Expert Pitch
University of California, Irvine

After the Fierce Urgency of Now Passes: A Call for Moral Leadership

Douglas M. Haynes, Ph.D. Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer, University of California, Irvine.

Available to talk on issues of diversity and inclusion in higher ed, and in general, including the current protests surrounding the death of George Floyd.

 After the Fierce Urgency of Now Passes: A Call for Moral Leadership

 This weekend laid bare the grim reality of anti-Black racism in the United States, if you needed reminding. From coast to coast, millions of people have demonstrated in support of Black Lives while protesting the deaths of Black men and women as well as transgender and queer people in police custody or at the hands of vigilantes. As the smoke clears, a question looms before all Americans: How will you confront anti-Blackness once the fierce urgency of now passes?

 We know from previous national crisis—Watts in 1965 and Los Angeles in 1992 among others--that once “normalcy” is sufficiently restored, attention will shift to other pressing priorities--some personal, others professional and still others political. In the meantime, the pressure of large and small acts of anti-Black racism will build. One incident will incite a cascade of rage and anger, born of a long-standing grievance with a tradition of policing and a justice system that criminalizes Black people. Unequal access to educational opportunity, uneven participation in the economy and health care disparities will provide the smoldering kindling. Demonstrations and protests in the streets will return for a new generation to rediscover anti-Black racism in our society. 

 A principal reason for the cycle of protest and indifference is the lack of moral leadership to confront anti-Blackness in its many manifestations while becoming an authentic ally to the Black community. Moral leadership refers to modeling the values that you articulate, setting priorities to act on them, and utilizing one's privilege to realize a better world for Black people. Without moral leadership, it is relatively easy for the fierce urgency of now to become a distant memory or a passing regret. The human mind is quite inventive when it comes to forgetting or making up excuses or shifting responsibility or blaming others for uncomfortable truths. 

 In calling for moral leadership to confront anti-Black racism, I am not suggesting that Black people lack the capacity in this regard. Quite the contrary, in a world literarily organized around our subordination, we have achieved a great deal--but at equally great costs. As we know all too well, these costs, including bias, prejudice, and bigotry, still exist and rob us of our full capacity through no fault of our own. Moral leadership means that white and other non-Black people commit to understanding the structures and mechanism of de-valuing Black people and acting to confront, interrupt and dismantle them. 

 I will be the first to admit that this is asking a-lot. Moral leadership is not often rewarded. If anything, it can be a source of tension and conflict because moral leadership is fundamentally about creating change through disrupting seemingly settled ways of knowing the world and the people who inhabit it. Moral leadership is grounded in humility, not presuming to be a self-appointed race messiah or, for that matter, waiting for the right moment to take responsibility.

 It requires confronting one’s assumptions about Black people while learning about who the Black community is and asking whether they are thriving.  The answers to these questions and others are not intuitive, but require seeking out educational and training opportunities, holding your colleagues or co-workers accountable, and even making new friends. It requires white and non-Black individuals to reconsider the convenience of a system that tilts in their favor while summoning the courage to interrogate blind spots to move pass groupthink and social acceptance. 

Whether faculty or staff or undergraduate or graduate students or alumni or trustee, anyone can practice moral leadership in confronting anti-Black racism. One thing is clear: without moral leadership Black people will continue to pay the costs of de-valuation--spanning from spectacular forms of racist terror to insidious micro-aggressions--alone. And the cycle of protest and indifference will continue. 

Filters close

Showing results

110 of 5676
Released: 20-Nov-2020 4:25 PM EST
Those darn property taxes! Insights from Texas tax protests
University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business

Everyone loves to complain that their taxes are too high. Yet few people actually take the time to formally protest them. A recent deep-dive into property tax appeals in Texas offers new insights on what motivates people to protest or accept their tax obligations.

Newswise: Biden administration vs. COVID-19: U-M experts can discuss
Released: 19-Nov-2020 4:55 PM EST
Biden administration vs. COVID-19: U-M experts can discuss
University of Michigan

University of Michigan epidemiologists are available to discuss the challenges President-elect Joe Biden’s administration will face in combating the coronavirus when he takes the reins in January.To schedule an interview, contact Nardy Baeza Bickel at nbbickel@umich.edu or text 616-550-4531.Emily Toth MartinEmily Toth Martin, associate professor of epidemiology at the U-M School of Public Health, is an infectious disease epidemiologist who has been using COVID-19 public health data to help inform mitigation and policy.

Newswise: NEW: Youth vote up significantly in 2020; young people of color pivotal
Released: 19-Nov-2020 3:40 PM EST
NEW: Youth vote up significantly in 2020; young people of color pivotal
Tufts University

Presidential election turnout among young people ages 18-29 reached 52-55%, significantly higher than the 45-48% turnout of 2016, according to a new youth turnout estimate released today from CIRCLE at Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life.

Newswise: Making the Best Decision: Math Shows Diverse Thinkers Equal Better Results
Released: 16-Nov-2020 2:55 PM EST
Making the Best Decision: Math Shows Diverse Thinkers Equal Better Results
Florida State University

A Florida State University researcher published a new study today that tackles how groups make decisions and the dynamics that make for fast and accurate decision making. He found that networks that consisted of both impulsive and deliberate individuals made, on average, quicker and better decisions than a group with homogenous thinkers.

Released: 16-Nov-2020 2:05 PM EST
Amid New COVID-19 Surge, PPE Must Be Top Priority Says Critical Care Societies Collaborative
American Thoracic Society (ATS)

In response to the reports of COVID-19 surges around the country, the Critical Care Societies Collaborative, comprising the American Association of Critical‐Care Nurses, American College of Chest Physicians, the American Thoracic Society and the Society of Critical Care Medicine, released the following statement:


Showing results

110 of 5676

close
1.74689