The year 2016 took us back some 20 years to Arsenio Hall’s shade-filled monologues. He would begin with a particular for instance, something that didn’t make sense to him within his own construction of reality and context. He would then follow up with the most beautifully laid out deconstruction of such an illogical or nonsensical moment.
Dr. Robin Hughes
Back in the day, those shade-laced monologues began with the simple worlds, things that make one go hmmm. Today, young folks would begin similar monologues with “When you …”
We found ourselves going hmmm or “when you …” even more so today in wonderful 2016 with all its post-modern, post-racial, 21st century glory, making America great—for some people—rhetoric. This afternoon, we started tweeting our own racialized “instances and situations” that made us go hmmm in 2016. When those tweets became too character laden, we started penning this piece. What do you do…?
Arsenio would never deliver a fresh monologue given this predictable refrain. And we know that this tune will become longer and more repetitive as we are all lumped into and accepting of a category of thinkers, who fit neatly into a White monolithic construction of intellectualism.
In other words, the leather patch wearing, Schwinn bicycle with the bell riding, pipe smoking, Birkenstock sporting, hound’s-tooth jacket rocking, straight gray-haired combing, two-hour lecture giving, big word using, boring lecture delivering, all-White journal publishing, structurally racist institution upholding, plantation like working , academic work colonizing, White affirmation wanting, forever fall constructed professors might just be etched into our historical memories and current ways of knowing and living in this academic space for some time to come.
Unfortunately, our tea sipping, mint julep drinking, coffee club having, Plato and Aristotle loving selves will forever be sitting under some big shade tree in the quad—still going hmmm. How quaint.
Dr. Robin L. Hughes is interim executive associate dean in the School of Education and Faculty Athletic Representative at Indiana University. Natasha Flowers is a clinical assistant professor at Indiana University.