Angela Davis discusses the idea of structural violence allowing racism to continue in modern-day society, yet in a more ‘discrete’ fashion. The civil rights movement, while carrying some successes, led to an inflexible definition of racism. This caused issues with other less violent forms of racism – especially those with different groups – as people would not categorize these acts as racism. Furthermore, society as a whole failed to recognize the relation of history to modern racial inequalities. Coupled with the push for neoliberalism, this dynamic has led to a negative connotation associated with poorer non-white communities, as their lack of success in society is labeled as “laziness” while the historical events causing their disadvantaged position are ignored. This captured my interest as physical or manifested violence is often seen as the only form of violence against a people, yet Davis notes the importance of latent violence in modern racism: keeping a people from reaching their full potential. The neglect of this structural violence has allowed racism to become accepted as the structural norm in society. It is important to recognize that structural violence has created a detrimental cycle that targets non-white communities unable to escape the negative impact of history through mass incarceration, racial profiling, and voting blocks.
Davis, Brooks, Maalouf
Do you think the structural violence present in our society today has furthered the divide between different cultures by forcing individuals and groups to take an identity they may feel does not represent them, but societal standards pressure them to stay with?
Do you think pushing a culture of “bridging” identities could help counter the ever-evolving racism in our society?
With all the negative connotations around identity, what positives do you think carrying an identity could bring?