The 2012 elections, said Applied Research Center Executive Director Rinku Sen, demonstrated that the allegiances between communities of color are gaining not only strength, but speed–turning back the Three Strikes law and the posse of Republican rape deniers, turning the war on women into a meme and, last but not least, helping Barack Obama win a second term as president.
“Paul Ryan says it was the ‘urban vote’ that did this, not the issues,” Sen said as she opened this year’s Facing Race conference. “We know what the ‘urban vote’ is. But it was not the ‘urban vote,’ it was the majority vote. It was the majority vote that is telling Paul Ryan, in the words of people more polite than I, where he can stick those issues.”
With the election over, said Sen, the publisher of Colorlines, this new majority has the ability to not just win accountability from its elected officials, but to “blowing up” the ladder of racial hierarchy and challenging the notion of racism and tribalism as endemic.
“I don’t think we have to live that way. I don’t think we have to refuse the answer the door when a mother whose children have been swept away by a hurricane knocks on it asking for help,” Sen said. “I don’t think that we have to be sheared down to the thing that is least important about us–our skin color. I think that we can be actual full human beings, and I think that we can change the way that human beings see each other, not by applying some bankrupt concept of ‘color-blindness’ that has no grounding in reality, but by demanding what we really want, which is the taking apart of the racial hierarchy.”
Watch Sen’s speech in full, delivered Nov. 16, above, courtesy of ARC.