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The Uprising Marches On

Writers Have a Duty Not to Exaggerate Racial Progress

In an era where even the simplest truths are under attack, it’s up to writers to remind us that systemic racism never really goes away

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Photo illustration. Sources: Brooke Fasani Auchincloss, Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images

After the protests there are always more protests, because the conditions that produce the protests remain fundamentally unchanged.

And then the volatility of the protests subdued, even as the numbers remained strong, and as has happened many times in the past, the news media’s thirst for violent imagery had been satiated, and once there was no more they packed up and went home. Social media feeds returned to their usual programming: Trump tweeted. Joe Biden chose Kamala Harris. Everyone and everything, seemingly, moved on.

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Mychal Denzel Smith is the author of the New York Times bestseller Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching (2016) and Stakes Is High (2020).

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