1. How am I feeling about myself as a young woman, as a Black male, as a descendant of enslaved ancestors? 2. What impression am I having about enslaved Africans overall? What about white people? Helpful? Evil? Smart? 3. Was Django “exceptional”? What does that mean to you? What does that mean about other enslaved Africans? 4. Did you get a sense that other enslaved persons fought back in the past or was it just Django? 5. How did Django’s wife, Hilda appear? strong? weak? resilient? complicated? 6. how did it feel seeing black bodies mutilated? 7. how did it feel seeing white people being shot? 8. how did you feel about Samuel Jackson’s character (Stephen)? Why do you think he hated black people the way he did- do you think there was enough context in the movie? 9. At the end of the day, this movie was written AND directed by a white filmmaker. What do you think he was trying to communicate in this film, if anything? 10. Humor and caricatures were used in some situations throughout this film relating to slavery. What was funny to you? Did you notice any laughter in the audience that you didn’t find funny? Why?
And so on, with another dozen or so questions to use. Pertinent for me today since I had a fight in a group of black male students about whether it’s okay to say you don’t want to date a dark-skinned girl. Luckily all the boys except the one saying it thought that was a problem and were on my side. And we got into house negro / field negro depth with the fight.
The other day while I was with a bunch of students at the bus stop, one of them asked me, “Miss Camille, how did we end up in this position? Why are African-Americans made the bottom of society? How come just because I have light skin I’m supposed to be above all of them (motioned to some black and dark-skinned latino classmates) and we’re supposed to act differently and be treated differently? That’s not fair! Where did that come from?”
Obviously I didn’t have a clear answer for him on the spot, and still don’t. He’s really light-skinned latino, so I guess he’s in that in-between spot where being seen as white gives clarity on how white people treat people of color. So we’ve talked a couple times since about doing research on this. He’s super super curious and creates projects for himself, and was in one session of the zine class I taught so he knows this is my jam.
So he wants some book recommendations. He’s a pretty good reader, and super diligent, but I still don’t want to give him anything too dense since he’s still only a sophomore. I’m thinking The Souls of Black Folk for historical POV and either James Baldwin or bell hooks (her meaner stuff) or Angela Davis for more contemporary POV. Maybe Chinua Achebe. And probably How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, which I’ve honestly never read. I’m terrible about reading nonfiction. I could recommend plenty of fiction and movies, but I think he’s looking for more straightforward history texts.
“Burn” by Killer Mike. Features footage from protests after the Oscar Grant / Johannes Mehserle verdict, among other things.
R.A.P. Music has been my favorite history/literature textbook this summer.
Funny thing, though: I posted this video on facebook a few minutes ago with the following comment:
But to any white people tempted to point out that he says “bitch,” or that he talks about Jesus and you (personally) think that’s a problem: we shouldn’t have conversations. No srsly, trust me on that.
Which then disappeared for a while. I think it’s back up now. Either way, I mean it. If that’s what you have to say after watching a video like this, you missed a solid 5 minutes of the point. And there are many many white feminists (and their allies) who I wouldn’t put that past.
Let’s do it like this: I’ll fight with a man who calls me a bitch in a way other than praise (trust me that I use it and take it as a compliment in the right context). I also support creative media, and specifically hip-hop, that is about Black history and Black power. Not an either/or. Like I’m critical of things that I’m also a part of. Complicated, huh? Us black girls sure are complicated.
UHHH I DON’T KNOW GUYS. SHE LOOKS PRETTY FUCKING HAPPY TO BE THERE TO ME. Maybe it wasn’t about the people at all. Maybe it was that small innocent child. Maybe she’s nursing that child because its own mother wasn’t able to.
Until you know the circumstances of it, idk. Just shut up and move along with life. Typing about how this shit infuriates you on the internet isn’t gonna do anything so idk. Just stop.
I am just leaving this here as proof of white sociopathy.
Alright so let’s give this photo some context. Here is a black woman, most likely a slave, being forced to breastfeed a child that is not hers and is very likely the child of her captor, her abuser. She is posing for a photo with her breasts hanging out because she has no right to privacy or modesty or body autonomy. She does not own her body, the child’s parents do, so she doesn’t get to say things like, “I’m uncomfortable having my breasts hanging out to be immortalized in a photo”. She’s probably being made to smile or ‘look happy’ because if she dares to look unhappy in a photo that primarily features this child, she might be beaten or worse.
