On today’s show, we discuss the connection between racialized policing in the US and the efforts by the right-wing to erase slavery from America’s history. We discuss this with Joseph Flynn, the Executive Director for Equity and Inclusion in the Division of Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and an associate professor of curriculum and instruction at Northern Illinois University.
The efforts to rewrite American history are an attempt to prevent Americans from realizing the connection between slavery, Jim Crow laws, the civil rights struggle in the mid-20th century, and policing in communities of color today. Absent this context, it could seem ridiculous for anyone to conclude that the justice system is and has been systemically racist.
The right-wing wants everyone to think that the murders of George Floyd and Laquan McDonald are unrelated events. That the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse for his crimes had nothing to do with the fact that America has, since its founding, feared black men and justified just about any action taken by white men against the bodies and lives of black men if the white man was “scared.” The verdict can easily be accepted if you view it from the lens of white supremacy that dictates that black men are nothing more than urban predators who cannot control their most primal urges.
We also discuss the epidemic of fear surrounding ethnic studies programs at universities across the country. This fear has been driven by America’s growing underbelly of unsophisticated and fearful residents seeking someone to blame for the struggles in their lives. This makes them ripe for manipulation by the right-wing media machine and politicians who seek to benefit themselves at the expense of their supporters. This wedge serves to empower right-wing elites while simultaneously not only hurting communities of color but also putting the lives and bodies of people of color on the line.
Dr. Joseph Flynn’s Perspectives on WNIU – Northern Public Radio can be found here.