“Crash the U.S. Settler State”

Dr. Tiffany King, a tenured professor in the University of Virginia’s Department of Women, Sexuality and Gender, spoke last week in a virtual symposium hosted by Hunter College’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies.

The symposium, “At the Edge of Each Other’s Battles: Puerto Rican, Palestinian, Black & Indigenous Futures,” explored the “mutual solidarity” that is believed to exist between these communities. King and a Hunter College professor closed out the symposium with their panel, “Letters for Palestine: Storytelling as Praxis.” We have excerpted clips from that even for this blog post, but we have made the entire discussion available for viewing should anyone wonder if we are taking comments out of context.

King believes that the Palestinian Resistance inspires Black and Indigenous feminists to “crash the U.S. settler state.”

“There is a certain kind of clarity that the resistance, the ongoing resistance in Palestine, is making very concrete and palpable for us as Black and Indigenous feminists: that we actually need to crash the U.S. settler state, which has incredible reverberations and literally strangles the tentacles that are reaching into the Israeli state. So, it’s like, no, our resolve to struggle with each other is, actually, we’re recommitted to it in a different way with a different kind of energy.”

At no point in the symposium does King explain what she means by “crashing” the U.S. settler state, but the alignment with Palestinian resistance to Israel raises the question of whether she accepts the necessity for violence in the U.S.

One clue into King’s thinking is her endorsement of the work of Melanie Yazzie. Yazzie, a University of Minnesota professor and an intersectional studies collective member of King’s Black and Indigenous Feminist Futures Institute (BIFFI) group, went viral earlier this year for calling to “dismantle the United States.”

In the clip above, Yazzie speaks “of all liberation struggles … that seek to seek a world of justice, equality, and peace that seek to dismantle the United States. I hope you seek to dismantle the United States. And if that isn’t your politics, okay — I speak as if everybody has this commitment — the thing is that you should listen to indigenous people when they’re telling you that this is the goal and that not only is this the goal but this is the starting point.”

King sees the Palestinian “struggle” against Israel as entwined with anti-colonial struggles everywhere, including inside the United States.

“There’s something about the relationship between the U.S. and Israel that we always have to come back home. It’s here, right, it’s here, this is where Empire and the Israeli settler colonial state gets its formation. It’s here, it’s Europe, It’s Great Britain, so we have to struggle to crash things here. And my students were very, very clear about this… The youth are getting it, the youth are getting it.”

King discusses how her students are “fierce organizers” who are organizing Palestinian Liberation week at the University of Virginia, the schedule for which is shown to the right.

Says King: “It’s our origins to trying to create these formations to think about diaspora and solidarities in our own work and thinking about how we use philanthropic dollars so that’s real and that happens.”

UVA doesn’t get off the hook in her view. In the clip above King notes that Sonia Alconini and Kasey Jernigan, co-directors of the Black and Indigenous Feminist Futures Institute, a Mellon-Funded Intersectional Studies Collective at UVA, couldn’t make an appearance at the symposium. King alluded to “work that we wanted to do as black and indigenous feminists to challenge … the settler state, the settlement of University of Virginia … which is still a plantation and has all of its plantation artifice up and artifacts.”

(Lanice Avery and Marisa Williamson, highlighted in previous profiles published the Jefferson Council, also are part of BIFFI.)

The concept of Settler Colonialism doesn’t apply just to Israel, the United States, or UVA — it extends even to the source of her foundation grants. By the mere fact of soliciting proposals, the Mellon Foundation engages in “a closed settler colonial formation.”

King says she feels protected by tenure but worries about her safety at the institution. She refers to students who contacted the UVA administration — “snitched” in her words — about feeling uncomfortable with what she teaches. Regardless, she plans to continue. “I’m trying to really ride the wheels off of these institutional resources and go for broke.”

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Walter smith
Walter smith
28 days ago

“Fierce organizers”
UVA has strayed from its educational mission.
it is a political indoctrination institution now – the “and Good” part of “Great and Good.”
I’ll posit a guess – a substantial number, if not all, of the fierce organizers are admitted on full scholarship. We are paying for people who hate the US and most likely hate Jefferson. We have “professors” in worthless courses who have tenure and work to undermine the US. Come on! Even the Northam appointees don’t approve of that, do they?

I bet, again a guess and UVA will never allow an anonymized study of the data, that if you took all the admissions essays and ran them through AI with the offers of admission overlaid you would find a significant bias politically, not just racially or “marginalized.”

At some point the BOV and the alums and the legislators and the citizens of Virginia need to catch on to the Ryan plan’s central implication – UVA wasn’t “good” until Jim Ryan came to “fundamentally transform” UVA. Even our Hokie hater friends would concede that UVA was “good” (as in a good school) prior to Jim Ryan.

Try to calculate all of the high level people in the Administration who have some ties to working for or with Obama. Melody Barnes is most obvious, but they are peppered everywhere, or from Obama adjacent places like the Ivies or Georgetown, etc. GET BACK TO EDUCATION!

Anne Carson Foard
Anne Carson Foard
28 days ago

Is there some information, e.g., numbers or percentages, of professors at UVA, and elsewhere, who quietly teach their subject in a objective way, not designed to stir people to violent overthrow of the government? And, is there any information on how the vast majority of Democrats, including those in Congress, feel about Dr. King’s sentiments, as opposed to the party’s pet radicals? Is there any thought that those comments amount to inciting to treason and, if spoken by a Republican, would have dire results for that person?

Walter smith
Walter smith
28 days ago

I’m not sure it is a solid majority. But the ones who are “old school” and stick to teaching, even if nominally Democrat voters, is getting aged out. I think most of my teachers may have been “liberals,” but they played it straight as to teaching.

GRob
GRob
28 days ago

“And my students were very, very clear about this… The youth are getting it, the youth are getting it.”
I am continually amazed at the youth’s lack of independent research and critical thinking. I hope they are “getting it” just to get an acceptable grade and actually can think rationally for themselves. The large student demonstrations would suggest my hope is unjustified.

Wahoo 76
Wahoo 76
27 days ago
Reply to  GRob

Young people today do not possess curiosity and a tenacious desire to learn and think on their own. Rather, they wish to be spoonfed with what their peers or professors deem to be “knowledge”. The reasons for this cultural and educational decay are many and complex, but I will just posit that smart phones, social media and a lack of good parenting are a big part of the problem. Professors, if they desire, thus find these students easy targets to absorb their propaganda. It’s a very sad state of affairs.

Jonathan Finger
Jonathan Finger
28 days ago

This person is not a professor, but rather a political activist who apparently is dedicated not to scholastic inquiry but indoctrination of students with her personal political views. I do not understand how any institution of higher learning (and interested in higher learning) can employ people as “professors” whose sole goal is to indoctrinate and train students in a SINGLE mindset not based in inquiry and learning. I wonder how many other “professors” there are at UVA that are actually indoctrinators.

Will
Will
28 days ago

I’m appalled at the audacity of these professors and the administration that supports them.
Words can’t express my disappointment with today’s UVA.

confused student
confused student
25 days ago

How is UVA “still a plantation”?

walter smith
walter smith
23 days ago

That’s a good question “confused student!”
Where are the cotton fields? Tobacco?
Or is it the “occupation” of the noble Monacan lands? Or is it the echoes of structural racism and the patriarchy that reverberate today…even with the statues removed…and melted?