1 There is no such thing as an empty space or an empty time. There is always something to see, something to hear. – John Cage, “Experimental Music” (1957), in Silence: 50th Anniversary Edition (Wesleyan UP, 2011), p. 8 Philip Nel, guitar and vocal, Manhattan, Kansas, 26 July 2020. 2 John Cage’s 4’33” was first performed
I can’t watch the latest videos of police murdering blackÂ men. I feel that I should watch them, to bear witness. But… the depressing regularity ofÂ these videos threatens to engulf me in despair. So,Â I am not watching the murders ofÂ Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Instead, I will write a few words –Â expressing sentiments I’ve shared before
In response to concerns expressed by some members of my family, I have removed this blog post. This marks the first time that I’ve removed or changed something for reasons other than finding an error or a typo. This post will not reappear here. Â But nor will it completely disappear. Â I plan to revise and
When people ask me about the steps to empathize with someone who’s been incarcerated, as if – and in some ways, there is a grand liberal tradition of wanting to imagine that you can feel black pain, which is itself almost always an exercise in violence and privilege. Not just something that can’t be done.
1. #Ferguson. #MikeBrown #EricGarner. #TrayvonMartin #BlackLivesMatter. #BlackLivesMatter. #BlackLivesMatter. – Philip Nel (@philnel) December 3, 2014 2. We can tweet #BlackLivesMatter all day. And we should. And we should ask why killing a person of color doesn’t even warrant a trial. – Philip Nel (@philnel) December 3, 2014 3. There’s actually video of #EricGarner saying #ICantBreathe
This post has two parts: myÂ responseÂ and some resources for teaching about Ferguson. Feel free to skip ahead to the resources section. MyÂ Response For two weeks now, I have been wanting to write something about the state-sponsored terrorism in Ferguson – and all that it represents (structural racism, police brutality, militarized cops, etc.). But it makes