Kevin Powell wrote an amazing op-ed for Utne Reader, which you can read in its entirety here. It is a lengthy piece, by most internet-article standards, and requires time for reflection and consideration, but which I highly recommend you read.
“[W]hat ultimately matters is what you are willing to give up, to sacrifice, in every aspect of your life, to speak out and push back against that which has taught you that you are superior and that I am inferior, that you are always right and I am always wrong, pretty much in every space imaginable, both consciously and subconsciously. Silence is unacceptable in the face of injustice, and being neutral is being a coward and an accomplice to the evil sides of our history.”
This article is very insightful, as are the comments. When you read comments like “Suck it up buttercup” and “I reject the premise that I am responsible for someone’s ethnic predicament” and “You absolve Blacks from all responsibility for every problem, blame whitey” it becomes very evident that people are not truly reading and listening to what Kevin Powell has to say. There is deep truth here, and a lot to think about regardless of one’s race.
“We’ve had at least three major opportunities in American history to confront and end systematic racism directly, but we merely toyed around with the notion, then backed away.”
There is much value in bearing witness to the experiences of others, for this allows us all to learn and grow. This piece is brutally honest and would give fodder for deep reflection as we all seek to understand racial inequality and come up with ways for us to be anti-racist.
“As for me, I just want to be at peace, I just want to see love in the world.”
Kevin Powell is one of the most acclaimed political, cultural, literary and hip-hop voices in America today. Kevin is a native of Jersey City, raised by a single mother in extreme poverty, but managed to study at Rutgers University in New Brunswick thanks to New Jersey’s Educational Opportunity Fund. Kevin has gone on to be the author of 12 books, including his newest title, The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood. It is a critically acclaimed and brutally honest memoir about his life, including his youth. In 2018, he will publish a biography of Tupac Shakur, the late rapper and controversial American icon. Kevin’s writings have also appeared in CNN.com, Esquire, Ebony, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, ESPN.com and Vibe Magazine, where he worked for many years as a senior writer, interviewing such diverse public figures as Tupac Shakur and General Colin Powell.