Interrupted Reclamation!

No matter what one conceives of her task, the minority wins not when she has convinced those in power of the righteousness of her cause but when she has drawn the silent and perhaps even indifferent majority to her side. While the comfort and lack of urgency of ‘those perceived as having no skin in the game’ is most disabling to any social movement, alienating them further rather than winning them over is the guillotine on which many a righteous cause have breathed their last. But here is the catch; even more righteous causes have become diluted and completely irrelevant while stretching themselves to appeal to the recalcitrant armchair majority. Worse, still for social activists, the seeming propensity sometimes of self-professing sympathizers to raise their voices in criticism of social activists – or as Tess Peacock puts it eloquently “writing vague critiques which conceal a desire to pacify” – more often than they are given to questioning the status quo is a fundamental source of frustration and resentment. Continue reading “Interrupted Reclamation!”

#HLSUntaped: Drowning out black voices: Professor Randall Kennedy reads history wrong and in reverse.

In a recent piece published by the New York Times, Professor Randall Kennedy described the voices of students of color, who have been inviting Harvard Law School to have an open and honest conversation about systemic racism and the racist legacy of the School, as brandishing “several dubious complaints” and “nurturing an inflated sense of victimization.” Professor Kennedy further suggests that these students are engaged in an enterprise that involved “minimizing the victories that they and their forebears have already achieved.”

As one of the students who have been at the forefront of the initiative and invitation for dialogue, I was deeply troubled not only by these statements but also by how Professor Kennedy chose to slight a genuine overture for discourse and for institutional introspection. I was troubled, not least because Professor Kennedy did not take the time to listen and reflect, nor because he chose to exercise his professorial privilege to disrespect and bludgeon our lived experiences into naught. Rather, I was troubled because Professor Kennedy’s piece fit seamlessly into a historic institutionalized commitment that discredits the voices of black people and casts their self-expressions as “victim playing.” Continue reading #HLSUntaped: Drowning out black voices: Professor Randall Kennedy reads history wrong and in reverse.