Quiet, Blackness, and the Grace of Being Human
Kevin Quashie, M.A., Ph.D.   

African American culture is often considered expressive, dramatic, and even defiant, characterizations which are linked to the idea of resistance. Indeed, these terms come to dominate how we think of blackness. This lecture will ask what a concept of quiet could mean to reimagining this thinking. It will explore quiet as a notion different from silence, as a metaphor for one's inner life--quiet as the desires, ambitions, hungers, vulnerabilities, and fears that signal one's humanity.

Using this idea of quiet, the lecture will consider such iconic moments as Tommie Smith and John Carlos's protest at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and Elizabeth Alexander's reading at the 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama. The lecture will suggest that the notion of quiet allows us to move beyond the emphasis on resistance, and enables a more nuanced understanding of black culture and consciousness.