Activism / Identity & Culture

Identity and Injustice

Below is an interesting talk by lawyer Bryan Stevenson filmed earlier this month in Long Beach, California. It touches on an issue that has always grabbed my attention – identity. Not only identity, but its role in the development of activists and social justice agents. Especially when it comes to the issue of Black identity, a lot of fascinating work has been flooding into popular media lately, including the post-Black art movement, several books blasting traditional notions of Blackness (WomackToure, Dickerson, and Thurston), as well as the recent Canadian indie film Colour Me. The bottom line is that there is a generational movement toward expanding what it means to be Black. But there is also an acknowledgment that the reality of institutional racism remains, necessitating caution as we move away from the boxes imposed on Black people’s humanity. I consider this a quintessential issue of our time, one that could only exist for a post-Civil Rights but pre-equality generation, and one that must be grappled with whether we are examining issues of criminal justice, health, education, housing, or even entertainment in Black communities.


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