Discussion Series


with Breai Mason-Campbell
and special thanks to Sarah Sullivan

These sessions are scattered throughout camp, and designed not to conflict with too many other offerings — we recommend you make it to as many of them as you can! Some of these topics will no doubt be very challenging, but, we believe, very worthwhile. Please come on down with an open mind, and see what you can learn.

DESCRIPTION: "Surprise! We have race issues, too!” Many of us have been caught off guard by the Klan marches, travel bans, and other national events we thought to be impossible. We presumed that these extremes of racism were something over, from another time in history, and are rattled by the closeness of such overt bigotry. These discussions will examine the often overlooked ways in which racial biases and inequities have come to thrive in the Lindy Hop scene as well, and what we can do to correct that. 


THU 12/28 12:15-1:15 Problem? What, Problem? 
In this hour, we will set ground rules for discussion, share experiences of race in the Lindy Scene, and discuss the internal work necessary for progress toward a greater experience of equity for all. 

Recommended reading:

THU 12/28 4-5pm Integration, and Other Fairy Tales
This hour will focus on the ways in which the story of integration at the Savoy, and the myth explaining the decline of Lindy’s popularity in the black community contribute to our current racial dynamics. 
Recommended reading/watching:

FRI 12/29 12:15-1:15 The Mascot Issue or, “Black People are SO Cool!”
“Blackness” as a brand is the topic which will be addressed in this segment. How the pressures of employment and winning affect our relationships with black instructors and competitors will also be discussed.  

Recommended reading/viewing:

FRI 12/29 4-5pm The Token Black Person
This segment is dedicated to a discussion of the threat that both social and professional competition pose to the experience of community for black dancers. 

Recommended viewing:

SAT 12/30 3:15-4:45 We Woke, Now What?
We will focus on planning next steps for individual, local, and scene-wide initiatives in this final segment. 

Recommended reading:

Or, the segments below from that article:

“Negro poverty is not white poverty,” President Johnson said in his historic civil-rights speech. Many of its causes and many of its cures are the same. But there are differences—deep, corrosive, obstinate differences—radiating painful roots into the community and into the family, and the nature of the individual. These differences are not racial differences. They are solely and simply the consequence of ancient brutality, past injustice, and present prejudice.

Liberals today mostly view racism not as an active, distinct evil but as a relative of white poverty and inequality. They ignore the long tradition of this country actively punishing black success—and the elevation of that punishment, in the mid-20th century, to federal policy. President Lyndon Johnson may have noted in his historic civil-rights speech at Howard University in 1965 that “Negro poverty is not white poverty.” But his advisers and their successors were, and still are, loath to craft any policy that recognizes the difference.

“Papering over the issue of race makes for bad social theory, bad research, and bad public policy.” To ignore the fact that one of the oldest republics in the world was erected on a foundation of white supremacy, to pretend that the problems of a dual society are the same as the problems of unregulated capitalism, is to cover the sin of national plunder with the sin of national lying. The lie ignores the fact that reducing American poverty and ending white supremacy are not the same. The lie ignores the fact that closing the “achievement gap” will do nothing to close the “injury gap,” in which black college graduates still suffer higher unemployment rates than white college graduates, and black job applicants without criminal records enjoy roughly the same chance of getting hired as white applicants with criminal records.
Scholars have long discussed methods by which America might make reparations to those on whose labor and exclusion the country was built.