Sikivu Hutchinson: Fifty-seven years after Emmett Till was lynched in the name of white womanhood, the murder of Trayvon Martin—a beautiful son, friend, and prospective college student—is yet another testament to the terror of white picket fence innocence.
Sikivu Hutchinson: Perhaps no other book in contemporary American literature has captured the ontology of black female childhood experience and imagination as devastatingly as Toni Morrison’s 1970 novel The Bluest Eye. In the novel, Morrison’s preteen female protagonists bear fierce witness to the psychological disfigurements of racism, sexism, and segregation. They comment on the mystery of adulthood and the savagery of being dehumanized as young black girls in a culture that exalts the blue-eyed Barbie ideal. Speaking from an era in which racial progress was equated with the enfranchisement of black men, the female voices of The Bluest Eye quietly historicize the trials of black women in apartheid America.
I don’t remember exactly when I began to think this way, but looking back, it must have been at some point during my early elementary school years that I began to believe the “American History” I was learning in school was either incomplete or misleading. I understood and accepted that I needed to master this [...]