Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Black Achievement and Black Despair

White culture, which is often dressed up as "American" culture, has become more accepting of black achievement, especially when that black achievement is narrowed to breaking color barriers. Black pain continues to go unacknowledged.

The celebration of Jackie Robinson and other figures who were "the black person to do such and such" are used by white people to pat themselves on the back. "Our ancestors were racist, but by embracing the courage of these historical black figures, we are absolving ourselves of the crimes of our fathers." Yet these embraces miss the current reality of black pain.

Public space is filled with danger for black men and women who can be murdered by the police or sexually assaulted with impunity. In reading recent books by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Mychal Denzel Smith, and Michael Eric Dyson, I sense less black anger than black despair. That's why Black Lives Matter is such a pertinent slogan and yet the despair compounds itself when it is eschewed for the callously colorblind sentiment: "All Lives Matter."

White culture must being willing to to accept the reality of black pain and act accordingly. Only then would  police officers be held accountable for their actions.

No comments: