they no longer take that tact. Both perspectives (one and many) are vital to building healthy communities and we should ward against the whitewashing of any one perspective on the basis of unequal power in the community to define who “we” are and what is good for “us.”

The second concern has been with the frequent concurrent omission of the fact that Wall Street itself is already on occupied Algonquin land and that the graves of thousands of Africans lay beneath the financial district in New York underscoring, in a historical allegory of biblical proportions, the fact that “American” wealth was built on African blood. I would concur with others that rather than finding hope in reoccupations of Turtle Island by new groups of white freedom fighters, we might find hope in decolonizing land, systems, minds, colonized first by some of the earlier waves of white freedom fighters on this land. I cannot imagine that these ideas are controversial to any of the Occupy Wall Street organizers, though it is possible that their importance was not felt as starkly by them as it was by others. They would have to speak to why they were originally omitted from certain declarative statements and would probably have different insights into the writing and editorial process.

As I have seen it, friendly and modest people of color and white people against racism have been asking for clarifying amendments to the language of the movement to make their perspectives and basic historical facts evident. It is my understanding that the Occupy Wall Street movement began mostly among young white people (Yay for young white radicals! Good idea, pals!) which has meant that it started pre-Occupied by a particular context and set of commitments. Due to a complex set of factors (the relative ease of networking among those of similar race/class, the influence of original organizing strategies, agendas, and language, the concentration of privileges making it easier for some to protest and risk being arrested) the movement is continuing to be led mostly by young white people as it nationalizes. Some have been supportive of the work to end the original pre-Occupation and decolonize the mind of the movement while others are concerned that bringing up such issues will cause it to fracture.

In fact people of color and white people against racism have not been creating factures in the perfect unity of the movement but rather are pointing to the fracture lines in its false unity. America is quickly becoming a majority nation of people of color and any movement claiming to represent the 99% will have to reflect that shift. Making minor editions to statements (many of which are already agreed upon by all- i.e., the historicity of occupation and enslavement) and opening up space for dialogue where a diversity of views persists could only prove that this is a movement of a new Spirit with the self-reflectiveness and elasticity to avoid becoming dry and brittle under the winds of self-righteousness, as some movements before it. For organizers in New York and nationwide to hear and learn from these requests (as they already have in some cases and will, I have faith, with greater openness and understanding) would only heighten the movement’s momentum. While discerning collective truths in diverse communities is challenging, naming global truth from the location of any one person (or people) is impossible. True “unity” will not emerge alone from a universalizing recognition of God’s spark in all people. It will be wrought from a healthy respect that this spark, this equal access to Spirit and Truth, should help us build communities where all peoples are heard in dialogical movements of change capable of making room for one more at the table.

 

  1. In 1970, Vine Deloria Jr. wrote in his seminal We Talk, You Listen: New Tribes, New Turf, “a generation ago white children were taught to look directly at black people and pretend that they didn’t realize that they were black. Viewing such behavior today with our experiences of the civil rights movement behind us, it appears to be the most unsophisticated and racist behavior imaginable. But at the time it was a sincere effort by an ignorant white populace who were truly concerned about equality to express equality by pretending that differences did not exist” (26)
  • Eda Uca Dorn

    A new article of the day bringing in the Indian perspective I mention above: http://newspaperrock.bluecorncomics.com/2011/09/indians-say-unoccupy-america.html

  • WesHB

    Thanks for this important word, Eda. The biblical manifesto that supports your key point is found, repeatedly, in the book of Revelation, as in this passage:

    “After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (7.9-10).

    It is only as a countless multitude made up of people from “all tribes and peoples and languages” can we truly celebrate authentic liberation and salvation in the name of the One who made us all in the divine image.

    • Gus Kroll

      Ched Myers did a great Bible Study in Austrailia back in the mid 90′s on this idea using the stories of the Tower of Babel and Pentecost as a kind of mutually affirming binary. You can see that here: http://youtu.be/tDeB1og5LJo

      • Eda Uca Dorn

        Look at young Ched! Thanks for this fantastic resource suggestions, Gus!

        • Gus Kroll

          I love the mullet…all biz up front, party’s in the back! The rest of the videos from this particular trip around the S. Pacific are hosted by the same YouTube account, they include soem stuff that later got put into Ched’s thin volume “…and distributed to all who had need” as well as another interactive study on Mark 1-3

  • Eda Uca Dorn

    Thanks so much for that addition, Wes! That’s a wonderful piece of Scripture that I’ll be sure to meditate on for a long time to come.

