Dear Prof Glenn,
I saw your letter posted in the city-journal. https://www.city-journal.org/brown-university-letter-racism?from=timeline&isappinstalled=0
I agree with you that the administrators of the university are not “LEADERs” of the institute but only the ones who offer administrative service to the university.
But for the other part of the letter, I cannot agree.
As the famous phrase in the Declaration of Independence said: “All men are created equal.” We now know that “all men” in the original text didn’t not include women, and of course not including minority people like African Americans. Women in the US didn’t have suffrage rights unti 1920s. And founding fathers themselves are slave owners.
The social situation for the African American was greatly improved by the civil rights movement during the 1960s leading by Dr Martin L King. As a minority, we all took an advantage of immigration law passed after the civil rights movement spearheaded by African Americans.
After 1960s, the systematic discrimination are still there. Police brutality is still there, it can not be ignored. I was astonished to hear that you denied that there were “deep-rooted systems of oppression”. “Systemic racism is a social fact”. Number of black people shot by police is far more than people of other color. We all know that global protests ignited by George Floyd’s death caused by police officer Derek Chauvin excessive use of police power is not just by a single case. It is just a fuse to trigger a chain reaction. Therefore, struggling with whether the incident itself is a police violence or racial discrimination has blurred the focus of the matter.
It is not uncommon that a mass protest movement will cause a followup violence, Especially for any movement without a powerful leader. Just like what happened in Hong Kong in the past year. As Martin luther King said: “rioting is the voice of the unheard”. It is not a wise way not to differential the peaceful protest to express demands and the violence led by the peaceful protest.
We signed a contract with each other as people whether it’s spoken or unspoken and we say, “Among this group of us, we agree in common rules, “common ideals and common practices that are going to define us as a group.” A society is, it’s a contract.
The basic idea of social contract is from the book of Rousseau. But when the public power fails to perform its obligations, people may ask why should I obey the rules, what can we get when obeying the rules, and what can we lose when abandoning the rules. Comparing simplify the issue by only condemning the violence, it’s better to think about the underlying reasons to bring the dissatisfaction and frictions.