Sunday, July 12, 2020

“My body is a racist monument”

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In a poignant tribune very noticed across the Atlantic, the American poet Caroline Randall Williams recalls her Métis origins inherited from the rapes of the era of slavery and rejects any nostalgia for the Old South American.

My skin is the color of rape. This so-called “café au lait” color is the living memory of the laws, practices and values ​​of the Old South.

To all those who want to commemorate the heritage of Confederation, if they want monuments, here is my body which is a trace of this history. My skin is a testimony.

Everywhere in this country, the Confederate dead are celebrated with stupid statues, through solemn public monuments, and even in the names of military bases.

“We don’t erase history”

But my strength and my courage redoubled when I heard the rising clamor of the demonstrations and the voices of public representatives, serious and non-partisan, who denounced this practice and today want to correct it. However, there are still people left, like President Trump or the Leader of the Republican Majority in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, who cannot understand that this is not about rewriting history. We do not erase the faults and errors of the past, we add a new perspective.

I am a black woman from the southern United States and all of my close white and male ancestors were rapists. My very existence is a remnant of slavery and Jim Crow segregationist laws.

Zero whiteness

According to the rule of hypodescendence (the social and legal practice of classing any Métis person in a race of lower social rank), I am the daughter of two black people, the granddaughter of four black people and the great-granddaughter of eight black people. Go back another generation and the

[…]

Caroline Randall Williams

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