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Watch the Debate

I had the pleasure of participating in a live debate on Wednesday August 28, Organised by Intelligence Squared Versus Debates, on the question ‘Has Martin Luther King’s Dream Been Realised?’ It was a tough gig at 4 am for me in Sydney, but it proved well worth it, especially due to the participation of Sohail Daulatzai who reminded us that ‘you have to be asleep to dream,’ that essentially using MLK’s speech as a clarion call for a postracial society is to literally be dreaming. I also made the point that no women of colour were asked to participate and that the use of the trope of ‘personal responsibility’ not only vilifies black womanhood, but is a complete misunderstanding of how structural racism works. I also noted that it was paradoxical that the Australian Broadcasting Corporation had several programmes commemorating the anniversary of the speech, but failed to make a link to the disproportionate incarceration of Indigenous people in Australia, or to the fact that they still have a life expectancy 16-17% lower than the average Australia. It was also interesting to hear British MP, David Lammy, speak out as an anti-capitalist and a Socialist. I asked him to confirm this on Twitter, but he declined to answer 😉 The discussion was expertly chaired by Kenan Malik with whom I always enjoy a lively debate. Off the cuff poetry from Benjamin Zephaniah was also a treat!

Alana Lentin