What is Radical?

Radical is a term that is used very loosely in today’s culture as an objective word to describe extremity without explicitly defining extremity itself. Additionally, the denotations have allowed radicalism to be falsely paralleled with extremism. The dictionary definitions of radical are “very different from the usual or traditional”, “favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions”, “associated with political  views,  practices, and policies of extreme change”, and “advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs.”[1] The problem with the dictionary definitions is the subjectivity behind words like traditional, different, usual, extreme, etc. Additionally, these words depend unequivocally on perspective and time period, things of which are arbitrary and constantly changing.

1. “Radical,” Merriam-Webster (Merriam-Webster), accessed October 4, 2019, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/radical.

To continue, the negative connotation of the word radical creates misconceptions when trying to propose a denotative meaning. This is why when using the word, it is important to take context and perspective into account. It is safe to say that the word “radical” was not always a negative term, and to some remains neutral. Its association with negativity came with time and tragic events that were connected to radicalism. For example, the terrorist attack of 9/11 in the United States was just as often referred to as extreme as it was radical. The terrorists themselves were just as often called extremists as they were radicals in our news outlets, articles, and social media reaching mass amounts of people and distorting the meanings of both words. 

Further, Karl Marx, famous for his social theories, wrote in 1843 in his book “Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right” that “to be radical is to grasp things by the root.”[2] This definition is the firmest of all existing definitions as it relates to the origin of the word. The word radical comes from the Latin word radicalis which literally means “of or relating to a root.”[3] In the English language, it first came to describe the basics or fundamentals of something. Later it progressed to mean something different from usual or to describe a person who was looking to make extreme changes. Further evolving, it found itself to be synonymous with extremism. Angela Davis obviously saw the manipulation of the word and more than a century later tries to reinforce its true meaning saying, “Radical simply means grasping things at the root.”[4]

2. Marx, Karl, Joseph J. OMalley, Annette Jolin, and Karl Marx. Critique of Hegels “Philosophy of Right”. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

3. Definition of radical – Merriam-Webster’s Student Dictionary. Accessed October 4, 2019. http://wordcentral.com/cgi-bin/student?radical.

4. Davis, Angela. “Moe Lectureship in Women’s Studies .” Moe Lectureship in Women’s Studies.

Moreover, because extreme change is not widely accepted, especially by conservative institutions, the word radical often tries to make those looking to change societal norms as disruptive, disobedient, instigators, rebellious, etc. Although some radicals may fall under these categories, there is a necessity in their belligerence. An example would be activists in the United States of America, particularly during the Civil Rights Movements. Activists would be labeled as radical, not to mean someone who is working for extreme change, but someone who is disrupting social order and disobeying the American government. This is why “radical is used to describe people like Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, and Marcus Garvey, but not people like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. Those described radical by today’s manipulated definition may have spoken about and acted on the principle of being prepared to use violence. However, these people are not radical for these reasons. They are radical because of their revolutionary voice and ability to fight and bring about extreme change. Those not described radical preached non-violence and made known they would fight institutionalized racism with passive resistance and God on their side, making them less of a threat, thus less likely to be labeled radical. However, by the correct definition, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks were indeed radical in pursuit of the extreme change of racial equality. 

Continuing, the brand of radicalism has been strategically used by people in favor of the institutions being challenged to describe activists, black-balling them, and making in nearly impossible for them to pursue any career other than activism itself. Take for instance, a more modern example, Colin Kaepernick. Colin Kaepernick, a former NFL quarterback, started to take a knee during the National Anthem of his football games in protest of police brutality of African-Americans in the United States. He started this very passive form of protest in 2016. Kaepernick’s actions were viewed as “too much” and “extreme.” Soon enough he was titled radical, not for protesting police brutality, but for “protesting America.” His protest against police brutality was disgustingly twisted into a protest against America. His peaceful demonstration became not about the black lives lost due to police brutality and more about a flag and a song. Now, not only was Kaepernick disturbing the Sunday Night Football of millions of Americans, but he was encouraging and leading a hate for America. Less than a year later, he found himself without a job, all because he was too radical. Today in 2019, Kaepernick still has no job in the NFL, but remains a political activist. 

