grace-lee-boggs

Did You Know These Black and Asian Activists Were Connected?

[image description: A side-by-side image of Yuri Kochiyama and Tupac Shakur]

Last Saturday I gave a workshop on the history of Black-Asian solidarity at the University of Maryland’s FUEL conference. As part of my workshop, I brought up 5 high and low profile examples of Asian American and Black activists that were connected to one another. Of course, in the white supremacist, divide and conquer discourse of America, these connections between our communities are frequently overlooked. We must understand the nuance differentiating our racialized experiences in this country as “People of Color”, but just as important is that we also know our shared histories of struggle and collaboration. And so in this spirit so I wanted to share some of these examples from my workshop here as well.

Here are 5 examples of Black & Asian American Activists whom you may or may not know were connected to one another:

1. Yuri Kochiyama & Malcolm X

[image description: A side by side sepia image of Yuri Kochiyama and Malcolm X]

Japanese-American civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama passed away this year, but her legacy lives on. She and her family were sent to internment camps during World War 2, and in 1960 she moved to Harlem where she met Malcolm X. The two became close friends and associates and she was a member of Malcolm's Organization of Afro-American Unity as well. She was present at his assassination, and if you look at the newspaper clipping of his death, you can see that Malcolm X died in her arms.

Their collaboration inspired a lifetime of collaborative solidarity efforts between Yuri Kochiyama and the black community, including a high profile documentary with black feminist activist Angela Davis titled, “Mountains That Take Wing

2. Grace Lee Boggs & James Boggs

[image description: A photograph of Grace Lee Boggs & James Boggs, Image via Wikipedia: x]

James Boggs was a black civil rights activist, auto worker and organizer and Grace Lee Boggs is a Chinese American feminist activist and organizer. They married in 1953 after working together for the radical leftist Johnson-Forest Tendency founded by Marxist theorists C.L.R. James and Raya Dunayevskaya, whom Grace Lee Boggs had joined as a third co-founder. After marrying, the Boggs’s moved to Detroit together where they continued to organize and write until James’s death in 1993. In addition to founding organizations like the multicultural intergenerational youth program, Detroit Summer, they also interacted with some of the biggest players in the Civil Rights movement including Malcolm X (x). Grace Lee Boggs is still alive and politically active and was the recent subject of a documentary  American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs.

3. Fred Korematsu & Rosa Parks

[image description: A black and white image of Fred Korematsu with Rosa Parks, Image via The Korematsu Institute: x]

Fred Korematsu was a Japanese American civil rights activist. During World War 2, he knowingly violated the US government’s orders to report to an internment camp and was subsequently arrested by the US government. He argued in court that the order to intern him and other Japanese Americans was unconstitutional and his case eventually went all the way to the Supreme Court, in Korematsu v. United States, where Korematsu’s conviction and the constitutionality of internment were upheld in a 6-3 decision. Despite this, Korematsu’s stand was and still is a major galvanizing point in Asian American history. Some people laud him as the “Rosa Parks of Japanese Americans” which I think removes historical nuance and is inaccurate as these are separate stories and histories, but his contributions to civil rights struggle in this country are without dispute.

Rosa Parks is much more known than Korematsu for her stand in Montgomery, Alabama against bus segregation. We must acknowledge the respectability politics and colorism that were central in why Rosa Parks was chosen by the NAACP to spark the 1955-56 Montgomery Bus Boycott over the poor, dark skinned, teenage mother Claudette Colvin, who proceeded her stand by 9 months, but Parks's enormous contributions and sacrifices for the black Civil Rights struggle are also without dispute. Korematsu and Parks both not only took important stands for their respective communities, but they also knew each other and met at least once as pictured above.

4. Rev. Jesse Jackson & Vincent Chin

[image description: A side-by-side image of Rev. Jesse Jackson with Vincent Chin]

Vincent Chin was a Chinese American man living in Detroit who was racially profiled, stalked and beaten to death in 1982 with a baseball bat by a white auto executive and his step son at the height of tensions between American and Japanese auto companies. At one point in the assault on Chin, one of the assailants, Ronald Ebens, allegedly shouted, “It’s because of you little mother fuckers that we’re out of work!” in the midst of a litany of other slurs as they murdered Chin in cold blood. 

