Humanities Washington presents the next “Think & Drink” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, at Naked City Brewery, 8564 Greenwood Ave. N., and it’s a weighty subject: “The Long March – Measuring Black American Progress since 1968.”
“Our nation is moving toward two societies: one Black, one White—separate and unequal.”
This was the conclusion drawn by the U.S. government in the Kerner Commission Report, an examination of the sudden rise in riots and violence in Black neighborhoods in the mid-60s. Though the report was released in 1968, much of it reads like an indictment of 2018 America: the cycle of poverty, the deep polarization, the anger, the difficulty in confronting the past.
Yet by some measures, progress has been made. “The lives of Black Americans are better than they were half a century ago,” says journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, citing decreases in Black poverty rates, the absence of more blatant forms of discrimination, and the drop in teen pregnancy rates. America is still only a year distant from its first Black president. But what metrics should we use to measure progress? The income gap between Blacks and Whites remains staggeringly high, Blacks are incarcerated at dramatically higher rates, and White nationalism is seeing a resurgence.
Join us as we discuss what progress looks like for Black America. Are the last 50 years worth celebrating, or do we remain in much the same place as we were when the Kerner Report declared that “discrimination and segregation . . . now threaten the future of every American”?
Featuring Alexes Harris, University of Washington sociology professor; Quintard Taylor, University of Washington history professor emeritus; and Mia Lawrie research assistant at the UW’s Center for Communication, Difference, and Equity. Moderated by Daudi Abe, humanities professor at Seattle Central College.