It’s that time of year again, Black History Month. And in 2017, we may need it more than ever. Every February in the United States, the country sets aside 28 (or 29 in a leap year) days to celebrate, discuss and engage Black History. Innocuous enough. And yet Feb. 1st seems to signal the beginning of a 28-day long ritual of whining. How come they get their own month? What about White History Month? It’s a cornucopia of misconceptions and endless micro-aggressive racial faux-pas. And this isn’t just from the usual sky boxes of white obliviousness; there are black people (for instance, the formerly employed Stacey Dash) who wade into the stupid with reckless abandon. In a world where actual white nationalists and Nazi sympathizers have made their way into the higher echelons of the government, and punching Nazis is now up for debate, we should expect that the stupid is going to be extra thick, extra fragile and extra whiny. So here are a few tips to better understand the month: a bit of mental armor for those who have to battle the stupid and for those who might be enticed to engage in the stupid.
This is an updated list from an annual post I’ve done for the last three years. But guess what? It never gets old because the stupid, it yet stirs and redoubles its efforts.
This year, over 8 cities abolished Columbus Day. Many in fact adopted Indigenous Peoples Day’ as a replacement. The move reflects a growing acknowledgement by larger society of the meaning and historical legacy of Christopher Columbus and “Age of Exploration.” It’s a victory, albeit a minor one. History of course can move backwards as well as forwards. And there are those forces who are determined to keep Columbus as a transnational hero: to give a one-sided perspective–often apologist–of the era. The truth is that the abolishing of a commemoration can’t possibly erase the enormity of the crimes of which Columbus will forever remain a symbol. He is a part of our latent fears. The ones that we fill our stories with as we look out upon the stars. He is our original invader from Mars.
Originally written in 2013, this is the final chapter in a three-part installment on Christopher Columbus beginning with The Other Explorers and Hunting Prestor John in the End Times. This post ponders how the destruction of the Americas, and the accompanying legacies of colonialism and slavery, help shape the fears of our popular imaginings–including science fiction.
In the wake of a controversy over who the culture of an entire continent belongs to within the context of its far-flung descendants (many quite involuntarily flung at that), I revisit a set of blog posts I wrote several years ago regarding speculative fiction, world building, “appropriation” and the Africa of our imaginations. Can one appropriate the self?
In the bleakest of moments African-American writers have turned to literature to confront racial terror and the trauma it could induce–turning to poetry, personal narratives, plays and novels. Sometimes, they even dreamed of the fantastic.