  • Eda Uca Dorn

    I just wanted to add a note: it was my incredible theology professor at Episcopal Divinity School, Christopher Duraisingh, who taught me the concept of “dialogical” movements. Here’s an excellent article by him: http://www.thewitness.org/archive/dec2001/duraisingh.html

  • Dan

    There’s also been interesting discussions of the language of gender binary & heteronormativity. One example being calling everyone “brother” and “sister”… relevant I guess in light of the fact that this practice can also be found in your essay, and stands in contrast to your desire to “help us build communities where all peoples are heard in dialogical movements of change capable of making room for one more at the table.”

  • Eda Uca Dorn

    Good point, Dan! I was speaking with a priest last Lent and she was administering ashes, “brother… sister…” until someone came up whom she knew to be genderqueer and she asked which pronoun she preferred or what she’d like used. The priest definitely walked away from it feeling dissatisfied by the binary language of brother/sister and also of some gender neutral options, which she thought didn’t express the feeling of kinship. (Of course “family” has been a primary agency of heteronormativity.) I will be more conscious of that in my writing and it’s also hard for me to let go of my emotional connection to brother/sister language. I’ll ask Chelsea Collogne (another JR contributor) if she’d like to weigh in.

    • Chelsea

      I’ve heard transgender classmates suggest “siblings” as an appropriate substitution for “brothers and sisters” in preaching and other church addresses.

  • Eda Uca Dorn

    Thinking more about it, in that case, “my child” would have worked just as well as “sister… brother…” I am a bit tired of always calling people “folks”. I guess I could just transition to “kin”- Our white kin, our kin of color- but that REALLY seems to emphasize a binary between white people and people of color which feels uncomfortable to me. More ideas??

  • Kate

    i get the gender binary in the brother, sister thing but I’m not really sure what makes it hetero-normative and I’d love to be educated. while the terms brother and sister reinforce a gender binary they also acknowledge the presence of different genders as valuable or worthy of note. Possible replacement with words like folks, people and friends can be helpful but can also homogenize in ways that aren’t informative, don’t help readers form a picture of gender presence and can be a little dismissive.

    • Chelsea

      Yes, it is good to be specific and say sisters in addition to saying brothers, but that doesn’t cover all the genders (female is not the only “other” gender, although it has been a big one under patriarchy). Gender-neutral terms are an improvement to using a gender-specific term to be universal (like just saying brothers), but I like your challenge to think of ways to specifically include, and in this case specifically include the trans community. “Brothers, sisters, and transgender siblings.” Hmm, I think it would be better for a trans person to chime in on this specific brainstorm.

      • kate

        i totally get that exclusively saying sister and brother is not inclusive my point was to revert to people or something non-specific isn’t more helpful necessarily that’s all. and some folks identify as both queer and gendered. i’m totally psyched about more inclusive language that doesn’t force people into one or the other and welcomes us to bring out whole selves to spaces.

      • Alex

        I use “sisters, brothers, siblings.” I don’t think you need the “transgender” modifier.

  • Dan

    I think the “worthy of note” comment is really important, but I would say that recognizing a gender binary (even in a positive light) still excludes some people who don’t fit into the binary; as they are simply not noted at all. If we only talk about brothers and sisters we’re either talking about ‘cis- ‘ people and entirely omitting ‘trans-’ and ‘intersex’ people, or, we’re forcing gender identities onto people, both of which also skews the gender presence in any report. What makes gender binaries hetero-normative is that they perpetuate the idea that men/women exist as distinct and complementary genders, which often comes with the idea that they therefore have (hetero)normal roles in life. It’s more of a “tends to” than “always does” situation.

    We need to develop a vocabulary that allows for a gender spectrum. I think (as Eda points out) that in reality this is difficult to develop especially when we want to develop the kind of kinship relationships suggested in the comment above…. In that example, of course, we further run into linguistic difficulties with the “my child” option, which would be appropriately neutral, but would then perpetuate the patriarchal role of the church (which in fact the brother/sister option countered). For an example of gender spectrum language; we’ve seen the development of cis – , intersex, and trans – , which have been useful terms for ‘identifying’ particularly in ‘academic’ discourse, but unfortunately have only limited workability in much of the polemic writing of activists.

