‘Reading, Writing and Racialization:’ Dr. Washington Cherry Lecture

On Saturday, September 17th Dr. Washington Cherry presented an extremely participatory lecture that left everyone wanting to discuss more and ask more questions. The topic that had every ear perked and every brain thinking was: Reading, Writing, and Racialization: The Social Construction of Blackness in a Prince George’s County Middle School.

What is blackness? How do we define blackness? If you speak Spanish can you also be black? Is “blackness” a particular color”? Many of us define blackness differently and perhaps it is an individual decision. But this lecture clearly made everyone think about what it means to be black and its importance. One attendee stated that there is only one race, and that is the human race but does society accept this “one race”?Dr arvenita_Washingon_cherry

What became clear to me is the need for diversity training even among a community like, Prince George’s County which is predominantly African American. Among those who identify themselves as black or African American are Spanish speaking people, French speaking people, and perhaps even those who do not look like what we consider black or African American. It is important to understand and be empathetic to other people and do not jump to conclusions because a person has an accent or because they do not fit in a particular societal “box” neatly. Prior to this lecture, I often thought there was no need to have diversity training among people who look the same but I quickly learned that just because we look alike does not mean we share the same race, language, understanding of culture, or identify with being black.