Our silence means that we can be picked off, one at a time, by repeating the same suffocating list of tired refrains: we are not credible, we were asking for it, we are casting aspersions on innocent men and ruining their reputations, and the details of what we say happened to us are disgusting and repulsive and we should shut up.
The pandemic has changed how we think about most of our social interactions and our relationship to others. But further down the news feed, far beneath the COVID headlines, we know there is an appalling epidemic of domestic violence behind closed doors as the lockdown continues.
If we leave the defence of free speech to the likes of Todd Gitlin, Matthew Yglesias, and J.K. Rowling, and the rest of the Letter’s signatories, the present crisis of free speech will surely get worse, and the lawlessness of the state will go unchecked by the kind of forceful pushback from the people that we so urgently need right now.
At the very heart of teaching mathematics for social justice is the understanding that we are all inextricably linked to each other through economic relationships. There can be nothing more basic than learning to tease apart these relationships to demonstrate that people’s political, economic, and social experiences hinge on a complex tapestry of financial policies and interactions.
In the broader struggles we face against other aspects of this oppressive and exploitative society, we can’t build united working class struggles without putting racial justice at the heart of them. To do that, we will have to confront, rather than pander to, illusions and racist baggage in our own ranks.
Durable inequalities of race, class and gender are maintained through violence. Right now, our society gives legitimacy to the police as the purveyors of that violence. This is why the widespread calls by protesters to abolish the police are so powerful. Not because there is no crime, no disorder or no killing in our society, but because, as it stands, the police are in many ways making things worse.