Ed.’s Note: Any opinions presented in this editorial letter do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Torch or its staff. Minor edits have been made for space, clarity and grammar.
W.E.B Dubois spoke of a double consciousness that is an inevitability of being Black in America. The double consciousness acknowledges that we, Black people, see ourselves as we are. However, we are simultaneously required to view ourselves through a Caucasian point of view due to historic and present systemic opposition to blackness. This is a requirement for safety because of the consistent violence and discriminatory murder our people have faced since the beginning of our time in this country.
Stokely Carmichael once said, “If a white man wants to lynch me, that’s his problem. If he’s got the power to lynch me, that’s my problem. Racism is not a question of attitude; it’s a question of power. Racism gets its power from capitalism. The power for racism, the power for sexism, comes from capitalism, not an attitude.”
Black History Month is an attack on the attitude. Black History 365 is the beginning of dismantling the systems of oppression.
Many philosophers and Black scholars argue that racism is permanent. True or not, we have a collective obligation to ourselves and others to do everything we can to fight against all systemic oppression. After all, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
“If a white man wants to lynch me, that’s his problem. If he’s got the power to lynch me, that’s my problem.”Stokely Carmichael
This Black History Month, I implore a shift in the conscious collective to begin to view racism from its systemic roots and seek education from that perspective! I invite our community to begin the work of unraveling the threads of anti-Blackness within our countries foundation!
Blackness and the experience therein is one of the richest and most beautiful ways to live! From our deeply ingrained and respected senses of humor to our reverent love of the arts, music, theatre, and poetry – so much highly regarded eclecticism makes up our self expression. The world enjoys our ethnic cuisine and values the generations of creative innovation that bore those sacred recipes. Maya Angelou revelled in “the span of my hips, the stride of my step, the curl of my lips” in the poem Phenomenal Woman, speaking to the can’t-quite-put-your-finger-on-it “swagger” that’s been associated with the walk, stance, and conversational cadence of the Black community since the beginning of recorded history.
The ability to gather together, break bread, dance, and enjoy each other is one major aspect of our culture. This is lost when living in a place that is less diverse. Lack of diversity can also increase the amount of microaggressions a student of color experiences. Psychology Today defines microaggressions as “the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.”
Students of color: I ask that you make sure that you are practicing diligent self-care.
Non-students of color: I ask that you seek education on the rich cultures and philosophies that African-American heritage has to offer. It’s very important to make sure that you are educating yourself on microaggressions and macroaggressions and consistently striving to be more self-aware and self-educated on the believably impressive history of African-Americans and the African diaspora’s impact on the educational, and fundamentally fascinating, Black culture of today.
Happy Black History 365!
Say it loud! I’m Black and I’m Proud!
MultiCultural Program Coordinator, ASLCC
Vice President of External Affairs, LCC BSU