WAITE | 2020 and the Trauma it Reignited

When my brother and I were younger, we often used his magnifying glass to try and start mini fires amongst the dehydrated weeds in our backyard. I know that it is cliche to write this; but gosh were those simpler times. A few weeks ago, I read a tweet that said “stop saying ‘fuck 2020.’”

The tweeter (@elinamarchh) continued on to say “[stop] acting like police brutality, medical racism, extreme poverty, etc. are part of some weird curse. They’re not specific to 2020.

WILK | HIST 2020: Unlearning American Lies

Before the whir of life-changing events and the unprecedented-ness that has characterized the past six months, I was bent over my notebook for Black Radical Tradition in the U.S., taught by Professor Russell Rickford, Africana and American Studies,  rushing to sloppily jot down his last sentence: “Americanism is ahistorical.”

More recently, sitting on my couch instead of a desk and staring not at slides but the rolling credits for Spike Lee’s most recent war drama, Da 5 Bloods, I heard an echo of Prof. Rickford in the back of my head. And since then, I’ve been reminded of those three words so often that I now hear them in my own voice, as I read people’s denialism about the United States’ militant capacity to conquer civilians. Specifically its own citizens. Over videos of federal agents deployed on the streets of New York, Portland and Chicago, Homeland Security Investigations officers brutalizing protestors and plainclothes cops snatching people into unmarked vans, outrage and shock have been weirdly focused on where this is happening, and whose citizens it’s happening to, rather than the simple fact that it’s happening. These reactions reveal a need to create distance between America and the evidence before us, and to pretend that distance is as geographical as it is ethical: “A little graffiti and some toppled statues and we turn into freaking [Al]Fallujah.

As Beauty Industry Reckons With Race, Scholars Remain Skeptical

Hairstyles like “white or Asian people with dreadlocks or box braids, at a time when Black people wearing those styles will have them kicked out of school or fired from their jobs. Some academics talk about this as loving Black culture, but not Black people,” Rooks said.

GUEST ROOM | An Open Letter to Rep. John Lewis

Thank you. You allowed me to see the future and the past in the same gaze and have given me a guiding light that I would never have seen otherwise. Your writings on the Civil Rights Movement have not only fueled my passion for history but granted me something that I would never have envisioned: An avenue to fight for the basic liberties that every person should possess. I have no words to truly convey the impact that your book had on my vision of social change. But, I attempt to speak to it because I wish to, in any minimal sense, express that I would not be as passionate or as understanding as I am now without it.