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Newsletter 2 – Q2 2020

Our first Newsletter surprised us in the midst of the global Coronavirus pandemic. This second Newsletter appears at the peak of a multitude of protests against the historical, global and structural pandemic of racism. The murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer on May 25th in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was the trigger for a series of mass protests in the United States that have spread to numerous cities around the world. This death is the most recent and public of a series of murders and police abuses against the black population and ethnic minorities in the USA that have been committed and denounced for decades.

The root of these interracial conflicts resides in a hegemonically white, racist, discriminatory and segregationist culture that historically connects with the slavery of the objectified and commercialized African population, and the genocide and colonization of territories whose populations were also expelled and eliminated. These deep roots, whose violent fruits emerge and become more clearly visible at certain moments, connect to multiple territories – far and near – and reproduce systematically in all stratas and areas of society.

This racist and discriminatory culture has its institutional counterpart in a structural racism that is sustained by immigration laws, physical and mental borders, and bureaucratic, economic and social obstacles whose direct violence is repeatedly and forcefully applied to racialized and especially feminized migrant bodies. This has the effect of reproducing social injustices, economic inequalities and abuses of power that perpetuate the capitalist, white, patriarchal and Eurocentric status quo.

The response of the European institutions to the so-called refugee “crisis”, the existence of refugee camps and Centers for the Internment of Foreigners, the abusive and vexatious treatment of seasonal fruit workers, the lack of recognition by the States towards caretakers and domestic workers who are forced to practice irregularly, the police persecution of “manteros” and street vendors without papers, the separation by the administration of minor children from their poor migrated mothers and families, the historical segregation suffered by gypsy populations or, more recently, the exclusion of people without legal and effective residence from the minimum vital income approved by the economic crisis of the Coronavirus in the case of Spain, are just some of the daily violences experienced by discriminated against persons. Other more invisible but sustained violences are rooted in the normalization of living immersed in a white, masculine, eurocentric and capitalist world that does not speak “of” those “others” or “with” those “others” -but often “against” those “others” – different than the normative “one”.

Education and knowledge, the areas addressed by the BRIDGES project, do not escape from these actively ignorant and silenced spaces and practices that systematically perpetuate discriminations regarding (selected authors and readings for example); in terms of content, themes and relevant issues to address; in terms of worldviews, perspectives and epistemic positions; regarding pedagogical practices, forms of work and organization; or regarding access to such learning, teaching and work spaces. Who does the university speak to? Of whom does it speak? What worlds does it open? Who may enter those worlds? Who do we exclude- either knowingly or otherwise?

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