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Race, power & privilege

World-leading writers and activists Ta-Nehisi Coates and Sisonke Msimang take to the stage with human rights lawyer Professor Megan Davis to draw a frighteningly clear line from the historical experiences of America and Australia to the current racism in both countries.

In the Drama Theatre

“...racism is a visceral experience … it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates

What history can teach us

Be part of the solution as you join these experts in examining the legacy of colonialism; reflected in the issues of race that we see playing out today across Australia and America.

Share opinions and form new ones as the panel discuss the legacy and current implications of slavery and dispossession, over-representation in prisons, institutionalised racism, white privilege, and the need for reparations.

Join this panel in self consciously and deliberately drawing the connections from those historical experiences to current day racism in the USA and Australia.


More about the speakers...

Ta-Nehisi Coates is an American author and journalist whose work includes the #1 New York Times bestseller Between the World and Me. He currently writes for Marvel Comics for the Black Panther story arc, in addition to writing as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. His writing fuses reportage, historical analysis, and personal narrative to address some of America's most complex and challenging issues pertaining to culture and identity.

Sisonke Msimang is a writer, columnist and activist who has worked for The Guardian, Daily Maverick and New York Times on issues like politics, gender and race. Born in Swaziland to parents who were political exiles, she was raised in Zambia, Kenya and Canada, before going to the US as an undergraduate. Sisonke has held fellowships at Yale University, the Aspen Institute and the University of the Witwatersrand. She now lives in Perth where she is head of oral storytelling at the Centre for Stories.

Professor Megan Davis is Pro Vice Chancellor Indigenous and Professor of Law, UNSW. Prof Davis is an expert member of the United Nations Human Rights Council's Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Prof Davis is a constitutional lawyer who was a member of the Referendum Council and the Expert Panel on the Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution. Megan is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law and the Australian Academy of Social Sciences and a Commissioner on the Australian Rugby League Commission. Megan supports the North Queensland Cowboys and the QLD Maroons. 

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