Insights from American historian Robin Kelley on black struggles in USA and SA

Author and historian, Dr Robin DG Kelly's research has explored the history of social movements in the U.S., the African Diaspora, and Africa; black intellectuals, racial constructs and more.

He is in South Africa and chatted to Eusebius McKaiser about some burning issues of the day.

He says that there is a global structural problem around inequality and racism and unless true justice is achieved we will still experience violence taking place.

He says the problem facing black America is not one that could be solved by dialogue or a having a better understanding of things.

He gives a description of how the Black Lives Matter movement came about and some of its mandates in the US.

The movement was established in 2012 after the shooting and killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, and the fact that Zimmerman was not held accountable for the crime he committed.

The slogan "Black lives matter" was not to say that we matter too, but means that justice matters.

Dr Robin Kelly, author and historian

Kelly has written extensively on state violence in the United States and also about some of the racial unrest in South Africa.

He speaks about the oppression of black people both in America and South Africa.

Dr Kelly gives insight and analysis on the point that "trauma is real", looking at the struggles that university students went through in recent years fighting for their right to education.

He argues that trauma should not be the end goal of one's activism but that trauma is a narrative of our struggle.

Trauma shapes these struggles. You cannot possibly experience slavery, forms of apartheid or state violence without experiencing trauma, that goes with the territory.

Dr Robin Kelly, Author and Historian

But to say that trauma is our structural narrative actually eliminates the reasons why those acts of violence are important because they are trying to restrain and contain revolutionary movements.

Dr Robin Kelly, Author and Historian

To hear more of this interview with Dr Kelly, listen below:

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