Poems, stories, and reflections, written by faculty, staff, and volunteers currently serving in the Village.
Today is a day to center Black voices, rather than center my own whiteness. To that end, I will share the following excerpt from “The American Nightmare” by Ibram X. Kendi, Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University.
CW: white supremacy and violence against people of color.
“A nightmare is essentially a horror story of danger, but it is not wholly a horror story. Black people experience joy, love, peace, safety. But as in any horror story, those unforgettable moments of toil, terror, and trauma have made danger essential to the black experience in racist America. What one black American experiences, many black Americans experience. Black Americans are constantly stepping into the toil and terror and trauma of other black Americans. Black Americans are constantly stepping into the souls of the dead. Because they know: They could have been them; they are them. Because they know it is dangerous to be black in America, because racist Americans see blacks as dangerous.
To be black and conscious of anti-black racism is to stare into the mirror of your own extinction. Ask the souls of the 10,000 black victims of COVID-19 who might still be living if they had been white. Ask the souls of those who were told the pandemic was the “great equalizer.” Ask the souls of those forced to choose between their lowwage jobs and their treasured life. Ask the souls of those blamed for their own death. Ask the souls of those who disproportionately lost their jobs and then their life as others disproportionately raged about losing their freedom to infect us all. Ask the souls of those ignored by the governors reopening their states.
The American nightmare has everything and nothing to do with the pandemic. Ask the souls of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. Step into their souls.”
1. The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates
2. Who Gets to Be Afraid in America? By Ibram X. Kendi
3. America’s Racial Contract is Showing by Adam Serwer
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