Against Civility: The Hidden Racism in Our Obsession with Civility

Against Civility: The Hidden Racism in Our Obsession with Civility

by Alex Zamalin Author

A history of racial injustice to examine how civility and white supremacy are linked, and a call for citizens who care about social justice to abandon civility and practice civic radicalism. The idea and practice of civility has always been wielded to silence, dissent, repress political participation, and justify violence upon people of color. The best way to tackle racial inequality is through “civic radicalism,” an alternative to civility found in the actions of Black radical leaders including Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, Malcolm X, and Audre Lorde. Civic radicals shock and provoke people. They name injustice and who is responsible for it. They protest, march, strike, boycott, and mobilize collectively rather than form alliances with those who fundamentally oppose them. Against Civility calls to abandon this concept of discreet politeness when it comes to racial justice and instead more fully support disruptive actions and calls for liberation.