In this struggle to focus on the drivers, I am adopting two guiding principles that I have adopted from my CONNECT experience.
One, racism was and continues to be strategically narrowly redefined to describe more overt aspects of hate and oppression. Politicians have tied "racism" to explicit and denigrating racist speech, hooded KKK members, the old COLORED/WHITES ONLY demarcations in public spaces, etc...So when those posters are brought down, or the KKK members put aside their hoods, the leaders in power point to that as progress and the end of “racism.” In so doing, they deny the existence of more covert racism in housing policies, in employment and wages, in policies that tie education funding to property values and damn poor schools to failure, and policies that unleash law enforcement on black communities and keep affluent public schools white.
This leads me to my second guiding principle: given the intentionality with which these racist policies continue to be passed down from the halls of power, it is not naive to approach our work of fighting oppression with some paranoia. We cannot be shy about separating foes from friends, knowing that there are just as many, if not more, people on the opposite side of justice, working hard to maintain the racist and oppressive status quo.
— Thierry Uwilingiyimana