Koritha Mitchell, PhD
A renowned cultural critic who coined the term “Know-Your-Place Aggression,” Koritha Mitchell created the C19 Podcast episode, The N-Word in the Classroom: Just Say No!
Decency is not an American inheritance; it requires deliberate effort. How could decency be our inheritance? We live on stolen land. Koritha Mitchell, PhD
In 2013, Koritha published Love in Action: Noting Similarities Between Lynching Then and Anti-LGBT Violence Now. She found that what lynching and anti-LGBT violence most have in common is the targeted group’s success. To emphasize that members of marginalized groups are attacked for their success, not because they have done something wrong, Koritha coined the term “know-your-place-aggression,” and it has shaped public conversations and academic discourse. Public examples include NPR’s Morning Edition, Good Morning America, The Guardian, and FiveThirtyEight, and academic examples span the social sciences, the physical and computer sciences as well as the humanities.
Koritha’s own public commentary has addressed a range of issues, and it is always oriented toward justice and informed by Black feminism. Her writing has appeared in outlets such as TIME, The Washington Post, CNN, Openly, Electric Literature, and The Huffington Post.
Having devoted decades to studying violence in U.S. history and contemporary culture, Koritha understands the many forms violence can take. Meanwhile, studying violence as a Black woman has inspired Koritha’s commitment to understanding how targeted communities survive and thrive, despite the hostility they face. When society is designed to deny your humanity, simply living requires deliberate effort and purpose-driven strategies.
Because she lives and thinks while having to navigate American racism, sexism, and heterosexism, Koritha helps audiences understand that violent words may not draw blood, but they are no less damaging than physical blows. She equips audiences to see how, when institutions and cultures have been designed for injustice and inequity, violence is built into what is most commonly said and done. As important, she guides audiences to notice how they can make every space they enter less hostile for more people.
On stage, Koritha draws from her research and her life to inspire intellectual engagement, self-reflection, and clear effort based on the belief that thriving should be the American way for more than a select few.
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