Recently, spurred on by what’s been happening in this country since George Floyd’s death, we’ve been immersed in several discussions centered around systemic racism in this country and what impact that has on black and brown skinned people and all of humanity.
I certainly can’t speak to everyone’s early education on American History but I’m going to make some generalizations here and say that it’s clear to me that what we were taught, what we were “fed”, was not a full, accurate account of the history of this country. Sure, there were elements of truth to what was in the textbooks, written on the board and spoken out of the teacher’s mouths.
These omissions weren’t by accident and it wasn’t for brevity sake. This was purposefully done to create a certain narrative about the origins of this country. Unfortunately, and to our severe detriment, we were robbed of the opportunity to hear the whole story, see the whole picture and begin to comprehend, understand and face the truth of what actually happened.
I was reminded of the tremendous loss we ALL suffered due to this “abridged” version of history when I saw this quote from James Baldwin:
“History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us.”
It’s becoming clearer to me that what I’m carrying “within” as it relates to race and racism in this country shapes what I think, what I do, and where I stand and is incomplete.
If you’d like to continue the conversation, looking within at what we’re carrying, and working to move forward on an honest (often messy) path facing what was and what is, please join us this Wednesday for either our in person meeting in Elmhurst or virtually on line.
To close, more wisdom in James Baldwin’s words…
Thank you for this, Frank.