Our country has a savage, brutal history. This so-called experiment in democracy—this supposed beacon of freedom to the world—carries the weight of genocidal slaughter of indigenous peoples, along with slavery, oppression, and widespread public lynching of human beings. As I write this sentence, the news has just broken that an African American man died in police custody after a white police officer knelt on his neck, while he pleaded for mercy, until the man was no longer breathing or pleading. And though the officers involved have been fired, no criminal charges have yet been brought, despite the fact that video of the incident has gone viral. These human beings, who happened by historical and genetic accident to be born with the “wrong” skin color—a “pigmentation problem”1—who often committed no other crime than being born—have been subjected to...
Walking with/through a Savage History
Christopher N. Poulos, PhD, is professor in the Department of Communication Studies at UNC Greensboro. An ethnographer and philosopher of communication, he teaches courses in relational and family communication, ethnography, dialogue, and film. His award-winning book, Accidental Ethnography: An Inquiry into Family Secrecy, was published by Left Coast Press in 2009, and reissued as a “classic edition” in 2018. His work has appeared in Qualitative Inquiry, Communication Theory, Southern Communication Journal, International Review of Qualitative Research, Qualitative Communication Research, and in several edited books.
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Christopher N. Poulos; Walking with/through a Savage History. Journal of Autoethnography 11 January 2021; 2 (1): 78–82. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/joae.2021.2.1.78
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