Oh yes, she looks totally thrilled.
I don’t know how anyone could mistake her face for happy?
just pointing out a small fact. this photo is in relation to slavery, which as i recall ended about 150 to 160 years ago. sooooooooo why are you throwing stupid shit on my tumblr acting like this is an issue that matters. you know what matters? modern day racism being support by conservatives in our government. you know what else matters? our economy dying under the stress of our government being so corrupt it can’t run our country anymore. you know what else is relevant? gay rights. and whats more? our soldiers dying in wars and for causes that don’t help or forward our people to our brighter tomorrow but just fufill some politicians agenda. lots of things in our country today are more important issues than slavery which ended a century and a half ago. get with the times. you want to make a difference? make a difference about an issue that matters.
Why is your ignorant ass in this conversation? Why don’t you know how to shut up & let grown folks talk about the history that impacts our communities without intruding? You want to make a difference? Shut the fuck up & stop derailing this conversation.
So what I’m seeing in all these conversations about this photo, bottom line, is that black people, and especially black women, are studying, we’re studying history together and without letting white people come in and “teach” it to us. And we’re getting real fucking real on history and not mincing words or pretending like shit wasn’t/isn’t that bad. And that’s an absolute threat.
Like this is one of those situations where white people do not have control over the conversation (try as they might to make it about “a woman breastfeeding is beautiful”, “let’s just remove the context”, “this should be about the innocent child”), and that’s fucking scary.
That baby, who as an infant has more societal power than this grown woman, is being fed while her own children are malnourished. Her own children will grow up far too early, become workers and property and less-than-human far too early, while this baby is taken care of.
White people wanna change the conversation around that, make it less real. They won’t give us space to deal with what our families have lost because they refuse to deal with their guilt and benefits. That baby could be their great-grandmama or great-great-granddaddy. AND MAMMY DIDN’T LOVE THEM. You can’t beat and abuse and monetize love out of her, just like you can’t berate and silence love out of us now.
This is exactly why I study all the time. I spent four years in college with white people trying to silence these real conversations because it made them feel bad (said that word for word in a lit class where we were discussing Beloved, no joke); that’s why I study now. That’s why I teach kids of color. That’s why I don’t let their teachers sugar-coat things for themselves and the white students, thereby erasing the histories of the kids of color. Because it’s a threat. All of it.
I study all day knowing yall want me to be ignorant, quiet, and docile; I work all the time knowing you want that same silence of my students. We’re a threat. This history that we know, that we teach ourselves and each other because somehow it got left out of our classes and textbooks or it got banned or was inappropriate, is all a threat. Keep trying to silence us, keep trying to make our ancestors’ lives revolve around your pitiful underdeveloped feelings and lack of empathy, but we’re gonna keep studying and teaching and doing what we gotta do.
For women’s day, I wanted to commerorate amazing African women who’s contributions to society have gone virtually unnoticed by the larger media. (from left to right).
Wangari Muta Mary Jo Maathai (1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011) was a Kenyan environmental and political activist. She was educated in the United States at Mount St. Scholastica and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as the University of Nairobi in Kenya. In the 1970s, Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental NGO focused on the planting of trees, environmental conservation, and women’s rights. In 1986, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, and in 2004, she became the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.” Maathai was an elected member of Parliament and served as assistant minister for Environment and Natural Resources in the government of PresidentMwai Kibaki between January 2003 and November 2005. Furthermore she was an Honorary Councillor of the World Future Council.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (born 29 October 1938) is the 24th and currentPresident of Liberia. She served as Minister of Finance under President William Tolbert from 1979 until the 1980 coup d’État, after which she left Liberia and held senior positions at various financial institutions. She placed a very distant second in the 1997 presidential election. Later, she was elected President in the 2005 presidential election and took office on 16 January 2006. She successfully ran for re-election in 2011. Sirleaf is the first and currently the only elected female head of state in Africa.
