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Gregory Poku on Anti-Blackness & Gay’s Departure: Bay State Banner

Shaya Gregory Poku, the College’s Vice President for Equity and Social Justice, writes that former Harvard President Claudine Gay’s departure from the role she held so briefly is about social control.

While her ascension was not liberation, the resignation of Gay painfully marks the end of the era of racial reckoning that became culturally salient in 2020.

Like the specter of the “welfare queen” trope used to dismantle the civil rights and Black Power movements alongside the federal surveillance program COINTELPRO, Gay’s ouster symbolizes the gutting of social justice efforts that Black Lives Matter and the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd catalyzed.

Except in this case, instead of using a fictionalized person on the social margins as the wedge, detractors of equity movements used a credentialed and accomplished person to make their case.

The very word “resignation” sanitizes the way the anti-DEI movement leveraged her to reset a supremacist social order.

Read the Bay State Banner opinion piece.

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