White Supremacy

The white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and the subsequent murder of a young activist, made me reflect back on the disturbing killings of two Portland men. I’m sure folks remember the stabbings of two good Samaritans by a white supremacist in Portland, this past May. The victims (and a third who survived the attack) were defending two African-American girls riding our city’s light rail system.

Shockingly enough, I was on the train when the incident occurred. Not the main train where the stabbings took place, but the second car. Amazingly, I didn’t get on the main car, because there was a crowd waiting to board and I didn’t feel like struggling with my son’s stroller. I decided to get on the second car. I wasn’t on train a couple of minutes, when a young woman and her brother came running to our car….screaming.

Another lady on the train asked them what was wrong, and they yelled out that people were getting stabbed. The little boy (probably around 9 or 10) looked terrified, then he started to cry. “Please don’t let him get me.” He said.

Of course, people from my train rushed off to see what was going on. A young Black woman ran back onto the car with fear in her eyes. “Make it stop.” She said softly.  It wasn’t long before authorities arrived and everyone was ushered off the platform. I will never forget seeing a woman with blood all over her hands, talking to police looking dazed. Later, it would turn out, she was one of the people who tried to comfort the victims.

The killing of these two men and the death of the Charlottesville’s victim, highlight a perverse irony of the current white supremacist movement, they seem to be killing more white people as of late.

White supremacists are so filled with hate, rage, and violence they are even willing to go so far as to kill their own.  It’s rather bizarre.

These horrifying incidents (and they won’t be going away anytime soon), is exactly why Black folks/people of color have called on our nation time after time after time,  to address the evilness of racism in America.

Until our society gets real on how this country was built, we will always be back at square one. What I’ve noticed is that many white supremacists tend to have a warped sense of history, they truly think this is “white man’s land.” It is not. It is Native/Indigenous land, that became an economic powerhouse due to the exploitation of Black bodies via slave labor. It’s a country that then thrived off of immigrants/immigration. The foundation of the United States, starts with people of color.

Perhaps, I am wrong. These white supremacist do know the truth of our history, and maybe that’s why they are afraid. Native/Black/other folks of color blood runs deep in American soil. And despite all of their attempts, we keep surviving. White people are already a minority in many parts of the country.

Instead of embracing it as an opportunity to make amends for the sins of their fathers, and build bridges/coalitions with people of color, some white folks are panicking. It is how we got Trump. It is how we get tragedies like what happened in Charlottesville. A young woman died over foolishness. Rest in peace Heather D. Heyer.

There were also several people injured in the protests this weekend.

Support them if you can:

Marcus Martin 

Alexis Morris & Noelle Morris 

Dre Harris 

 

 

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Barbershop 3/Giving Thanks

Okay, the first barbershop was decent enough. The second one I don’t even remember. Now a third one with no Michael Ealy? Blah. I guess the movies try to be positive, although Ice Cube got on my nerves this past summer with his “Straight out of Compton” anti-woman antics. The film comes out spring of next year.

This is the time of year folks post on Facebook “thanks-giving” lists sharing all the things they are grateful for in their lives. I usually find these lists annoying, but after this bizarre year of the rise of Donald Trump, the continued violence against black folks/folks of color, push back against reproductive rights, etc.,  I find myself also reflecting on the more positive aspects in my life/the world. You have to to stay sane in these increasingly cold-hearted times…

  • Thanks for my new little one. He brings me love, happiness, and no sleep all at the same time  🙂
  • Thanks for my recent birthday celebration. I usually bemoan another candle on the cake, but hell I could be dead.
  • Thanks to friends who supported me when I needed help with housing/relocation this year.
  • Thanks to the the three women who started #blacklivesmatter igniting a new wave of social justice/civil rights/student activism across the country.
  • Thanks to President Obama for telling folks to stop “popping off” at the mouth. I have my issues with him, but he does have a way of bringing flavor to boring American politics.
  • And last but not least love to the Native/Indigenous folks as we get ready to celebrate the colonizer’s holiday. Special shout out to Mrs. Universe Ashley Callingbull who refuses to let folks shut down her work for Native/Indigenous women. Go girl.

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The Colonizer’s Holiday

Well, another Thanksgivings day is almost here. When I asked a friend what she was doing for the holiday she said,“The colonizer’s holiday? Nothing.” After the grand jury failed to bring charges against  Darren Wilson for shooting Mike Brown, I thought about the fact that the government sanctioned murdering of Black people continues the long American tradition of white power and domination against people of color, beginning with Indigenous/First Nations/Native people.

“the system isn’t broken it’s doing what it was set up to do…”

The sad truth is these killings will keep happening because there has never been any respect for the lives of people of color.  As a matter of fact, folks are now outraged over the police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.  Black people aren’t getting enough time to heal before we are dealing with another tragedy in our community. Imagine the magnitude of that tragedy for Indigenous/First Nations/Native communities.

There is nothing wrong with spending time with the family. We are all overworked and underpaid and need time to regroup. But there is something wrong with perpetrating the myth about Thanksgiving and not the real history/story of what the day represents.  And that truth is not something of the past but is still here in this present day for all folks of color.

