BLOG FEED – KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR


MacArthur Foundation fellowship recipients include two Black women who say Chicago shaped their work

By Jason Beeferman

Read the full article from Chicago Sun Times, here.

Historian and author Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Jacqueline Stewart, who studies the history of cinema, both focus their work on the Black experience and uplifting Black voices. They are among 25 recipients of the no-strings-attached $625,000 fellowships, unofficially dubbed the “genius grants,” announced Tuesday.

Taylor has lived in Chicago for more than a decade. Stewart was born and raised in Hyde Park. Both said their experiences with Chicago’s Black neighborhoods played a pivotal role in their intellectual development.

The Unknown History of Black Uprisings

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Read the full article from The New Yorker, here.

This perception of riots as the decline of the nonviolent movement has marginalized the study of them within the field of history. As a result, our conventional wisdom about “the riots” of the sixties vastly underestimates the scale of Black insurgency and its political meaning. In her new book, “America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s,” the Yale historian Elizabeth Hinton recovers a much longer and more intense period of Black rebellion, which continued into the nineteen-seventies. In doing so, she challenges the dismissal of what she describes as the “violent turn” in Black protest, forging new ground in our understanding of the tactics employed by African-Americans in response to the extralegal violence of white police and residents and the unresolved issues of racial and economic inequality.

The Emerging Movement for Police and Prison Abolition

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Read the full article from The New Yorker here.

“Our current criminal-justice system is rooted in the assumption that millions of people require policing, surveillance, containment, prison. It is a dark view of humanity. By contrast, Kaba and others in this emergent movement fervently believe in the capacity of people to change in changed conditions. That is the optimism at the heart of the abolitionist project.”

After Protests over Unauthorized Use of MOVE Child’s Bones, U. of Pennsylvania & Princeton Apologize

Watch the full story from Democracy Now! here.

“This week, 70 Princeton professors, including Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Imani Perry and Eddie Glaude, signed on to a letter published in the campus newspaper calling on the university to act. The group writes, quote, ‘The University should move beyond denial to pursue restitution and repair. … The victims of the MOVE bombing, their families, and those of us at Princeton invested in Black history and communities deserve more,’ they said.”

Collaborative Justice-Centered Think Tank Launches at UIC: The Social Justice Portal Project

By University of Illinois at Chicago

Read the full article from Newswise here.

“John D. MacArthur Professor Barbara Ransby, director of the University of Illinois Chicago’s Social Justice Initiative, has convened a formidable roster of social justice scholars and writers as the inaugural cohort of Marielle Franco fellows, named after the assassinated Brazilian human rights leader. They are: Angela Y. Davis, Robin D. G. Kelley, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Naomi Klein. The four Franco fellows will participate in curated discussions and public events over the next two years with some of the most influential organizers in the country and scholars whose research wrestles with social and racial justice themes.”

The Meaning of the Democrats’ Spending Spree

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Read the full article from The New Yorker here.

“If anything, the A.R.P. is defensive legislation, reacting to the crisis but lacking an offensive strategy to reverse the worsening inequality in the U.S. The federal government will help people pay for health care if they lose their jobs, but the system of for-profit health care is left untouched. Billions will be made available for rental assistance, but the unaffordability of housing remains the same. Millions of Americans will continue to struggle with debilitating debt, and to live on the federal minimum wage, which is still absurdly less than eight dollars an hour. This new spending is necessary but not nearly enough to dig ordinary Americans out of the hole created by decades of political neglect.”

What’s at Stake in the Fight Over Reopening Schools

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Read the full article from The New Yorker here.

“Chicago schools were slated to reopen in the fall, when the school year began, but rising rates of community spread and a lack of proper protections resulted in the continuation of remote learning. Chicago Public Schools then announced that it would plan to reopen in January—just as infection rates and deaths were rising exponentially across the country. Chicago teachers voted with their feet. When they were asked to report to their buildings on January 4th, only forty-nine per cent did.”

