Sikivu at Georgetown University

Between Virgin Mary & Jezebel: Humanist Politics, Godless Morality

“In 1781, black and brown women and men founded the city of Los Angeles.  In this so-called city without a history, legend has it that undocumented Anglos were the real o.g. illegals.  A few years before, a ‘new’ revolution in what it meant to be human unfolded on the opposite shore in the British colonies.  My students know the ‘romance’ of the American Revolution but not the secret of Los Angeles.  In the prison house of textbook history, they know each other as enslaved ‘niggers’ and ‘wetback’ interlopers.  Growing up in the same neighborhoods, elbow to elbow, cheek by jowl, they are taught to believe that black and Latino culture can be distilled down to media stereotypes—get rich or die tryin’ hip hop and ghetto dysfunction; big Catholic families and job stealing illegals.  As kindergartners they were taught to cite the pledge of allegiance as sacred chapter and verse, hand solemnly over heart, in homage to royal theft.  Founding myths of heroic white men bootstrapping to liberty are intimately bound to their imagination of the classroom, to its rhythm of shrill discipline and stench of ground chalk, to a regime of time in which white supremacy and narratives of exceptionalist progress are the currency of American faith.”

March 22nd @Georgetown University Lannan Center,  New North 306, Washington D.C. 4:00 p.m.

Sikivu at Georgetown University

7 thoughts on “Sikivu at Georgetown University

  1. F

    Founding myths of heroic white men bootstrapping to liberty

    That’s the perfect and succinct description. Bootstrapping to liberty is so very true about all US history (excepting where the liberty part still isn’t real for some people, or anyone at all for that matter).

    In this so-called city without a history

    I’ll have to learn more about that, as I’ve never heard that epithet. It isn’t remotely true, because there is a metric crapton of history there extending long before even said founding, and “pre-history” going back further. As happens too often, the popular or official history of a place includes only the history of a current majority or in-group, even when prior history is easily available. And we should really know better than to do that any longer.

    1. 3.1

      Re., L.A. having no history — the divide between official history and subaltern history was exactly what I was trying to highlight. L.A. has always been caricatured as this “center-less” white suburban enclave (busted up every so often by rioutous hooligan blacks and browns ala 1965 & 1992)which doesn’t have a “real” history when the histories of people of color in the city have been actively suppressed.

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