4/05/2008

Erasing Racism Part 2

In my previous post, I wrote about Erasing Racism by Molefi Kete Asante.

I decided to leave one big piece for a second post: So, what to do about racism? Here is what Asante says (pages 236-7):

First, there needs to be an official apology for enslavement of Africans from the government of the United States, namely the President and the Congress.

Then, he recommends the following steps and intentions:
  1. Embrace all of the nation’s history
  2. Choose the present as the arena of action
  3. Rewrite our understanding of the national story from the standpoint of the Wilderness in order to see the whole picture
  4. Support the human and cultural rights of every ethnic group
  5. Open up discussion on reparations to find a way to repair the wrong.
Often times, books about social ills spend chapter after chapter on the problem, and throw in a short chapter solutions almost as a necessary afterthought. Asante provides more bulk than that in the final chapter of this book. Perhaps more important, he weaves insights about and steps toward solutions throughout the book.

This was not an easy book for me to read, for a few different reasons, not just "because I'm white." Racism itself is a pernicious, sad, and sorry topic, of course -- and that's not easy. The book encompasses the history of Africans and their descendants in the US in details that I never learned in history classes.

And I think that Asante's writing voice, as an Afrocentrist, is simply different from what I usually read. It was helpful to notice that and realize it's just a different approach.

It took me a couple of renewals from the library before I got through it. I'm glad I finished it, though.
- - - - -
Finally, a big plug for Kevin's thoughtful essay on this and related topics at Mobtown Blues, Bitter Soup.

Kevin writes, "The place where race, class, culture, economics, personal responsibility, and public policy intersect is thorny, rife with pitfalls, and full of forks in the road."

I highly recommend it. (Too bad he's left Friends for another tradition. Alas!)

1 comment:

Allison said...

Why did he leave Friends for another tradition? I'm hoping it's not because of the lack of the crossroads "place."

Evan said that atthe Sidwell Friends school, he and other students petitioned the administration to make a less Euro-centric history curriculum... and succeeded!