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  • Writer's pictureDé Bryant, Ph.D.

Part II: How far depends on your lens.

Once a year the time rolls around when the country celebrates Black History month. One question always comes up, "How far have we come since the days of MLK and the March on Washington?"

As a person of multiple statuses threatened by deeply entrenched implicit biases, the question is a moving target. Asking, "How far have we come?" flattens our collective vision. Haitian historian Michel-Rolph Trouillot called this phenomenon different views of "pastness." The narrative about whether justice prevails will be filtered through the lens worn by the author writing the narrative. Worse, the filters are rife with implicit race and gender biases deeply rooted in systemic structures.

Narrators in Nikole Hannah-Jones' The 1619 Project and Ibram Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning are the Black people targeted for racial terrorism by white racists. Over time legal redress has come in the form of eight Civil Rights Acts (1866, 1871, 1875, 1957 due to pressure of the Civil Rights Movement, 1960, 1964, 1968, and 1991). This sounds like progress. But is it? Witness the "culture wars" over banning books; renaming sports teams, streets, and public buildings; and removing statues. How far have we come?


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