One of the privileges of being a tenured professor in the field of “studies” is that you can make up crap out of thin air and majors in the field, fellow faculty, and progressive media all go “Ooooooh!” in amazement.
Rutgers University’s Brittney Cooper is a master at this. The associated professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies who once opined that Jesus was “potentially queer” or was “married to a prostitute,” called black city officials she did not like “white supremacists in Blackface,” and had nothing but words of “the four-letter variety” after the US Supreme Court allowed for religious exemptions to the ObamaCare contraceptive mandate, now says that the very concept of time itself is … racially biased.
In an interview with NPR last week, Cooper said that the way we “position ourselves in relationship to time comes out of histories of European and Western thought”; in other words, “white people own time.”
Time has a history, and so do black people. But we treat time as though it is timeless, as though it has always been this way, as though it doesn’t have a political history bound up with the plunder of indigenous lands, the genocide of indigenous people and the stealing of Africans from their homeland. When white, male European philosophers first thought to conceptualize time and history, one famously declared, Africa is no historical part of the world. He was, essentially, saying that Africans were people outside of history who had had no impact on time or the march of progress. …
Now, we also see this idea that black people are people either alternately outside the bounds of time or stuck in the past in a scenario where, much as I’m doing right now, a black person stands up and insists that racism still matters, and a person – usually white – says to them, why are you stuck in the past?
Cooper goes on to note that white people are taught that time is linear (it’s not? To coin a cliché, isn’t the science settled?), but for African-Americans time “doesn’t exactly work that way” because they live with “the residue of past historical trauma,” not to mention a present “filled with racial animus” and a “precarious future.”
Regarding that last point, Copper uses Sandra Bland, the black woman who in 2015 died in police custody shortly after a traffic stop arrest, as an example of someone “yanked out of [a] future”:
[I]t reminds me of the ways that past and presents and futures seemingly coexist for African-American folks. And so in that way, time doesn’t feel linear. It feels like the past, you know, past narratives of race that are rooted in violence and rooted in a lack of freedom. They feel like they can become our reality again at any moment.
Of course. “Studies” courses are all about grievances, and anyone or anything which professes progress or the amelioration of past wrongs is an obstacle to the cultivation of those grievances.
IMAGE: Axel Alvarez / Shutterstock.com