Last night, Robin Kelley gave an enlightening talk at Scripps College on Mike Brown’s body and a condensed history of black bodies. The Q&A, however, ended with a terrifyingly ignorant question (or, rather, assertion) about statistics on black men being violent (suggesting it’s their fault they’re in prisons).
After the initial shock and disgust, I found myself inspired by Kelley’s rational response. While we may pride ourselves on being a diverse consortium with open minds, I know that the ignorance that manifested in this audience member’s question is absolutely present on our campuses. Therefore, I think it is just as important to learn how to compassionately, calmly, and gracefully interact with these kinds of questions/assertions (as Kelley did) as it is to educate ourselves. There isn’t much room for growth of the Black Lives Matter movement if those who know the truth behind the statistics are not able to enlighten those who are stuck on the numbers themselves.
This morning, I came across a video on a black man getting arrested for standing on a corner with a golf club. Fortunately, the cop was later fired:
Similar to the audience member who ended the Q&A last night, it is so easy to reprimand the racist cop. But perhaps it is worthwhile to engage with the racist cops and ignorant citizens of our world (again, as Kelley so beautifully did) in order to move forward.