Aboriginal Paintings. Timmy Payungka Tjapangati Possum Dreaming for Children, Walter Tjampitjinpa Wild Potato Story, Anatjari Tjakamarra Big Pintupi Dreaming Ceremony, Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri Travelling Honey Ant Dreaming, Uta Uta Tjangala Women’s Dreaming, John Tjakamarra No Title, Yala Yala Gibbs Tjungurrayi No Title, Nosepeg Tjupurrula Three Ceremonial Poles (top to bottom). 1970s.
Academics have developed complicated theories and obscure jargon in an effort to describe what is now referred to as structural racism, yet the concept is fairly straightforward. One theorist, Iris Marion Young, relying on a famous “birdcage” metaphor, explains it this way: If one thinks about racism by examining only one wire of the cage, or one form of disadvantage, it is difficult to understand how and why the bird is trapped. Only a large number of wires arranged in a specific way, and connected with one another, serve to enclose the bird and ensure it cannot escape.
What is particularly important to keep in mind is that any given wire of the cage may or may not be specifically developed for the purpose of trapping the bird, yet it still operates (together with other wires) to restrict its freedom.
“The poet stands at the hub of the universe contemplating the mysteries…
Oblivious to sight and sound, he is lost in reverie… He fishes up living
words from the deep seas, and brings down beautiful images like birds
on arrowstrings shot out from the clouds.”
- Lu Chi, Wen Fu: Art of Letters (302 AD).
Our children are being criminally shortchanged in the public school system of America. The Afro-American schools are the poorest-run schools in the city of New York. Principals and teachers fail to understand the nature of the problems with which they work and as a result they cannot do the job of teaching our children.
They don’t understand us, nor do they understand our problems; they don’t. The textbooks tell our children nothing about the great contributions of Afro-Americans to the growth and development of this country, and they don’t.
When we send our children to school in this country they learn nothing about us other than that we used to be cotton pickers. Every little child going to school thinks his grandfather was a cotton picker. Why, your grandfather was Nat Turner; your grandfather was Toussaint L’Ouverture; your grandfather was Hannibal. Your grandfather was some of the greatest black people who walked on this earth. It was your grandfather’s hands who forged civilization and it was your grandmother’s hands who rocked the cradle of civilization But the textbooks tell our children nothing about the great contributions of Afro-Americans to the growth and development of this country.
—-Malcolm X, June 28, 1964