OSU Students protesting in front of President Hargis’ office after students are accused of wearing black face on social media @OKCFOX pic.twitter.com/Gdfdgdxn0A — Julie Calhoun (@JulieFox25) January 23, 2017 Protests erupted at Oklahoma State University Monday after another student posed in blackface and posted the image to social media. It was the second time in…
Great analysis on “Fade” and the not so subliminal showcasing of damaging stereotypes of the BW.
Teyana Taylor resurfaced as a cultural phenomenon in Kanye West’s latest creation “Fade.” Although the creator of 2009’s “Google Me,” many have not googled Taylor in years. Not exactly a forgotten presence, Taylor launched her own company, and graced the music world with the occasional feature, maintaining a private yet modestly popular Hollywood status.
Flash forward to late 2016 and over twelve million viewers gazed as an immensely oiled Taylor provocatively danced in a manner more sexual than enigmatic. It is this overt yet inundated sexuality that foster’s Taylor resurrection from obscurity to a contemporary sex symbol. This attention appears complimentary for Taylor and for black femininity. However, sexuality is anything but a new tool for black female representation and reinvention. Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union and Viola Davis transitioned from supporting roles to leading ladies in exuding hyper-sexualized heroines on prime-time series.
This hyper-sexuality guises itself as a celebration for…
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David Walker (28 Sept. 1796-August 6 1830), black author of an incendiary antislavery pamphlet, was born in Wilmington to a free mother and a slave father who died before his birth. Despite his free status inherited from his mother, he grew up stifled by life in a slave society and developed a strong hatred of the institution. He left the South, stating that “If I remain in this bloody land, I will not live long. . . . I cannot remain where I must hear slaves’ chains continually and where I must encounter the insults of their hypocritical enslavers.” He traveled extensively around the country and by 1827 had settled in Boston, where he established a profitable secondhand clothing business. Active in helping the poor and needy, including runaway slaves, he earned a reputation within Boston’s black community for his generosity and benevolence.
In 1828 he married a woman known…
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This is horrible, just horrible!!!! ALL African people are being attacked, but the attack on the African has stepped up tremendously in the last 10 years. African Women are experiencing this globally and it’s called misogynoir (anti-black misogny, hatred of Black Women).
Earlier this week, social media was aghast with the image of some savages in India, beating up a defenseless Afrikan woman. Stories of Afrikan migrants directly from the continent, being assaulted by these subhuman animals is not a one off, but a constant occurrence not only for Afrikans recently emigrated to that foul country, but from centuries of hatred and violence against us. Often the violence appears consistently more insidious than the cave savages from Europe.
Yet just like kneegrows be sticking their faces up inside the assess and between the legs of the cave savages, we keep doing so with the savages from the Indian Subcontinent ( there must be a reason why yurugu named it so)
John Henrik Clark said it best….”We have no friends!”
And until those of us who are not lost , truly overstand…
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Sometimes people ask me really moronic questions. One that I get all the time is, “But, but, on your blog, aren’t you racist against white people though? Because you say some really bad things about us.” Short answer: no. I can’t be racist because I’m not…well…white. And, I also can’t – as a recent troll implied –1“appropriate white ‘culture’.” Why? Well, because when a racial group decides their normative choices are “respectable” thus setting their lifestyle as the best way for everyone else to live, they don’t get to play “backsies” when others emulate them. Cultural appropriation is wholly different from taking on presumably respectable behaviors to garner material or social benefits. It isn’t a game of backsides and it is most definitely used to demean, undermine, and disadvantage minority groups in society.
There is no such thing as reverse racism. Comedian and friend of the blog, Aamer Rahman, handled that in his viral comedy routine some time ago. In summary, because minority groups don’t have inter-generational privilege we can wield against whites (thereby limiting their possible wealth, educational, employment, and/or environmental outcomes), we really have no way of being racist against them. Racism requires power. Without it negative racial feelings might be discriminatory but they certainly aren’t racist. Any racial animus held by minority groups toward whites cannot be set apart on its own as an initial offense because we have already experienced centuries of targeted racial oppression from whites. So, the point of reverse racism is moot.
Now, cultural appropriation is the act of taking the very physical, mental, or social features of a minority group which are used to belittle, mischaracterize, and otherwise isolate them and embody those features for personal social entertainment or monetary gain. When Katy Perry – a white girl from Santa Barbara – dons bejeweled grill pieces, long fake nails, and gelled down ‘baby hairs’ to promote her new video for the song ‘How We Do,’ she isn’t appreciating ‘black culture’. She can’t be because she only features stark stereotypes of black women in her imagery. In the new video, while satirizing black women, she answers a phone call from her friend “Jessica Thot” or “Jessica That Ho Over There.” The term”THOT” is extremely demeaning to black women and has been used by street harassers seeking to devalue black women’s bodies. Surely Perry knows that.
Similarly, when Miley Cyrus danced around with hypersexualized black women, put on a ‘Blaccent,’ and promoted illegal drug use as a means of having fun, she wasn’t showing how cool it is to be black. She was showing how limited her view of black humanity is. Both artists – though Iggy Azalea, Justin Bieber, Macklemore, and a host of others could be slotted in to make this point – play on the worst stereotypes of black people to make a mockery of actual human beings. By wearing us as promotional costumes or draping us across their shoulders like feathered boas, they fetishize black bodies and make us into novelties for white consumption.
