Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Time: Pharrell Williams: "We Deserve a Black Future"

 

The Aug. 31 issue of Time has a large section edited by Pharrell Williams and Michael Harriott, “We Deserve a Black Future”, starting on p. 76.   The over-title is “The New American Revolution” and the longer title is “America’s Past and Present Are Racist: We Deserve a Black Future”. 

The introduction refers to the statues erected by “secessionist traitors who wanted to start their own white-supremacist nation” and to the ideas of chattel and property in Virginia in the first centuries.  The original patriots would tear down a statue of King George but not allow the same liberty to those they had enslaved.  The authors talk heavily of reparations.  The do refer to the original patriots as also “oppressors, unwilling to extend the freedoms for which they had fought to everyone.  America’s wealth was built on the slave labor or Black people; this is our past. To live up to America’s ideals, we must trust in a Black version of the future.”

But what do the authors expect personally from elder white people like me?

There are many other contributors in areas like Activism (Angela David), Education, Politics, Health, Arts, Sports.

A few of the contributors should definitely be noted. Imara Jones (p. 91) talks about the plight of black trans women. Janaya Future Khan started out in boxing (there used to be a site dedicated to female bodybuilders!) and played a major role in organizing Black Lives Matter  (the controversy over Marxism is not discussed).  One paragraph (p. 89) is particularly telling. “Activism is about being alive: about fighting for life. Activism is being for someone else who you needed most in your most vulnerable moment. There’s something inherently spiritual and supernatural about what happens when we tie our fate to another person we discover who we are in service to others.”  Note – reborn. But then she goes on “There are some people who might think, ‘This is not my fight, I don’t have to do anything’”. (Anti-racism.) “But not doing something makes them an agent of a society that creates moral apathy and a selfish bewilderment.”  She goes on to talk about pronouns and non-binary consciousness. 

On p. 84, Danielle Greathers talks about activism and organizing on campus.

What is common throughout all these is affiliation with groups and deriving a sense of identity through betterment of others in a group rather than on defining your own callings in individually separatist behaviors such as what I had, and what became controversial early in my own adulthood.

But at some point you have to come clean on what you want.  I think they want white people to change their own personal priorities and join them in a group sense, and they may think some coercion is appropriate.  But what means?

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