*** YOUR DAILY DO'S - TUESDAY, 6 PM ***Katie Anthony
Here's the question - if they never stop attacking, can we ever stop reacting? Because that's the goal, right? To not just stymie the bad, but to nurture the good. So... how do we do that?
James Baldwin said something that’s been bouncing around in my mind lately – only, you know, with gooder words than the ones in my head. Because he’s James Baldwin. “The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.”
So tonight’s Do’s are going to revolve on the axis of James Baldwin, whose work, while technically historical, could not be more important to our present.
If you’re thinking, “Katie, ok, sure, this is important, but Betsy DeVos was confirmed today and the Dakota Pipeline was approved and SHIT IS GOING DOWN and I can’t think about James flipping Baldwin right now.” To that I say, I hear you, I honor your work, and I feel your pain.
And to that, I ask you, has there ever been a more important time to know about effective activists, their tools, their tactics, and the philosophies that led to triumph even in the face of overwhelming opposition? Answer: Maybe there has been, but not in my lifetime.
If they never stop attacking, can we ever stop reacting? Yes. But we have to spend some time learning about the history that has happened before, and is happening right now.
So if you want to stop reacting and start acting, let’s go to school and study a master: James Baldwin.
1. Read this quick primer on Baldwin the activist – this article is short, and helps us to understand Baldwin’s role in the CRM by contextualizing his work with Malcolm X and MLK:
And then read his obituary in the New York Times, from 1987:
2. Now, answer this question: Knowing that WE CARRY OUR HISTORY WITH US, how can we carry Baldwin with us? What were Baldwin’s tactics during the CRM? What tools did he use? How can WE adopt some of those same tactics to bring change in our times? These are real questions, please comment with your thoughts.
3. Make a date to see “I Am Not Your Negro” this week or weekend – connect with someone in this group, or bring a friend from outside the group. After you’ve seen it, make sure to go online and rate it! User reviews of the film so far put it at 4/10, and many of the comments say things like, “All that racial stuff in the movie happened decades and decades before anyone alive today.”
(Come on Katie, do online reviews really matter in the grand scheme of things? Well, in the sense that online reviews can damage box office earnings... and an underperforming movie would reaffirm the false idea that "audiences don't want to see movies about Black people"... which would further centralize the power of our cultural narrative in the hands of white male studio heads... who will continue to make more movies about, by, and for white males... which will continue to teach our children that this is what good and valuable people look like... and will continue to perpetuate the fallacy that there is no value to the stories of people of color... and by extension, no value to the people themselves... YES. Online reviews do matter.)
#DailyDos #BlackHistoryMonth #HistoryIsNow #IndivisibleWA
Katie Anthony is a writer, one of the administrators of Pantsuit Washington, and heads the Daily Do's team.
Liz Bander - writer
Angela Teater- Writer