Welcome to the twelfth issue of Blaxplaining, a weekly newsletter examining the nuances of Black contemporary life and current affairs. If you like this newsletter, please follow @blaxplaining on Twitter, and share it with everybody and their momma, and then some.
Can I just start by saying that 2020 is that year that keeps on coming? Have y’all noticed that we have had bad or headache-inducing news every single day since March? I mean gahdamn. In the fourteen days since the last issue, we’ve experienced the California wildfires; the Supreme Court nomination of the Fourth Horse(wo)man of the Apocalypse; Uncle Ruckus *coughs* I mean Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and the disrespectful “Wanton Endangerment” charge; the revelation that Trump paid $750, or half the cost of my rent for my Manhattan studio apartment, in taxes; that debate; and in a series of the most karmic events, Trump and his cronies caught Covid.
While the last bit of news might have been good news to some, let me make it clear that I’m not one to wish anybody harm, but it is what it is ☕.
But let me reiterate: gahdamn
You would think that by October that we would be used to the shenanigans, but 2020 continues to snatch all of our edges. There are a few positive things that have come out of this year though, and that’s my self-awareness journey: I now know that anything is possible (and I mean an-tee-thing) and that I might need stronger anxiety medicine. I also already have a resolution for 2021! Following the words of Auntie Evillene: “don’t nobody bring me no bad news”.
But until then...
When W.E.B Du Bois Made a Laughingstock of a White Supremacist (The New Yorker)
In this article featured in The New Yorker, writer Ian Frazier examines the debate between W.E.B Du Bois and a Nazi-loving racist, which unsurprisingly featured the same talking points that are used in today’s racial discourse.
Du Bois says that what Black, Brown, and Yellow people do want is to have the barriers to equal citizenship tore down — “the demand is so reasonable and logical that to deny it is not simply to hurt and hinder them, it is to fly in the face of your own white civilization”.
Black people have had a tremendous impact on the fashion industry, yet in cultural institutions like museums, Black designers have been largely overlooked in favor of white European designers. In this article, NY Times’ Vanessa Friedman delves into the institutional omission of Black designers and the mostly-white European gatekeeping of what constitutes as fashion.
Just because museums are custodians of the past does not absolve them of responsibility for the present. And in that sense, their collections and the sins of omission enshrined therein speak to the very essence of the current problem.
When Blackness Is a Preexisting Condition (The New Republic)
Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw explores how American disaster relief and socioeconomic aid, from Hurricane Katrina to FDR’s New Deal, has handicapped the Black community in this article for The New Republic.
The reflexive appeal to a post-racial and post-intersectional sentiment in the face of a racialized disaster is itself a key reason that racial disaster capitalism continues to destroy Black lives and Black communities.
A Battle for the Souls of Black Girls (NY Times)
Discipline reforms in education have tended to focus on helping Black boys, but Black girls are becoming the most at-risk student group in the United States. The New York Times published a jarring-piece on the disproportionate disparities in school discipline for Black girls.
When we talk about racism, we talk about it in terms of statistics and numbers. But we don’t talk about what happens when you have to go into a school where nobody in that building believes you, or believes in you.
Inspired by the wisdom of Black people who have had 401 years of experience with this country’s chaos, The Root’s Michael Harriot created a guide for white folks on how to navigate America during these complex times.
Whenever someone cloaks themselves in the false flag of “love for country” or refers to themself as a “patriot”, they are usually preparing to grab their tiki torches and long guns so they can ignite a dumpster fire and start killing people who don’t look like them.
That’s all for this week. If you like this issue, please forward it to your friends (or enemies if you like being petty), and leave a heart. And if you’re not a subscriber, go ahead and subscribe. Remember to wear your mask, partake in some self-care, and make sure you’re prepared to vote. Thanks for reading!