After the devastating realities of police violence in 2020 that seem to wake-up slumbering people to the ways in which systemic violence and systemic racism proliferates throughout our entire cultural body, I come to this particular month, February, and hold the complexity of why we should narrate Black History as American History, the ways that Black History should not be just an appendix to American life and celebrated once a month in a calendar year, and the ways that logics of racism are actually designed to do just that — to make it so that Black History is limited to one month within a calendar year. I also want to invite us all into a different fold in this analysis regarding race by suggesting that the logics of racism and white body supremacy are actually not the binary of Black / White, but actually White / non-White. What accelerates anti-Black racism is the binary of White / non-White; the usual binary of Black / White invisibilizes Brown peoples (Native / Indigenous people, Latinx, Asian, among others) and the White / non-White binary is the technology that is used to fortify the racial hierachy and hegemonic systems, such as unjust prisons that disporportionately incarcerate people of color.
I remind us all of the above history of the realities of police violence, the acceleration of anti-Black racism that emerged last year, that was visible to us through social media, and the ways that logics of racism tend to function in this country through the machinations of “Black History Month,” because what the Center / Hegemonic System is holding are the values and practices that fortify their own self-interests and the ongoing delegitimizing of anyone who is non-White. This is important because in order for us to steward values and practices that make a profound break with the Center / Hegemonic System, we must recognize the ways in which we are all conscripted into the Center and also negotiate the Borderlands, which are the bleeding peripheries of the Center.
As a Transqueer Latinx, I am always negotiating the White / non-White binary in that the Center / Hegemonic System makes me palatable to itself in my assimilation to its narratives. Having spent 2 decades in higher education pursuing graduate studies, what was required of me as a Latinx (non-White person) was to disassociate from my non-White identity. This is a fundamental logic of racism: disassociation. This doesn’t just happen to non-White people; it happens all the time to White folks; it’s why White folks often suffer from having no historical memory of the ways in which logics of racism has functioned thoroughout history. The logics of racism demand that white bodied individuals cut off their ancestry, their connection with their familial succession, and any sort of historical memory of what has occured in the past. When the logics of racism achieves this kind of dissociative identity in white bodied individuals, in particular, the Center / Hegemonic System can then shape the values and practices of these folks. This is what perpetuates and accelerates the perniciousness of these logics of racism.
As you think about your history and the ways in which you are seeking to steward your own anti-racist being in the world, consider the ways that you have been disconnected from your own history; interrogate what you have inherited; and, lean into values and practices that make a profound break from the Center / Hengemonic System and participate more in the borderlands of life. The bleeding periphery of the Center / Hegemonic System has an abundance of life awaiting for you!