“[Franz] Boaz introduced ideas into American life that shape how we think about the world to this day. Race is a construct, culture is relative, Western civilization is not inherently greater. History is not linear, and neither is human progress.”
I’m terrified at the moral apathy, the death of the heart, which is happening in my country. These people have deluded themselves for so long that they really don’t think I’m human. I base this on their conduct, not on what they say. And this means that they have become, in themselves, moral monsters.”
— James Baldwin
That’s part of the dilemma of being an American Negro. That one is, a little bit colored and a little bit white. And not only in terms, in physical terms, but in the head and in the heart. There are days, this is one of them, when you wonder what your role is in this country and what your future is in it. How precisely you’re going to reconcile yourself to your situation here and how you are going to communicate to the vast, heedless, unthinking, cruel white majority that you are here. And to be here means you that can’t be anywhere else.”
“On behalf of all of the black folks of the USA, which are the only group that didn’t vote for the motherfucker, we plead innocent to all charges, claims, accusations, allegations and associations connected to the Klansman in The Oval Office, so help me God.”
— Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods, 2020
Like the other identifiable races, Black people are in reality a collection of groups differentiated by gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality, culture, skin color, profession, and nationality-among a series of other identifiers, including biracial people who may or may not identify as Black. Each and every identifiable Black group has been subjected to what critical race theorist Kimberlé Crenshaw has called “intersectionality”—prejudice stemming from the intersections of racist ideas and other forms of bigotry, such as sexism, classism, ethnocentrism, and homophobia. For example, sexist notions of real women as weak, and racist notions of Black women as not really women, have intersected to produce the gender racism of the strong Black woman, inferior to the pinnacle of womanhood, the weak White woman. In other words, to call women as a group stupid is sexism. To call Black people as a group stupid is racism. To call Black women as a group stupid is gender racism. Such intersections have also led to articulations of class racism (demeaning the Black poor and Black elites), queer racism (demeaning Black lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people), and ethnic racism (concocting a hierarchy of Black ethnic groups), to name a few.”
— Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
The long and brutal history of the US trying to “kill the Indian and save the man”.
Toward the end of the 19th century, the US took thousands of Native American children and enrolled them in off-reservation boarding schools, stripping them of their cultures and languages. Yet decades later as the US phased out the schools, following years of indigenous activism, it found a new way to assimilate Native American children: promoting their adoption into white families. Watch the episode to find out how these two distinct eras in US history have had lasting impacts on Native American families.