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November 30, 2015

Black Lives Matter -- and Beyond

Black students have every right to force issues relating to their experiences on campus. There has been far too much self-congratulation on the part of white America about what has already been accomplished. At the same time, the deeper patterns of institutional racism will not be solved on America's campuses, and there are limits to what a college president can do. At several campuses, administrators who have sought to constructively engage students and make achievable concessions are finding that student leaders are loathe to compromise lest they seem to be selling out. These protests could be real opportunities to raise consciousness -- or they could end badly, in stalemate, protracted occupations and bitterness on both sides. And there is a deeper challenge here. America is currently the scene of ideological fragmentation, with lunatic activism on the far right that ranges from armed attacks on Planned Parenthood to assaults on refugees. In this climate, progressives above all need unity and resolve.

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