Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, Louisiana State University
in Baton Rouge, LA
Bryan McCann is a northern transplant who has called Louisiana home since 2013. At LSU, he teaches classes such as Argumentation and Debate, Rhetoric of Social Movements, and Crime, Communication, and Culture. His recently published book, The Mark of Criminality: Rhetoric, Race, and Gangsta Rap in the War-on-Crime Era chronicles the emergence of gangsta rap amid the “tough-on-crime” politics of the 1980s and 1990s. As a whole, his published research and teaching attend to matters of anti-black racism, particularly in the context of policing and mass incarceration. He is also interested in the ways African Americans and other communities of color resist white supremacy through the use of rhetoric and culture. His current book project examines debates during the 20th century regarding the social responsibilities of black novelists, and the ways even the best-intentioned activists attempt to reduce black lives, in all their beautiful complexity, into blunt political instruments. In addition to writing and teaching, McCann has also participated in community activism for most of his adult life, including anti-death penalty organizing in Texas, labor organizing in Indiana and Michigan, as well as efforts to make LSU a more just environment for all its community members. Of the many questions that drive his work, McCann is always interested in what it means to be a white person writing about, teaching about, and presuming to act in defense of black life. Several years ago, a friend, colleague, and black woman asked him, “Why black people?” He continues to believe that is a damn good question.
Aversion to Experience: (Un)making Sense of Race and Racism
BY BRYAN MCCANN
@ VOL 8
ON APR 06, 2018
"I am a white author, educator, and activist who has spent the majority of my adult life trying to make sense of race and racism in the United States. But what does it mean to ‘make sense’ of something that is fundamentally attached to people’s lived experiences, and has very real life and death consequences? Drawing on my current research regarding 20th century debates about anti-racist protest fiction, I’ll spend my time with the PechaKucha Baton Rouge audience reflecting o...n the ways our attempts to ‘make sense’ of difference can lead us down harmful paths and prevent us from recognizing and valuing the complexities that surround us.”