Dr. Carol Anderson was recently quoted in a NPR article about the expulsion of two Black legislators, Rep. Justin Pearson (D-Memphis) and Rep. Justin Jones (D-Nashville), from the Tennessee State House of Representatives. Pearson and Jones joined an act of nonviolent civil disobedience on the House floor calling for gun safety legislation in the wake of the April 2023 shooting at Nashville’s the Covenant School. Rep. Gloria Johnson (D-Knoxville), a white legislator who also participated in the protest, was spared expulsion by a single vote. Anderson provides illuminating context about the racial and racist dimension of this episode. Read an excerpt from the NPR article below along with the full piece here: “Power, race, and fragile democracy in Tennessee.”
Racism was also coursing through the words spoken and the tone taken towards the two young Black legislators, says Carol Anderson. She says the formal rules of the expulsion hearings barely concealed a simmering rage on the part of white legislators.
“White rage is all about putting you back in your place,” Anderson says.
“White rage demands that people of color, and women, stay in their place in the racial structure and the patriarchal structure,” she says.