From the Washington Post opinion section:
By Cole Arthur Riley
Yesterday at 2:08 p.m. EST
Cole Arthur Riley is the author of “This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us” and the creator of the contemplative project Black Liturgies.
Black History Month is over, and I can finally breathe.
Over the course of February, I received 21 requests to speak or write for Black History Month. Of those requests, 18 were from White people. …
For 28 days, every Black person in America is expected to shape-shift into a historian. We ask this of no other race.
Whiteness is permitted the freedom to explore (or neglect) its history on its own terms, spreading the practice out lavishly throughout the year, without deadline or expectation. Black people are expected, in just four weeks, to do everything we can to preserve our stories and take up the space we are often denied.
A friend of mine waited until January to do all his pitching to big publications in hopes that, looking toward Black History Month, editors would open a door that would otherwise remain shut to outsiders. Often, we’re asked to do such labor for little or no pay, in exchange for what we hope will be career capital down the road. That is: A month meant to celebrate Black liberation winds up being a new form of indentured servitude.
It’s worth noting that I am not exempt from this machine. I wrote this piece during Black History Month and submitted it, unsolicited, to The Post (and yes, I’m getting paid). I won’t be blamed for taking advantage of the system. But I won’t be held captive to it. …
Because of what White capitalism has done to us, it requires great strength to resist the gaze of Whiteness. Because (1) the White gaze pays; and (2) White affirmation goes viral. …
Part of the exhaustion of Black History Month is the White leech on Black History Month. The White gaze is never only gazing. In fact, it cannot bear to silence itself or its demands.
Tricia Hersey, an activist and artist best known for founding the Nap Ministry — an organization that uses rest as a framework for liberation — is one of the many Black voices who this year rose above the demand. As Black History Month began, she wrote simply to her social media followers, “We won’t be doing anything specific for Black History Month on our platforms.” And then: “The genius of Black culture is all around. Open your eyes. Plus, we not doing more for these platforms. We doing less. We slowing down. We resting. To thrive as a Black person in this wicked land is breathtaking. It is history.”
I’m too tired to be a historian in this season. To be clear, I want to remember our history — and remember well. But to honor Black history I must extricate myself from the demands and temptations of the White gaze. I owe this to myself, to Morrison, to the Black women who made history and those who did nothing but lie down and breathe. After all, rest is how memory is stored.
I’m not making this up. I’d be proud to have written a parody this on the nose, but I’m too tired, so I just copied and pasted it from the Washington Post.
In recent years, there has been a massive rush on the part of Establishment organs such as the Washington Post opinion page to inform us of the insights of black women. As we all know, the brilliant insights of black women have been silenced since 1619.
So, what have we learned from the thousands of op-eds by black women during the Great Awokening?
This reminds me that I’m fascinated by how people come to believe in ideas that strike them as logical and then it becomes harder and harder for them to notice contradictory evidence.
For example, the Theory of Intersectionality states that black women are doubly oppressed by being black and by being women, which is why black women are shot by cops more than black men.
Wait … that sounds logical, but is it true?
Of course not. Only 3% of blacks killed by cops since 2015 have been women.
In contrast, 6% of whites killed have been women.
It’s almost as if the much-discussed problems of blacks with the law tend to stem from excessive masculinity. But nobody can notice that because the Theory of Intersectionality says otherwise.