What They’re Really Afraid Of…

Every single month is an opportunity for students to, in the spirit of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, review, reflect on, and recite all the Black history they learned the year prior. This was the original intention of Black History Month, originating as Negro History Week.

However, due to the war on Black studies in the form of anti-woke and anti-CRT (Critical Race Theory) legislation around the country, it’s no guarantee that students are receiving an authentic version of Black history in the classroom.

Indeed, this iteration of the war against Black studies (and Black history) is a backlash to the confronting of white supremacy and systemic racism upon the murder of George Floyd. Black history isn’t the only target; DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) initiatives in the form of programs and occupied positions are also targets. Books in public libraries, school libraries, and classrooms are also under attack. 

Where does the war on Black/Africana studies and Black history stem from? It stems from the reality that education requires changing how one thinks, impacting how one acts.

Upon learning the history of the United States and the history of the Black experience within the United States, one sees the United States for what it is: a white settler colonial project where whiteness became a created tool to secure social, economic, and political power and privilege above everyone else. The truth strikes at the myth of white peasants as the heirs of the democratic traditions of their Greco-Roman ancestors. Because for the Negro, there was no democracy: only resistance.

This is the critical lesson that conservative politicians don’t want people to know: that African people of the United States resisted white supremacy as part of the Black radical tradition and did so because whiteness left them no other choice. One clear example is found in the resistance of the enslaved.

Herbert Aptheker, an understudy of Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, spoke of the eight forms of resistance by enslaved persons. Revolts of enslaved African people in the U.S. and throughout the diaspora aren’t a significant topic of discussion. However, Black people revolted against their captors by force, and often. According to Aptheker, there were approximately two hundred and fifty revolts of enslaved persons in the United States.

Enslavers were always concerned with the potential for insurrection. Still today, there’s a contingent of white people, including state actors, in fear of Black retribution for enslavement and racial oppression. However, Black resistance, specifically in the form of revolt, was a matter of necessity. When speaking of the Black mindset, W.E.B. DuBois said:

“Men go wild and fight for freedom with bestial ferocity when they must—where there is no other way; but human nature does not deliberately choose blood—at least not Black human nature.”

Black resistance shouldn’t compel us to consider the barbaric necessity employed by Black people to acquire freedom. Rather, Black resistance should compel us to explore white barbarism that served as the impetus for the Black resistance.

The exploration of white barbarism is what conservative politicians and those complicit in the racial bribe don’t want Americans to know. Because white barbarism, born from white settler colonialism, isn’t a historical relic. It is a thing that is very much alive today. It’s alive, not only because it resides in the body of individuals who mean Black people harm. It’s alive because it resides in the body of the state, where it has resided since this land was stolen.

Whether it’s displayed in the criminal legal system, the health care system, the public school system, or within free markets, white barbarism lives at the expense of Black people. The history of this country requires exploring the origins of such barbarism, and when one learns, what they learn requires that people are never the same.

One cannot learn how to cook a meal and keep eating garbage from the streets. One cannot learn how to ride a bike and continue to walk to get from place to place when they have a bike at home. It is also true that when people learn the history of white barbarism throughout institutions and systems within the United States, those people cannot continue operating as normal.

Some will change their behavior to adjust to the harm posed by those institutions and systems. Others will seek to change them, and even some will look to abolish them and create new ones designed to meet the needs of all.

None of that is what the white power structure wants. They want the status quo to continue.

Every time the truth is taught, it’s a strike toward the status quo. Every time Black history is taught, it is a strike at white supremacy and the white power structure. Every time racism, capitalism, and militarism are taught, what Dr. King called the three evils, a mind is liberated and will never be the same.

Each day we do these, our world becomes freer. Therefore, let us continue to work so that one day soon, we will all be free.


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