It is Coretta Scott King’s birthday! How do I know this? Elizabeth Warren tweeted about it. Warren’s tweet is not substantive and has no links to sources or anything that recognizes Coretta S. King’s life or activism. (Anyone have opinions on performative allyship or referencing specific activists/organizations/people for political gain?) In honor of King, I wanted to share a multi-part interview with her and one specifically on her advice for young activists.
(These videos come from the The National Visionary Leadership Project (NVLP), which is the premier resource for oral history interviews with African American elders who shaped the 20th century. These might help some of us with our final projects!)
To continue the story of the importance of black women in the 2020 elections, Richard Fausset from The New York Times wrote an article on recent Democratic appeals (particularly from Senator Harris and Mr. O’Rourke, but from many candidates) to black women as a voting bloc, who many Democrats consider a key demographic for winning the democratic primaries. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/28/us/politics/black-women-voting-south.html. The article traces how many of the major players are currently either appealing to certain issues or campaigning in specific locations geared at gaining the support of black women voters. Many of these appeals call upon identities of the candidate and relate them to specific struggles—either arguing ‘I can help you because I am like you’ or ‘I can help you even though I’m not like you.’
“Watching in the back of the crowd were Kadara and Kaywon Nelson, a black couple in their 30s, who had come out to learn more about Mr. O’Rourke. They were anti-Trump, but otherwise undecided. The biggest issue for Ms. Nelson, the campus safety compliance officer, was the cost of health care…They both said a candidate who could address the country’s issues was more important than finding one who represented their race. ”
As conversations surrounding the 2020 election continue to circulate, what is most important? Descriptive or substantive representation? Issues or the person pursuing them? Does treating black women as a ‘voting bloc’ in electoral politics disregard individual experiences and black women’s individual autonomy?
“Nikole Hannah-Jones is an award-winning investigative reporter covering racial injustice for the New York Times Magazine. She investigates the way racial segregation in housing and schools is maintained through official action and policy.” website twitter
This is mainly an introduction to a fantastic twitter account. For anyone who perhaps hasn’t read her work, Nikole Hannah-Jones (aka Ida Bae Wells and founder of The Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting) is absolutely brilliant. Recently, when Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) called attention to radicalized computer programming, this twitter thread was born, calling attention to previous reports that show automated bias.
“But that program’s functioning was detailed in a published report, allowing those with subject-matter expertise to confirm that morally troubling (and constitutionally impermissible) variables — such as race, gender and variables that could proxy the two (for example, ZIP code) — were not being considered.”