I am always reading, and every now and then something catches my eye that is so on point and so thought provoking, that I feel a need to share it with the folks who read this blog to try and educate themselves. (This might be 50% of the folks who come to the fields. The other 50%.....well, let's just say that there are professionals out there whose job it is to figure out what goes on in the minds of these people. Good luck with that.)
Anyway, the writer's name is Una-Karlim A. Cross, and this is what was written:
I do not believe black people need to do more explaining. As long as we simply live, our contributions to this nation and world are relevant.
What we most need is to embrace ourselves and our heritage. We need to collectively strengthen our socio-economic position and align (or realign) ourselves for ownership and control of our images and our messaging. We have to push beyond the images that the media delivers to our communities, both nationally and globally, and re-frame ourselves as we want to be seen.
We should consider expanding our conversations about blackness beyond even being non-monolithic to embracing our Diasporan ancestry and traditions.
I say this because I often find myself still trying to explain to white people the enormous intricacies of black life. I wonder if when I do this I'm looking for acceptance or because I feel the need to provide some type of authentic clarification of who I am in the context of black culture.
Many of us define blackness on our own terms. When President Obama and his family moved into the White House, it stirred the so-called melting pot. Instead of a hopeful silencing under the auspices of the term "post-racial," Obama's Presidency has been somewhat of an exposé, an unearthing of sorts to the not-so-hidden bones of racial and ethnic disparities in North America.
These disparities glow and flicker like industrial style florescent lights. The resurgence of the Tea Party, the multiple economies, unemployment numbers, housing, census numbers that reveal the number of blacks leaving the North and going South, the Academy Award's White Out (or Black Out), and countless other headlines and episodes illuminate and agitate the already chaotic environment.
President Obama's tenure has pushed me review and question my personal identity and question the notion of "collective" identity. His Presidency has put a spotlight on blackness in ways I did not imagine.
Outside of the Presidency, and looking at historically white colleges and universities, we still see that the number of black professors pales in comparison to white professors. Yet, look in the kitchen of a restaurant or other service positions and you see mostly black and brown faces. In news rooms, fire departments, and still Hollywood, we are under-represented and in service jobs (and prisons), we are over represented.
Black identity (as humanity), is nuanced and complex. The media has reduced and pigeon-holed black life to: blacks as entertainers and rappers, athletes, and suspects on the local news.
This leaves little room for multi-faceted black life, and the realization that there is a full-spectrum of blackness that includes people with families in suburbs, cities, and public housing, that there are active black father's, that we are artists, intellectuals ... citizens. [More]
Yes indeed! I love where you are going , and I hope you take a lot of other people with you.
Personally, I am a little more cynical about this notion of a "collective identity" but I feel what you are saying about collectively strengthening our socio-economic position and taking ownership of our messaging.
With folks like you writing articles like this, the "messaging" will only get more powerful and easier to take.