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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Derrick Bell: Fighting Losing Battles | New Politics

 "...Despite his achievements and celebrity status, Bell was free of conceit and incapable of pomposity. The various strands of his life all came together in one overriding mission: the uncompromising pursuit of racial and class justice. Nor did Bell surrender to false optimism. On the contrary, he was often criticized for his stubborn belief that "racism is an integral, permanent, and indestructible component of this society," and that blacks could only extract concessions that converged with white interests. His detractors would counter that such pessimism could be debilitating and self-defeating. But citing Albert Camus, Bell contended that struggle was a moral imperative even in the face of certain defeat. And in Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism, he wrote of Martin Luther King:

In an essay, "A Testament of Hope," published after his death, he [King] wrote of his setbacks, the time spent in jails, his frustrations and sorrows, and the dangerous character of his adversaries. He said those adversaries expected him to harden into a grim and desperate man. But: "They fail, however, to perceive the sense of affirmation generated by the challenge of embracing struggle and surmounting obstacles." So, while Dr. King led a struggle toward a goal — racial equality — that seemed possible, if not quite feasible, in the 1960s, there was a deeper message of commitment to courageous struggle whatever the circumstances or the odds.

"Courageous struggle whatever the circumstances or the odds." Indeed, this was Derrick Bell’s testament as well."




Derrick Bell: Fighting Losing Battles | New Politics

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