Anthropologist and journalist Kirby Moss, Ph.D., speaks about Black joy during his campus discussion Feb. 20. | Photo by Rachel Marty
Anthropologist and journalist Kirby Moss, Ph.D., speaks about Black joy during his campus discussion Feb. 20. | Photo by Rachel Marty

Kirby Moss Illustrates the Significance of Black Joy

Journalist and Professor Kirby Moss presents new book on Black joy
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Journalist and Professor Kirby Moss, Ph.D, presents new book on Black joy

Editor’s note: Kirby Moss is a professor in the journalism and mass communication department. Moss has taught and currently teaches members of the editorial staff of The Lumberjack. The author of this article is a journalism student, but has not had any classes with Moss.

Kirby Moss, a mass communication professor at Humboldt State University, held a talk on campus about black joy Feb. 20, a topic he is currently researching for his new book, “Black Joy.”

Moss’s first book, “The Color of Class,” discussed the paradox of privilege and talked about race and class in ways that aren’t often discussed. The assumption that white privilege comes along with the absence of poverty is a significant topic in his book.

“It’s so much more than overcoming a group of oppressors or getting past what they’ve categorized us as. It’s overcoming stuff within ourselves and being able to appreciate moments of joy and share those moments of joy.”

Toni Maggi-Brown

“We don’t normally associate poverty with whiteness,” Moss said. “We don’t normally associate joy with Blackness.”

In his new book, Moss rejects the assumption that Blackness consists of unhappiness and tragedy.

Toni Maggi-Brown, an HSU student who attended the discussion, supported Moss’s emphasis in liberating the narrative that surrounds Black culture.

“It’s so much more than overcoming a group of oppressors or getting past what they’ve categorized us as,” Maggi-Brown said. “It’s overcoming stuff within ourselves and being able to appreciate moments of joy and share those moments of joy.”

Moss acknowledged the struggles in his life, but argued that ultimately it’s been full of joy.

“I’ve had a lot of fun times, joyful times, right in the midst of the hood,” Moss said.

Moss’ focus is the unacknowledged pleasures of being Black, but he also talked about how his joy is sometimes seen as weakness or is unacceptable by his culture.

“I ain’t Black enough because I’m talking about joy,” Moss said.

Moss questioned the way we measure Blackness. With his new book, Moss is attempting to shed light on the joys of Blackness while emphasizing that embracing joy doesn’t make you any less Black.

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