Articles and Essays, Words & Works of Others

In response to Bill Cosby’s “We Cannot Blame the White People Any Longer”

“You cannot dismantle the master’s house with the master’s tools.” — Audre Lorde

This is why Bill Cosby has been called an “oreo” in YT’s sweater, and accused of being black bougie.

It is true and very sad that some, maybe many African-Americans/Black people don’t know a lot about African countries. Picking up extra work at a factory once, I spoke French with and helped translate from/for a number of French-speaking workers from French-colonized African countries, primarily the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). A young Black/African-American guy worker asked me, “Where’d you learn to speak African?”
Most of the Black/African-American people I’ve been acquainted with are well-spoken and educated, though admittedly I’ve run primarily in college educated circles. (Pun intended, as reiterated by a couple of Black/African-American woman with Master’s degrees and their own business, who still dealt with a lot of racial discrimination, blocked in-roads to business based on assumption of a lack of traditional education or racial mistrust.)

These two particular women had been able to trace and find out as much as possible about their nations, tribes, and ethnic groups of origin in Africa (among the European roots their lineages were mixed with).

However, the choice to try to make a better life in the new world is not quite the same as being sold and kidnapped onto the Middle Passage into slavery on a foreign continent.

I do agree with Dr. Cosby about the term African-American; it is othering. But there are many who say the history of origin should not be erased in defining people as this minority and historically oppressed group in favor of assimilation. And if it were done away with, would it help stop racial discrimination, or ignore and undermine it? In fact, would deleting this race label insult the people who fought for it in the Back to Africa Movement, and the associated gains? Would it cover up or help to ignore the problems facing this group of people as a group? …As a (supposed/socially constructed) race based on skin color?

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