It would be naive to ignore the violence built into our political order

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Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

Minneapolis is burning. Violent clashes between protestors and police have punctuated protests in New York City, Louisville, Omaha, and notably, Washington DC, the nation’s capital.

There are those who have responded to this by lamenting the breakdown of law and order, insisting that the protestors’ actions are violent and therefore, illegitimate. Others adopt a morally apologetic stance, trying to refocus our attention on the institutional violence protesters are responding to. Some even attempt to contextualize the rioters’ destruction of property as something other than violence.

These disagreements about how to describe the protests reflect the way we have long attempted to reconcile the history of racial domination with broader American exceptionalist narratives portraying the United States as the world’s moral center rather than merely its military and economic hegemon. …

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