The Bottom Line

Angela Davis: ‘Racism is embedded in the fabric of this country’

Legendary activist Angela Davis on the new push to end systemic racism in the US after decades of struggle for justice.

Activist and scholar Angela Davis knows a thing or two about standing up to the establishment.

In the 1970s, she was a household name around the world, as she became the third woman in US history to make the “Most Wanted” list and was sent to jail for more than a year for her connections with the Black Power movement of the time.

For the past 50 years, she has not changed her tune, arguing that corporate capitalism was designed to serve the rich and powerful, and that the deck will always be stacked against the poor and people of colour.

In a wide-ranging conversation on fairness and justice around the world, she told Al Jazeera’s Steve Clemons that the recent demands for change sweeping across the US are different from protest movements she had witnessed before.

“What’s so exciting about this moment is that we are recognising that racism is indeed institutional and structural,” Davis said.

“It is embedded in the very fabric of this country, and we’re trying to figure out ways to begin to initiate the process of eliminating that racism.”

She said she was proud to receive the Fred Shuttleworth Human Rights Award from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute on June 19, after it was rescinded last year due to her activism on behalf of Palestine.

“Initially, I was very shocked and upset that this happened,” she said.

“I later recognised that this was a teachable moment, that this was very important because enormous numbers of people began to reflect on the ways in which Palestinians have been marginalised in the struggle.”

Watch Angela Davis’s full interview with The Bottom Line.