You won’t find corny-ass statements here proclaiming that the year 2020 will usher a time of clearer vision. Puh-lease. That’s tired. What’s worth saying here, however, is we need to keep our eyes on the issues that matter to us as we begin a new decade. Now that’s wired. We can get a picture of what matters by looking back at some of the top read blog posts on the Broadside in 2019. Clearly, we’re still coming to terms with our cultural identity as it pertains to race and injustice and the chokehold of whiteness on liberation, among other issues. And as always, we’re grateful to our authors for giving us the context and critique to understand these issues and where to go from here.
So here are the highlights of the Broadside this year. See you in the new decade with more insightful blog posts from our authors!
“Americans like stories like [Carol Channing’s], because racial and ethnic passing is ubiquitous inside a culture known for self-invention. But being Black is about more than biology, one drop rule be damned. Being Black is not just about singing and dancing, and shucking and jiving. Being Black goes beyond complexion—it’s a cultural thing.”
“Robin DiAngelo Talking White Fragility in My Town, with Security Guards”
Thomas Norman DeWolf
“Let me be as clear with my readers as Dr. DiAngelo was with us that night. It is up to white people to understand that our ancestors created racism. We have inherited it. Our denial and deflection and fragility perpetuate it. It is on us to eradicate it.”
“For CaShawn Thompson, Black Girl Magic Was Always the Truth”
“Black Feminism can be a protection and a guide, and as more of us become parents, we have a responsibility to change the narrative, minimize the harm, and shift our culture and communities toward appreciation and respect for Black women and girls everywhere. Bringing our daughters up believing in and never questioning the existence of their own ‘magic’ is restorative and promising, electrifying and declarative, radical and hopeful.”
“Cutting to the Chase of the Covington Catholic Fiasco”
“The entire incident is a classic display of settler privilege and fragility. Only in a society that systematically and simultaneously denies and justifies its genocidal foundation can an elderly Native man singing and playing a drum surrounded by hundreds of frenzied white males dressed in attire that to American Indians represents the colonial wrecking ball be construed as menacing.”
“The fact is that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor. It must be demanded by the oppressed—that’s the long, sometimes tragic and turbulent story of history. And if people who are enslaved sit around and feel that freedom is some kind of lavish dish that will be passed out on a silver platter by the federal government or by the white man while the Negro merely furnishes the appetite, he will never get his freedom.” (Originally posted in March 2018)
“The sounds, sights, and smells of slave auctions contributed to the horror of enslaved children’s lives. Loud, rhythmic bid calls echoing from the mouths of auctioneers competed with chatter from potential buyers, the rattling of chains, and the everyday noises of a town center. Joining these audible oddities was another unpleasant sound that could be heard above all others at the end of a sale: the cries of wailing mothers, overcome with grief after being separated from their children.” (Originally posted in June 2018).
“Getting to We: Ten Points for Understanding Racism in the Trump Era”
Deborah L. Plummer
“We, as Americans, do not have a shared understanding of the definition of racism. We live segregated lives and are deeply divided along political lines. Relying on politicians and the media to unravel racial dynamics does not serve us well. Fully understanding racism requires deep understanding of history and the social sciences, and a lot of multiracial living, which most of us do not engage in.”
“Like most of us living in the US, I was sickened by this weekend’s news of shootings in El Paso and Dayton. Coming into work, feeling so stricken by these events, I was heartened by the fact that I could turn to a group of colleagues and immediately begin talking about what kind of resources we could offer in the wake of these senseless tragedies. I feel, as I often do, heartened to be working in an environment where it is our job to try to create these resources.”
“White Fragility and ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’”
“There’s a reason Mockingbird is assigned to thirteen-year-olds. The moral message of the novel is a simplistic one: Racism is bad. Very, very bad. Also, bad people are racists. Good people, the reader is assured, are not racists . . . As readers, we are aligned with Scout and by extension Atticus, who embodies rational, educated “racial tolerance,” in sharp contrast to the novel’s depiction of an angry, ignorant, racist mob. Everything in the reading experience of the novel confirms a white reader’s sense of herself as open-minded, tolerant, woke. ‘If I lived in 1930s Alabama, I would never do that,’ the white reader thinks. ‘I am one of the good white people.’” (Originally posted in December 2018)