Is it controversial that I’m tired of Ahmaud Arbery, Christian Cooper, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd? That’s not quite right. It’s more accurate to say that I’m just tired, full stop. It’s hard to watch the videos. I know how they’ll end before I press play. Being a minority is not easy for anyone, but being black has always meant cleaning up behind those at the back of the queue. Growing up, I knew many people saw me as inferior and even sub-human. My Auntie Joy would counter this daily barrage of negativity by brainwashing me: “Gary, you are as good as any, better than many, and inferior to none.” It worked. As a freshman at Yale College, I didn’t yet know what an “entrepreneur” was, but I knew that I did not like being told I was inferior.
In 1994, I co-founded The Yale Black Political Forum with Danielle Holley, now Dean of Howard Law School, after one such insult. I was appalled when an academic department invited Charles Murray to speak at Yale. A British journalist summarises Murray’s argument as follows: “Black people are more stupid than white people: always have been, always will be. This is why they have less economic and social success. Since the fault lies in their genes, they are doomed to be at the bottom of the heap now and forever.” I didn’t bust my butt getting into Yale to hear that garbage, so I decided to fight fire with fire: If freedom of speech was so inviolable, controversial black speakers like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Anita Hill and Sista Souljah should have an equal right to speak at Yale. To its credit, Yale turned into my first “investor,” offering to subsidise the organisation if we prioritised security. When I moved from Yale College to Yale Law School, my fascination with my own supposed repugnance continued. I published an article in The Yale Law Journal arguing against giving police broad discretionary powers when policing minority communities. Ever since the days of slavery, discretion often resulted in white people killing black people.
I wrote that article 22 years ago. Slavery in the U.S. officially ended 157 years ago.
But we are still being lynched.
To read the full article by Gary Stewart in Forbes, please click here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/garystewart/2020/06/03/knee-on-the-neck/#44bbad696d8f
If you liked this article, check out our podcast episodes: Sara Hunterand Katani Sumner – Build your Racial Sensitivity and Nourah Al Faisal – Entrepreneurship to Help Saudi
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