“The last chapter in any successful genocide is the one in which the oppressor can remove their hands and say, ‘My God, what are these people doing to themselves? They’re killing each other. They’re killing themselves while we watch them die.’ This is how we came to own these United States. This is the legacy of manifest destiny.” – Aaron Huey
There will be a day where white history is but one of many others we will all be presented.
*Note: I’ve asked a friend to provide her analysis of the TEDTalk featured in the above link. She, in turn, forwarded it to a friend for further feedback. I’ll post both responses (with permission) once I hear back.
For now, I have two main concerns: (1) Mr. Huey did not explicitly say that the Lakota peoples gave him permission to share their story in the way he presented it, both graphically and verbally, and (2) the Lakota peoples’ resiliency was not highlighted (no, implying it is not enough). There is something inherently disempowering about a white man telling a story that is not his. Since racism operates the way it does, the words of the oppressed are not often heard by the oppressor in the same was as they are from the oppressor to the oppressor. One role of a white ally in the movement to undo racism is to educate their own about how racism operates and affects us all, doing so in a way that is accountable to People of Color. While I believe Mr. Huey’s intentions are “good,” I am all-to aware of “good” work being done that continues to propagate racism. Being explicit, intentional, and accountable is necessary to dismantle racism, which, I believe, is Mr. Huey’s ultimate goal.
“Oh B.Roy, you’re being to hard on him!” To this I say, we all have missteps and don’t critically think through our actions/words. I hope each misstep I make is met with constructive criticism and accountability. To be cautious, I cannot rely on others to educate me — it is important for me to educate myself and join communities that will support this growth in a productive, constructive manner.