This is one of my favorite talks from Indigenous/Native American activist Andrea Smith.

 

 

 

Laverne Cox and bell hooks Talk About Feminism and Pop Culture

Whoa! bell hooks has been KILLING it these last couple of days, as she does another week-long residency at The New School. She’s had some great discussions with white feminist icon Gloria Steinman and fellow black intellectual, Cornel West (the two of them had me rolling).  My favorite conversation was the one between her and Laverne Cox.

Cox stars on the television show “Orange is the New Black.” I have not watched the show. It hasn’t really interested me (and in their talk) hooks articulated some of my concerns about the show.  However, it’s been great to see Cox get mainstream shine. It’s rare you see contemporary black celebrities knowledgeable about politics/social injustices. Particularly, the work Cox does around transgender rights.

Enjoy their fun and thoughtful discussion by clicking the link 🙂

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Photo from: http://colorlines.com/

http://new.livestream.com/TheNewSchool/bell-hooks-Laverne-Cox/videos/64265837

 

Happy Juneteenth!!

What’s Juneteenth?

“Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.  Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.” http://www.juneteenth.com/history.htm

I live in a majority white city, so it’s just been recently that there has been any recognition of this holiday. I know in other parts of the country, Juneteenth is celebrated with much fanfare in majority black communities.

Juneteenth is the true 4th of July for black folks.  The day marks our freedom from the inhumane practices of slavery.

If there aren’t any events happening today in your city, I’m sure things will get turnt up this weekend! Attend an event if you can. It’s an opportunity to give honor to our ancestors who suffered for our liberation.

Juneteenth Banner Image
Photo from: http://www.triadculturalarts.org/juneteenth_history.html

Mother’s Day/Passionate Present: Protecting Black Girlhood

My mom passed away a few years ago (RIP), so I’m ho-hum about Mother’s Day this upcoming Sunday.  My mom and I had our battles (typical parent/child stuff), but we got along well for the most part . She was my friend. Plus, my mom didn’t play. Heh.  I remember being shocked out of my socks, when my mom’s partner called to tell me that she had passed away. He had found her in the shower. I remember throwing down the phone and screaming/crying.  I had just saw her the week before.  At the time, my mom was living in Arizona and I visited for a short vacation.  I remember she had cooked a huge pot of gumbo and she tried to get me to take some home with me. I didn’t want to have to carry it on the plane, so I declined. I figured I would get a bowl next time…

The following days were surreal. I had to fly back to Arizona to pack up her things. Then I flew back home to make arrangements.  Then I flew to our  original hometown to have the funeral with our family. Finally, I flew back home to…sadness. They say time heals all wounds, and it does make things a little easier. I still miss my mom everyday and wish she was here. Happy Mother’s Day, mom 🙂

Sexy mama...I miss you.
Sexy mama…

I don’t have children of my own, so I won’t be getting a box of chocolates on Sunday. I have to admit this is the one day I’m envious of folks with children. I want a free meal too! I have never wanted to have kids. Even when I was a child, I told folks I didn’t want children. Of course, folks said I would change my mind when I got older. Well, I am older and if anything, it has reinforced my stance.

I don’t know why having children has never appealed to me. Maybe it’s because I’m always on the go. I like movement and freedom.  Also, despite popular belief, motherhood is not universal. Motherhood is much more complex for black women. We live in a society that hates our children. We have to worry if our children will come back home after walking to the corner store or seeking help after they’ve had a car accident. Will the police shot our children, just because they see a black kid running? Will another black child shoot our child because of internalized racism/misguided priorities?

It can be stressful combined with all the regular parent worries. That’s why I give props to black moms/parents/caregivers who have decided to go down that road. It’s not easy to raise black children in this society. So, much love this Mother’s Day.

The reason why I’m being  reflective on the issue of black motherhood, is because I watched bell hooks recent lecture at New School.  hooks and Salamishah Tillet tackled the difficulty of raising empowered black daughters. It’s a good discussion…

Photo from: http://shine.forharriet.com/
Click to watch the video: http://new.livestream.com/TheNewSchool/PassionatePresent/videos

 

Dr. Joy DeGruy

Dr. Joy DeGruy is not for the faint of heart.

I try to be a radical activist. I try to push the boundaries in the things I say/do, because I think it is a perilous time for Black women/black folks/ and even non black folks.  I love Octavia ButlerDr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs has described Butler as a prophet. If you read Butler books, you will understand what Dr. Gumbs is talking about. A lot of what Butler writes about (the destruction of our society due to the continuing oppression of folks of color, women, the poor, etc.) is coming to fruition. The gap between the have and have-nots has grown worse (read her two-part book series Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents to see how bad things will get).

Things will continue to spiral out of control if these issues aren’t addressed. You can’t keep oppression/degrading a portion of folks and expect the country to thrive. It doesn’t work that way.

Dr. DeGruy is an activist I have much respect for. She wrote the book “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome” to give space to the pain that black people have endured in America:

“While African Americans managed to emerge from chattel slavery and the oppressive decades that followed with great strength and resiliency, they did not emerge unscathed. Slavery produced centuries of physical, psychological and spiritual injury.

Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing lays the groundwork for understanding how the past has influenced the present, and opens up the discussion of how we can use the strengths we have gained to heal.” http://joydegruy.com/joy-de-gruy-books-cds-and-dvds/

I have attended a Dr. DeGruy lecture before, and she keeps it 100. That’s why I say she’s not for the faint of hurt. If you truly believe that we live in a post-racial society, your world will be shattered after hearing one of her lectures. It’s why I love her work, she forces people out of their comfort zone. It’s something I try to do in my activism.

Check out one of Dr. DeGruy’s lectures:

bell hooks

March is Women’s History Month. I’ve been trying to think how I could honor this month. Since this blog focuses on black feminism as a tool to resist oppression, I thought it would be proper to show love to a woman who helped revolutionize black feminism. That woman is the author bell hooks:

“bell hooks, is an American social activist, feminist and author. She was born on September 25, 1952. bell hooks is the nom de plume for Gloria Jean Watkins. bell hooks examines the multiple networks that connect gender, race, and class. She examines systematic oppression with the goal of a liberatory politics. She also writes on the topics of mass media, art, and history. bell hooks is a prolific writer, having composed a plethora of articles for mainstream and scholarly publications.”  http://www.egs.edu/library/bell-hooks/biography/

I first learned about bell hooks in college (which is way too late if ya ask me). I took a course all about bell hooks. We read her books and discussed them in class. The thing I love about bell hooks is that she keeps it real. As a poster responded to an interview with hooks,“she gives it to you straight, no chaser.” This can be off-putting to folks, especially folks who have bought into what bell hooks calls Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy. She is going to hurt your feelings. Rip out your heart, really. But it’s only because she wants you to think deeper about the world around you. Too many folks believe racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, etc., that it’s “just the way it is.” These oppressions have been normalized in our society. However, we must resist this conditioning. Someone shouldn’t be viewed as more valuable just because of the whiteness/lightness of their skin, because they are male, rich, etc. We all deserve to live our lives with respect and dignity.  That is all bell hooks is saying.

So much love to her this month and every month. I also like to give  honor to other pioneer black women feminists: Sojourner Truth,Fannie Lou Hamer, Alice Walker, Michele Wallace, Audre Lorde, and Patricia Hill CollinsOf course, this list  could go on forever!!

Happy Women’s History Month 🙂

Between the Lines: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie with Zadie Smith

Yesterday,  The Schomburg Center live streamed a fun conversation between authors Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Zadie Smith. Both of these women are fabulous writers, so it was wonderful to see them together.  I still haven’t read Smith’s White Teeth or Adichie’s Americanah (that book thick azz hell!!), but those books are definitely on  my summer reading list!!

Photo from: schomburgcenter.tumblr.com
Photo from: schomburgcenter.tumblr.com

Click the link to watch the video: http://new.livestream.com/schomburgcenter/events/2831224/videos/45613924

Anti-Black Racism/Anti-Blackness Part.1

Wow, I can’t believe this month is almost over. The new year is going by fast! Soon it will be summer. Yesss! I hate the cold 🙂 Since this is the last week of Black History Month, I want to discuss anti-black racism/anti-blackness. Ironically,  there have been several anti-black incidents that have happened this month. One of the more offensive ones was rapper Nicki Minaj  degrading the image of Malcolm X to promote a new song:

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Of course, an insincere apology was later issued by Minaj and the cover art removed. But Black folks should never forget. The usage of X’s image with the word “Nigga” next to his face, is the continuation of anti-blackness that has been running rampant in the music industry. Besides Black women celebrities being pressured to bleach their skin, wear blonde weaves, straighten their noses, etc., black celebrities are being rewarded if they degraded/insult the black community or our icons.

There has been some rumblings that Minaj is being unfairly picked on because she is a woman. Maybe. I do think that black women are more harshly criticized when they do something wrong. However, rapper Lil Wayne was clowned (and rightfully so) when he also insulted another beloved son in the black community, Emmett TillI think a lot of the outrage is because many black folks are simply fed up with the disrespect and offensive behavior of many black celebrities today.

Also, it’s shameful when you think about the tragedies that have befallen the X family. The shocking death of Mrs.  Betty Shabazz. The grandson, Malcolm Shabazz (named after his grandfather), who later went on to repent for the accidental fire that contributed to the death of his grandmother, was trying to get his life together. Last year, he was found dead in Mexico under suspicious circumstances.

While there are a few black celebrities I enjoy,  I am always waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop.  The majority of black celebrities today are so obsessed with fame/money and white acceptance (because to them that means they have arrived) they will do anything to keep it. Even if it means throwing other black folks under the bus. Minaj isn’t the first black celebrity to degrade a black image, and won’t be the last.

Engaging in anti-blackness seems to be the way many black celebrities will keep themselves afloat these days. It’s important we don’t support these actions by not buying their products/resisting their agenda.

I guess when you are young, you don’t think much about it. But I wonder how these folks are going to feel when they are in their 50’s/60’s and reflect back on their lives.  I’d imagine it’s not going to be a restful sleep for many of  them.

Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965…