Graça Machel, (17 October 1945) is a Mozambican politician and humanitarian. She is the third wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela and the widow of Mozambican president Samora Machel. She is an international advocate for women’s and children’s rights and in 1997 was made a British dame for her humanitarian work. attend University of Lisbon in Portugal, where she first became involved in independence issues. In that university, she earned a scholarship from Romance Languages. She is fluent in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and English, as well as her native Tsonga. She returned to Mozambique in 1973, joined the Mozambican Liberation Front(FRELIMO) and became a schoolteacher. Following Mozambique’s independence in 1975, Machel was appointed Minister for Education and Culture. She married Samora Machel the same year. Following her retirement from the Mozambique ministry, Machel was appointed as the expert in charge of producing the groundbreaking United Nations report on the impact of armed conflict on children.
Birtukan Mideksa (born 1975) is an Ethiopian politician and former judge. She is the leader of the opposition Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ) party. she joined Addis Ababa University where she graduated from Law School with a Bachelors Degree in Law. She practiced law at the 3rd district of the federal judiciary. She joined the Rainbow Ethiopia: Movement for Democracy and Social Justice party and later Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) after a coalition of four parties. After election or 2005, her party won over a third of the seats. As a result, Birtukan was convicted of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and sentenced to life in prison. She was pardoned and later founded UDJ (Unity for Democracy and Justice) with the same principles followed by CUD.
Hafsat Abiola (born 1974 in Lagos) is a Nigerian human rights activist, founder of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), which seeks to strengthen civil society in Nigeria. Abiola graduated from Phillips Academy in 1992 and Harvard College in 1996 and later received an honorary doctorate from Haverford College. Abiola is the founder of China-Africa Bridge, which promotes mutually beneficial cross-cultural collaboration between China and Africa. In 2000, Abiola was honored as one of the Global Leaders of Tomorrow at the World Economic Forum. In 2003, she was elected as a Fellow of the Ashoka: Innovators for the Public. In 2006 she was nominated to be a founding councilor at the World Future Council. Also in, 2006 she raised funds by organizing performances of The Vagina Monologues in Nigeria. Since May 2008 she is also a Councilor at the World Future Council among 49 other well known personalities.
Niemat Ahmadi is the Darfuri Liaison Officer with the Save Darfur Coalition. A native of North Darfur, she promotes cooperation between the coalition and the Darfuri diaspora within the United States and abroad, focusing in particular on the role of Darfuri women in the peace process. She is a Founding Member of the Darfuri Leaders Network, a coalition of more than 20 domestic Darfuri organizations working to promote peace and security in Darfur.
Welcome to a surprising number of new followers, and un abrazote for longtime companions. We may not all have been properly introduced, so allow me to refer you to this map. I often use this graphic to teach, and never fail to learn from it. It is imperfect, in some sense half-finished, and perhaps misnamed; why not “European slave trade,” as found elsewhere? Yet it complements linear narratives about the many Afro-Atlantic worlds made by slaves. Some things must be seen—or at least glimpsed—to be believed.
I didn’t even know so many folks were taken from Angola. This is all so important. When I was in maybe 9th grade, I asked my dad (he knows a lot of stuff) about what parts of Africa most Black americans descended from; he gave me a short list of countries and areas in West Africa, which I wrote down and stuck on my bedroom wall to study and remember. But I’m still studying and still learning it.
Newest Brooklyn Boheme poster courtesy of Freddy A @ Props. Big announcements about cable and on line distribution imminent folks.
dvr’d this yesterday.
about brooklyn boheme via imbd: An intimate portrait of the black arts movement that exploded in Fort Greene from the mid 1980s through the 90s as told by writer, historian and Brooklyn resident Nelson George.
Some random dude told me on facebook that I need to study up on my history, because I had said MLK didn’t advocate pretending to be colorblind. Bitch please.
This was after he’d told troubledsigh (a presumably white dude talking to a man of color) the usual misunderstandings of MLK being all about us just holding hands and racism suddenly disappearing. Nope, he said to fucking fight.
This will probably piss someone off but this ancestry.com commercial pisses me off.
african american man saying how he knew his family had probably been slaves and acting like victim etc.