    The point of course is to try and to be aware of our language and effect it has…and of course to recognize that we need to go beyond words and actually *be* inclusive and allow the language and policies to develop from that inclusiveness and not the other way around, which of course was one of the key points of the excellent original article, which I’ve totally derailed… sorry about that!

    • http://humandiscourse.wordpress.com/ Gideon Frambert

      Male and female are God-created categories, as well as actual realities — I don’t think there should be a problem with using these binaries. Binaries don’t necessarily entail exclusivity and can provide useful categories for comparison and exploration. There is a spectrum of existence between male and female, and much meaning is prescribed within culture. However, if one takes the Bible as God’s word and has a basic biological understanding, male and females do have inherently different qualities. Exactly what these qualities are is up for debate. There are those who exist on several different levels between male and female, and these people should be loved unconditionally, accepted, and encouraged. In my view, however, there is no need to qualify the essential characteristics of God’s creation. some people are born with abnormalities (not just in terms of gender but a variety of biological variations), others struggle with identity – ultimately our identity as children of God is most important and eternal. Should all language be adapted to reflect outlying variances? Should we talk about joining a march when there are those born without legs? Perhaps it should be called a horizontal movement against oppression? Please forgive my political incorrectness. I have absolute love for those who have a unique gender identity, but i believe the great concern for gender discourse stems from secular philosophy that fails to accept any absolutes (post-modernism), is therefore lost in a sea of relativity, and doesn’t understand that there is something greater than existence in this world, namely God’s kingdom. These bodies and our identities whether we male, female, or something else are broken and in need of God’s grace everyday. All are used for God’s glory. Also, God has revealed himself in terms of masculinity. Perhaps we don’t like it, but that is the case.

  • Stephen

    Those of us with large extended families in which clear lines of relation are ambiguous become used to calling everyone “cousin” (or, in my case, “cuz”). That may not strike the ear as being as intimate as “brother/sister” but is nevertheless appropriately familial and gender-neutral. Also, I love my cousins dearly. :)

    And of course, thank you for the original article which brought such a beautiful, Christian perspective to this awesome rising up.

    • ric hudgens

      I’ve always liked “cousin” too, as it keeps the familial metaphor, but doesn’t pretend to something as close as a sibling. Not sure yankees would go for it though . . .

  • Dan

    Oops. Edit “perpetuate the patriarchal role of the church” should have read “paternalistic”.

    I like “cuz” too. :)

  • Chelsea

    “While discerning collective truths in diverse communities is challenging, naming global truth from the location of any one person (or people) is impossible.” Great point! It might be harder to do this work, but it’s the only work that has a chance of succeeding. Thanks for summarizing the discussion out there through the lens of a Christian reconciliatory spirit.

  • Eda Uca Dorn

    OK, I LOVE cousin! LOVE IT! This was an important critique of something I missed in the writing of the article. Thank you.

  • Miriamtuschinski

    I understand much of what is being said here -I am hoping that the “Occupy” movement travels to all of the United States – to all cities so that a change can take place – the US has to stop dividing itself into sections of people and races – the media and the government promote this to keep the citizens from becoming one unit and one enitity – we are divided among ourselves and powerless – at this time the citizens must be heard or all will end up polarized and there will only be a very reach and an extreme poor population in the US – it will be a loss of freedom like no one has ever seen.

  • TBrandonLane

    http://www.racialicious.com/2011/10/03/so-real-it-hurts-notes-on-occupy-wall-street/

    I thought this was good. Honest. I imagine the author, Eda, must have already read this, but maybe it would be helpful to others?

  • Eda Uca Dorn

    Thanks for highlighting this- it’s actually the first hyperlink (third para) above so we’re agreed that it’s a great resource!!:)

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much Eda for writing on this. I have been really thinking hard about how to get a word about Occupy Wall Street (and the other movements that have sparked) on to Jesus Radicals, but not being there myself and not knowing anyone who has participated, I have felt at a real loss. It is good to see solid analysis like yours about a critical action taking place right now.

