"No seri­ous chal­lenge has yet arisen to this co-opting of the anti-racist legacy."

Emory Dou­glas, print

There’s a cer­tain lib­eral opti­mism about race in the United States, and last night’s Fer­gu­son grand jury ver­dict unmasked the com­pla­cency that lies under­neath it. For decades we’ve watched as the legacy of anti-racist move­ments has been chan­neled towards the eco­nomic and polit­i­cal advance­ment of indi­vid­u­als like Barack Obama and Bill Cosby. And we’ve watched such indi­vid­u­als lead the attack against social move­ments and mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties – today, they are the ones urg­ing restraint.

No seri­ous chal­lenge has yet arisen to this co-opting of the anti-racist legacy. Within the acad­emy and within social move­ments, intel­lec­tu­als and activists have ren­dered our­selves totally impo­tent. We’ve reduced pol­i­tics to the polic­ing of our lan­guage, to the ques­tion­able sat­is­fac­tion of pro­vok­ing white guilt. And we have allowed our present to become the age of Oscar Grant, Troy Davis, Trayvon Mar­tin, and Mike Brown.

There is a rebel­lion tak­ing place in Fer­gu­son, which has spread to Chicago, Philadel­phia, New York, and Oak­land, and this rebel­lion shows that it’s time for us to wake up. Once upon a time, move­ments against racism came to under­stand that it was not enough to make space for black and brown peo­ple in the Amer­i­can dream of social mobil­ity; it was nec­es­sary to make a demand for power – Black Power, and all the mil­i­tant move­ments of Chicano/a and Asian-American com­mu­ni­ties which emerged along­side it. The action that took place in the streets last night should remind us of the uni­ver­sal and ongo­ing sig­nif­i­cance of this his­tor­i­cal rupture.

Read more  | "Ferguson: Message from the Grassroots" | Asad Haider | Viewpoint Magazine