4/28/2022, 6 p.m.
Virginians — and all Americans — need to wake up when it comes to the assault on Black history and truth-telling.
Right-wing politicians and their followers around the country continue to inflame the weak-minded by ginning up fears against books that have any connection or mention of race or racial issues or that contain anything regarding sexual orientation or gender identity.
The latest: Some school systems are banning a book about President Obama. The book, titled, “Who Is Barack Obama?” was published in late 2009 and is part of a series of biographies targeting elementary and middle school students. It talks about President Obama’s childhood, growing up without a father and his mother’s move to Indonesia, his years trying to fit in during high school in Hawaii and his later quest to succeed in college and law school.
According to the Pen America index of school book bans, “Who Is Barack Obama?” is among more than 1,300 books banned late last year in school systems nationwide.
Gov. Glenn A. Youngkin used the boogeyman of books, such as Pulitzer Prize-winner Toni Morrison’s “Beloved,” and the false rumor of critical race theory being taught in Virginia schools to secure his election as the state’s chief executive last November.
We must come up with an effective plan to combat this nonsense, which mistakenly has been branded part of the culture war when, in actuality, it is another method to extend white supremacy.
As descendants of Africans who were brought to this nation enslaved, we must understand that our community has seen this before. The history of our ancestors deliberately was erased — and individuals were deliberately renamed — when they arrived on slave ships in Virginia and elsewhere. The banning our history then was just one tactic to ensure America’s system of white dominance in the social order.
We have seen through more than 400 years of history in America the dreadful and debilitating impact that erasure of history has had on Black people. With Barack Obama’s election as the nation’s 44th president in 2008, we felt a ray of hope that change may come for racial progress and acceptance.
The banning of books, including one about the former president himself, is part of the great backlash by certain segments of the white population against racial progress by exerting their control and dominance. By banning our history, our story and our truth from being discussed in classrooms, they seek to wrestle control of the narra- tive and return to white supremacy as the social order.
If we let this continue, future generations may be hard-pressed to even identify Barack Obama as the first African-American president of this nation.
We cannot have our history eliminated, shrouded or controlled. What are we, as individuals and a people, going to do about it? We must emphatically and innovatively push back against white supremacy in all its forms.