Corrine McConnaughy Profile picture
Jan 15, 2018 16 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
This is as awful as I expected.
From the message to the messenger - whose bio is no happenstance in the intended effect on the Fox News audience - this is shameful.
#MLK was a leader of a movement not for blind unity, but for true unity based on justice fulfilled. Justice.
My husband - who, yes, is black - has taken me on a privileged journey over our 18 years through my own ignorance. He comes from rural Louisiana and from a family that sharecropped and worked domestic jobs to invest in that one family member who might rise.
That one family member was my father-in-law, who went from one-room segregated school house to college and then law school on the aspirations and sacrifices of an entire community. And those aspirations? They were for bringing to reality the promise of full humanity.
Those aspirations were not for white people to be nice to them. They were not for invitations to someone's party or participation in their club. They were for acknowledgement of systems of brutality--economic, social, political brutality--that took and took and took from them.
They were for America to have a reckoning with itself. For it to make amends, not to make nice. Amends do not even begin when white Americans will not even bother to listen, let alone repay. What insult to take this day to say "America, do not listen."
So what did my father-in-law do with his community's aspirations? He invested in the movement and the work we are supposed to be honoring this day. And he did that at incredible personal cost. And he kept doing it every functional day of his life.
He, like so many who gave to this movement, will come to his final resting day with no fame or special remembrance. This day, #MLKDay is the only celebration of that.
And what rage I feel against the idea that this day is thought of as something less than a day to see America's failings--our continued participation in this still unfulfilled dream of reckoning with a system that destroyed so many for the gain of others.
My husband is now a political scientist. He studies black politics not because he is incapable of some other intellectual pursuit. He would likely be in a hard science field if he followed his own simple interests. But he cannot.
And what rage I still feel, every day when I see others make presumptions. When I see that this man commits his intellect and energy to trying to keep the promise made to those who invested in his father. Do the work to bring justice. Never mind the personal cost.
Look around you, white liberals, quoting Fox News tweets and scoffing them off. That's not the work #MLK asked of you. That will bring no justice. I, like you, once thought my rejection of such racist tropes was work for the cause. It is not.
You have opportunities to do so much better. They come in moments no one is looking to congratulate you. They involve real cost. They require you listening. They make you some enemies. But why should your contributions to justice be so much less than those to whom it is owed?
My father-in-law is now dying - with the generation of #MLK he is leaving us, day by day. He will end his days with no peace at a dream fulfilled, but having handed off duty, resilience, sacrifice, and courage. I have blessed to have been witness. I wish for many to seek the same
So, no, today is not about unity. But neither is it celebration of dreams. It is a time for renewed focus on reckoning. To whom have you denied full humanity, with your unwillingness to listen, learn, and see?
What work will you today, tomorrow, with your lifetime? What luxury is that to be able to so freely choose! What will you do that is actually better than those before you? Please do it knowing, like many, your efforts may never be seen.
But see your power and USE it. For if communities with so little could pool all they had by yet more sacrifice among them to send off one man to be a weapon for the cause of justice...what's asked of you is so little and yet somehow more than you can see.

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More from @cmMcConnaughy

Sep 5, 2018
Women and Politics is a great class to teach. My students’ minds are regularly blown about how the content doesn’t comply with their priors.

I am happy to have those with degrees in hand sit in and adjust their priors, too.

It’s a big literature. Lots of stuff to learn.
Day 1 we talk about the fundamental concept of power--pulling from radical feminist scholars Bachrach & Braratz (yes, that was sarcasm)--and how a system of power entrenches itself through mobilization of bias. We use this to understand patriarchy and the meaning of feminism.
Day 2 we move on to talk about how different conceptions of the solution to the problem of patriarchy lead to different sort of demands from the state. We talk a lot about whether any policies are essential (e.g., reproductive rights, compensation of all labor, etc.) or not.
Read 29 tweets
Sep 2, 2018
Saw lots of great stuff at #APSA2018, but am afraid I also saw a couple people bomb the Q&A portion of their panel. With job market season upon us, want to share some thoughts (*not* suggestions) on what Q&A time is and how to think about doing it well.
First, yes—Q&A can be high stakes in interviews and make or break you. But seems like some people don’t realize that’s because LOTS of things can be happening in Q&A, some of which are about your work and some of which are not.
Q&A is the “read the room” portion of your presentation. It’s complex—it’s about understanding the goals of others in their interactions with you in the space, and whether and how those goals align with yours. And then executing accordingly.
Read 14 tweets
Jul 27, 2018
What does “white feminism” look like in its purest form? I give you some primary source material from the records of the ERA Club of New Orleans—a white women’s suffrage organization. Their 1918 Suffrage referendum campaign literature:
"On the part of the women of Orleans Parish who believe in democracy, we earnestly ask for your vote."

Democracy! Yes! Everyone should get to vote in a democracy! Right?

"We appeal for your vote on another score. The women of your state are the political inferiors of negro men in their United States citizenship. We ask that your hands remove this stigma of inferiority..."

Note that white supremacy defines black women OUT of womanhood entirely.
Read 18 tweets
Jul 1, 2018
This is not a statement with any firm basis in political science research.

Political science would tell you:

-mobilization of your own party base matters immensely
-average voters won’t see or remember this
-GOP elites will find a way to build resentment with or without this
Indeed, the idea that Trump’s re-election rests on whether the left responds to him with “civility” and some magic agenda that somehow overcomes the Trump/GOP identity politics that gave us Trump in the first place is one I have yet to see any real evidence for. Anyone?
What we do have evidence for is that activism moves elites. A sense of electoral threat moves elites. Mobilization is a real mechanism for winning elections. And the midterms are the immediate horizon, not 2020.
Read 4 tweets
Jun 11, 2018
You'd need a social movement for that. And one that invests people whose voting rights aren't under attack to latch on to the effort.

As GOP has learned: far easier for a party to whittle away at the other's base with disenfranchisement measures than to enfranchise their own.
This remains a big disappointment to me in the political sophistication of the left: how many now decry the fall of norms when the foundation of democracy itself--the right to vote--has been under increasing duress for decades. And still they see no fundamental connection.
And leftists making arguments for the scrapping of "identity politics" because they cost a redistributive-seeking electorate: no. Racial politics are directly related to redistributive demands IF YOU CAN KEEP POOR COMMUNITIES OF COLOR ENFRANCHISED.
Read 8 tweets
May 14, 2018
Ugh. Ok. Let me try this from an actual human who knows social science point of view.

I grew up with working class parents in a conservative town in Ohio. I’m a political scientist. I am married to a black man from the rural South. Currently reside just outside DC. Context! 1/
Um, so, regular people from the middle of the country are probably right when they pick any political figure and call them a terrible person. Any of them. Either party. Strategic elites violate good person norms. 2/
And frankly, having grown up in a totally “everyday white American” environment, I feel icky on the regular in DC. We drive away from the area and I feel “cleaner.” The constant transactional interaction is really culturally jarring. 3/
Read 28 tweets

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