Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sin Bullshit: History From the Ground Up

Imagine two cars collide: and and them. Two cars in the middle of the street. Metal strewn around the street, your arms ache as your head throbs from sirens. A police officer gets out of his car, blue and red lights glinting everything in site. You watch the sheriff approach the other car and lean into the window, inquiring about what happened for his report. The questions are done. You watch the police officer walk back to his car, switch of the lights, and drive away. No one ever asked for your story. That is what it feels like during every incident, every moment of history for those who are marginalized. Their stories are never heard. History is a series of car crashes. Whose side do you listen to?

As a student, I read texts. I read books that have been written often with one voice. Often one prespective. Imagine our elementary school days when we read about the great Indians who roamed the plains. Did they ever mention the gangs in Lakota reservations in which frustrated youth beat each other up for sport? How how about the environmental degradation occurring on land that is supposed to protecting by the US government for Native Communities. How is this not taught? Why are we not speaking of genocide when we acknowledge the American past? Language is so very important. According to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, our language affects our perceptions. If we do not utilize the rhetoric and say what our history really is, we will never be able to understand what happened in this country 100-200 years ago. We will not understand that slavery was the pulling of people, forced diaspora of other people. If we do not use the proper language, we will continue to behave unjustly as a society and force diasporas on individuals because we have not learned from our mistakes.

We must listen. This is why anthropology is so important. This is why ethnographies are so important. We must read from the ground up. Put a face to the issue. If we do not, we will continue to commit the same crimes towards humanity: the manipulation of truth and forced displacement of other people.Be a critical listener. It is time to listen. It is time to hear the other side of things. It is time. Our journey begins here.

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