A few weeks ago, I went to an Earl Sweatshirt concert with a couple of friends at The Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. After enduring one opener who was too drunk to rap on beat, I was looking forward to finally seeing Earl. But, to my dismay, the next silhouette that slowly came into focus…
Beverly Daniel Tatum, president emerita of Spelman College, is the Haas Center’s 2017 Mimi and Peter E. Haas Distinguished Visitor. During her time at Stanford, Tatum lectured on her expertise in race relations as it applies to her degrees in clinical psychology and religious studies. The Daily spoke with Tatum about her experiences with racial injustice and her studies regarding its impact on religion and education.
The riots will not end with us shouting at the protestors to go home. It will not end with us chastising them for being violent. It will end when we tell our fellow Americans what they have deserved to hear us say for so long: We are listening. We must do better. And we will do better.
When confronted with racial activism, rather than labeling it as overdramatic and annoying, consider that people of color have been fighting systems of oppression since the day they were born. And understand that their anger, no matter how aggressive, no matter how radical, and no matter repetitive, is justified.
The importance of dismantling the “model minority” Asian stereotype is clear. Convenient and unrepresentative aspects of the Asian identity are exalted to demean other minority groups and justify racially oppressive structures. Moreover, the “model minority” myth renders the discrimination and struggle within Asian American communities invisible. As the Stanford campus continues to organize around Ferguson, it is crucial that we reject an ideology designed to pit minorities against each other and immobilize a movement for racial equality.
I’m going to relax because I believe that for those who are interested in hearing it, there will always be room for the Black experience in hip-hop even as white rappers like Iggy and Macklemore achieve chart-topping success. Iggy does not, after all, compete for the same audience as black rappers like Kendrick Lamar or Pusha T, so she’s not crowding out artists who rap about the Black experience.
While Nixon was trying to keep the interests of the people at heart and prevent the sort of violence that negatively impacted the image of peaceful protests, the decision to enact the state of emergency was premature. Moreover, it increased tensions, priming the city, state and nation for a more violent response than would have necessarily ensued without the para-military and National Guard presence.
It would be more confusing than clarifying for me to preface my statements on the subject with the phrase “as a white man.” What separates me from those 63 percent of white Americans who do not believe that race was a central issue in Ferguson? A different worldview.