    I’ve seen good articles at The Guardian ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/sep/25/occupy-wall-street-protest?fb=optOut ) and Democracy Uprising ( http://www.democracyuprising.com/2011/09/five-things-that-occupywallstreet-has-done-right/ ) and other venues which are critiquing them using the standard line of dismissing a movement, ie “they aren’t organized, what’s their message, spoon-feed me so I can understand, waaaaaaaaaaah.” I have also been following the Occupy Together and Occupy Wall Street web sites and paying attention to the diversity of voices represented among the protesters in videos. In all my first response is to be really be inspired by watching these masses of people persist in saying enough is enough.

    I think your article is excellent though because it points to some of the trappings that movements can fall into when they aren’t paying attention. On the one hand, it is good that they haven’t fallen into the trap of thinking that “I can’t say anything unless my message is polished and media ready.” But anti-racist/anti-oppression communication and analytical skills are necessary and should be attended to regardless. The 99%, as you point out, includes people with various levels of privilege, access, etc. etc. Yes the economy bottoming out has been somewhat of an equalizing factor in that the middle class is now seriously facing the threat of less financial security–a reality which their economically disadvantaged/impoverished cousins have been learning to cope with for eons. But that doesn’t mean that “We” are all sitting on the same levels of the boat in this sinking ship. Some of us are still going to survive longer than others and I guarantee you someone, somewhere is trying to figure out how to bail out at least a few passengers while ignoring others. So I am really glad that you brought this out. This is a truly inspiring and much needed uprising, but it is not without its growth areas.

    The other thing that has bothered me about it is the nationalistic language and the sense that “because we, meaning the middle class, didn’t get what we deserved, we gonna get mad.” Take for example the October 5 post on the occupy wall street site: “The American Dream has been stolen from the world. Workers are told that they aren’t allowed health care, shelter, food. Students are told that they aren’t allowed jobs, and that they will be in debt for the rest of their lives, unable to declare bankruptcy. The 1% has destroyed this nation and its values through their greed. The 1% has stolen this world. We will not allow this to occur.” Posts like that make me wonder if this movement is about resisting poverty, wherever it rears its ugly head? Or is it about middle class folks declaring their right to continue being middle class? Is it about denouncing capitalism as a whole and demanding a better way to organize ourselves? Or is it about getting mad because capitalism, which used to work for us, isn’t working for us now and we want it to start working for us again? I get the sense sometimes that it is a little bit of both, but posts like that one make me uncomfortable. Because would these folks be occupying wall street in solidarity with their cousins who are at the bottom of the pyramid on principle if they weren’t in jeopardy of slipping down the slide as well?

    Anyway those questions are not meant to denounce the movement, but only to think critically about it as it continues. I got no hate for people putting their bodies on the line and putting up with the nation’s other branch of the military known as the NYPD. There is a lot of courage and vision present in what they are doing and it makes my heart sing that it is spreading and deepening as it is. But if a movement is to avoid falling into the same traps as the beast they are resisting, it needs to attend to some of these issues I think. If they do, it can only make them stronger.

  • Randomactsofreason

    Stating that an argument is inherently invalid because it is made mostly by people of color X is logically fallacious and also inconsistent with a goal of justice and equality.

    Whether X is black, white, red, yellow, brown or any other skin tone is irrelevant.

    A position is valid or invalid on its merits. Otherwise, it is just prejudice and divisiveness wearing a different cloak.

    • Anonymous

      What exactly are you referring to? I didn’t see anyone make the argument you are critiquing. As for your final line, what do you mean by “merits”? Because sociologically speaking, a position is often validated or invalidated by a whole lot more than the idea itself in this society and I think that is some of what the article is trying to get at…

      • Randomactsofreason

        1) Third paragraph of post makes exactly that argument.

        2) There are claims that a matter of opinion or POV, and there are claims that are objectively true or false.

        Ex of subjective claim: The cops are out to get us. Ex of objective claim: A cop attacked this person with pepper spray.

        Whether an objective assertion is made by a white, black, green or purple person, man or woman, etc, is irrelevant – either the pepper spray attack occurred (which, in this case, it did, and we have video evidence of it), or it did not.

        Statements such as, “it is usually white brothers and sisters who insist that because we are all of equal value, we should be described as one body” contains two objective claims that are subject to verification (or falsification):
        a) mostly white people make this argument
        b) this argument is invalid.

