Tips for Understanding Black History Month- 2017 RESIST Edition

5 thoughts on “Tips for Understanding Black History Month- 2017 RESIST Edition”

  1. “Because this isn’t the year to back down.” Truer words were seldom written. Thanks for the essay: I knew some of the names, but not all of them by far. And not because I learned them in school, either. One thing I’m beginning to see is if some of us officially don’t count…none of us do.

  2. Maybe if all those people would spend the time they waste complaining about Black History Month learning about black history instead, they would be happier? It seems to me that any opportunity to learn is a good opportunity, even without going into the reasons for Black History Month. I mean, they seem convincing reasons to me, but then, I’m not American, so I’m not really part of that discussion.

    Anyway, I enjoy these posts every year, because I always learn something from them – so thank you for that, and please keep it up 🙂

  3. “Whiteness is inherently racist. Period. I know you’re like…but! but! but! Nope. Sorry. No buts. Notice I said Whiteness is inherently racist and not white people. Because. They’re. Not. The. Same. Things. One (white) is a category or group of people. The other (Whiteness) is an enacted behavior. And its enacted to enforce and maintain power and privilege. Whiteness therefore is inherently racist because racism is based on the concept of Whiteness.”

    Absolutely right, but you know the same can be said about blackness. You have to recognize that the concept of blackness is cut from the exact same cloth as whiteness, that these racial categories rely on each other for definition like some kind of hellish yin-yang, and that the origin of both is distinctly European.

    You want to lionize blackness and black history? Good, I think that’s a good strategy to help a group of people that have had this label violently forced upon them and have been forced to live their lives acting out a part in someone else’s story. Blackness has to be talked about and talked about in a way that reverses how it’s been used in the past, to weaken and to subjugate. Blackness has to be remade into something that a person can wear with dignity and freedom not because the concept of blackness itself is so great, but because it doesn’t come off; it’s been stitched into black skin.

    One thing that’s important to remember though, I think, is that it’s still a white racist’s concept in its origins. It’s not hard to deconstruct and invert the black/white conceptual opposition so that black becomes the dominant partner in the pair, but it’s another matter entirely to get rid of that power dynamic where one HAS to dominate the other. The real ideal would be to imagine your way out of that opposition and all the ugliness that comes packaged with it entirely.

    So what am I trying to say here? I guess I just think that even though it’s important to talk about black history, we shouldn’t worship black history. I think it’s very important to remember that by using these concepts we’re playing with the devil’s tools, and we shouldn’t be afraid to criticize our own cherished concepts. I keep that criticism pretty muted right now, being white and not wanting to be mistaken for some alt-right #AllLivesMatter jerk, but I think it’s important not to forget it.

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