Furthermore, Radicalism is not extremism, and radicals are not extremists. Although the word extreme is used multiple times in the dictionary definitions, it carries a different meaning than that of extremism. The dictionary definition of extreme is reaching a high or the highest degree. Extremism is plainly the state of being extreme. Therefore, an extremist is a person who is constantly in a state of extremity which is a dangerous state to be in when involving people. Radicalism is solely based on being able to intellectually reason producing extreme change without being in a constant state of extremity. An extremist is always working from the highest degree and from a sociopathic state of no conscience to also bring about extreme change. Extremists look to violence as a first option and having the highest degree of effectivity. Radicals plan strategically and may encounter, but not cause, violence as a necessary evil. 

Additionally, extremism is not radicalism, and extremists are not radical. Yes, they too want to bring about tremendous change, but the methods used are what make them different. Under the category of extremism fall terrorists, dictators, mass murderers, etc., who seem to be fighting for a misinterpreted part of an ideology, making them that much more dangerous because ideologies are nearly impossible to break. An example would be extreme terrorist groups like ISIS and ISIL. Because they are so entrenched in their religion and have misinterpreted their religion, they believe all other religions are wrong, something true followers of Islam would never support. Their short-term goal is to create an Islamic State in their immediate areas, but long term they would like their ideologies to spread across the globe. To achieve this, they will take whatever extreme measures they feel will quicken the steps to their goal. Their terroristic actions that kill thousands and instill fear worldwide is all done in the name of Allah, a being who may or may not exist.

In conclusion, radicalism coming to mean extremism makes it an undesirable and ambiguous term which is difficult to use accurately and objectively. Throughout history it has been used to describe all types of extremes ranging from terrorist like Osama Bin Laden to revolutionary thinkers like Malcolm X. Radicalism is necessary. It is needed for change and it is not an evil mechanism. Additionally, it should not be equated with extremism. Making the two terms synonymous makes it difficult for the upcoming generations of revolutionary thinkers to create change without being viciously labeled with the same word used to inaccurately describe extremists.


Davis, Angela. “Moe Lectureship in Women’s Studies .” Moe Lectureship in Women’s Studies.

Marx, Karl, Joseph J. OMalley, Annette Jolin, and Karl Marx. Critique of Hegels “Philosophy of  Right”. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Definition of radical – Merriam-Webster’s Student Dictionary. Accessed October 4, 2019. 

“Radical,” Merriam-Webster (Merriam-Webster), accessed October 4, 2019,         

Tension between African-Americans and African Immigrants

Tension between African-Americans and African Immigrants

The term ‘African-American’ is commonly used as an all-encompassing descriptor of black people within the United States, without note of the multiple ethnic groups of black people that reside in the United States. One sub-group of people whose tension with African-Americans is becoming more and more apparent is African immigrants. There are many stereotypes and misconceptions that are held by both groups about each other’s history and presence, both in the United States and in Africa. Understanding the root of this tension is the key to both parties moving towards a joint goal of diasporic peace, which is especially important for the children of African immigrants, who feel as though they are caught in the middle of this tension.

In order to uncover the root of the tension between African-Americans and African immigrants, Filmmaker Zadi Zokou produced the documentary BlacknBlack, a film that, through interviews of people from both backgrounds, pointed out “the importance of considering the complex histories of African and American relationship that span several centuries and continents, coloring the interactions and mutual perceptions within the communities of African heritage.” As an immigrant himself, Zokou felt a level of indifference from the African-Americans he encountered after he fled to the United States from the Ivory Coast. Most African immigrants who choose to go to the United States go mainly due to war or economic reasons. More often or not, the conflicts in these African countries stem from the remnants of colonialism, something that all members of communities of African heritage are suffering from in some way, shape, or form.

A prevalent ideology held by some African-Americans is the complicity of Africans in the selling of other Africans into the trans Atlantic slave trade. While it is true that there were some deceitful chiefs who did sell fellow Africans into the slave trade, there were also acts in direct opposition to European slave traders. To prevent the capturing of more slaves, rivers were diverted from villages, thick walls were built, or communities relocated altogether to locations that were difficult to locate like mountains and caves. However, it has become a prevailing narrative among African-Americans that all Africans were complicit in the kidnapping of their ancestors, which is false. The truth of a select group has become the truth of an entire continent.

Some Africans believe that Africans owe African-Americans an apology for the complicity that did occur during the slave trade. Reconciliatory practices are very common as a tourist activity for African-Americans in many African countries. However, it seems this is being done in avoidance of who is responsible for the hurt that African-Americans feel from the slave trade. The only people deserving of blame are the European slave traders themselves, whose actions permeate social, political, and economic systems in Africa and the United States. The actions of Africans are still done in relation to European standards.  This does not justify acts of violence between the two groups.