        The validity of b is independent of the validity of a. Neither assertions are supported in the post by evidence. And, more fundamentally, the assumption that the truth or falseness of an assertion is dependent on the color of the asserter is fallacious (and more than a little ironic, given our presumed shared goal of equal rights and respect.).

        Despite the lip service given to “both perspective are important”, toward the end of the third paragraph, the entire text between the assertions and the lip service claims that the argument allegedly made mostly by white people is a false narrative, that they are being “used” by the system, and that, once they are “enlightened”, the usually change their position.

        This may be true; it may be partially true; it may be a point of view; or, it may simply be false, based on false premises and assertions.

        I don’t see any critical thinking here, just a bunch of prejudicial assumptions and a knee-jerk affirmation by commenters. Hence my challenge to the assumptions made in the post.

        If we are sincere in critiquing cultural assumptions, that should include our own, shouldn’t it?

  • Eda Uca Dorn

    Nekeisha- amen on “the nation’s other branch of the military known as the NYPD”. I totally agree with your analysis here. Not to be obnoxiously self referential but the last article I wrote here was before the OWS movement started- an early September piece on the yawning gap between white people and people of color with regards to wealth in America. Pretending that those factors don’t exist and speaking about “the 99%” and “the American dream” as though African and Indigenous people (among others) weren’t originally excluded from it entirely (in fact they had negative outcomes in the zero-sum game of colonizing the Americas) is ineffective and dishonest. I don’t think these omissions are intentional and I think they can be amended. (Although white privilege is an insidious thing and not at all dependent on “intention” to operate.) I wish I had written more here about how the bottoming out of the economy is impacting people very differently, although folks can read about it here: http://www.jesusradicals.com/the-talking-book-the-racial-wealth-gap-and-what-to-do-about-it/

    • Anonymous

      I wanted to comment on your other article as well but I will say thank you for that one here as well. And “Amen, again” on “the yawning gap between white people and people of color with regards to wealth in America. Pretending that those factors don’t exist and speaking about “the 99%” and “the American dream” as though African and Indigenous people (among others) weren’t originally excluded from it entirely…” There is such a strong undertone of “we’re pissed about not getting the economic privileges that we were promised since the days of Manifest Destiny–privileges that some people have had to learn to live without since the get-go” that rubs me the wrong way. I agree, this is not insurmountable–they are indeed a work in progress and can fine-tune their messaging–so hopefully they do. Have you thought about sending your article to someone at the Occupy Wall Street or Occupy Together web sites? That way we are not just critiquing in a vacuum but hopefully trying to be iron sharpening iron for one another…. Just a thought :)

  • Eda Uca Dorn

    I posted it on a few OWS local FB walls and it was posted by others on other OWS local walls as well. I also emailed a link to the newly formed OWS People of Color working group, in case they found it to be of use. I’m trying to balance my hope that the article is modestly useful as a snapshot of some part of the process thus far and the fact that I am an outsider commentator with little claim of right to help shape a dialogue I’m watching sometimes doubly and triply removed from what’s happening on the ground.

  • Anonymous

    EDA…heard about the madness in Occupy Boston. Hoping you have not been victimized in the police’s brutal attack…

  • Eda Uca Dorn

    No but thanks for checking in! I’m planning to go down next Tuesday which might be all the better as they need fresh people to come in and give people some relief.

    • Anonymous

      Good to hear Eda…May God keep and protect you and everyone there in the midst of the madness.

  • Anonymous

    Just wanted to add a little confirmation to your essay (unfortunately). A few black women were called n*****s at the Occupy Philly gathering and several black folks were blocked from speaking to the crowd and accused of bring racist for bringing up racism. The account is on the Complex Brown blog http://complex-brown.tumblr.com/post/11275788186/black-out-at-occupy-philadelphia-we-had-a-black with additional commentary at http://blogs.philadelphiaweekly.com/phillynow/2011/10/11/black-activist-points-out-occupy-phillys-racial-disconnect/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=black-activist-points-out-occupy-phillys-racial-disconnect

