The Interview: Prof. George Dei

Host Zarar Siddiqi is joined by University of Toronto professor, George Dei, to talk about the fight for social justice.

3 mins read

Host Zarar Siddiqi is joined by University of Toronto professor, George Dei. Prof. Dei is an author of several books focusing on education and has written extensively about the intersection of race, class and gender in the anti-racism discourse. He has a PhD. in anthropology from the University of Toronto, and a Masters in the same from McMaster University. He has taught at OISE and has won countless honours and awards.

With the backdrop of the players strike we discuss the course of action in the fight for social justice.

  • Players responsibilities towards their communities given their stature
  • Why is it the NBA players that are leading this charge and not social and government institutions?
  • Pressuring politicians by attacking income generation
  • Missed opportunity in Montgomery
  • Protests that work, i.e., suffrage movement
  • Continuing conversations at home and treating it as our problem, not black people’s
  • How to help the powerless and marginalized?
  • What are the responsibilities of the powerless and marginalized?
  • Is voting the answer or is more dramatic action needed?
  • Hard to see what a revolution looks like, but we know it has to be a collective.
  • The importance of not being apathetic when change doesn’t come
  • Something different is possible.
  • Equitably sharing the resources across our communities while avoiding disproportionate negative outcomes.
  • We can’t expect the players to do it – the owners have to step in.
  • The oppressed acknowledging their own “existence” and avoiding fatigue.
  • Rich neighborhoods and the lack of policing indicating a need to redirect resources.
  • When we don’t acknowledge that we don’t have a policing problem, we become even more resistant to change.
  • Inability to listen leading and the necessity of listening to people’s pain.
  • Responsibilities for those who have power and those who don’t.
  • “I am what I am because we are”.
  • Addressing privilege without looking at it as a zero-sum game and “giving up privilege”.
  • Courage – action in the face of fear.
  • Rewarding the resistance for change instead of punishing it.
  • Importance of younger generation speaking about environment, racial injustice, sexism , homophobia, classism and how that is productive for society; dangers of suppressing that voice.
  • Spiritually and emotionally wounding implications of lack of change.
  • The model of collective black leadership instead of a single person; importance of youth leadership.
  • Social media raising awareness; social media wasting time.
  • Looking beyond the US and at the intersection of Black Lives Matter in the African subcontinent.

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