Right-Wing Meme Alert: Susan Rice Dared to Suggest that School Kids Could Learn Something from the Study of Black History Back in 1986
Carson, Rice saw a political component in Black Studies, writing that the “absence or cursory coverage of Black history, literature, and culture reinforces pernicious and pervasive social perceptions of Black Americans.”
And failing to teach Black Studies in school, she argued, had negative consequences for the self-esteem of black children.
“Ultimately, what is more important than the white or majority perception of black Americans is the black man, woman, and child’s perception of themselves,” Rice wrote. “The greatest evil in omitting or misrepresenting Black history, literature, and culture in elementary or secondary education is the unmistakable message it sends to the black child. The message is ‘your history, your culture, your language and your literature are insignificant. And so are you.’"
Political speech is a style of discourse that proceeds from a set of unstated assumptions. For the community which frequents The Daily Caller, their prior is one wherein all black people (except bootblack garbage pail kid conservatives) are traitors, untrustworthy, not "real" Americans, and that all events of either significance and importance in the United States (and the world) were created by and for White people.
Students of race and racial ideologies term call this set of attitudes and beliefs "symbolic racism."
In the White Gaze, Black and brown folks are bystanders in human history; smart folks can mock such silliness, but such fictions are taken as the truth for the White Right and the Tea Party GOP. Black people, all of us, everywhere, are also closet radicals who want to get "whitey," and a moment away from attacking our white "hosts."
There are multiple levels of racist, white pathology at work in The Daily Caller's discussion of Susan Rice's work as a young student with the Black Student Fund in 1986.
The comment section is noxious and an ideal typical example of bigotry by the Right, and their basic belief that black and brown folks are not "real" Americans. Moreover, this is a not so subtle demonstration of a disdain for the basic premise that non-whites have anything to offer the American project. As such, for conservatives it is bizarre to think that white children could learn anything about the society in which they live by studying the history of black people in either the Americas or the world.
At times, I am tempted to grumble and complain about the books that my parents, godparents, and teachers gave me in my formative years, and that offered a corrective to the Eurocentric lies that were taught in most public schools. I learned early on that people of color were not bystanders to our own history. I was encouraged to be immediately suspect of "white savior" narratives. Most importantly, I was taught a healthy respect for the Black Freedom Struggle.
Even then, reading the willful lies that made Whiteness and white people central to all events of importance in the United States, and seeing the polite racism masquerading as race neutral disagreement at The Daily Caller and elsewhere, I am troubled.
But, I am not surprised.
I have the armor to resist the mental, psychic, and emotional assaults on people of color brought by the forces of white racism and white supremacy in the Age of Obama. This does not mean that we/us are immune from the blows and/or do not feel impact and vibrations on our metaphorical steel.
As sociologists such as Joe Feagin, Charles Gallagher, and Eduardo Bonilla-Silva have documented, there is a not so small portion of the American public who has learned to be politically correct in their discussions of race and racism. They have learned a script; however, these same people are still racist. Their new weapon is subterfuge: colorblind racists are now adept at masquerading their true feelings.