Thu 1/26, 7pm – 8pm
David Billings discusses his book Deep Denial: The Persistence of White Supremacy in United States History and Life
Sponsored by Orange Organizing Against Racism
Deep Denial — part popular history, part personal memoir — documents the 400-year racialization of the United States and how people of European descent came to be called “white.” Author David Billings focuses primarily on the deeply embedded notion of white supremacy, and tells us why, despite the Civil Rights Movement and an African-American president, we remain, in the author’s words, “a nation hard-wired by race.”
A master storyteller, Billings starts each chapter with a disarming and intimate vignette from his personal life, beginning with his white, working-class boyhood in Mississippi and Arkansas. He then situates these telling moments in a broader historical context that will be new and disturbing to many readers.
Part I covers the origins and evolution of white supremacy from 17th century Virginia through World War II. Part II focuses on the Civil Rights Movement, how it emerged in the post-WWII era, and why it subsequently devolved from a vibrant community-led, issue-based movement into today’s bureaucratic, government-sponsored, needs-based, nonprofit industry. An epilogue discusses strategies for dismantling white supremacy and “undoing” racism in America.
David Billings has been an anti-racist trainer and organizer with The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond since 1983. Billings has worked with anti-racist organizing groups across the country, including AntiRacist Alliance and New York Education Equity Alliance. He currently consults with Citizens for Economic Equity in New Orleans.
Rev. Billings is an ordained United Methodist minister. He also is an historian with a special interest in the history of race and racism. Over the years, Billings’ organizing work has been cited for many awards including the Westchester County chapter of the National Association of Social Workers “Public Citizen of the Year,” the New Orleans Pax Christi "Bread and Roses" award; the Loyola University of New Orleans "Homeless and Hunger Award"; and the National Alliance against Racist Oppression's Angela Davis Award for community service.