So often, the people excluded from conversations are those who don't speak academic language, or a particular type of English. However, the other day, I witnessed the most magical thing.
There was an older man in Core Workshop. Around 55 or 60. Black. Salt and pepper hair. Rich Chocolate skin. Named Lucas. He is one of our pest control employees who...controls pests.
He was interesting. He reminded me of a grandpa mixed with an uncle. He pressed me for my activist credentials. I think he initially read me solely as a high-falutin academic who spends all her time around white folk in elite institutions and has either lost or never had regular degular street experience.
Let me tell you how difficult you Blacks are!
So once I passed his series of tests ending in "Lucas. You can't train or workshop people to Equity. And I say that as Lead Trainer who spends a lot of time training people".
So over the course of the workshop, something is happening that I didn't realize was happening. Most white folk and many of the POC are slowly becoming excluded from the convo. All because of how Lucas, myself, and like 10 other participants are framing concepts. Lucas has an astute analysis, and Lucas speaks in what I call "pimp riddles". The only people I know who speak in what I've termed "pimp riddles" are Black people. Not POC. Black people. The main Black people who speak in "pimp riddles" are older Black people. Mostly men. With Southern roots. And the younger ones who do, have old souls. If, upon reading the phrase "pimp riddles", you don't immediately have an idea of what it is...I can't explain no further than that.
So any way, the convo is great IMO but I didn't realize what made it so great was that we were framing things and speaking in ways that are seldom included in theoretical conversations.
We got to spend a lot of time talking about equity, and racism, and ANTI Blackness like your uncle and cousins and grandma talk about it. Long winded vs concise. Conceptually vs singular words/quick phrases. Qualitatively vs quantitatively. Experientially vs theoretically.
What a lovely day that was!!
It was quite an interesting spin on "accessible language". For once, accessible meant that Black folk understood it.
Zerandrian S. Morris
I am a social and cultural critic.