Kim: People feel like we live in a post-racial society. Does that feel true to you?
Ellena: I'm from Melbourne, Australia. It's not true at all. I've been complicit in being colorblind. One of my closest friend's is Somalian. I was thinking about getting a fake tan and I asked her, "Have you ever had a fake tan before?" I completely forgot she was Black. But what I learned from that is that it's easy for white people to universalize their race. That's what colorblindness means to white people: whitewashing.
In Oakland, California, there’s no justice, no peace. With a long history of police corruption and violence, and a powerful history of Black activism, the city is witnessing a re-emergence of civil unrest, led by a new generation of Black organisers.
In the wake of the non-indictment of the police officers responsible for the murders of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, emergency actions have arisen across the States to draw attention to what is understood as a war on Black Americans. One such response is Black Brunch, led by a group of young Black folks who are claiming space around the city of Oakland to draw attention to the crimes against their communities.
I met up with two young activists involved in the Black Brunch actions, Wazi Maret Davis, a graduate student and violence prevention educator, and Brianna Gibson, a paralegal at the Supreme Court in San Francisco.
Wazi scooped me up from out of the rain to take me to an upscale Southern food restaurant. The restaurant, where we drank whiskey and ate mac and cheese that was surely cooked in bacon dripping, is “fancy,” she told me, “but not bourgeois.” The distinction is marginal, but a significant one for Black Brunch, which has staged actions that involved walking into white neighbourhoods to disrupt the sacred bourgeois institution of brunch. Read more