I initially felt a need to police my language, mannerisms and cultural norms because I knew they wouldn’t allow me to “Teach like a Champion.”
When asked about his view of education in Benin Jah Baba does not hold back. He sees that the current education system does not focus on cultural relevance but rather promotes further assimilation to Western standards and ideals. He says “there is an emphasis on knowing things but not to be truly educated…” From his perspective, the minister of education and other politicians prioritize their own agendas but not what is in the best interest of Beninise people. Jah Baba is disappointed to see the system is “moving African youth away from their culture and youth do not have knowledge of their history but they can tell you about European or American history.”
This is painful to admit.
And when I’m working with other White folks, I usually find this to be one of the first hurdles; the “but not me…” intellectual rejection of the fact that white supremacy loves us and we will always have a home in its arms.
What do anti-racist white folks do with this acceptance?
What do we do when we recognize and acknowledge that these are our people?
Which leads us to Charlottesville, Virginia. This weekend.
And I have some questions for all the good meaning, I’m not racist, #ThisIsNotUS White People. I’m gonna need you to go ask your cousins, those other wypipo (White supremacists, Nazi’s and KKK members) some questions and holla at me once you get finite answers. I would ask them if I could, but I think it would be hazardous to my health and theirs.
So here is what I really want to know:
On August 9th, three years ago, I joined the Ferguson protests because St. Louis (Ferguson is part of St. Louis) was my home. My parents, siblings, nephews, cousins and grandparents are in the St.Louis/Ferguson area. At the time, my work in peace education, nonviolence, anti-war activism and restorative justice did not prepare me to witness the strength of the American empire on streets that I had been harassed by police on decades before.
While not quite prepared, I wasn’t surprised that police and other authorities in the region seemed to value property and the flow of business more than the lives of outraged citizens expressing their right to dissent.
“We’re in the dip.” So real quick, here’s the recap: In the beginning of his presentation, Shaun has a picture projected of an old White dude named Leopold von Ranke. He is considered “the father of the study of history.” Leopold compiled all of this historical information and came to the conclusion that the rate of improvement in technology was making the world better. Better as in more convenient.
But it wasn’t making people any better.
YES…according to Mumia Abu Jamal, one of the most recognized and significant political prisoners in the history of America, Black August is the reason why we continue to survive the Jamestowns, Watts’ and Fergusons. It is the collective, resilient thread of our refusal to go away and die quietly.
Conceptually, Black August is a time that is crucial for Black people of the Diaspora. The month of August is populated by a number of significant events, rebellions, resistance movements, birthdays, transitions, and solidarity based events that draw individual and collective attention to this time of year.