About a month ago, after I posted a photo from the Black Panther: Vanguard of the Revolution on Instagram, one of my favorite & most engaged followers asked me essentially, “What do you do with the anger?” She went on to describe how films like Black Panther rile her up emotionally. I promised her that I would write a blog in response to her question.
Every week it seems that there is a video release of an unarmed black person murdered by police. Political candidates are waxing poetic about how much they are going to change our lives. The emotions that we feel – confusion, anger, frustration, rage, indifference – are all valid. So what are we to do with it? Emotions are a powerful thing! They are like fuel to our actions, and gasoline to our motivation for better or for worse.
When it comes to racial injustice, we have to first remember that this notion of race is rooted in myth and has been largely used to maintain a social hierarchy for a dominant group. As “There Is No Such Thing As Race” describes, “…the concept of human races is real. It is not a biological reality, however, but a cultural one. Race is not a part of our biology, but it is definitely a part of our culture. Race and racism are deeply ingrained in our history.” So when we consider what we are trying to do in pointing out, lifting up, shining a light on racial biases, we are pulling at the strings of the very fiber of our society and our world.
It is my belief that it is for THIS reason, that many people respond to issues of racial injustice with shock, guilt, disbelief – all defense mechanisms to maintain the status quo. It is also my belief that we must consider how race was constructed primarily through media, education, public policy, violence (domestic terrorism) and science, in order to truly disassemble it. If you want to remove a tree, you’ve got to take out the roots, otherwise you’ll look up and it will be standing stronger, taller and prouder than ever before.
Part 2 of this series will be available next Tuesday, December 1st.