Dr. Tricia Rose on the Tavis Smiley Show

This is a particularly poignant and fascinating discussion about race in the US, particularly in the wake of the Zimmerman trial. Tavis Smiley’s guest is Dr. Tricia Rose, Director, Brown University’s Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America.

Aired: 7/15/13 http://video.pbs.org/video/2365047500/

One very interesting question and answer from the beginning of the show (around minutes 3:30 – 5:56):

Tavis Smiley: (after describing how many people within the African-American community he believed would not have been surprised by the verdict of the Zimmerman trial) What then does it say 50 years after the March on Washington (that we’ll celebrate in just a few days from now) that so many in the African-American community and beyond have so little hope, so little faith and trust, in our system of jurisprudence?

Dr. Tricia Rose: Well, I mean it is a devastating indictment. I mean, you know, it seems to me unless one wants to make an irrational argument that all African-Americans are paranoid and delusional (of course, there are some people who would, but most reasonable people wouldn’t).  If you’re not going to go that route, you have to ask yourself the question: Why are African-Americans so injured, so hurt, so suspicious, so unhopeful about this so-called ‘great democracy with a great judicial system’? And when you ask that question seriously the evidence that mounts for deep unjust treatment, unjust application of law on all kinds of levels, unjust levels of sentencing, surveillance, illegitimate modes of discrimination in every other facet of everyday life is so overwhelming that the answers are present for us. In other words, the reason to hope against hope is not unclear, and yet we run from that data. We’re unable to seriously confront it and retreat to a very almost PollyAnna narrative about the ways in which we’ve improved. Which, by the way, Tavis, I’m very excited to support. Yes, things have gotten much better in many ways, but they’ve also gotten worse, and if we don’t keep our eyes focused on this, in community, in conversation, with serious data, we’re destined to maintain the kinds of inequality that are devastating poor communities around the country.


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