In the original murder trial, the two white assailants got no jail time and were just slapped with a $3,000 fine and 3 years probation, and this ruling led to massive rallies and organizing efforts by Asian American activists (including Helen Zia) in Detroit and across the country. His murder and the ensuing trials which exonerated the white killers of all criminal charges remain as one of the most important galvanizing moments in Asian American history.

Less known, however, is that black civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson was also actively engaged in the struggle for justice for Vincent Chin. He spoke at rallies and press conferences and pushed the issue in solidarity with Chin’s mother and community. This is well depicted in the PBS documentary, Who Killed Vincent Chin?. Also shown in that documentary are many pictures and videos of the rallies in Detroit for Vincent Chin, which clearly show a large representation of black community members and activists marching in solidarity with Chin’s family and the larger Chinese American community of Detroit.

Not only is Vincent Chin’s story regularly erased from American history and racial discourse, but so is this large show of inter-community solidarity that occurred throughout the 80s in the struggle to bring his murderers, Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz, unsuccessfully to justice.

5. Tupac Shakur & Yuri Kochiyama

[image description: A side-by-side image of Yuri Kochiyama and Tupac Shakur]

Last but not least, and my personal favorite example of solidarity was between Tupac Shakur and Yuri Kochiyama.

We discussed Japanese-American activist Yuri Kochiyama above for her collaboration and solidarity work with Malcolm X, but did you know that she was also connected to Tupac? Tupac was not only one of the best rappers of all time who regularly spoke truth to power in his lyrics, but he was also deeply politically involved from a young age as an activist. The unlikely connection between these two figures was recently covered by Hyphen Magazine and described below:

Dubbed “Grand Central Station” or the “Revolutionary Salon,” this Harlem apartment and Kochiyama family residence was a hub for activists, artists, students and other community members for much of the last four decades of the 20th century. [Laura] Whitehorn recalled a then 9-year-old Tupac Shakur speaking eloquently and passionately about the need to free political prisoners at a meeting in Yuri’s house. This 9-year-old Tupac was, of course, not just talking about abstract historical figures, but members of his own family – his stepfather Mutulu Shakur, his godfather Geronimo Pratt, Sundiata Acoli, Sekou Odinga, and others. 

(emphasis added mine)

And the connections ran even deeper and further back as Taiyo Na continues in their piece:

Yuri and Pac’s families were profound friends, comrades in intense post-Malcolm struggles for Black and Third World Liberation. Trace the lineages, and one can see how the legacies of both families and their communities catalyzed movements that transformed the nation and world twice over. Whitehorn’s snapshot of Yuri and Pac was like listening to “Free the Land” by Chris Iijima, Nobuko Miyamoto, and Charlie Chin on the A Grain of Sand album. Pac’s stepfather Mutulu Shakur is literally singing there with them on that record, and they are collectively singing the ethos of Malcolm’s call for the self-determination of all oppressed people. 

(emphasis added mine)

You can read more about the connection between Tupac and Yuri Kochiyama here, but it, along with the other 4 examples above go to show just how interconnected the struggles between Asian Americans and black people in this country have been for decades. And if we are to overcome the divisions between our communities which have especially emerged with the 1960s advancements of the “model minority” myth that is explicitly used as a lever of white supremacy, then it’s critical that we meditate on all of this shared history between our communities as well. Because ultimately, only by working together in tandem will we be able to fully overcome and defeat white supremacy.

This was just part of my workshop at UMD’s FUEL conference, but if you’re interested in learning more please feel free to reach out to me on my blog or via email at thisischukwuma@gmail.com.

Related Posts:

+ How Not to Use the Term “PoC” (2 Step Guide)

+ POC can enact racism against other POC

+ Trayvon Martin & Vincent Chin: a study in similarities and contrasts between two brutal cases of racial profiling

10

American Revolutionary: The Life of Grace Lee Boggs unfolds like a layered conversation. Director Grace Lee was working on The Grace Lee Project, seeking stories from Asian American women who share a common name with her. In a moment of serendipity, Grace Lee met Grace Lee Boggs; a social activist born in 1915, feminist, supporter of the black power movement, lover of good questions, and idol to many. What emerged from their initial meeting became a decade-long project of conversations and sharing stories. Lee captures candid and intimate sides of Boggs and the flux of activism, revolution, inner reflection, and structural change. As Boggs narrates histories of activism and community in Detroit, she also provides her refreshing and restorative wisdoms on spiritual and social transformation.

