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Sep 20, 2021Liked by Michael David Cobb Bowen

Michael, the one moment where I remember you really caught my attention and made me think, "this guy is not in the box", many years ago, was when you said "fuck the white guy who wants me to turn my stereo down". You very aggressively detached that from other politics--it was not a demand for conventionalized civil rights or different accommodational rules, etc.--it was an argument about a radical vision of autonomy and freedom that recognized that white censoriousness towards black life was one of a number of threats to that vision. But in the years since, I feel like you often check yourself when the implications of that position take you outside of your appeal to some form of conservatism and your disdain for anything leftward of that. There's something so unconventional and unregulated inside a lot of what you are thinking but you really yank yourself back a lot, or so it feels to me.

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You’re talking here about something that I’ve long seen as a problem: what you and your family chose was, essentially, forgiveness. Many people today would argue that it’s an unfair requirement placed on Black people to forgive historic traumas. Yeah, I think it is unfair. But that burden cannot be fulfilled by anyone else. It’s up to the African-Americans of today to decide how to move forward, whether that will be integration or not. And integration does not been subsumption! It simply means shared purpose, in my view.

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