These are short clips of longer speeches, focused on a particular narrow theme. Literally, sound bytes or a little more. For descriptions of each clip, click below the audio player, where it says “Read the rest of this entry…”
1. A snippet of my 2005 speech at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, discussing the ways in which privilege and the obliviousness that comes with it can leave people dangerously unsafe, whether nationally (as in the case of our reaction to 9/11) or locally (as with the reaction to the shootings at Columbine High School and others).
2. A brief snippet from my 2005 speech at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in L.A. In this clip, I’m discussing the way in which white liberal and left activists sometimes minimize the issue of race and racism within social justice efforts (around the environment, health care and militarism), and the way in which that fractures potential social justice coalitions.
3. A very brief snip from my January, 1997 MLK presentation at Central Michigan University, in which I briefly note the importance of radical activists in the struggle for social justice.
4. A very brief snip from my January, 1997 MLK presentation at Central Michigan University, in which I am contrasting our national reactions to personal evil and violence committed by individuals with our lack of reaction to institutional evil and violence perpetrated by policymakers. One thing that is immediately noticeable about my speaking in those days is that I spoke waaay faster back then: partly nerves I am guessing, and also partly the inexperience that causes one not to value the power of a pause…
5. A snip from a 2001 speech at Ohio State University as part of a conference on “Organizing for Social Change.” Here I am discussing how the criminal justice system and especially the prosecution of the war on drugs has served as a mechanism of social control in the post-Jim Crow era. Even the definitions of crime and our understandings of danger and deviance serve to privilege some and disadvantage others.
6. Just a short bit about a right-wing spokesperson for the American Family Association, who I had seen downplaying (one might say justifying) anti-gay bullying while wearing an American flag shirt. Thought it was worth noting how apparently wearing the flag on your sweaty-ass body is not desecration but letting it touch the ground or burning it or just failing to salute it is seen as disrespectful by these jackasses…
7. Just a brief snip from my 2011 speech at Spalding University in Louisville, KY, in which I note the interesting fact that the U.S., despite (or perhaps because of) our relative power and advantage vis-a-vis the rest of the world has the highest rate of anxiety disorders on the planet, and ask what that might mean about the hidden costs of inequality, even for those on the top of the power pyramid…
8. A brief clip from my 2011 speech at Spalding University in Louisville, KY, in which I note the way that the current economic crisis facing millions of Americans (including millions of whites) has in part been made possible by our prior indifference to the same suffering when it was localized in communities of color for years. In other words, not caring enough about black and brown unemployment and suffering leads to an indifference that eventually bleeds over to the larger society, taking millions of whites down with it.
9. From a 2008 speech, 10 days after the election of Barack Obama as the nation’s 44th president. Brief snippet in which I respond to the common argument that Obama’s victory means racism can’t be a major national problem any longer. Here I explain the difference between individual success and achievement and collective liberation, and why the one does not say much, by necessity about the other.