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The Macksey Journal

Abstract

It would be ridiculous to debate the presence of biased and racialized rhetorical structures in United States history and present-day practice. We live in a racialized society: there is not much growth or opportunity there. Yet, the deliberate manipulation of ideas and thought, and the power politics of who does that manipulating is worth consideration. Rhetoric is a weapon of the times; It is also our internal remedy. Rather than face outward for a cure, this project leans into an interior perspective about the beauty and complexity of American blackness. To do so, my research looks at how and in what ways oppressive rhetoric has been rejected/reclaimed by the US black community across eras. The first component will look at brief histories of rhetorical oppression towards black people in the US. Past resistance movements such as the Chicago and Harlem Renaissances, the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, and the Black Arts movements will start the conversation of reclamation and resistance. My exploration of current practices will take a personal approach, as I use written and in-person interviews to look at what informs blackness for generations living in this time. Ultimately, the project will shed light on interior studies of cultural blackhood, shifting the conversation of rhetoric and blackness from one of victimhood to agency and power.

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