    • Eda Uca Dorn

      OK well that made my heart sink. That’s about a million times worse than anything I was pointing out. I’ve read a bunch of articles on it and the details are (expectedly) mixed even among those who claim it really happened just that way. I linked the first article you shared along with two others on my FB wall. My question is, how do we know that the attacker wasn’t planted by the cops to destroy the movement? That might sound KRAZY with a K but cops plant people in peaceful protests all the time to mess things up. I mean, people are racist but the issue at hand is about white supremacist systems not stereotypically “racist” people who use racial slurs- that sounds like the cops unsophisticated (but totally effective) version of posing as a racist volunteer. I mean, straight up calling someone a “n*****” in that context? That doesn’t jive with my sense of white liberals or moderates (or pretty much anyone with any common sense). Also, I wish I could see these people face-to-face. I trust people when they say the experience racism or oppression AND I have no way of verifying who any of these writers are- do you know them? (But the “you’re a racist for mentioning racism” thing is so classic that it comes up in almost every anti-racism discussion brought up in a mixed group of people I’ve ever seen. That’s not surprising to me at all.)

      • Eda Uca Dorn

        (By “any of these writers” I meant both those who say it happened and those who say it happened but not that way and those who say it didn’t happen.)

      • Anonymous

        Not a krazy thought at all Eda. It has certainly been part of police strategy to plant themselves among protesters to either instigate situations that protesters would not have necessarily gotten into on their own or to portray a movement as violent when it isn’t, or–in this case, to eff up the solidarity that is being built. But at the same time it feels like it could be plausible.There are small occupy movements happening in the midwest where I am and it is definitely a mixed bag as to who is coming out and supporting this. Sometimes the diversity is great for building allyships. But other times it can bring out some “interesting” folks who would not necessarily be progressive on any other issue besides what is happening to their personal wallets and their social security and their jobs. Which is why I think the Complex Brown blog and your article up there is right to call for an intersectional analysis. You might be surprised how people stop their occupations if you start throwing in chatter about racism, sexism and civil rights for lgbt folks in a more direct way and saying that economic exploitation affects folks in the 99% differently…

    • Eda Uca Dorn

      I feel like every time we bring up systemic racism, the conversation falls into the personal racism gutter. Wouldn’t it be just like the cops- unsophisticated but totally effective in their disruptiveness- to distract the actual conversation about class and race by posing a volunteer or homeless man (whoever he was supposed to be) as the type of idiot who would publicly use a racial slur?

  • Eda Uca Dorn

    Here is a wonderful article which incidentally mentions another person who used the N-word (this time in Occupy Wall Street (NYC)). http://www.truth-out.org/why-elites-are-trouble/1318252392

  • Lief Malone

    Despite the Revelation quote, I can’t help but think that Gal. 3:28 is also inclusive of race or anything else that divides us. Of course, it’s difficult to really add anything to the discussion as a white male. :/

    • Eda Uca Dorn

      Thanks for that very good piece of Scripture, Lief. This is just my personal bias but my white husband has some of the most interesting and insightful comments on white supremacy/racism in any situation of anyone I know. He illuminates things that occur where they were inarticulated or invisible to me all the time. I learn so much from him! This particular comments area is not a caucus or closed group (which is a good tool at times!) it’s an open discussion and I wouldn’t want to be part of any open discussion that didn’t include him. Or you! Thanks for adding to the discussion.

  • Chelsea

    Here in Albuquerque, folks who are suggesting a name change to “Unoccupy Burque” in solidarity with Unoccupy Hawaii and Unoccupy Puerto Rico are being accused of “dividing the movement.” Right here in the middle of more than 20 pueblo nations and in Navajo and Apache lands….

    • Chelsea

      Nevermind! Great update: consensus reached on (Un)occupy Albuquerque”!
      AND, interestingly, a number of the folks supporting this have made reference to the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign, about the importance of allowing diversity and heterogeneity (queerness, in the conceptual meaning of the word) in a campaign.

      • Eda Uca Dorn

        Praise Jesus!

      • Anonymous

        YAY for this news Chelsea…

  • http://humandiscourse.wordpress.com/ Gideon Frambert

    It seems the term race is the wrong term to use to begin with. Race, from my understanding, tends to refer to biological and physical features, which seems to be an extremely sad and inaccurate way to categorize people. Perhaps differing “cultures” and “ethnicities” would be better terms to use? Race as a categorizing tool began developing towards its current usage beginning in the 17th century and was/is a tool of colonization, hierarchy, and division. Also, I like the point you make about other and earlier aspects of colonization (slavery and theft of INdian land). I think, as you point out, that these stories should be brought to light and will be brought to light when all people and their narratives they embody are represented.

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