When African immigrants settle into local communities in the United States, they face indifference from African-Americans in regard to why they are there and what their presence means for the general black population. These feelings of indifference are heightened by hatred of certain identities, namely Islamophobia. In the Bronx, there have been multiple violent attacks by African-American youth against conservative Muslim immigrants. This is troubling considering nearly 50% of the African population is Muslim. This also means that there are undertones of Islamophobia within the African-African community which have yet to be addressed. The escalation to violent further exemplifies the urgency of resolving the tension between African immigrants and African-Americans.

The political climate in the United States permeates the daily lives of black communities around the country, regardless of ethnic background. Involvement in political discourse and civil rights struggles is frequently used as an identifier of who is more involved or more invested in the well being of black people in the United States. African immigrants tend to feel disassociated from issues of politics and civil rights because, due to indifference from African-Americans regarding their ethnic background, they do not feel fully embedded in the lifestyle of being American. Some African-Amerians classify African immigrants as foreigners who, due to their foreign status, do not have to deal with issues of racism. However, in the same way that the term ‘African-American’ is used without regard of ethnic background, the policing of black people in the United States is done without regard of ethnic background. In regards to the disassociation civil rights issues, some African-Americans believe that African immigrants do not take part civil rights struggles but are quick to take benefits created through the struggle of generations of African-Americans. There will always be benefits created through the struggle of African-Americans that will be taken by African immigrants. However, it is true that it is not moral to do so without giving back to the community that created the benefits. There is a group that is constantly caught between the cross-fire of this tension: the children of African immigrants. This party has spent the majority, if not all of their lives in the United States and have grown up following both the mannerisms of the African-Americans around them and the cultural practices of their African families. They cannot truly side with either side of the tension because they would betray the other side who they have either a cultural or familial connection with. Some children of African immigrants choose to assimilate into African-American culture fully and reject their African heritage in order to feel fully accepted by the African-American communities they live in. It should not have to take the repudiation of one’s culture to be accepted by another.

African immigrants and African-Americans both have to take steps to understand each other’s history and culture to cohabit within the United States in a mutually beneficial relationship. Being black doesn’t automatically dictate a bond with other black people, especially considering the complex history of both parties in relation to the trans-Atlantic slave trade and European colonialism. Understanding each other’s history will help both parties discern what it feels like for both parties to live in a marginalized community like the United States. 




Dance as an Integral Part of Black Performance Studies

Nia Callender

Black performance studies as a field of inquiry is a recent phenomenon beginning in the 1980’s. Of course the practices that are studied today, have been in existence for hundreds of years. The goals of black performance studies include both to represent culture and to resist against oppression, prejudice and initiate forms of social change. It also aims to connect “blackness” and race to performance, as professor of African American Studies at Northwestern investigates (citation 1). Similarly to black religiosity, theatre and music, dance within all people of the African diaspora deserves a significant place within black performance studies.

When Africans were stolen from the continent, and forced into slavery, they were stripped of their sense of home, community and language. Though captured and bounded into unfamiliar spheres, some cultural elements withstood. Through forced assimilation, enslaved people all throughout the Americas seldom kept their native languages, but music and oral storytelling were able to survive. Most, if not all people could partake in music despite multiple backgrounds and language barriers (Citation 2). With music, dance flourished. Even before Africans were sold into slavery, dance was a key component of African communities and cultures. In Black Imagination in the Middle Passage by Henry Louis Gates, Genevieve Fabre writes:

In the cults honoring the gods or the ancestors, dance was a way of mediating between the godly and the human, the living and the dead. Deities were praised, called upon through a dance designed to invoke special features, properties, or abilities. Dance was thus used to solicit intercession, to thwart wrath or punishment that human that human action might have incurred, to flatter, or to appease (Citation 3).

This is to emphasize the fundamental qualities that dance overtook in every aspect of life. Not only was it a product of celebration or joy, but its direct connection to religion and spirituality should be equally important. Often times dancing became the closest way people could connect with these religious figures and embodying what they imagine them to act and sound, like was common (Citation 4). Dance was an integral part in the function of communities. High ranking officials were expected to be good dancers and their status was based heavily on this. 