99-year-old movement legend Grace Lee Boggs is in hospice care, and our thoughts are with her as she completes her life’s journey.

I am coming to the end of a long journey—a journey that began over 70 years ago at the beginning of World War II. This journey has basically been to show that there is an alternative to the Bolshevik revolutionary prototype. It has taken us a long time to accomplish this, but we have been able to do so both as a result of our historical vision and because of the very practical efforts of comrades who have risen to the challenge of creating a revolution unlike any revolution that has been in the past.

Because of my increasing physical limitations in the last few years, I have not been able to play the role that I might have played. But that is not as important now as recognizing what has been achieved. A revolution that is based on the people exercising their creativity in the midst of devastation is one of the great historical contributions of humankind.

We will be finding ways and means to celebrate this, one of which will be the Reimagining Work and Culture conference in October. We want people to understand how much this concept of new work and new culture is based upon not only enormous activity but also on vision and on imagination.

Grace Lee Boggs, Detroit, MI, 9/23/2014

- CM

Being a victim of oppression in the United States … is not enough to make you revolutionary, just as dropping out of your mother’s womb is not enough to make you human. People who are full of hate and anger against their oppressors or who only see Us versus Them can make a rebellion but not a revolution. The oppressed internalize the values of the oppressor. Therefore, any group that achieves power, no matter how oppressed, is not going to act differently from their oppressors as long as they have not confronted the values that they have internalized and consciously adopted different values.
—  Grace Lee Boggs
I think most people do not imagine how things can change. In Detroit, there are community gardens that are only an indication that the country is coming back to the city. And that is something that actually is necessary to stop the real imminent danger of the extermination of our planet. When I came to Detroit, if you threw a stone up in the air it would hit an autoworker on its way down. A few years after that, if you threw a stone in the air it’d hit an abandoned house or a vacant lot on its way down. And most people saw those vacant lots as blight. But meanwhile during World War II, blacks had moved from the South to the North. And they saw these vacant lots as places where you could grow food for the community. And so urban agriculture was born. And that came about not because anyone planned it, but because the vacant lots, produced by abandonment, created the opportunity for bringing the country back into the city, and actually saving the planet in the process.

Grace Lee Boggs, the 97-year-old feminist, activist, and philosopher, was born in the United Stated in 1915 to Chinese immigrant parents. Boggs earned her PhD in 1940; these credentials were no shield against discrimination based on her Chinese ancestry. When Boggs married African American activist James Boggs, over a decade before the Supreme Court of the United States invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage, she made the choice to add his name to her own. Their marriage would last until James Boggs’ death 40 years later.

In observing debates around the politics of naming, especially when it comes to gender, I often think of Boggs. Someone who knows little of her life and politics, or of intersectionality, might judge Boggs’ last name as an acceptance of a patriarchal naming tradition that privileges men. But is it?

The argument could also be made that by adding the last name of her black husband to her own Chinese name Boggs was putting into personal action the political solidarity between people of color traditionally pitted against one another by white supremacy. Perhaps her acceptance of the name was even a revolutionary act that flew in the face of the laws of a country that said race must determine whom you choose to love?

Or maybe, in 1953, a deeply political Chinese American woman marrying a black man simply had bigger fish to fry than worrying about her last name? Of course, these arguments are just as much speculation as the first. Still, I’d argue it is Boggs’ life-long record as a thought leader in the labor, civil rights, women’s rights, and environmental justice movements that actually defines her identity.

Boggs put into action hooks’ concept of ideas over identity long before the rest of us even started talking about it. That’s an example that could do us all some good.

—  –In all of the recent controversy about what women should and shouldn’t be doing with our last names, I think Dr. Sarah Jackson echoes my sentiment. Check out what she said on the R today!
6

Today I wanted to share some quotes by several-decade-spanning American activist and self-identifying revolutionary Grace Lee Boggs. Here’s a near-release documentary which she is the subject of.

Grace Lee Boggs is a 98-year-old Chinese American woman in Detroit whose vision of revolution will surprise you.

A writer, activist, and philosopher rooted for more than 70 years in the African American movement, she has devoted her life to an evolving revolution that encompasses the contradictions of America’s past and its potentially radical future.

