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Articles by R.L. Stephens
Our Activism Must Be Focused on Serving the People
R.L. Stephens · Our organizing can't just speak to the everyday crises of people's lives under capitalism. It has to intervene in them.
Ending Racism Requires Us to Take Up Class Struggle, To Shift the Material Conditions That Gives Race Practical Meaning
R.L. Stephens · Pierre Fulton was black. He was poor. He had struggled his entire life. He had been in trouble with the law as a youth. Armed robbery, drug distribution, and gun possession were all on his record. It was now 2015 and Pierre was thirty...
How Ta-Nehisi Coates Mystifies Racism and Obscures the Material Ways We Can End It
R.L. Stephens · Liza Bramlett was a slave. She lived on a cotton plantation in the Mississippi Delta, during the 19th century. White men raped her repeatedly throughout her life. They traded her body amongst themselves in exchange for calves and...
Solidarity Is About What You Do - Not Who You Are.
R.L. Stephens · I am Black. I capitalize Black and leave white lowercased. Sure, it’s the accepted spelling, but really I do it because it feels good. My family lived in Missouri, but my mother crossed state lines to birth me in Kansas. Missouri was a...
Tim Wise and the Failure of Privilege Discourse
R.L. Stephens · "Unfortunately, I think our use of the term “privilege” is no longer a productive way for us to gain a thorough understanding of systemic injustice, nor is it helping us to develop collective strategies to dismantle those systems...
Dear #BlackLivesMatter: We Don't Need Black Leadership
R.L. Stephens · Black Lives Matter, a loose network of activists around the country, is currently facing backlash for storming the stage at Bernie Sanders’ events. Black people have a long and powerful history of taking over white political spaces in...
The Left's Self-Destructive Obsession with Shame
R.L. Stephens · Perhaps the most redeeming aspect of my father’s ministry was his tireless work to help people heal from guilt and shame. I saw the transformative impact that his efforts had on people’s lives as they built the strength to lay down...
Are You Tired of the Social Justice Outrage Machine?
R.L. Stephens · I’m exhausted. I can’t keep up with the latest social justice outrage. In any given week, the internet will be in an uproar over the latest sensational headline. Ani DiFranco’s racism. Beyonce’s feminism. Duck Dynasty’s bigotry. It...