The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:22-23 NRSV

Friday, January 17, 2014

Don't Stir Things Up Too Much on King Day, Black Folks

Black people who perform or talk for a living—musicians, poets, scholars, and preachers—recognize this season between Martin Luther King's birthday and the end of February as our busiest time. Everybody wants to hear somebody black offer a stirring rendition of black life. These days, many folks want to set limits on just how stirring the black speakers are permitted to be. In a particularly egregious example , University of Pennsylvania professor and poet Herman Beavers was invited and then disinvited to give a lecture on Martin Luther King at Moorestown High School in New Jersey. With Herman's permission I have taken a screenshot of his Facebook posts because the behavior of Moorestown High School administration needs to be exposed.
And then today
What I'm trying to figure out is how administrators think shielding high school students who are on the cusp of adulthood, some of whom will vote in this year's election, from historical and contemporary reality benefits anyone.


valerie said...

I need to go throw up

Koritha Mitchell said...

Thank you for this!!

Because our education system is set up to ensure that NO ONE knows U.S. history, many Black folk think that playing it safe will benefit them. But, we must educate ALL Americans much more courageously.

Very often, it is success that makes Black folk targets (I call it know-your-place aggression), so being a "good Black" who tries to put others at ease does not save you. To take an easy example, look at how conservative, safe, and non-confrontational (especially on race) Barack Obama is. Now, notice how often the presidency has been disrespected in unprecedented ways because he's in it. Or, look at how often Blacks have believed that being patriotic enough to sacrifice in the military would gain them recognition as citizens. Now, consider how often Black soldiers were lynched in their uniforms and denied GI Bill benefits that would have changed their lives and that of their families for generations to come.

Telling the truth about how brutally racist this country was and is can save one's sanity. We need to get serious about equipping young people to stay sane and not just equipping them to ignore things and explain them away as "not necessarily about race."

Pastor_Earle said...

The LORD giveth... the LORD taketh away? Smdh... #baffled