Chapter Six: Learning from History: Contemporary Issues in Black and Africana Studies
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Learning from History: Contemporary Issues in Black and Africana Studies
DE ANNA REESE AND MALIK SIMBA
After five decades of hammering the insensate walls of the “White Ivory Tower,” Black Studies has enabled a whole new generation of Americans to develop a neoconsciousness, making them less false and less racist than their parents and grandparents. One could argue that Black Studies generates a new type of antiracist thinking and that thinking aided in the election of President Barack Obama. Yes, we believe this has been a goal achieved indirectly, but with good fortune for the nation. Over the decades, Black Studies programs and departments have matriculated thousands of White students who understand, in the words of one such “White” Fresno State student, “the more we know, the less we fear” (Webb, 2014). There are a significant number of diverse students who matriculate through courses in Africana, African American, and Black Studies and their thinking often moves from fear to acceptance. President Obama needed this type of enlightened thinking to reach a turning point percentage in the electorate and attain the White House. In other words, the matriculation of tens of thousands of American students via required courses in either explicitly Black Studies or multiculturalism (MI GE req.) has led to a less racist America and reduced the fear of the “black planet.”1
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