Oh no! The folks back home will never stop smacking their lips over this one. As African American Studies grows across the nation, its scholarly diversity does not fall behind. Could white professors be added to the “things keeping Black people down” list? Possibly, but the fall of Black academia shouldn’t be instantly expected. Many of you, with folded arms right now, have already made the fatal mistake of pitting experience as the only knowledge of struggle. Did you hear me? I said that a white teacher can understand why Langston Hughes has to say he knows rivers; or similarly, scream with Nina Simone in Mississippi.
You say “they can’t relate like another Black person can.” Really? I’m sure Jewish cats know about having their ancestors die by countries. It may not be from the middle passage, and they might be way better off now, but the same ideas that haunt the Jew fall from the lips of the same structure that makes people automatically jump from a Black presence. I’m pretty sure that white gays (not excluding other races, this is only rhetorical) know something about laws designed to prevent them from existing. Sure it’s not Jim Crow, but damn-it Jimmy has kids, sometimes just as bold—do I have to tell you how concerned you should be?
Whatever high delivery standards that you set, depending on the skin color of your presenter, need to get sent to the back. The omen of today’s collegiate experience is more important. African American Studies is a program that seeks to give color to the invisible humyns. Through understanding the biographies of key figures and studying African history students become critical of today’s post-colonial world. Therefore, it’s only natural that the program crosses color lines, because now we aren’t the only ones that see contradictions, and have to hush up about it. “White America” will be in our encyclopedias in past tense, as there are white people, even, that finally see that this racist, sexist, homophobic structure is more than a Black problem. So, instead of being a nihilist, why don’t you jump on board?
For my relentless antagonists, just think about the isolating logic that you are spreading. If whites should never teach African American Studies, then, in a white dominated educational structure, we know nothing but our history and entertainment. That means America will not recognize Black doctors, lawyers, business people, etc. No don’t say “that’s different,” because you’re up against a world that separates everything into ownership and race. Guess what? Business is white studies: Marx, Rockefeller, Gates. Science is white history: Galileo, Edison, Einstein. It’s not shy about overlooking the few players in post-slavery America or the large contribution pre-Greco Europe. I dare you to truly consider your position. Ask questions and be true to yourself, not expectations. Racism has a complex structure, but its glitches are noticeable.