Orange Alert

New Faculty Snapshot: Biko Mandela Gray

Posted on: March 28, 2018

Syracuse University News and Kathleen Haley have done a wonderful profile of Dr. Biko Mandela Gray, Assistant Professor of American Religion

Kathleen Haley:What do you want students to understand better in your class #Blacklivesmatter and Religion and the civil rights movement of the last century? What discussions are coming out of the classes? Biko Mandela Gray:My #Blacklivesmatter and Religion course pushes my students to understand two interrelated realities: 1) racism (and sexism, classism, homophobia and transphobia, for that matter) is not limited to or even primarily expressed by people who are intentionally discriminatory. More often than not, the violations and violence that occur on a daily basis happen because people unintentionally live into and perpetuate violent systems. In that class, for example, we consider how the #neveragain movement—which strategically draws from elements of both the Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter movements—is not simply supported, but done so in a way that erases the protests that made it possible. To say that we’ve never seen young people as organized as the young people were for the #marchforourlives is to negate the work that has been done for the last five years by young Black people who were protesting everything from gun control to environmental racism. We discuss these disparities in our class in order to 2) try and further understand how we can move forward without reifying the violence of erasure or delegitimation—especially in our attempts to fight for justice.
Please take a moment and read the full Syracuse University News profile of Biko Mandela Gray.