For the September issue of the newspaper of the Professional Staff Congress/City University of New York, I had an op-ed published. Some excerpts:
And so the basic rights of more than ten million underprivileged African Americans are undermined by the limited resources allocated to them: those deemed worthy by a racist society receive the most, those deemed unworthy receive the least – and have the most exacted from them.
That is the backdrop against which, this summer, water was withheld in one place, a life gunned down in the other. No wonder that out of frustration and necessity, people in both Detroit and Ferguson – and in solidarity protests across the country – have taken to the streets to demand that their humanity be recognized.
Denial of common humanity has always been fundamental to white supremacy, throughout history. We can draw a direct line from the anti-slavery slogan, “Am I Not A Man And A Brother?” in the 19th century to this summer’s protests (“I AM a Man”) to see the pattern.
A life can be taken by the fast, brutal violence of a police bullet or a chokehold. But there is also the slower violence that can kill you just as dead, more gradually and in pieces – through poor health care, unemployment and bad housing, through denying you the resources you need to live.