In Lies about Black People: How to Combat Racist Stereotypes and Why It Matters, author Dr. Omékongo Dibinga addresses common myths and misconceptions held about Black people, why they are so destructive, and how to defy these stereotypes.
“Whether those lies are pernicious, like the idea that ‘most Black people are criminals,’ or seemingly innocuous, like the notion that ‘Black people can’t swim,’ all of the lies and stereotypes…are rooted in hate” and bigotry.
In an excerpt from the book, racial justice expert, educator, and activist Dr. Dibinga writes “Oftentimes we as Black people dismiss these stories because we are so used to it…We may even laugh at it but sometimes, however, these situations can have dire consequences.”
Dr. Dibinga’s book is timely more relevant than ever, since lies about Black people continue to be perpetuated, including an educational video approved for use in Florida classrooms, depicting abolitionist Frederick Douglass saying that slavery was “a compromise to achieve something great” on top of new standards, which require students to be taught how slavery benefited the enslaved.
ESSENCE had the chance to hear from Dr. Dibinga about how Florida’s Black history standards will exacerbate harmful racial stereotypes. “The idea that slavery was beneficial because it taught Black people new ‘skills’ is just one of the most egregious outcomes of these standards but there are many more,” he stated. “The lies told about Black people are what led to these policies and for people to enthusiastically embrace them and my new book speaks to this crisis.”
“Despite Ron Desantis’ grand pronouncements of Florida being the number one state for education, Black students have consistently been left behind. Desantis’ insistence on removing the concept of diversity, equity, and inclusion from schools through his ‘Anti-woke Act’ and adoption of the unaccredited PragerU curriculum will only serve to push Black students further into the abyss of a school system that refuses to acknowledge the Black experience in its totality,” said Dr. Dibinga.
“Given that Black students nationwide already do not receive an adequate portrayal of their history, we will see more Black students continue to disengage [from] an education system that has continually disengaged them,” Dr. Dibinga continued. “Black students are continually being shown that their existence does not matter, and this will have disastrous consequences in a school system that has never had a healthy respect for its Black students.”
Through personal vignettes and real-life anecdotes juxtaposed with historical analysis, Lies About Black People allows readers to go on a path of discovery and guides them to a pathway to action and promoting change.
With respect to the conservative agenda to whitewash history, Dr. Dibinga concluded, “the future of Florida ‘education’ will see an increase in the continual marginalization of Black students, and we will all suffer as a country because of it.”