#89 | Unraveling Whiteness; Reckoning With Ghosts w/ Bayo Akomolafe

Bayo Akomolafe is a researcher, lecturer and author, born and raised in Nigeria. He is an international speaker, poet and activist for a radical paradigm shift in consciousness and current ways of living. Bayo is globally recognized for his poetic, unconventional, counterintuitive, and indigenous take on global crisis, civic action and social change.

Bayo was kind enough to discuss some the themes raised in his essay  "Homo Icarus: The Depreciating Value of Whiteness and the Place of Healing." The essay attempts to discuss a few difficult topics, triggered, in part, by the events in Charlottesville during the "Unite The Right" rally this year, which highlighted some of the more vile and racist elements of American culture, bringing these issues to the forefront of America's collective consciousness. While we can understand what happened there in a sociological and objective sense, I feel that the discussion surrounding this event often lacks nuance and clarity. Too often I have found myself using language and phrases, within a particular ideological framework, that lacks depth and understanding, and I especially found this to be the case in what I observed in "the national dialogue" regarding race and race relations in this country.

Bayo is able, as a remarkably humble and articulate human being of Nigerian descent, to provide a very unique and necessary perceptive on the current events we are experiencing, not only in America, but globally.  As a species, we are going through what can be described as "The Space Between Stories" or a period of Great Unknowing. This experience of Unknowing isn't a bad or terrible thing, in and of itself, but is entirely necessary. Much of the stories that we have been telling ourselves through out these past centuries are ultimately false and based on false understandings of ourselves. It is through entering this space between stories that we can begin to really reflect on the wounds that have been wrought through centuries of colonialism and institutionalized racism, which ultimately this nation, America, was founded on. Of course, this is a reduction, but you get what I'm pointing to with this. It is during this time of great calamity that we are open to listening to the wise ones among us, that attempt to fix our gaze on what we have collectively ignored or simply didn't know existed at all.

[I would also like to note that with this particular episode, I had edit out a few segments.  I had to do this because there where some technical issues. Bayo spoke with me from his home in India, so at some points during the recording of this conversation with him, it became difficult to make out what he was saying. I regret that I had to do this, but overall I think the quality of the call was good enough for me to publish the bulk of it as an episode. So, you might notice a few of these jumps in the discussion, as a result of edits I have made.]


Episode Notes:

- Please go to Bayo's website to find everything you need to know about his work: http://bayoakomolafe.net

- Purchase Bayo's wonderful book "These Wilds Beyond Our Fences: Letters to My Daughter on Humanity's Search for Home" at your local bookstore, or online: https://goo.gl/vY63ar

- Read Bayo's essay "Homo Icarus: The Depreciating Value of Whiteness and the Place of Healing" mentioned in this episode: https://goo.gl/sGCNDE

- The music featured in this episode: "My Prayer" and "Enchanted" by The Platters