An excerpt from “That Word Black” by Langston Hughes
“What I want to know is, where do you white folks get off calling everything bad black? If it is a dark night, they say it's black as hell. If you are mean and evil, they say you got a black heart. I would like to change all that around and say that the people who Jim Crow me have got a white heart. people who sell dope to children have got a white mark against them. And the white gamblers who were behind the basketball fix are the white sheep of the sports world. God knows there was few, if any, Negroes selling stuff on the black market during the war, so why didn't they call it the white market? “
“No, they got to take me and my color and turn it into everything bad. According to white folks, black is bad. "Wait till my day comes! In my language, bad will be white. Blackmail will be a white mail. Black cats will be good luck, and white cats will be bad. If a white cat crosses your path, look out! I will take the black ball for the cue ball and let the white ball be the unlucky eight-rock. And on my blacklist––will be a white list then ––I will put everybody who ever Jim Crowed me from Rankin to Hitler, Talmadge to Malan, South Carolina to South Africa. “
"I am black. When I look in the mirror, I see myself, daddy-o, but I am not ashamed. God made me. …..He did not make us no badder than the rest of the folks. The earth is black and all kinds of good things comes out of the earth. Everything that grows comes out of the earth. Trees and flowers and fruit and sweet potatoes and corn and all that keeps mens alive comes right up out of the earth––good old black earth. Coal is black and it warms your house and cooks your food. The night is black, which has the moon, and a million stars, and is beautiful. Sleep is black, which gives you rest, so you wake up feeling good. I am black. I feel very good this evening. "What is wrong with black?"
The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi's National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.
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