The common narrative of The Slave Ship has been one that has told the atrocious and inhumane conditions and treatments of the enslaved people. Through the middle passage, hundreds of slaves were forced together under the subjugation of people who wanted to exploit them. On the ships, captors required hours of dancing on deck to music they performed. This was a way to entertain the people on board at the same time as establishing their dominance and control over the slaves. The effort to eradicate West African traditional dance by masters, failed however as they managed to survive past the Slave Ship into the New World. 

From the slave ship, Africans were sent all over the New World and the history of dance in each of these places varies dramatically. Dance was and still is an integral part of Caribbean, Latin and South American life. When enslaved people arrived to countries like Cuba and Brazil, hundreds of dance styles were able to flourish. The native people of Cuba, los Taínos had dance rituals long before the West African slaves arrived and when they did arrive, the dance forms from the respective peoples mixed. The Haitian Revolution created an emigration of Haitian refugees to the east side of Cuba, which brought more styles: ones of rebellion, resistance and revolution (Citation 5). This created a melting pot of dance styles and rhythms that have subsisted. Brazil, like Cuba had hundreds of native groups with their own movement methods prior to slavery and colonization. Imported by the portuguese in the 16th century, enslaved Afrians arrived to Brazil and brought “provocative” styles of dance that needed to be altered by the Europeans. The mixing of indigenous, European and African traditions formed popular dances like the Samba and Maxixe (Citation 6).

  In North America, slaves were given far less freedom to dance than in the Caribbean or in South America and this is evident in the way the contemporary societies view dance. Dancing on the plantation included shuffling of the feet and sharp torso movements (Citation 7). Minstrel shows in the early 19th century were a medium through which African-Americans were forced to make fun of themselves and were often ridiculed by slave owners and other white people. Even through this, they were able to maintain a semblance of their culture. The Cakewalk was the first “black” dance to become popular among whites in 1891 followed by the Twist, Jitterbug, Charleston in the decades to follow. The 1920’s, brought the Harlem renaissance and it also began to contour a unified set of dance styles for black Americans (Citation 8).

The histories of dance amongst people who identify under the umbrella of blackness is long, complex, and varied. It is evident that due to the convergence of European, African, and indiginous traditions in the Caribbean and South America, dance was and still is an integral part of everyday life in these places. The more tolerant masters in these countries of dance as an art form and entertainment source also play a role in how dance within blackness has progressed differently than in North America. African slave dances did mix with European styles but lacked the indiginous qualities of their Southern counterparts.

Dance throughout the African diaspora has taken many different roles and positions throughout the world, but two themes are consistent. First: a representation of culture rooted in tradition and Second: Resistance. Everything above points to the importance of culture and tradition from slavery and black spheres all over on the progression of dance. In both West Africa and the native people all around South America, dance was a part of everyday life and it was a part of performance. It was a part of connecting the mortal to the immoral in religion and spirituality. Today, all throughout the world, dance has these same effects. In resistance, slaves and Latin Americans were able to stop full assimilation by hiding these aspects of their individual cultures, very much keeping it to themselves. 

Black dance is multifaceted, multicultural and global. In the United States, the emergence of African Americans in styles historically unavailable to them like ballet, and modern have developed into even more styles that connect black people. The formation of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre by black choreographer Alvin Ailey in 1958, was able to be a home for talented black dancers to study and perform in many styles (Citation 9). Mainly concerned with technical modern, the company explores a fusion of styles traditionally performed by people of the diaspora making it a perfect example of black performance studies. 

The exploration of musical rhythms, music, theatre, storytelling and religion are the key elements of black performance studies. Dance can be a culmination of all of these elements. Though a growing field of study, it can be argued that dance deserves equal research to those above. Stemming from the beginning of civilization in West Africa and Latin/South America, dance and its connection to black people is very strong. Its roots are in culture and belief systems as well as in resistance. Its transformation from an everyday aspect of life to a performative action that is for entertainment is exactly what black performance studies aims to capture and cultivate.

  1. Johnson, E. Patrick. “Black Performance Studies: Genealogies, Politics, Futures.” The SAGE Handbook of Performance Studies, 2006, 446–63.

  2. Fabre, Genevieve. “The Slave Ship Dance.” In Black Imagination and the Middle Passage, 33–40. Oxford University Press, 1999.

3. Genevieve, 33.

4.  Adshead-Lansdale, Janet, and June Layson. Dance History: an Introduction. London: Taylor & Francis, 2016.

5. Vaughan, Umi. Rebel Dance, Renegade Stance: Timba Music and Black Identity in Cuba. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2013.

