In review of Gladson’s writing on discourses and epistemologies, I will enlist a podcast by an author from the Brookings Institute which addresses “Why Black Cities Matter?” as a correlation to the discourses and epistemologies found in Gladson’s writing.
In Perry’s podcast review of Why Black Cities Matter, he argues that Black cities are overlooked for new opportunities, just as Black people are overlooked via ploys of long ago racial epistemologies. Like Black people, Black cities experience similar injustices, impositions and inequalities which defer economic growth across their cities. The harm in not considering Black cities, spikes poverty and limits even mediocre economic gains across business sectors. He argues that majority White cities are provided financial and economic policies and opportunities which provide opportunities for increased business and financial gain. Whereas, in majority Black cities, there are little to no assets for investments, loans and future growth operations. Perry points out that an opportunity, such as having Amazon’s second headquarters moved to a majority Black city would drive considerable growth to its residents. However, Black cities are overlooked because its thought that there is no redeemable or residual value in Black cities.
Much like the Eurocentric Paradigm described in Gladson’s work, today’s economic decisions and policies are similarly structured as the racial constrictions and political construction which deny a race of people from living in an American Dream community. In addition, there are several examples of how old guard epistemologies and thought processes created economic dismay for Black people. In the following scenario, one might say that years of Eurocentric Paradigms of bad science determined the outcome of thousands of deaths and displaced Black people in the Parishes of New Orleans. One might ask why were the levees not constructed to prevent water overflow from Hurricane Katrina. And, where was an infrastructure improvement plan for the levee…so that thousands of deaths and displacement could have been avoided?
Perry’s discourse on Why Black Cities Matter? as it pertains to America’s racial matters, transcends the discourses of Gladson’s view points on consciousness and critical race theory. Paraphrasing Perry, he states that his writing on Why Black Cities Matters? stems from injustices caused by economic inequality, where more than often Black cities bear the brunt of poor city planning, “as seen in specific industries, education, environment, criminal justice and housing.” Perry talks about past policies such as race based red lining and decisions on environment planning which were thrown upon Black cities, due to the cities not being valued by society. Another example of outdated policy-making given by Perry were the loan policies created by FDR. Citizens that resided in the green lined districts received loans, whereas the residents in the red lined districts did not receive loans. In turn, the old academy used quantitative assessments to control the population and its offerings to a White America.
Gladsow’s writing also connects Perry’s podcast to her critique of Critical Race Theory (CRT). CRT theorists suggests that racism is normal, and in no time will it be a fleeting occurrence in our society. In addition, CRT theorists suggests that racism is embedded in our society to the point that it is deemed “both normal and natural to society.” Taking from my own experience, I would agree that Black and White societies have accepted racism, becoming comfortable to a degree, where we are or have become consciously distracted. I defend this observation by noting that in some communities, Black people have become discouraged by past racial policy making, in so much as that they have given up hope. In applying DuBois’s theory of double consciousness, it would suggest that this degree of double consciousness supports “the quitter” in our community. To add to that, in Perry’s podcast, he also discusses how White society does not provide “suitable solutions” because they do not value Black lives or Black cities. They too, have given up hope. Or, as in today’s Trump administration, they just do not care.
Critical race theory also contends that legislation which was created to protect Black people’s civil rights has mostly supported White women through the use of affirmative action pathways. In today’s work environment, one can see the increase of White women’s success in business, employment and education. Given years of affirmative action legislation, one would say that White women either took advantage of these policies, which hedged the success of Black women and Black men or that Blacks did not take advantage of those guided opportunities. Thus, it is very probable to argue that even though affirmative action was created to fuel Black economic goals, the open racism involved in the process, such as loan approvals for homes and secondary education, proved to be obstacles for Black people. In a critical race theoretical framework, Black lives must maintain a consciousness across all of its inherent powers becoming consciously observant of means to achieve common ground in America. The divided self must come together and join like forces across all communities to further the good work.
I note that in Patrisse Khan-Cullors book “When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matters Memoir, that Patrisse describes how she used protesting, marching and activism to raise consciousness of Black Lives Matters. However, in Gladsow’s writings, she notes that the CRT scholars were fed up with traditional civil rights strategies, such as protesting and marching. Moreover, I believe that Patrisse combined both legal and scholar activism with traditional civil rights strategies to enhance the Black Lives Matter movement.
Sociologist George Herbert Mead said that people develop their self-images through experiences interacted with other people via use of language, play and games. Likewise, it seems that W.E.B. DuBois’s epistemology on “double consciousness” lands on similar ground. Thus, the self develops from the “Me” which is comprised of socialization and interactions with other people, and the “I” is the self’s outlook, response and decision towards others. Mead and DuBois were writing during the same era. That being said, a Black person or Black community perhaps, after long term abuse, enslavement and sustained poverty would take on the traits of having two minds that confront each other. Today’s Black student, and likewise international students are of two minds.
At the end of Gladsow’s writing, she talks about all of her “selves” which in some fashion gives credibility to Mead’s definition. She identifies herself as a researcher, a parent and a community member; all in quest to educate Black children. Black lives do matter, and within their capabilities, a multiple consciousnesses exist. This consciousness should be openly discussed and used in meaningful and positive ways, and not as negative discourse which staggers any successes previously gained by all Black Lives Matters movements and initiatives. Black students should know and understand their history so that these double and multiple consciousness are shoved to the side, all the while strengthening an individual. Therefore, in knowing one’s history, the double or multiple consciousness would not be conflicting, but would be a step in developing their consciousness to one mind, one community.