We are living in a moment of tectonic shift in society. Something changed when we all watched the same images — 8 minutes and 46 seconds — the killing of George Floyd. During that unbearable experience, something broke down and broke open in our hearts, in how we relate to one another, and in how we want to live together.
The concluding episode in our series, Seeing White. An exploration of solutions and responses to America’s deep history of white supremacy by host John Biewen, with Chenjerai Kumanyika, Robin DiAngelo, and William “Sandy” Darity, Jr.
When it comes to U.S. government programs and support earmarked for the benefit of particular racial groups, history is clear. White folks have received most of the goodies.
The urgency with which many white people are calling for racial justice in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Dominique Rem’mie Fells, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks and so many others embodies a critical paradox: how can whites work against racism while also ensuring that we don’t re-center white supremacy in the process?
For years, Myra Greene had explored blackness through her photography, often in self-portraits. She wondered, what would it mean to take pictures of whiteness? For her friends, what was it like to be photographed because you’re white?
Reparations is about recognising that the wealth and privilege of white people came from the exploitation of black and indigenous people and taking the necessary steps to heal that trauma. That means taking time to understand how you benefit in whatever way from white supremacy.
How are resilience and justice connected? In my humble and not-particularly-well-educated opinion, lots of ways. All the ways.
For hundreds of years, the white-dominated American culture has raised the specter of the dangerous, violent black man. Host John Biewen tells the story of a confrontation with an African American teenager. Then he and recurring guest Chenjerai Kumanyika discuss that longstanding image – and its neglected flipside: white-on-black violence.
What kind of past does our political community wish to cultivate and project into the political present in order to meet present challenges, such as trying to keep the planet habitable for humanity?
My answer would be not the one represented by Colston, nor the one represented by Churchill.
In 1919, a white mob forced the entire black population of Corbin, Kentucky, to leave, at gunpoint. It was one of many racial expulsions in the United States. What happened, and how such racial cleansings became “America’s family secret.”
Scientists weren’t the first to divide humanity along racial – and racist – lines. But for hundreds of years, racial scientists claimed to provide proof for those racist hierarchies – and some still do.
“How attached are you to the idea of being white?” Chenjerai Kumanyika puts that question to host John Biewen, as they revisit an unfinished conversation from a previous episode.