A Dystopian Post-Civil Rights Era: Black Lives Matter and the Rhetoric of Change 2023 PSA Presidential Address

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Sociological Perspectives

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Universities and colleges, K-12 schools, corporations, professional associations, and other social institutions advocate for change at the same time they are taking steps to prevent it from actually occurring. The result is an endless cycle of words of support followed by inaction, obfuscation, and outright lies. It is no wonder that burnout and frustration face those who would like to do some good but are experiencing gaslighting by those determined to set society back to what it has always been—one that excludes those who deign to speak truth to power. This presidential address sheds personal and professional insight into the difficulties that I have faced at my institution and within the Pacific Sociological Association as a Black woman. Having been witness and victim of those who are incapable or unwilling to see the inconsistency in what they are like and what they would actually like to be has shown me how difficult changing the status quo can be. Individual and institutional claims to “do better” in the future ignore the fact that one is likely part of the problem if they are just now realizing they need to do better. It is my sincerest hope that the increasing numbers of diverse voices that were present at the 2023 PSA conference can move the organization as well as their institutions forward to make them better places for all of us and not just some of us.


© The Author(s) 2023



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SAGE Publications