More here: http://americanrevolutionaryfilm.com

These image quotes are all available to share on Facebook via The People’s Record Facebook page as well. 

Director Grace Lee just won a Peabody Award for American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, a film about 99 year-old Chinese American activist that premiered nationally on PBS’ POV series, co-presented by the Center for Asian American Media. The film was also CAAMFest 2014’s Centerpiece Presentation.

“I’m so honored on behalf of everyone who worked on this film to be recognized by the Peabody Awards,” Lee said in a statement. “For me it means more people might be exposed to this story about the visionary life and ideas of Grace Lee Boggs.”

Congratulations!

Dear Friends of Grace Lee Boggs,

We are writing to ask for your support in keeping Grace Lee Boggs in her home in Detroit as she makes her final transition. As you are well aware, Grace is now 99, and has devoted her life to the struggle to stretch our humanity. Like her partner Jimmy Boggs, she has done so with minimal regard for personal advancement or riches. Grace has been living on a fixed income for quite some time.

Grace has always put the needs of others before her own. But now she is in need of your support. In September 2014, Grace went into hospice care. Over the last month she has become stronger, and it seems will be with us for much longer. She has been welcoming old friends and keeping up on world events. Still, she requires 24-hour care.

As you might know, there is very little public support for quality care to keep our elders in their homes. Grace’s resources are nearly depleted and those of us around her are limited in how much financial support we can all provide. Her care costs $8,000 per month. This is frankly more money than we have ever raised.

So we are making this appeal for assistance to raise these vital funds. Grace has established a Trust to which you can contribute directly. The funds from this page will go directly to the trust.

Because we expect that Grace may very well celebrate her 100 birthday with us, we envision a sustained responsibility. If you are able to commit to a monthly contribution, please select that option when you donate.

We also know that many people around the country have been sending energy, light and prayers to Grace and holding small gatherings in her honor. We encourage you to reach out to your community and host a fundraising event.

We also ask that you consider hosting a public showing of American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs where you could share conversation about Grace, her ideas and vision of a new country. We will send you a copy of the newly released DVD and are happy to work with you in creating such an event. Please contact us about hosting a house party or fundraiser at InLoveandStruggle@gmail.com

We will post the results of our efforts on the Boggs Center website and on Facebook. All of the contributions will go directly to Grace’s care. Please note these contributions are NOT tax deductible.

Any funds in Grace’s trust account at the time of her passing, will be placed in a non-profit, the James and Grace Lee Boggs Trust.

We deeply appreciate all the warmth and thoughtfulness sent to Grace during this time.

In love and struggle,

Shea Howell, Trustee

Alice Jennings-Edwards, Trustee

Richard Feldman 

Scott Kurashige

Women in Philosophy and Activism

Because you’ll probably never learn about them in a philosophy class.

Angela Davis

Angela Davis is known for her activism and work as an abolitionist, bringing us to think about the prison industrial complex as a form of slavery. However, Davis is also a philosopher. In her undergrad years, she became a student of Herbert Marcuse, a Marxist scholar. She earned her Ph.D. in Germany at Humboldt University. In 1969, she began an assistant professor position in the philosophy department at UCLA. Ronald Reagan did his best to get her fired from this position, citing her membership in the communist party, but ultimately failed. Attempts at firing her remained unsuccessful until 1970, when she was fired for offensive language speaking the truth. 

Grace Lee Boggs

Grace Lee Boggs has devoted her life to fighting racism and capitalism in the US. She focuses her activism in the black community in Detroit, Michigan. As a philosopher, Boggs earned her Ph.D. at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. In addition to a number of books, Boggs also worked to translate Marx’s work into English. She will be 100 years old in June. A documentary about her work, called American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, is available on Netflix. 

To listen to Grace Lee Boggs and Angela Davis discuss the role of philosophy in reimagining activism, growing our souls, and the expectations of being an “elder” in activism, watch this video!

4

Civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama has died at the age of 93. Yuri, a Japanese American woman, was actually the person cradling Malcolm X’s head when he was assassinated.

Yuri was among the first legendary Asian American activists I had heard of. I had also known of Grace Lee Boggs whose lifetime of activism (she’s now 98) originated in the civil rights movement. And only recently had I heard of Fred Ho, the recently passed ‘jazz’ musician and activist.

