On the power and the limitation of words when it comes to combating racism, with great relevance to UM and our AC community, published in the New York Times this past Sunday.


"There is worth in the expression of shared principles, as well as in the support that stems from collaboration. But beyond the immediate affirmation of restating our moral convictions, I confess my nagging worry that ceaseless statement-writing as an act of protest is sucking us dry — of time, rest, energy, creativity and our place in the public square.

Protest aims to voice dissent and sway public opinion toward the ultimate end of shaping social change, or in our moment, halting social decline. But when formulaic statements are issued by committees of liberal professors, or “the educated elite” — the same voices who always lecture on race — the words have limited impact. Our proliferation of statements online may in fact spur those who enjoy setting off shock waves through race-baiting language and then sitting back and watching the show.

As the Southern Poverty Law Center’s report “The Alt-Right on Campus: What Students Need to Know” suggests, what these instigators crave is “spectacle.” When we respond to slurs with the visceral go-to words — “vile,” “heinous,” “inhumane,” “attacks,” “assaults” — we may be fueling the opposition. We might be diminishing the power of our lexicon for future and more egregious affronts. We certainly are expending precious time." (Miles, NYT)


Read the FULL article HERE!