 6. Vaughan, Umu. “Afro Cuba.” In Rebel Dance Renegade Stance Timba Dance and Black Identity in Cuba, 47–50, 2012.

7. Malone, Jacqui, and Jacqui Malone. “Jazz Music In Motion.” In Steppin on the Blues: the Visible Rhythms of African American Dance, 100–103. Urbana: Univ. of Ill. Press, 2006.

 8. Malone, 100.

 9. Foulkes, Julia L., and Julia L. Foulkes. “Coda: The Revelations of Alvin Ailey.” In Modern Bodies: Dance and American Modernism from Martha Graham to Alvin Ailey, 180–85. Chapel Hill: Univ. North Carolina Press, 2006.

Silencing the Past… In the Present

Ghanaian diplomat and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Kofi Annan, spoke to the importance of education by stating, “knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” (Citation 1) What Annan so wisley highlights here is the connection between education, power, and progress. The power to educate and the power to control how others are educated directly affects what type and how much progress is made. Moving away from the abstract, this idea of education can be narrowly focused to the presence (or limited presence) of African-American history in public primary and secondary educational institutions in the United States. As Michel-Rolph Trouillot highlights in his work, “Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History”, history can be distorted to benefit a specific actor or collective group and, in turn, disadvantages another actor or group. By diving into the history of Black American history and observing present day Common Core curriculum, the distortion of history, touched upon by Trouillot, becomes evident in the United States education system. On a macro-level, this injustice in grade school historical education can arguably inhibit the growth and proficiency of Africana Studies as a discipline.    

Popularly known as the “Father of Black History”, Carter G. Woodson was, among other things, a pivotal actor in incorporating Black History into the United States education system. During his academic career, Woodson wrote countless books, created the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, and developed Negro History Week. (Citation 2) One of Woodson’s most notible books, “The Mis-Education of the Negro” highlighted the power of education. Woodson wrote, “the easiest way to control a people is to control their history.” (Citation 3) Through his activism, Woodson aimed to reclaim control over Black American history as a mode of resistance to oppression. Although Woodson made monumental improvements in the education of Black American history, there are still glaring limitations, inconsistencies, and silencing within Black American history being taught in public schools across the United States. 

Woodson’s creation of Negro Week in 1926, evolved into Black History Month which has been celebrated every Febuary since 1976. (Citation 4) Common Core curriculum, to be followed by public schools across the U.S., requires important historical and cultural aspects of Black American history to be taught during Black History Month. By diving deep into the present day K-12 lesson plan suggestions provided by the National Education Association, it is clear that important Black historical figures are being mentioned. Harriet Tubman, Jackie Robinson, and Martin Luther King Jr. are among some of the included figures. (Citation 5) Although this is a positive observation, one in which Black American history is clearly being touched upon in schools, it is misleading one from recognizing that the history being taught is incredibly limited. Black History Month is an opportunity for Black history to be at the forefront of history as a discipline, but that does not mean all of Black history should be consolidated and limited to the month of February. For every other month of the school year, Black history is taught as an afterthought in the context of American history rather than as an interwoven theme. For example, the United States History content standards for grades 5-12 created by the UCLA Public History Initiative requires students to be exposed to the important technological advancements during the American Industrial Revolution. (Citation 6) So a textbook would most positively include the invention of the carbon filament light bulb and credit its invention to the famous Thomas Edison. What this common narrative fails to inform students is that the invention of the carbon filament was actually a collaborative effort. The name Lewis Latimer, a black American inventor, is left out of the Industrial Revolution section of most American history textbooks. (Citation 7) Perhaps Latimer is mentioned briefly during Black History Month, but the separation of an influential black American from the history he was factually a part of is clear distortion of history. Could this consolidation and limitation be an example of what Trouillot coined as ‘Silencing the Past’? What is evident is that public schools in the United States are not thoroughly providing students with an American history curriculum that correctly incorporates Black American history as a persistent theme, it rather segregates and limits Black history to a single month out of the school year. 

It would be unjust to try and unpack the reasoning for the limited Black American history taught in public primary and secondary educational institutions in a short blog post. But one element that can be highlighted regarding U.S. public education is the result of the limitation. How is this affecting Africana Studies and Black American Studies at the collegiate level and in academia? By striping public school students of an accurate foundation of American history, one that effectively includes Black American history, conversations in college lecture halls can be likened to fitting a square peg in a round hole. How can college students even begin to breach the subject of systemic racism in the United States with only a distorted historical knowledge to support themselves? This conflict, sourced in primary and secondary school, proves itself a serious roadblock in coming to conclusions or even making progress regarding topics like race and racism in America. Human consumers of knowledge must be on the same page before these discussions can be productive and it is fundamentally imperative that this “page” is one written with objectivity, accuracy, and inclusion. Carter G. Woodson launched the effort of Black history education and the reclaiming of that history. This effort can continue in a positive trajectory by focusing on reevaluating how American history is taught in United States public primary and secondary educational institutions. 

