In the United States, the term multicultural is often linked with a surface-level diversity. People of color in leadership positions are cited as examples of our move toward a society that truly values diversity. The so-called “black face in a high place” is therefore evidence of our commitment to multiculturalism. Meanwhile, the Bush administration engages people of color around the world and in some cases winds up invading and occupying their countries. And it pursues trade policies that encourage resource and labor exploitation of the global South. Social and economic justice are not connected with the prevailing view of what it means to have a multicultural society.
Angela Davis is one of the iconic figures of this era. Acquitted on conspiracy charges in 1970, after one of the most famous trials in U.S. history, she went on to become an internationally renowned writer, scholar, and lecturer. She is professor emerita at the University of California at Santa Cruz. She has been at the forefront of the movement focusing on the prison industrial complex and its intersection with race, class and gender. She is the author of many books including Women, Race and Class, Blues Legacies and Black Feminism, Abolition Democracy, and Freedom is a Constant Struggle.