TRUSTEE VIEWPOINT | Bringing Meaning to Black Lives Matter at Cornell

This past Friday, students, faculty members and administrators united on Ho Plaza to commemorate the tragic deaths of Terence Crutcher, Keith Lamont Scott and other black men, women and children who lost their lives at the hands of white police officers. What was for many a weekend of homecoming celebrations, was for others a time to grieve and reflect upon racial injustices in America. Despite the success of the protest, the backlash that resulted revealed divisions among our community when it comes to race perspectives. An event that should have enhanced community members’ understandings of their peers’ sentiments instead highlighted a problematic interpretation of the Black Lives Matter movement. “The BLM crowd is worthless.

Gerard Aching

Professor Explores Race Through Literature

Prof. Gerard Aching, Africana and romance studies, stressed the ongoing need for racial consciousness by connecting two literary pieces, written 60 years apart, in a lecture Wednesday. Aching discussed Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me related the themes of these two works with a quote from Fanon. “Oh my body, always make me a man who questions,” Aching quoted. He commented on the strength of the apostrophe — a literary device used to address the body as an autonomous character — in calling the reader to participate in self-interrogation and “to feel with us the openness of every consciousness.”
Aching related the use of apostrophe to the topic of race, which he said Fanon described as “our deadliest abstraction.”
“What relationship with one’s body could there be if it was assigned to states of abstraction?” he asked the audience. Aching proceeded to connect the negative connotation of this abstraction to the Western oppression of Native Americans.