Blacks used to have soul.
But, in these days when our greatest thinker is Teh-Genius Coates, James Brown would be Body Brother #1, if he were a professor of African-American Studies (not that he would be one).
For example, from the New York Times op-ed page:
Fighting Racism Is Not Just a War of WordsI thought “burly” was racist these days? As in the NYT editorial “‘Burly,’ a Word With a Racially Charged History.”
Tiya Miles is a professor of American culture and history at the University of Michigan and the author of “The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits.”
… And beyond judiciously choosing the words to put on the page, we would be wise to follow in the great social-movement tradition of matching our words with bodies in action.
Putting bodies on the line to advance a just vision was among the primary tactics of the transformational African-American movement for civil rights. The embodied form of protest employed by Rosa Parks is an iconic example. … That single garment resounds so powerfully because it may have adorned the body of “Mother Parks,” the same body that she used and endangered when refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Ala., in the winter of 1955.
According to Jeanne Theoharis, a biographer of Mrs. Parks, she was a woman who applied the “judicious use of stories” and “chose her words with care” but was prepared to leverage her own body to enact her politics. Mrs. Parks’s colleague in the struggle, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., also backed well-chosen words with daring action. His “Letter From Birmingham Jail” was a treatise with moral force heightened by the radical position of his incarcerated body as well as by the presence of an aggrieved people marching in the streets.
Then and now, the surprising appearance of bodies in common spaces grabs public attention, and holds the potential to open and change minds. Sixty years after Mrs. Parks sat and Dr. King marched, the image of burly football players kneeling
… They used their own bodies to block transit at a central bus stop on campus. … And in positioning their bodies in spatial relation to one another, the students presented a living picture in which people of diverse skin tones, ethnicities and identities could gather together on contested ground to claim their shared belonging. These bodies in space, out of place, engaging in the unexpected to advance a positive idea, sent a message with meaning.[Comment at Unz.com]
… When protesters insert their bodies into forbidden places or adopt poses unsanctioned for their station, they are engaging in blatant acts of refusal. …
This tactic of corporeal protest, with its elements of immediacy and vulnerability, is riveting and consequential. It is also dangerous. In this dizzying time of multiple and very real threats, deciding which bodies go on the line, where and for what causes requires serious strategic discussion and clear commitment to protecting those who volunteer to risk their bodies.
I doubt my own courage and wonder each day whether I could deploy my body beyond the relative safety of marches approved by permits.