What the Insurrection, Impeachment, and Inauguration all had in common
The events of three momentous Wednesdays in January 2021 shook us to our core - the insurrection, the impeachment, and the inauguration. And now, in the painful aftermath, comes the important task of connection-making. What do these three events all have in common? The shared quality accompanying each of these three events is a deep political polarization. This divide has been developing ever since the 60s when the two parties split over segregation. The nearly 50/50 national divide we see today is anchored in this "othering" - political sectarianism, symbolic politics - rather than actual policy. My upcoming book DISPATCHES, From Racial Divide to a Road of Repair, is a collection of essays examining this dramatic polarization because we can't fix what we don't understand. And here we are in February - Black History Month - a timely and important opportunity to examine the narratives, the storylines, as we try to understand "who we are" for Black History is, after all, American History.
The 2021 theme of Black History Month is “Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.” The theme of the family offers a rich tapestry of images for exploring the African American past and present. With this theme in mind, watching Black history films together as a family this month is one way to illuminate slavery’s troubled legacy. And if you have not yet watched "I Am Not Your Negro" and "Eyes on the Prize", both are highly recommended, It was during "Eyes on the Prize" that I first learned about the story (at age 62) of the 1955 murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till. And that is where my journey of exploring whiteness and my own racial identity began.
Let us listen to the stories this month, from European Colonialism onward. Slavery and segregation are inscribed on the soul of our nation. Everything is interconnected.