Black thought and Black Studies ponder the realities of modern colonial aims. In my readings of CLR, Du Bois, Hall, hooks, Collins, and so on — I too am forced to glance and consider my identity and the identities of others. In the end, this is what academics do as we contemplate 21st century realities. Often such are predicated by past actions. My reflection here is nothing new, nor is it revolutionary. But, it is a baseline for conversations. Can Black people be Black in a world seen through the lens of the white gaze? Must Black people code switch to allow white comfort? What about women and their day-to-day reality in this patriarchal world? Women of color face the greatest threat as they are faced with challenging multiple systems. Such systems (the aggressor) aim to frame women — but particularly women of color in a powerless state.
The notion of domination has been in constant operation and on my mind. That sense of abject reality for me as a Black man who will always be dominated by whiteness. My intersectional privileges allows for some fortitude (I am male), but the other half of me — my Black self — has and will continue to be imprisoned by the power structure of race (I am Black). This white gaze that decides my fate is the constant narrative of a ubiquitous force that pits Black people against Black people. Hence — Black intra-racial alliance is a myth. Black folk suffocate because of fear. Often this is due to domination and insecurity. Black ally ship might not wholly exist. The intra-racial dissonance is drafted by white domination (jobs, promotion, health care, debt, retirement, where you live, wealth, relationships, etc). I have experienced this. Many of us have. You know that feeling when a Black person rips your heart apart due to their complicity with domination. This knot in my stomach reminds me of the need for interracial solidarity and working class unity. But it also serves as a reminder regarding who makes decisions. Who holds power? And often, how the power brokers do not always listen. A have no power. I lack the wealth to take care of my Black parents. They lacked the wealth to take care of me. King faced this. Du Bois faced this: A feeing of years of betrayal by Black complicity and silence.
There are those standing up for their faith — and truth, and not the idolatry of politics as God. Bishop Curry, who stated that “…. We are Christian leaders bearing moral witness to the teachings of our faith in the public square…. As citizens we want our government to reflect our values. As a Bishop I believe we should follow the teachings of Jesus — who taught us to love God and love our neighbor…. The normalization of lying presents a profound moral danger to the fabric of society. We believe authoritarian political leadership is a theological danger that threatens democracy and the common good — and we will resist it.”
In truth, I never heard of him until the royal wedding; however, since I have watched him protest in front of the White House demanding justice and advocating for human rights. I am one who hates complacency. I have committed myself to defending the weak: homelessness, marginalized, etc.
Let us dedicate each and everyday to being better human beings.
I have posted this before, but it merits another posting seeing the contentious fear of outsiders seeking to be insiders. Yet, outsiders must be invited and, often and as sad as this image denote, must confirm to those who are the insiders. If we are thinking about true diversity…insiders must allow outsiders to be themselves. Thus, code switching to meet what insiders deem as dominant values must be reconsider. If mot you have diverse faces conforming to the reality of those who decide who can enter the door.
It was exciting being a participant at the Clark Atlanta University symposium. I was thankful that the university was able to award me funding. Joined by friends and colleagues, I was able to engage and learn from a number of top scholars in the field of history, sociology, religion, and African-American Studies. I was excited by how well my paper was received by the audience. And, I was able to get some feedback on my research as I further develop my arguments.
As seen above, I am discussing my paper that reflects a more traditional W.E.B. Du Bois. I will not comment much on my work here, but it was exciting sharing space with other academics seeking to advance their understanding of the past, and how reflecting on the past can bring about some resolutions to the problems of the 21st century.
On the final day of the symposium, Phil (pictured here to the left and Sho to the right) and I arranged to have coffee with artist Sho Baraka, who authored his lyrical album Talented Tenth—after that of W.E.B. Du Bois. This brotha is gifted. I am a fan. Better yet, I am in hopes of bringing him to Brooks campus to speak and perform. We were also recruiting him to write for a peer-reviewed journal we are editing.
It is one of my favorite days here on campus. As a member of the Diversity Leadership Council, I have enjoyed working with colleagues and students as we focus on our admission in advancing the notion of community inclusiveness. Both students and faculty members participated in delivering workshops.
Above I am discussing the importance of being an ally, and how the various dynamics of power often works against good people who elect to be bystanders.
We had Alex Myers as our keynote speaker. He is amazing. Alex noted this about himself on his webpage: Alex was raised as a girl (Alice) and left Maine to attend boarding school at Phillips Exeter Academy. At Exeter, Alex came out as transgender, returning his senior year as a man after attending for three years as a woman, and was the first transgender student in that Academy’s history. After Exeter, Alex earned his bachelor’s at Harvard University, studying Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and living in the Dudley Co-op. Alex was also the first openly transgender student at Harvard and worked to change the University’s nondiscrimination clause to include gender identity.
Read more here about Unity Day 2017.
At the #NoMuslimBan rally in Boston?