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Respectability Politics

Using MLK's Name in Vain: How Conservatives Twist Dr. King's Words

Torraine Walker | Posted 05.04.2015 | Black Voices
Torraine Walker

In the past year or so, there has been a tendency for white people opposed to any outcry against police brutality and ongoing racial discrimination to invoke MLK's words about the content of character being the yardstick to judge a man instead of skin color.

Your College Degree Won't Protect You From Institutional Racism

Amanda Bennett | Posted 05.20.2015 | College
Amanda Bennett

The experiences of Martese Johnson and Lawrence Otis Graham prove that adhering to the code of respectability politics does not guarantee protection from the sensory and institutional aspects of racism.

Dear Empire Critics, Stop Hating. You Just Don't Get It.

Ernest Owens | Posted 04.07.2015 | Black Voices
Ernest Owens

It's a prime-time drama for entertainment and reflection, people, not a political editorial or a public-policy initiative. Lee Daniels is a creator who should be given a right to fully explore his cinematic talent without being constrained by the narrow social confines of "making black people look good."

Restlessness or Respectability? A Spiritual Freedom to Be Dangerous After Ferguson

H. Adam Ackley, Ph.D. | Posted 01.26.2015 | Religion
H. Adam Ackley, Ph.D.

African American historians, womanists in particular, have long warned that "respectability" is an elite ideology that encourages the marginalized to conform to sociocultural standards and mannerisms defined only by those in power.

'Acting White'

Kristen Coke | Posted 12.28.2014 | Black Voices
Kristen Coke

I walked the walk, talked the talk, and now had a student ID card showing that I am an educated person. However, this didn't stop a store owner from turning up her nose at me when I entered her shop and having one of her associates follow me around. And this didn't stop the suspicious stares of residents in a small town where I visited one of my friends this past year.

5 People Who Aren't Helping Race Relations in 2014

Ernest Owens | Posted 11.15.2014 | Black Voices
Ernest Owens

This year, no one is safe when it comes to the ridiculous onslaught of ignorance about to people of color. Whether it was the media, celebrities, or members of our own community, the backwards advice and excuses for the degrading of our people was annoying.

Michael Brown, Son, Student 'Thug'?

Ama Yawson | Posted 10.21.2014 | Black Voices
Ama Yawson

The politics of respectability in the black community may not only hinder us from acting and engaging in the constructive protest, lobbying and collective action needed to create a more just society, as it has with respect to the Ferguson protests, but it may also prevent us from simply being and living freely.

Talking About Character in an Age of Respectability Politics

Myisha Cherry | Posted 08.22.2014 | Black Voices
Myisha Cherry

The idea behind the respectability politics of our day is that in order to not be oppressed, discriminated against, victimized or treated harshly by others, it is the responsibility of the oppressed group to "act good."