When the marches End: Part 2

Watch the Center for Urban Studies founder and executive director, Henry-Louis Taylor, Jr. in a discussion, along with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, hosted by the African-American Resource Center here.

Black America Has Reason to Question Authorities

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Read the full article from Thhe New Yorker here.

“The skepticism among the Black public is not rooted in the same kind of anti-scientific sentiment that has motivated those small communities that reject vaccines in general. Instead, Black concerns are enmeshed within a history of Black health care that is replete with acts of cruelty and depravity and has caused Black communities to regard the health-care professions with warranted suspicion. More important, racism in the provision of medical treatment in the United States has tainted the ways that health-care professionals view Black suffering and symptoms, and Black bodies, more generally.”

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and the Limits of Representation

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Read the full article from The New Yorker, here.

“We are living in the recent shadow of a two-term Black President and two Black Attorneys General. And, despite this unprecedented concentration of Black political power, not much has changed for the vast majority of Black people. This was certainly true before the ravages of COVID-19 measured the exact depths of racial injustice in the country. There may be a multitude of contextual factors and contingencies that explain the impotence of the Black political class to change the conditions experienced by ordinary Black people, but those explanations do not change that basic reality.”

The End of Black Politics

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Read the full article from The New York Times, here.

“The revolt in American cities, amid a deadly pandemic that is disproportionately killing African-Americans, suggests that people feel the political system cannot solve their problems. Many have been looking back at the urban uprisings of the 1960s to make sense of our situation. Those protests exposed a shocking degree of racism in the supposedly liberal North. A main demand from protesters then was more black political control of cities.”

Joe Biden’s Success Shows We Gave Obama a Free Pass

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Read the full article from The New York Times, here.

“Mr. Obama’s free pass is also extended to Joe Biden who has strong support among black voters. But we won’t really know the sustenance of Mr. Biden’s black support until the South Carolina primaries. Mrs. Clinton also had deep black support in 2008 — until she didn’t. If there looks like an ‘electable’ alternative he might be in trouble.”

Succeeding While Black

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Read the full article from Boston Review, here.

“The point is not to impose onto or require a more radical viewpoint from Obama when she does not have one, but rather to expose her ultimately conservative message. Obama served as an inspiring role model—her personal story is extraordinary by any measure. But it is crucial for both her and us to acknowledge that it was made possible by the confluence of institutional changes and her own talents.”

How Real Estate Segregated America

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Read the full article from Dissent, here.

“The subprime mortgage crisis, and the wider housing and economic crisis it produced, was the culmination of a long period of predatory inclusion of African Americans in the housing market, which can be traced back to the era of housing and credit reform in the late 1960s and 1970s. After decades of exclusion, African Americans were finally promised access to the robust housing market that had fueled the ascension of the white middle class in the second half of the twentieth century.”

In Baltimore and Across the Country, Black Faces in High Places Haven’t Helped Average Black People

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Read the full article from In These Times, here.

“Fewer than 40 miles from Baltimore, in the nation’s capitol, resides the nation’s first African-American president. There are 43 Black members of Congress and two Senators—the highest number of Black Congress members in American history. And just as the West Side of Baltimore was erupting against the police killing of Freddie Gray, Loretta Lynch became the first Black woman appointed as Attorney General.”

Why should we trust you? Clinton’s big problem with young black Americans

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Read the full article from The Guardian, here.

“The incongruent logic of deploring ‘systemic racism’ while championing the US as ‘the last, best hope of Earth’ lends itself to the constant questioning of Clinton’s sincerity. Perhaps she thinks that both can be true, but others might conclude that the candidate has either not truly grasped the depth or scale of the crises in black communities today, or that she will say anything to get votes.”

How We Get Free

By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Read the full article from Jacobin, here.

“Perhaps at its most basic level, black liberation implies a world where black people can live in peace, without the constant threat of the social, economic, and political woes of a society that places almost no value on the vast majority of black lives. It would mean living in a world where black lives matter. While it is true that when black people get free, everyone gets free, black people in America cannot “get free” alone. In that sense, black liberation is bound up with the project of human liberation and social transformation.”