  1. https://www.kofiannanfoundation.org/kofi-annan/biography/

2. https://www.naacp.org/naacp-history-carter-g-woodson/

3. Lecture 9-19-19

4. Lecture 9-19-19

5. http://www.nea.org/tools/lessons/bhm-curriculum-resources-gradesK-5.html

6. https://phi.history.ucla.edu/nchs/united-states-history-content-standards/

7. https://thinkgrowth.org/14-black-inventors-you-probably-didnt-know-about-3c0702cc63d2

Abby Carchio

An Introduction to Africana Studies – Fall 2019 Blog – WELCOME!


By Professor Françoise N. Hamlin

A friend of mine, also a professor (we trained together in Graduate school), had a Facebook conversation with me and other colleagues about the rules we should lay out to you, our students, in the first week or two in such a class as this:

The original poster said:

“How to Write for African American/Africana Studies”
1. To use or not use the passive voice is a political choice (there is a big difference between saying “The slaves were freed” and “The slaves freed themselves.”) We are writing about subjects and actors.
2. There is no single “The Black Man” or “The Black Woman” (unless you’re Toni Cade Bambara). We are a diverse people.
3. Speaking of which, we are indeed people. “The Blacks” are a band from Chicago.
4. To Capitalize or not to capitalize…

We all wholeheartedly agreed that this merely began the conversation and we set to work to extend the list.

This is an edited selection of responses:

  • We strongly discourage students from using “society” in their papers.
    • I usually get papers that state “society is racist,” or “society caused X.” State specifically which institution (schools), industry (education), etc (media–radio, tv, pop culture) actually did whatever action, in an effort to recognize that there are PEOPLE, AGENCY, and POWER factors that influence activities or make something happen. If students use “society” they better be sure that’s what they mean.
  • There is also no “black community.”
    • Multiple opinions exist on any given subject within the racial group. There is no homogenous white community that has a singular way of thinking and being. Rather, black folk exist in multiple communities.
  • Know the difference between race, ethnicity and nationality.
  • Not all stereotypes are created equal.
  • Avoid false equivalencies and binaries (both/and not either/or), especially without proof!
  • If you don’t know, ask. Do not assume knowledge or fact based on your own experience. Your being black does not make you an expert on blackness, just the blackness you call your own.
    • Evidence! Africana Studies teaches you the diversity of blackness and black experiences – everyone will experience this class differently so do not assume you have the
  • Just because you decided to take an Africana class does not mean you are free of prejudice or unbiased, whatever your color.
    • You do not understand Africana experiences because you are a woman, gay, 1/4 Cherokee, listen to hip hop, etc (this list is trite but you get the point). Your sadness over the fact of slavery should not overwhelm your critical faculties. Possessing whiteness does not make you responsible for racism but it also does not mean that the passing of the Civil Rights Act solved anything. Immigrant statuses of parents or grandparents to the U.S. after 1865 does not absolve anyone either. Racism did not end with Obama’s election. Race is not just about Africans Americans or Africana people, rather, it includes everyone. This class will not absolve white guilt and this class does not promote such accusations. If you do make a troubling statement based on ignorance be open to constructive (and kind) criticism. If you hear an ignorant statement respond with empathy and not condemnation. Everyone must strive for tolerance.
  • In Africana Studies we do not make blanket statements like “the White Man.” See above.
  • In Africana Studies we do not use the “n-word,” even if it becomes a topic of discussion. Academic freedom will go so far. Tread lightly.
  • Do not use of first names for people, even for children. Do not refer to Emmett Till as Emmett, use Till.

A very interesting list! Africana Studies should teach you a way of knowing – it is not necessarily intuitive based on our social and cultural conditioning in the U.S. and the West. The professors here also acknowledge modes of power that seep into our classrooms and into the way we think about groups, stereotypes, and the past. I do not want to say more, rather, read this list carefully and think about what you might have seen/heard/said in the past.

Remember too, nowhere here do I talk about methods and epistemology…. Now you know!