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A nation on the brink

Nancy Scheper-Hughes, anthropology professor | July 11, 2016

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”  – President Abraham Lincoln.

handsup400Our nation as at a breaking point. Race relations in America have hit rock bottom. We have work to do and it is long overdue.

Beyond undoing the damage and human rights violations committed in our prisons, jails, courtrooms, police stations, and the horrendous militarization of police weaponry, which includes deploying counter-terrorism technologies to kill civilians, we urgently need an official reckoning with the past. 

Our country needs to take three steps: First, to establish a U.S. Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission to confront the full facts and extent of the damage wrought by our ‘settler’ history, including the genocides and ethnocides against our indigenous people, the atrocity of slavery, the failure of post Civil War reconstruction leading to Jim Crow segregation, and the political-economic-cultural revolution that never happened following the civil rights movement, all of which has now spilled over into the rage and destruction across the board in our streets.

Second, we need to have a national conversation about institutional and material reparations for crimes against those who have been locked into prisons, denied justice, and defrauded of their rights at US citizens;

Third, we need to begin the hard work of reconciliation, as a nation, as professionals — doctors, educators, clerics, politicians, employers, administrators — and as individuals in face-to-face encounters. And this is only the beginning.

Comments to “A nation on the brink

  1. Prof. Scheper-Hughes, I appreciate that my previous request for you to “provide the leadership to make the right things happen today” is more than a bit much, because it is way more complicated than that now that our failures to protect the human race are accelerating exponentially.

    This week, the UC Newsletter reported “The 7 biggest problems facing science, according to 270 scientists” by Julia Belluz, Brad Plumer, and Brian Resnick, and those problems must be fixed first.

    Then we have to figure out ways to enable the human race to achieve Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. etc.

    Now what?

  2. “Hands up Don’t Shoot” is a false narrative created by and promoted by the left.

    “The testimony of a half-dozen black observers at the scene had demolished the early incendiary reports that Wilson attacked Brown in cold blood and shot Brown in the back when his hands were up. Those early witnesses who had claimed gratuitous brutality on Wilson’s part contradicted themselves and were, in turn, contradicted by the physical evidence and by other witnesses, who corroborated Wilson’s testimony that Brown had attacked him and had tried to grab his gun. (Minutes before, the hefty Brown had thuggishly robbed a diminutive shopkeeper of a box of cigarillos. Wilson had received a report of that robbery and a description of Brown before stopping him.”

  3. Prof. Scheper-Hughes, thank you for your excellent conversations on social problems We The People must overcome with the greatest sense of urgency if American Democracy is going to survive the decline and fall chaos we are experiencing in 2016.

    Tragically, we have been studying these subjects for decades and current events prove daily that we keep failing to come up with solutions that should have been implemented decades ago.

    The destructive consequences of global warming are already in the process of eliminating opportunities to protect and perpetuate an acceptable long-term quality of life for all future generations

    Please provide the leadership to make the right things happen today because time to meet the accelerating challenges of change is running out faster than our current leaders admit.

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