In Toronto, I am inspired by activists like my now passed away professor Roxana Ng who did various work connected to immigrant women; the labour activist Winnie Ng; and her now passed away partner Eugene Yao who was one of the founders of Urbane Cyclist Worker Co-op. These are all people I had grown up never knowing of, and who really challenge the stereotype of “model minority” and/or politically apathetic Asians.

When I was recently in Brooklyn, I really wanted to see this exhibition but it unfortunately had already passed. Serve the People: The Asian American Movement in New York. http://culturestrike.net/taking-back-chinatown

‘When I grow up I want to be just like Yuri Kochiyama’

I don’t know if it’s possible to stream this outside of the US, but American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs is currently available on PBS.org, and I would highly recommend it. It touches so much, and if you’re anything like me it’s going to inspire you to go deeper in your study of history, your commitment to leftist movement and thought, and… life. Cuz Grace has lived and loved some life, and her passion for it comes across the screen. I also think it might make you want to go talk to and honor the older people in your lives while you can. The way the filmmaker (Grace Lee, who met GLB to film The Grace Lee Project) presents the difference in perspective between generations and the value in this was transformative for me.

If you want something truly American to do on the 4th but feel nauseated by fireworks and American imperialism, you could watch this film. You have until July 30th.

Director Grace Lee always knew she’d make a film about the woman with a radical Marxist past, intimidating intellectual achievements and enduring engagement in the issues — a sprightly activist who can gaze at a crumbling relic of a once-thriving auto plant and say, “I feel so sorry for people who are not living in Detroit.”

Trailer here – longer description here – film here.

Yo, y'all! It’s Grace Lee Boggs’ 97th birthday–yes, ninety-fucking-seventh year here with us–so we’re going show her a bit of love here at the R’s Tumblr!

Her bio:

A prominent activist her entire adult life, Grace Lee was born in Rhode Island in 1915, the daughter of Chinese immigrants. She studied at Barnard College and Bryn Mawr, receiving her Ph.D. in 1940. Her studies in philosophy and the writings of Marx, Hegel, and Mead led not to a life in academia teaching others to question themselves and those in power, but rather to a lifetime of social activism and collaboration with others.

For Lee, it began in Chicago, where she joined the movement for tenants’ rights, and then the Workers Party, a splinter group of the Socialist Workers Party. In these associations, as well as in her involvement with the 1941 March on Washington, Lee found her niche as an activist in the African-American community, focusing specifically on marginalized groups such as women and people of color. In 1953, Lee married black auto worker and activist James Boggs and moved to Detroit, where she remains an activist today, writing columns for the Michigan Citizen. James died in 1993.

Grace Lee Boggs embraces a philosophy of constant questioning – not just of who we are as individuals, but of how we relate to those in our community and country, to those in other countries, and to the local and global environment. Boggs has rejected the idea of the stereotypical radical as one who only views capitalist society as something to be done away with, believing more that “you cannot change any society unless you take responsibility for it, unless you see yourself as belonging to it and responsible for changing it.” It is in smaller groups, working together, that positive social change can happen, rather than in larger revolutions where one group of power simply changes position with another. That is why, in 1992, she and her husband founded Detroit Summer, a community movement bringing people of all races, cultures, and ages together to rebuild Detroit - a city Boggs has described as “a symbol of the end of industrial society…buildings that were once architectural marvels, like the Book Cadillac hotel and Union Station, lie in ruins…and in most neighborhoods people live behind triple-locked doors and barred windows.” Working literally from the ground up, Detroit Summer’s activities include planting community gardens in vacant lots, creating huge murals on buildings, and renovating houses. There is a Center set up in honor of Grace Lee and James Boggs,http://www.boggscenter.org, which fosters their ideas and encourages independent thinking and leadership.

In her own words (from a 2012 Hyphen Magazine interview):

How do you think being born a Chinese female has impacted your outlook on your life and your activism? (Boggs was born in 1915 in Providence, RI to Chinese immigrant parents).

I think being born a Chinese female helped a great deal to make me understand the profound changes necessary in the world. My mother never learned how to read and write because she born in a little Chinese village where there were no schools for females.

Because I was born in the United States, there was more opportunity for women in the United States that was very different from China. And as a result, she felt very envious of me for the opportunities that I had and this created a lot of tension between us. I don’t know whether that exists for Chinese or the Asian families that are coming here to the United States today. So that being born Chinese was not so much a question of being discriminated against because I was Chinese, though there’s some of that, but a sense that I had a different outlook on life. I had the idea, for example, from my father that a crisis is not only a danger but also an opportunity and that there is a positive and negative in everything. Being born Chinese meant a big deal to my life, I think.

