About Sikivu Hutchinson

Sikivu Hutchinson, Ph.D. is a senior intergroup specialist for the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission. She is the author of Imagining Transit: Race, Gender, and Transportation Politics in Los Angeles, Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars and the forthcoming Godless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels.

How the Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline Criminalizes Black Girls

Over the past several years, the movement to end sexual violence has been mainstreamed through social media, K-12 prevention programming and awareness campaigns. Terms like “victim-blaming” and “slut-shaming” have entered the public lexicon, and the prosecution of accused sexual predators such as Brock Turner and Bill Cosby have become cause celébrès. Yet, when the media puts a spotlight on sexual violence victims they are often young, white and middle class. And while it is estimated that … [Read more...]

Segregation Now and Forever: Robber Baron DeVos and the Looting of Public Education

Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, and segregation forever.” This was white supremacist Alabama Governor George Wallace’s epic battle cry in his infamous 1963 Inaugural speech demonizing the civil rights movement. Billionaire Christian conservative Betsy DeVos and her foundation’s robber baron school voucher crusade are inheritors of Wallace’s legacy.  For over a decade, DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, has been “at the helm” of a largely unsuccessful … [Read more...]

#CounselorsNotCops: Youth Justice Against the Police State

At the corner of Central Avenue and 120th Street in South Central Los Angeles, an abandoned Boys and Girls club trailer sits across from a fast food place and a liquor store.  The trailer is a few blocks from high achieving King-Drew Magnet of Medicine and Science, a predominantly African American and Latino school and unsung model of culturally competent instruction in the Los Angeles Unified School District. In neighboring Compton, children navigate vacant lots, brown fields and abandoned … [Read more...]

Just Give ‘Em a Little Jesus: Black Marriage Meets White Paternalism

These days, a standard caveat from some religious black folk is that errant souls just “need Jesus” to straighten them out. From white Christian missionaries to inner-city street corner evangelists, “getting Jesus” and going to church have long been touted as the great antidotes to criminality and “bad behavior.” In their new book Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Love and Marriage Among African Americans and Latinos, white Family Studies’ researchers W. Bradford Wilcox and Nicholas H. Wolfinger use … [Read more...]

Sandra Bland: Driving While Black, Female, and Fearless

As a black woman motorist alone, Sandra Bland’s apprehension and subsequent death underscores the race and gender regime of mobility in the U.S.  For many white people, having the freedom to get behind the wheel of a car is a birthright as critical to American national identity as the delusion that the U.S. is the greatest country on the planet. Historically, cars have been associated with masculine freedom, rugged individualism, and Manifest Destiny, especially vis-à-vis highway development … [Read more...]

Framing Black Queer Resistance

An Interview with Black Lives Matter L.A. Activist Povi-Tamu Bryant ast week, activists from the Black Lives Matter Los Angeles (BLMLA) coalition spearheaded the Occupy LAPD encampment, demanding a meeting with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck as well as the firing and prosecution of the officers who murdered Ezell Ford. The issue of black self-determination—queer, trans, disabled, undocumented—is at the forefront of this thriving mass movement, which not only challenges white supremacy but … [Read more...]

Burying Our Babies: Letter from L.A. to Ferguson

n South Los Angeles’ Crenshaw District, there are three funeral homes within a one mile radius of each other. On bright sunny days young people pour out from their doors after viewing hours, lingering on the steps reminiscing, sporting t-shirts with pictures and art work commemorating the dead. In a thoroughfare that epitomizes L.A.’s deification of the car, cars are often rolling R.I.P. memorials of the dearly departed, the tragedy of stolen youth ornately inscribed on rear windows for the … [Read more...]

Airbrushing Race Out of Income Inequality

his is the worst I’ve seen it in a long time,” Cecil McLinn, the principal of Duke Ellington Continuation School in South Los Angeles, told me recently after one of our students missed a week of school because she didn’t have shoes. A highly regarded administrator and longtime advocate in South L.A., McLinn has been on the frontlines of progressive education for several decades. As the economic depression in our community deepens he’s had to fill out more housing relief forms and aid vouchers … [Read more...]

The Souls of Black Boys

o one ever discussed Trayvon Martin with us in class," said Sydney, an introspective 9th grader, wistfully. Sydney is a participant in my Young Male Scholars pilot at Gardena High School in South Los Angeles. He and a dozen other 9th and 10th graders are having a spirited discussion about the impact of Martin’s murder on the criminal justice system in Gardena’s college center. According to the school’s college counselor, black boys are a “rarity” in the center and our small meeting is the … [Read more...]

The War Against Black Children

Public Enemy or Talented Tenth? The War Against Black Children n a predominantly Black South Los Angeles continuation school class packed with eleventh and twelfth grade girls, only half want to go to college, few can name role models of color and virtually none have been exposed to literature by women of color. Demonized as the most expendable of the expendable, Black continuation school students are routinely branded as too "at risk", "challenged" and "deficit-laden" to be "college material". … [Read more...]