Thursday, October 6, 2011
RIP Derrick Bell
I think we have all heard that Steve Jobs passed away yesterday, but significantly less attention has been directed to the passing away of Derrick Bell. I first ran across Bell's work when I was a freshman in high school (in debate, naturally). As a 14 year old white liberal, Bell's work was breathtaking. Damning, intriguing, controversial, and moving all at once. Long before I heard of Foucault or read a book of Marx's, I learned about the central reality of power from the Critical Race Theory file I had. I never developed more than a debater's knowledge of Bell's personal work, but he started me along a path that me read and engage materials relating to racism, domination, power, privilege, colonialism, intersectionality, multidimensionality, different forms of academic expression, etc. I am sure I am among one of the least affected by his work and life, and I still consider myself profoundly changed from an early exposure to critical race theory and the work of Derrick Bell.