InDepth-longread: Knowledge and Compassion: Reflections on Institutional Racism in the U.S.A.

Yoko Arisaka

“Either we learn a new language of empathy and compassion, or the fire this time will consume us all”.
Cornel West
Race Matters, 1993.

In the wake of the pandemonium spreading across America after the May 27th murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the whole nation appears to have reached the point of irrevocable split. Is it finally the end of pretense of a great nation and a possible new beginning, or is it the ultimate downfall of a racist oligarchy, a “failed social experiment,” as Cornel West recently broadcasted?[1] The anger against the long-standing brutality and racism of the police, against white supremacy, against the entrenched history of racism everywhere, and against Trump erupted everywhere. But such protests were suppressed by force; they were anti-American. One thing is clear: the emotional explosions are immediate and intense; they have shattered the nation as well as families and friends. Violence and destruction have escalated everywhere. Social media are inundated with reports and commentaries that are meant to flame up the already unbearable situation. The whole nation is breaking down (again).