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White Women Engaging Black Lives Matter: Problematizing Solidarity in a Time of Identity Politics

The brutal police killing of George Floyd in America on 25 May 2020 has led to global mass protest action through the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement against police brutality and other institutionalized forms of violence against Black people. In South Africa, the BLM campaign has led to racial polarization between BLM supporters and those protesting against the killing of White farmers (#AllLivesMatter). Moreover, even though BLM garnered widespread support in South Africa, it did not translate into large-scale mobilization against police brutality in our own context, where the incidence of police murder is three times higher per capita than in America, and where Collins Khoza (among others) was killed by the police just weeks before the death of George Floyd. This has led scholars and activists to ask what solidarity and allyship to BLM means in the South African context. In this project we ask the more specific question: what would a productive response to BLM be for White women in South Africa? This question is particularly urgent considering our colonial/apartheid history where White femininity (constructed as vulnerable and in need of protection against the threat of Black men) is ideologically implicated in state violence against Black South Africans.


Fellows involved in this project

Visiting scholar
South Africa
Visiting scholar
South Africa
Fellow, Visiting scholar
South Africa

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Is any information on this page incorrect or outdated? Please notify Ms. Nel-Mari Loock at [email protected].