I did not join any movement that was Asian because there was no Asian movement. There weren’t enough of us. There were so few of us, we were almost invisible until very late in the 20th century. I can remember when the idea of being Asian was born. Until the late 60s, we were Chinese or Japanese or Filipino. The idea that there was an Asian identity only came about at the end of the 1960s. We began to see ourselves more in numbers than in the past.

Did you form any friendships with other Asian activists since the 60s?

I was very fortunate here in Detroit, that we formed a group called the Asian American Political Alliance, which is made up of some Chinese, some Japanese. Some of the Chinese were born here, and some born in China. This gave us a sense of the diversity among Asians and also of an Asian identity. I think that was very important in my political development.

How did your parents view your marriage to an African American man, and your involvement in a mostly black movement?

Well, by the time Jimmy and I got married, I had been living away from home a long time. So they weren’t very much involved in my marriage. Toward the end of his life, my father lived with us for a while and he and James were very, very friendly and very close. My mother was living in Hawaii most of the time. I did not see her very much. By the time I left home, left New York in the middle 50s, my mother lived either in California or in Florida or in Hawaii with my brother so I did not see very much of her.

How do you maintain your Chinese identity over the years?

I’m not sure whether I maintained it. I don’t have only a Chinese identity. I see my identity as more that of an activist, as more that of a person who has worked with many different people, who has been a philosopher. I think that the ethnic identity has been useful and helpful and part of who I am but not what I am predominantly.

How do Asian Americans carve out a space in a country that still mostly sees race issues as black and white?

The opportunities are enormous for Asian Americans to be integrated or co-opted into the system. Fortunately, there’s been an Asian American movement that has sought to align itself with all people of color … The Asian American movement has an enormous amount of promise. But you have to make choices. You have to decide whether you’re going to take advantage of your ability to be cooperative with the system, or see how profound the contradictions in this system are. The challenge is, how do we create a more human society, how do we ourselves become more human?

“We urgently need a paradigm shift in our concept of the purposes and practices of education. We need to leave behind the concept of education as a passport to more money and higher status in the future and replace it with a concept of education as an ongoing process that enlists the tremendous energies and creativity of schoolchildren in rebuilding and respiriting our communities and our cities now, in the present.”

–Grace Lee Boggs
An Educational Summit on the Urban Crisis State Theatre, Detroit, August 20, 2002

» It’s funny because I meet so many social justice minded people who are extremely career-focused. Whether it’s about becoming a non-profit executive director or running for office, our ideas about success are often quite skewed and not actually transformative. I think the question we have to ask ourselves is, do we want an academic/political career, or do we want a revolution?

Name: Grace Lee Boggs
Dates: 1915-present

Why she rocks:
She is an author and feminist, still alive at age 95, and writing books such as “The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century”. She focused on activism in all areas of the country, but specifically in Detroit.

Quote: “We are at a stage in human history that is as monumental as changing from a hunter/gatherer society to an agricultural society”

Because of this woman… we have books on how to become better leaders and activists today. 

  • Guernica:What are some strands of philosophical thought that guide your thinking on how people should make change in the contemporary world?
  • Grace Lee Boggs:I was very lucky that as a graduate student at Bryn Mawr College, I studied Hegel’s Phenomenology. He talked about how we do not reach freedom like a shot out of a pistol, but rather that it takes a lot of labor, patience, and suffering. And I’ve seen it happening. I’ve seen how it takes time for change to take place. But then when huge changes are taking place, they are extraordinary. And it requires a kind of philosophical thinking, thinking in terms of epochs.
  • Guernica:Do you feel like that kind of intellectual inquiry is missing from today’s education system?
  • Grace Lee Boggs:Well, I think that education today is a form of child abuse. The natural tendency of children is to solve problems, but we try to indoctrinate them with facts, which they are supposed to feed back, and then we fail them. And that’s child abuse. And you should never raise children that way. You should cultivate and encourage their natural tendencies to create solutions to the problems around them. We have a school in Detroit that’s founded on that idea—the Boggs school. They have wonderful teachers who create solutionaries.