It pisses me off when african americans these days make such a big deal that there great great great great great great even sometimes great grandparents were slaves(alittle dramatic) seriously i understand it was a terrible thing but honestly dont play victim when you were not a slave, not even close. yes people are still racist and there assholes but your not even CLOSE to a slave.
You don’t see a Jew on there talking about the holocaust and how there great great grandparents were victim to that etc. no people don’t say stuff about that.
Im sorry but it pisses me off, i completely understand how terrible it was but honestly. is this wrong?
This is painfully wrong. Go sit in the corner and think about what you just said.
I know people whose grandparents were slaves, and I know people who remember the Holocaust. Plenty of people talk about those things, for reasons that should be painfully obvious, but here you go.
People of Color in this country have had their heritage and identities stripped away systematically for literally our entire history as a nation. And it’s still happening, they’re still being erased, and you’re more upset that they’re fighting that process of erasure than that there’s a system of erasure in the first place?
Shhhhh. Go sit down. Stop talking. Shoo. You are mindfuckingly wrong.
-A white guy
yes, yes and yes. Bolded a bit for emphasis
Ancestry.com sponsored some show called Who Do You Think You Are. On one episode of that show they had Lisa Kudrow. She went to Poland and met some of her family and found that her family had been affected by the Holocaust. Some of her family had been killed in concentration camps.
So, you know, you’re wrong in that respect.
She cried when she found out. She was extremely hurt by hearing this. These were her grandparents, great grandparents. Would her children be playing the “Jew card” if they were to cry when they hear about the affects the Holocaust had on their family? That the village their family is from was emptied and murdered? NO. Would their children be playing the “Jew card” if they cried? NO.
So what is the difference? None.
Quit using Jewish people being okay about the Holocaust as an excuse to say Black people shouldn’t be upset about slavery. Jewish people are still hurt by the genocide against their people the same way that Black people are still literally hurt by the enslavement and attempted eradication of their people. There is nothing wrong with recognizing and talking about this pain. It never should be trivialized.
Funny, that commercial pisses me off as well, but for the opposite reasons: for most Black people in the americas, it isn’t nearly that easy to find out about our family histories. My grandma tried for years, and dug up bits & pieces of information and was proud of what she could find—but those bits should be a given. Telling your grandchildren, “I found a spoon that so-&-so ancestor of yours brought with her when she was freed from slavery, it was her only possession and that’s all I know about her” is a conversation that should never ever have to happen.
What pissed me off was that I watched that commercial and was jealous. Not just for myself, but for my history-denied family, my history-denied friends, my history-denied students—I was pissed off for every slave-descended person I know and don’t know. It should be as easy as some commercial makes it look, and I shouldn’t have to be jealous (and jealousy isn’t something I do often, honestly), and we black folks should be able to share what we know about our family histories without having to ask why we don’t know all about them.
This shit is systematic. It was and still is intentional. Anyone who is mad about us bitching about international torture and slavery (just imagine) needs to devote themselves to repairing that damage and ensuring that it cannot possibly happen ever again. I promise I will quit bitching then.
He was 14 yrs. 6mos. and 5 days old —- and the youngest person executed in the United States in the 20th Century.
George Junius Stinney, Jr.,
[b. 1929 - d. 1944]
In a South Carolina prison sixty-six years ago, guards walked a 14-year-old boy, bible tucked under his arm, to the electric chair. At 5’ 1” and 95 pounds, the straps didn’t fit, and an electrode was too big for his leg.
The switch was pulled and the adult sized death mask fell from George Stinney’s face. Tears streamed from his eyes. Witnesses recoiled in horror as they watched the youngest person executed in the United States in the past century die.
Now, a community activist is fighting to clear Stinney’s name, saying the young boy couldn’t have killed two girls. George Frierson, a school board member and textile inspector, believes Stinney’s confession was coerced, and that his execution was just another injustice blacks suffered in Southern courtrooms in the first half of the 1900s.
The questions raised about the Black university center around things like should we try to build buildings or should we function in any way we can. In Harlem, I’m told there are five hundred churches and three hundred bars. To me that makes eight hundred school buildings—to be used as we see fit.
Nikki Giovanni, “I Fell Off the Roof One Day,” The Black Woman ed. by Toni Cade Bambara