A marvelous Monday Morning to you Fam,
I know some of you may be like…what is that title?
Lol! I love that word. Say it first and you will get it.
Ok, so last night I watched a good portion of Netflix’s Dear White People.
So many thoughts, so many darn thoughts but what I’m going to focus on in today’s blog is the marginalized way that the ONE African character is portrayed. I mean, if you’ve watched it already, what’s his name? Go ahead…try and remember.
First, let me start here. Can you imagine a college campus where there is only ONE Continental student? Hmmmm, ok. And there are apparently no Caribbean students, not one yardie….a Trini?
This is quintessential Black American erasure happening on our tv. And if we don’t point it out, it’ll never be addressed and never change.
To be Black in America, for both White people and Black people is to be seen as American– only. There is no diversity in Blackness by Americans. So every Black person is poor and ghetto, rich and an oreo or black and angry.
We were very intentional with our name and choosing the title of “African Diaspora.” I mean, I’m from Antigua, Cathleen’s family is from Haiti, Nakeeba’s family is from Jamaica and Nafeza’s family is Guyanese.
We are all both very American and very foreign at the same time. That makes us beautifully complex.
And we posit that if we all don’t develop a Diasporic identity and ideology we are doomed to drown under the weight of white supremacy.
SideBar: You should have heard all of the drama with Shea Moisture and their epic fail at expanding their marketing share by reaching out to White Women and the quick and deserving backlash from Black Women who were minimized at best, erased at worse.
Here’s my biggest point of contention with Shea Moisture’s approach. Well actually, its a question. Had they even thought diasporically? The growing market on the Continent and South America is an absolute source for revenue growing while also centering the diaspora. Ijs.
Until we begin to think diasporically we are doomed to suffer. This is not new thinking. It was called Pan-Africanism during my daddy’s day.
Anyway, back to Dear White People; you got the one African dude, who is so one dimensional and full of cliche’s. He’s such a non-character. It’s disrespectful at best and continues to perpetuate an Anti-immigrant ideology. He isn’t even a side kick. He’s a side garnish for a meal that is, ehhhh.
His name is Rashid yall.
So what does all of this mean for you? I want you to ask yourself 3 questions.
1. In what ways do you see Black people? Do you have a diasporic lens, experience and ideology or do you see non-American Blacks through the colonial eyes of White Supremacy?
2. In what ways do your students see Black people and Blackness? What are the stereotypes and bias present in their ideology and experiences?
3. What are you going to do once you’ve investigate these two questions?
Bonus: With the last 2 months of school, investigate your curricula to assess it’s Diasporic depth, it’s complexity, it’s inclusiveness of the myriad representation of Diasporic Blackness.
And hopefully CREAD will be able to support you as we take the month of May to share our diasporic identity and ideology with you.