Dr. Walker Lecture

About a week ago, I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Corey D. B. Walker, Vice President, Dean, and Professor of Religion and Society at Virginia Union University give his lecture, “The Wound of Thought: Black Study, Decolonial Thinking, and the Project of the Human.”   The mix of the audience was actually majority faculty and staff. Following the lecture, that makes perfect sense. To be frank, the whole lecture went completely over my head and I wasn’t the only one. Having spoken to other students and even some professors, we agreed that the lecture was definitely dense to those unfamiliar with the topic at hand. Even having the notes in front of me, I don’t have the expertise to dissect true meaning from the speech.  However, I was able to pick up at least a few points through drawing on our class discussion about racial identity development.

 

Dr. Walker claimed that right now the idea of blackness is still suffering from the open wound of dominant (structurally racist) thinking.  Blackness for too long has simply been seen as an “other” to whiteness, instead of an entity in its own right. Looking at our class discussions and readings, this makes sense because of the evolution of how race was developed.  With the development of race, an other was necessary to create a power structure. However, if we must move beyond that, Dr. Walker said that we must reimagine blackness and the black body. Furthermore, we must interrogate how the world sees the humanity of the black body.

 

Regarding humanity in general, Walker posited that the humanities have forgotten “the human” in that with the theories and the politics, we’ve forgotten what the discipline is all about. For instance, one person brought up the issue of police brutality and how that had anything to deal with the wounds of thought.  Dr. Walker claimed that one issue is that the humanity of the black body hasn’t been truly manifested in the white mind which is why people argue about whether or not the murder of a black child is justified or not. This is because blackness is still somewhat seen as a pathology.

 

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