The authors offer a Cornel West quotation —

[T]he presence and predicaments of Black people are neither additions to nor defections from American life, but rather constitutive elements of that life.

I hope I have never thought of the presence and predicaments of Black people as defections of American life. I suppose I have probably avoided certain neighborhoods of even events because I thought I would not be safe or welcome. And then there was that time I accidentally walked through Cabrini Green.

As for additions, I’m not sure either. I have consciously chosen to read certain books or about certain people because I teach Black students. Is that me treating Black people as additions? I am not sure.

I just have trouble with the notion of talking about Black people as a group. There are Black people with whom I’ve had trouble communicating. I don’t know. I’m finding this reflection prompt hard to consider.