Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Brief thoughts on history and Black Nationalism

I really enjoyed reading Kelley Robin’s essay, “ ‘When History Sleeps’: A Beginning (2002).” I felt very connected to her descriptive writing and imagery, and I loved Robin’s motto: “dream of a new world (p. 3).” I loved reading this essay because Robin made it personal and very relatable, and I respect her for reopening “a very old conversation about what kind of world we want to struggle for (p. 7),” and I’m glad that my time has come to take part in this important discussion.

When I first heard about Black Nationalism, it was in reference to Malcolm X and how “different” (read: Minnesota’s favorite passive aggressive way of saying ‘bad’) he was from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which led me to believe that Malcolm X was bad and was not the sort of role model one should follow, especially because he was willing to do what he had to and “by any means necessary.” Robin’s mentions Black Nationalism with such nostalgic hope, and I wish that I had not dismissed such a great leader and movement for a better part of my life because it somehow during my education Malcolm X and the Black Nationalist Movement got labeled has undesirable.

Education is power, and the elite who have full access to it often abuse their power - using their educational privilege as a tool to widen the dichotomy gap of power between the people and the elite. I agreed with Robin’s criticism of the “intellectual community” that thinks that they can save “them over there” or help those less unfortunate people, and I definitely see how education is a privilege that once obtained sometimes is used as an elitist tool with which to prop oneself up on. That’s a lot for me to think about as I am now a college-educated student of color who is essentially going to go out into the world and “save" it…or at least try.

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