Activism in the U.S.

Based on our conversation about European activism from a historical perspective, what can you say about US activism? How is it defined by specific (historical, cultural, etc.) features? Feel free to use visual aids (photos, drawings, graphs etc.) to reinforce your point.

Analyzing the different perceptions of activism for both regions has to go back to the foundational level of each region. America is a settler-colonial nation and racism has been an integral part of it since its inception. The capitalistic model established within the country depends on the extraction of labor and even after slavery was abolished, the country’s form of discrimination was not disassembled. It was simply rebranded. The same violence has been perpetuated by our current institutions. By establishing the police in order to ‘protect’ white people’s property from newly freed enslaved black people, segregationist policies, the prison industry complex and more, systemic racism in America cannot be solved by simply acknowledging the violence perpetrated against black people. Activists in the U.S. have formed a movement that is pushing for radical change, not just reform. The system was never intended to be equal and people are beginning to realize it. The current movement has highlighted this point through popular sayings like ‘defund the police’. The reason I believe this strongly differs from activism in France and Italy is because activism in these countries have focused on economic systems like neoliberalism. While it’s not an easy task, the problems stemming from neoliberal policies take much less time to address because they are as deeply ingrained as the racist institutions in America. This is not to say that France and Italy do not have systemic racism, just that America’s has been exceptionally cruel. For example, American racism was the blueprint for Hitler’s model. A quote on a poster says it best: “Racism Is So American That When You Protest It, People Think You Are Protesting America”.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Alejandro! The quote “racism is so American that when you protest it, people think you are protesting America” is such a simple yet powerful statement that encompasses the problems with this country. Not only are the discriminatory policies not acknowledged, they are disregarded as things of the past. This constant re-writing of history, alongside the resistance to change exacerbates the intergenerational trauma experienced by BIPOC in America.

  2. Exploring the differences between the US and Europe as a settler-colonial nation and a colonizing nation highlights a lot of structural differences I hadn’t thought about in my article. The points you raise about America’s capitalistic model based on systemic racism shaping the goals of activism in the US are very powerful, and important to consider as the country pushes for change.

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