Wednesday, February 17, 2021
11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Join the Mervyn M. Dymally African American Political & Economic Institute for a Black History Month anti-racism webinar featuring New York Times bestselling author Eddie Glaude giving the Dymally Distinguished Speaker Series talk, and Tim Wise, one of the most prominent anti-racist experts and writers in the United States, leading a workshop on anti-racism.
This is a free event. Register via Zoom here.
For more information, contact the Dymally Institute at (310) 243-2204.
About the Speakers
Eddie Glaude is a professor and chair of the African American Studies Department at Princeton University. His most well-known books, “Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul,” and “In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America,” take a wide look at black communities, the difficulties of race in the United States, and the challenges our democracy face. Glaude’s most recent book, “Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own,” was released in June 2020.
Tim Wise has written several books on the topic of race in America, including “Dispatches from the Race War,” “Under the Affluence,” “Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority,” “Colorblind,” and “Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama.” Wise appears regularly on CNN and MSNBC to discuss race issues.
A Statement from Event Organizers
There have been a few adverse reactions to the title and signage of the workshop. This was intentional as now is not the time to be passive about racism. It is time for EVERYBODY to be uncomfortable about the time in which we live. What way to bring urgency to the conversation than to remind us what racism really looks like by tying it to a vestige of the past.
Racism, in and of itself, is offensive. There is nothing more divisive in American society than racism and its varying forms of bias and discrimination. Being offended by a sign that was pervasive in this society for over 80 years, should bring into focus the events of the past few years. We should be just as offended by our society’s failures to confront these racial injustices. The sign is a stinging reminder of the callousness of racism—the same callousness we’ve witnessed for years. This is the first of three workshops will use symbolic vestiges of American racism to drive the discussion. The next one will be a sign, “For Coloreds Only.” The third will be “No Negroes, No Mexicans, No Dogs.” All targeting segments of the American population being targeted today in third decade of the 21stCentury. Nobody ever agrees on how to best address racism. We are living in a time that reminds us of the Jim Crow era. We all should be part of the solution, and not be soft-soaping the conversation. We should call it what it is as we all recognize that white entitlement and white privilege has a segment of the country’s population “weaponing whiteness” to drive the current white supremacy movement in our country. One that recently sought to overthrow the government. So racial retrogression is not a figment of our collective imaginations. It is real. And it’s time for real conversations…with all parties at the table.
The sign is part of the American lexicon. The “separation signs” began to appear in 1885, twenty years after the end of slavery and two years after the U.S. Supreme Court 1883 “Civil Rights Cases” decision, repealing the Civil Rights Act of 1875 (Public Enjoyment Act). The last of them came down in 1970. It is as stinging and offensive today as it was 50 years ago. But it reminds us of the circumstances and conditions that created a separate and unequal society. Measurable and tangible benefits extended to one segment of the population but not the others…intangible rights that made exclusive space a property right to protect one segment of the population, but not the others. “Otherness” was created out of American racism. We’re witnessing the return of this with “sundown towns” and unprovoked police stops. This sign said STOP, DO NOT ENTER to generations of excluded people.
It’s happening again today and we must remind society where this can go if we don’t say STOP. People are quick to say they are not a racist, but are they willing to say, I AM “Anti-racist”? Are they willing to actively engage in the kind of discourse, no matter how uncomfortable, that will put an end to racial privilege and racial subjugation? Most of you will understand the directness in which we are trying to get EVERYBODY to talk about anti-black racism in its most honest and direct context. Other workshops will address direct and unconscious biases toward others. Now is not the time to massage guilt or get sensitive around a vestige symbol that we all know happens EVERY minute of the day, EVERY day, somewhere in America. It is the time for us ALL, to lean in discuss WHY this happens and how we UNITE to stop it from continuing to happen. Anything else is a distraction. It’s just a sign to get you to think…
This is how we start. Academia is supposed to be the “safe space” to critique and analyze society and social ills. And the historically dominant population can’t shy away from the conversation, nor be offended by the symbols they created out of the desire to discriminate…or stay hidden in the racial discourse. Just because the signs came down doesn’t mean racism stopped. Clearly, it hasn’t.
We anticipated that everyone wouldn’t agree with the approach. It’s the results we are looking for, the change in racism behaviors where we can talk about race in its truest reflections, as a way to work toward racial reconciliation in America, and at CSUDH. Thank you for having the courage to lean in.
About the Dymally Institute
Mervyn M. Dymally African American Political & Economic Institute at CSUDH is a non-partisan public engagement think-tank founded to study and research African American leadership, public policy impacting African American communities and prepare future generations for public service.