by Jeffrey Ostler | July 2021
“We hold these truths to be self evident.” Say these words, and many Americans will be able to recite what follows: “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, …The closing words of the Declaration are far less known. The last of a list of 27 grievances against King George III, they read as follows: “He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions.” These words call attention to hard truths about America’s founding that have often been brushed aside.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Slavery] [Indigenous] [Systemic Racism] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [History] [Politics] [White Privilege] [Economics] [Racial Terrorism]
by Jennifer Tsai | June 2021
Jordan is now 18, loves dogs, and is more interested in telling me about his college classes than the fact that he was recently hospitalized for seizures, a complication of his illness. He’ll need a kidney transplant soon. He would be closer to getting that kidney transplant, if only he were categorized as white. A patient’s level of kidney disease is judged by an estimation of glomerular filtration rate, or eGFR, which normally sits between 90 and 120 in a patient with two healthy kidneys. In the United States, patients can’t be listed for a kidney transplant until they’re deemed sick enough—until their eGFR dips below a threshold of 20. Jordan is biracial, with one Black grandparent and three white ones. His estimated GFR depends on how you interpret this fact: A white Jordan has a GFR of 17—low enough to secure him a spot on the organ waitlist. A Black Jordan has a GFR of 21.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Systemic Racism] [Heath Disparities] [White Supremacy] [White Privilege] [White Culture] [Myths] [Black Lives Matter] [Strategies] [Advocacy]
by Catherine Pugh, Esq. | July 2020
Racism is not “ours.” It is yours. And it is yours exclusively. Black folks did not build Black hate, and we certainly did not build it with you. Black folks are not The Bad Actor in Black hate. We can only work to convince The Bad Actor to stop acting badly. Black folks cannot kill Black hate in its cradle. Black hate breeds in places we cannot reach. If we could have killed it, we would have killed it. Trust that it is not our apathy about our own lives that keeps us dying in the streets. Worse, racism disappears when we try to look it in the eye, lost in a sea of nonsensical protestations:
• “I don’t see color”: Why are we talking about racism then?
• “I’m not racist”: Ooookayyyy, whatever it is you call this, you’re still getting fired for it. …
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Colorblindness] [Systemic Racism] [White Fragility/Tears] [White Privilege] [Tips-Dos/Don’ts] [White Defensiveness] [“All Lives Matter”] [White Culture] [White Supremacy] [Individual Change] [-ing While Black] [Black Lives Matter] [Accountability]
by Robin Washington | June 2021
If you saw my column about Juneteenth posted here over the last few days, or a previous version on the website of Be’chol Lashon several years ago, or a video version currently presented by Be’chol Lashon, you would know I had bittersweet feelings about the history of the day. I no longer do. I am outraged by it. My change in emotion comes after learning from historian friends that the oft-repeated tale of Union soldiers arriving in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865 to inform enslaved African Americans that they were free is pure fiction. Not because they weren’t legally freed 2-½ months earlier when Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox. Or technically freed 2-1/2 years before when President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring slavery null and void in areas under rebellion, very much including Texas.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [History] [Slavery] [Myths] [Racial Terrorism] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [Systemic Racism] [Social Justice]
by Sydney Trent | August 2020
The air was chilly, the trees still bare, yet the sky was clear and bright. March 3, 1913, was shaping up to be a perfect day for a grand and purposeful parade. Thousands of showily dressed suffragists had amassed in Washington from across the nation — indeed the world — to march along Pennsylvania Avenue on the eve of President Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [Politics] [Role Model] [History] [Systemic Racism] [Employment] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [White Privilege] [Social Justice]
by Annette Gordon-Reed | June 2021
The history of Blackness on this continent is longer and more varied than the version I was taught in school. Origin stories matter, for individuals, groups of people, and nations. They inform our sense of self, telling us what kind of people we believe we are, what kind of nation we believe we live in. They usually carry, at least, a hope that where we started might hold the key to where we are in the present. We can say, then, that much of the concern over origin stories is about our current needs and desires, not actual history. Origin stories seek to find the familiar, or the superficially familiar—memory, sometimes shading into mythology. Both memory and mythology have their uses, even if they must be separated from the facts of the past. But in the case of Black people, the limitations of the history and possibility of our origin stories have helped create and maintain an extremely narrow construction of Blackness.
TAGS: [Assumptions] [2020’s] [History] [Myths] [Civil War] [Slavery] [Indigenous] [Black Lives Matter] [White Supremacy] [White Culture] [White Blindness] [Systemic Racism] [Silencing POC] [CRT]