Boston University recently held an all day symposium for its students to discuss the events surrounding the killing of George Floyd and connecting the current civic unrest to the long history of institutionalized racism in the United States.
Most of the sessions were closed to only BU students but, thankfully, the opening discussion was uploaded for the public (search for “Opening Plenary: A Conversation on the History of Racism” and forward to about 22 minutes into the video) and is well-worth watching. Attending were:
- Ibram X. Kendi (Moderator), Professor of History (as of July 1, 2020), Founder, BU Center for Antiracist Research
- Paula Austin, Assistant Professor of History and African American Studies
- Louis Chude-Sokei, Professor of English, George and Joyce Wein Chair in African American Studies, Director of the African American Studies Program
- Saida Grundy, Assistant Professor of Sociology and African American Studies
A snippet. . .
This country is really gifted at forgetting. Forgetting is built into capitalism, into the kind of predatory capitalism we have here. Forgetting is crucial to how you create constant obsession with newness, innovation and commodities.Dr. Louis Chude-Sokei
The context of that quote being, of course, that racism in America continues to persist because we never come to terms with this country’s history of racism.