“Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true” Nikole Hannah-Jones, THE 1619 PROJECT.
Since the inception of what would become the United States, this landscape has been soaked with the blood, breath, and spirt of persons viewed as ‘Other’ in the eyes of immigrants who would come to identify themselves as White. In the process of becoming White, collections of disparate Europeans used language to deceive and corrupt their way into power. From broken treaties with the land’s indigenous communities to esteemed documents declaring and supporting these United States as a nation, language has been used to twist and corrupt the human spirit of its members and destroy the lives of those they are hellbent on oppressing. As Nikole Hanna-Jones eloquently points out, it is the group of racialized people who would become know as Black American whose lives, blood, bodies, and audacious hope fertilized the soil of this nation and made the United States a democracy.
As more and more private and public institutions release impassioned anti-discrimination/anti-racist/pro-diversity statement to their communities, all the while aware that these statements will be disseminated to publics beyond their institution, the air thickens with the duplicity. I am not the only one to suspect (know) that these statements are thinly veiled emotional marketing strategies, ritual performances of whiteness and white ideology that cloak language in order to continue the rape and murder of Black bodies and the human spirit. The bringing of truth to the rhetorical deceptions cultivated in this moment will become another burden for current and future generations of vulnerable bodies. I would personally like it to stop!! Keep your statements, save the ink and paper and electronic space they are written on/in. If there is truly good will, get about the crafting of policies and laws within and outside your institutions, change your institutions NOW, not some day. Hold your people (all of them regardless of seniority) accountable to the future world of equity and justice that this present moment is laboring for and pushing to bring into life. In short, get to the work of doing THE work.