Angela Davis. “There is so much history of this racist violence that simply to bring one person to justice is not going to disturb the whole racist edifice.”
I had asked the professor, activist, feminist and revolutionary, the
woman whom Richard Nixon called a terrorist and whom Ronald Reagan tried
to fire as a professor, if she was angered by the failure of a grand jury to indict a white police officer for shooting dead an unarmed black man, Michael Brown,
in Ferguson, Missouri earlier this year. “The problem with always
pursuing the individual perpetrator in all of the many cases that
involve police violence,” the 70-year-old replies, “is that one
reinvents the wheel each time and it cannot possibly begin to reduce
racist police violence. Which is not to say that individual perpetrators
should not be held accountable – they should.”
We’re talking at the Friends Meeting House in London before a memorial service to her friend and colleague Stuart Hall, the black British cultural studies theorist and sociologist, who died in February.
It was Hall, she tells me, as much as her mentor, the German Jewish
philosopher Herbert Marcuse, who made her think about the structural
issues in any given political struggle.
Not that Davis is insensitive to the outrage over specific cases of
police violence against black men, be it the riots in Ferguson, the
worldwide protests over the death of Eric Garner in police custody, or Trayvon Martin.
Davis focuses on the latter to make an incendiary point about the
racism endemic in Obama’s America. In 2012, she reminds me, Martin, a
black high school student, was fatally shot at a gated estate in Florida
by George Zimmerman, a white neighbourhood watch coordinator.
Zimmerman, who was later acquitted of Martin’s killing, reminds her of
“those who were part of the slave patrols during the slave era”.
TO READ MORE http://www.theguardian.com/global/2014/dec/14/angela-davis-there-is-an-unbroken-line-of-police-violence-in-the-us-that-takes-us-all-the-way-back