It is the case that the white power structure has not only marginalized people of color but also the discourse people of color use to take themselves from history’s margins into the center of talk. I’m saying that it is tabooed to talk about race in the west. It doesn’t make you many friends, or get you promotions, or get you invitations to networking circles. It makes you look angry, bitter, “black,” a divider rather than uniter, one who is stuck in the past.
This ongoing resistance to discourse about race has been the greatest weapon used to destroy the accomplishments of the civil rights movements. It’s worse than the dogs that tore black fleshes for marching in Birmingham. Making others feel uncomfortable to talk about race mirrors the act of holding a machete over backs to ensure black laborers spoke about the quality of the plantation soil “Will cotton be fluffy this season?” rather than about the psychological scars and family ruin the cotton production had waged on their lives.
Who can deliver us than our voices? But our voices are under assault!
The 1960s-70s saw a collective energy among people of color and women to resist history and cultivate a different future. White women have largely benefited from this movement and have now joined their white male counterparts to create a system where it becomes admirable to say you see gender but increasingly more tabooed to say you see race.
This assault on talk about race becomes more worrying when people of color become the ones that police talk. It’s ok to talk about European history and white writers everyday of our lives. But once we dare reveal our consciousness and say, “Hey, can we start talking about a different history of race—black writers instead of white writers?” people put on their police uniform and block the talk and even block the means we use to put bread and butter on our table.
We must resist efforts that police the most effective tool we will ever have to liberate ourselves: we must resist those who police our tool of tal