Indiana University Bloomington’s student paper has published a column, by an African-American student, asking when it is time for black people to leave America.
“In the United States, the people are divided. Some of us merely want to live free like their peers, while others would lynch someone just for pleasure,” the column stated.
Moreover, the column argued that this reality should be crystal clear:
It’s become obvious, over the span of over 200 years that Black lives are not valued here. In the times of slavery it was clearly more brazen and obviously cruel.
The column ran in the Indiana Daily Student’s “Black Voices” online section Sunday.
The author, Stefan Townes, has written regularly for the paper.
Some of his previous columns include “It’s Lil Nas X versus the world, and he’s winning”; “Is being tokenized worth a full ride?”; and “No, you can’t be transracial.”
Townes handled the issue of America’s Civil War, which was largely fought over the issues of union and slavery, like so:
Still, slavery was so paramount to enough people that war broke out over it, and part of the country seceeded to make a country where slavery was legal. Even after rejoining the union, states wouldn’t let Black people live free, and the country made them segregate from white folk.
He set up the question “So why stay here?” with the preface:
I can’t fathom the naivete a person must have to see this history and insist that we have totally solved these issues and the country’s problems with race are over.
Townes pointed out that some prominent American black intellectuals and entertainers have, in fact, decamped for other countries, chiefly France:
James Baldwin and Richard Wright, two of the most respected Black authors, moved to France when fairly young. Wright had enough of the United States by the 1946 and Baldwin by the 1948. Famous movie star and activist Josephine Baker and the singer turned activist Nina Simone both did the same, in the 1925 and 1970s respectively.
And yet, Townes cannot at this time bring himself to drop out of college and emigrate abroad. He explained,
I have no loyalty to this country, but I have loyalty to those who fought and died for my right to even write this down. They couldn’t have known where I would end up, but they were willing to face the worst horrors of this country to ensure I could be more free than they were.
He closed out the column by stating, “this country is still not a home for Black people. It may be hard to find a home anywhere on this planet, but if it does exist, it’s not in the United States of America.”
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