In August 2020, prominent race scholar and thinker on anti-racism Ibram X. Kendi wrote an article in the Atlantic titled, “Is This the Beginning of the End of American Racism?” The subtitle read: “Donald Trump has revealed the depths of the country’s prejudice—and has inadvertently forced a reckoning.” Kendi’s words, though likely meant to be a rhetorical device, are one of many examples of the ways that white people’s discovery of racism, anti-Blackness, and, perhaps, Blackness, in general, is often valorized as an indicator of progress toward the democratic ideals so many believe to belie American society and culture. But what does the centering of white discovery mean for Black memory? What does white ignorance demand of Black people? How are Black Americans transcending dominator logics that often hold captive both memory and history-making power? Through a synthesis of Nietzsche’s conception of memory as a site of identity and community formation and Charles Mills’s theory of “white ignorance,” I argue that the log-ics and practices handed down intergenerationally by white Americans through the imperial project of whiteness induce a process of history- erasing and world remaking. Yet, piercing through this deployment of intentional and facilitated white ignorance, collective memory within Black communities, and specifically through Black-led social movements, is a form of militancy and resistance that disrupts the insinuated social order established by mainstream, white supremacist normativity. Of particular importance is the fact that this militancy, an insurgent force that has reverberated across the globe, opens up new avenues for Black world-building, futurity, and political imagination deemed impossible under current carceral conditions, irreconcilable with present-day politics, and incompatible with white-centered notions of justice, liberty, and democratic freedom. Critically, in this moment, as Black Americans are disproportionately harmed by the effects of COVID-19, hypersurveilled in neighborhoods plagued by neoliberal disinvestment, and over-policed en masse, mass movements like Black Lives Matter have disrupted, interrupted, and reoriented the social landscape toward a disconnection in the white supremacist archival practices that have long defined Western postcolonial culture. Now, young Black Americans, in particular, challenge notions of time, lineage, and world-making by rebuking the erasure of Black memory and Black futurity. In fact, it is through this collective memory, in the form of social organizing, community education projects, and other intraracial resistance efforts, that the anti-Black, white supremacist frameworks of ignorance may be dismantled wholesale. As the country continues to grapple with the killings of Black Americans like Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, those most affected by these tragedies have built pathways to open up new spaces for collective memory and mourning. Young Black Americans are engaging in protest and public rage not for the white gaze, but for themselves. As such, this political moment offers us a different vision, one in which those most excluded from history are the history-makers. This global effort toward mass memory-making presents both a theoretical and chronological disjuncture that bends us further toward a future where all Black people are free.

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