Princeton voices: Speaking out against systemic racism and police violence in the nation

June 5, 2020

As the United States grapples with the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless other black lives destroyed by systemic racism and police violence, and as protests extend across the country, Princeton scholars are speaking to the moment. Several Princeton faculty members, graduate students and alumni are using op-eds, television and cable news programs, online publications, and social media to grasp current events and navigate a path forward, drawing on their research as well as their own personal experiences.

Read, view and listen to some of their contributions to the national dialogue.


Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, assistant professor of African American studies: op-ed "The End of Black Politics" in The New York Times; op-ed "Of Course There Are Protests. The State Is Failing Black People." in The New York Times; op-ed "The Gaps Between White and Black America, in Charts," with Patrick Sharkey, in The New York Times; how racism and racial terrorism fueled nationwide anger on Democracy Now; why the US needs the Black Lives Matter movement today on NPR; the reparations debate on WHYY’s “Radio Times"; and the quest to transform America in The New Yorker. Eddie Glaude Jr., the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor, professor of African American studies and department chair, on the politics of this moment in Vox; op-ed "George Floyd’s Murder Shows Once More That We Cannot Wait For White America to End Racism" in TIME; America’s racist history, passive non-racism vs. active anti-racism, and the role of imagination in change and lessons from #MeToo on Sarah Spain’s podcast; and the death of George Floyd on MSNBC. Glaude's new book, "Begin Again: James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own" will be published June 30; on NPR, he reflects on what Baldwin's work tells us about the current fight for racial justice. Omar Wasow, assistant professor of politics, describes his research on protests, how they're portrayed in the media and how they impact political and legislative support in The Washington Post and on Twitter; the history and political effects of protest on PBS News Hour; rights, justice and crime in shaping our understanding of protests in the Financial Times podcast; and how violent protests change politics in The New Yorker. His research is cited in The New York Times, The Economist and NBC News’ Think column. Imani Perry, the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies, on the past and present of protests in the US on NPR; black history through the lens of growing and gaining sustenance from the land in Paris Review; the notion of collective grief on Quarantine Tapes podcast, op-ed "Racism Is Terrible. Blackness Is Not." in The Atlantic; and Black Lives Matter protests about police violence in a town hall on BET (Black Entertainment Television). Perry is also co-director of a new archival project at Harvard University, The Black Teacher Archives. Jonathan Mummolo, assistant professor of politics and public affairs, on how policing is "a political act in and of itself" on Twitter; and how the police have acquired military-grade equipment in Wired. Julian Zelizer, the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs: op-ed "It's been five decades since 1968, and things are somehow worse" on CNN. Kevin Kruse, professor of history: op-ed "Law and order won’t help Trump win reelection" in The Washington Post; and comparing current protests with "the police riot" in Chicago in 1968 on Twitter. Douglas Massey, the Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs and director of the Office of Population Research: Q&A about the protests in Long Island in Slate. Autumn Womack, assistant professor of African American studies and English: op-ed "Can You Be Black and Listen to This?" in Los Angeles Review of Books. Naomi Murakawa, associate professor of African American studies, on the debate surrounding defunding the police on NBC News. Errin Haines, Ferris Professor of Journalism: op-ed "Protecting Atlanta’s long legacy of success, compromise" in Atlanta Journal Constitution; Sen. Amy Klobuchar on race, justice and the pandemic in The Washington Post; and Philadelphia's police chief on keeping her city and her family safe in the 19th. Haynes and Tanzina Vega, Ferris Professor of Journalism, in conversation about racism and violence on WNYC. V. Mitch McEwen, assistant professor of architecture, on the dual pandemic of COVID-19 and white supremacy in Surface magazine. Patrick Sharkey, professor of sociology and public affairs, on defunding the police in The Washington Post; urban inequality in The Atlantic; and an op-ed "The Gaps Between White and Black America, in Charts," with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, in The New York Times.

Graduate students and alumni

Nyle Fort, joint Ph.D. candidate in religion and African American studies, talks about black mourning rituals with CBC Radio (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Dan Kihanya, 1989 alumnus, talks about entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds in Geek Wire. Michael Eric Dyson, 1992 graduate alumnus, talks about systemic injustice on The Late Late Show with James Corden. Cheryl Hicks, a 1999 graduate alumna, writes about Breonna Taylor, police brutality and black women’s historic demands for justice for the Association of Black Women Historians.

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