The term Black Future Month has been sitting on my heart lately and I think the term gets to the bottom of my concern about futurism, which is can futurism be a tool that is used to build a stronger, more equitable society and who is creating the future for African Americans? I have been so blessed to be in spaces over the past few years where brilliant people are sharing visions and technologies that will transform our communities very quickly but often I am the only woman, person of color, or young(er) person in those spaces.
For many people of color, African Americans in particular, it feels luxurious to spend time thinking about the future when you are focused on literal survival. But if we don't have a shared future that we are working on building together it is so easy for movements to get splintered over tactics and tv time. Spending time collectively getting to the bottom of what a utopian future would look like for the African American community will help us get out of this burdensome place of constantly focusing on what is wrong with society, which is a threat to our mental health, and instead orient us to what we are creating together. This doesn't mean that we all sing kumbaya and ignore the broken systems in our community that are destroying us but it means that we identify what is broken and have a vision of what we want in its place.
In futurism there is a concept called skipping the problem. It means that you pretend that the issue that you are working on is completely solved and then think about what the world would look like. By doing this, you can sometimes identify alternative strategies that can help you get to that preferred future. I think if we started spending time together over meals and during community meetings envisioning what our preferred future for the African American community looked like, we could harness the potential of the exponential change that is happening in society and not be held back by the chains of the past.
I'd love to hear how you are thinking about a future for the black community in the comments.