Minority groups can mock white people. They can mimic dominant culture. They can even completely assimilate into “respectable behavior” if they so choose. There are levels of social benefits and costs to doing so. But, minority groups will never be able to appropriate ‘white culture’ in a way that is harmful or damaging to whites in the aggregate. White complexity is never denied nor questioned while minority group identities are countered with dangerous and even deadly caricatures.
For example, making fun of President George W. Bush won’t undermine the accomplishments of every white male president this country has ever had. Why? Because we have 42 others to compare to. But, in the case of slain black teens, the overwhelming social narrative mischaracterizes them as “thugs,” and “gangbangers.” An entire Southern California high school cheer squad was recently pictured posing as gang members with pregnant bellies, sagging pants, and turf signs for “team building activities.” This notion about the black identity has been at least partly responsible for the onslaught of shooting deaths in black communities by police authorities. To deny that fact is to gloss over how powerful this imagery truly is.
On the whole, there seems to be a deep misunderstanding regarding how dangerous appropriation is. What whites in black face (which you don’t have to wear to appropriate black culture) call harmless fun, black folks call a further stripping of our humanity. Cultural appropriation empowers racial animus against minority groups. It emboldens law enforcement looking for the ‘suspect.’ And, it mentally indexes the black identity as violent, ominous, and inherently dangerous.
Cultural appropriation doesn’t work both ways which should make it that much easier to do away with altogether (ahem, white people).
From Tired Sista: I posted this because white women’s racism needs to be called out more. Too many black people give their racism a pass. This article shows how wicked they were and still are to black people.
on June 5, 2013 at 11:12 pm
“Black men claim slavery is not an issue when choosing a white counterpart because white women didn’t play a role in slavery, but instead white men”
Many black women ask black men: Why date white women given the history of slavery? Though it may seem like a logical and fair question (hint holocaust Jewish dating Germans) instead of answering the question some black men have flipped the question asking black women: Why date white men? Implying white women were not responsible for any of the inhumane acts towards blacks during slavery it was all white men.
White women and their role
Though it is very true white men were responsible for majority of the killings and beatings the reality of it is majority of white women were just as guilty. How? It was never the role of women especially white women to physically kill or beat slaves because those matters were dealt with by their husbands or other white males. The woman’s role was to be a wife and mother and nothing more, though white women did have a more underhand approach in abusing black slaves.
White women raped
Keep in mind it would have been unladylike to beat, or kill a slave, and white women were not physically strong enough to physically rape the male slaves so instead they took a more tactful inconspicuous approach. White women knew that black male slaves feared their husbands (white master) so the black male slave being tamed obeyed masters wife. She did not have to rape by force because the male slave obediently gave into her request just as they (male slaves) tolerated the sexual abuse performed by white male slave masters.
The white mistress would demand the black man in her presence when her husband was away from the home to engage in sexual activities, the black male slave knowing she was out of place and the consequences if he was caught also knew that if he denied the white mistress she would lie and accuse him of rape and he would still get killed so he did what any sane person would do if their only choice was to die. When a white woman became pregnant and wasn’t sure if it was her husbands or the black slave (and keep in mind abortion was not permitted especially if married, and condoms were nonexistent) when the child was born if the baby had black features she would squeal rape to save face and not only would the black male slave be killed, but the newborn baby as well. White men were not killing their white wives for having sexual intercourse with black men. Even if a white woman told the truth about being the initiator the black male would still get killed and nothing would happen to the white woman in most cases.
White women tortured black women
Though this is taboo and never discussed white women sexually abused black female slaves in absence of their husbands. White women would physically torture female slaves with foreign objects amputating their nipples, breasts, cutting or damaging the vagina so the husband would no longer desire them. Some white women like their husbands would force female slaves to perform cunnilingus and other sexual acts.
White women black slave children
Yes, the children were also physically abused, babies were suffocated, children were drowned, poisoned murdered in other ways and overworked by the white female especially if the child was a product of her husband. Like any woman she became furious at her husband’s actions but upholding her image as most wives did during that time she took out her anger on the offspring.
White women played the exact role of their husbands, actively engaged in the trading and purchasing of slaves. Of course the property (slaves) would legally be the white males because women were not in charge of the finances but the selecting like any other merchandise was joint decisions, and even white children took part in it when they were of age. White females were always present. If the roles of women were different many of them would have behaved the same as the white males because the mentality of majority of whites, male and female, were the same. Whites felt they were superior, blacks were animals, and they treat them as such.
Black women raising white women’s children
If a mother had her children doing everything while she sat around and did nothing most people will say it was wrong, right? Well this is no different than what white women did to female slaves, black women raised their (whites) children, cleaned, cooked, and all the other household and outdoor duties, for free while being openly disrespected and abused.
It wasn’t that white women didn’t play a part it was just the roles of men and women during that time were different.
When I was seventeen, I was groomed and preyed upon by a high school basketball coach. He told me to stop wearing panties if I wanted to get a ‘real man.’ He invited me to drink, smoke weed, and hang out with his twenty-something-year-old friends. He explained to me that part of becoming a woman was wrapped up in how men viewed me. For months, he did these things. Then, when I had ongoing issues with my abusive dad, he coerced me into sex (an act of statutory and coercive rape) after I asked for his help and called him on a school day seeking safety.
Oddly, even though this happened to me over a decade a ago, I was only able to admit and come to terms with it just before my 30th birthday. This is mainly because his actions, taking advantage of, manipulating, and coercing a teenaged girl at his place of employment (a public high school) into sex, are normalized in a country consumed by rape culture. In fact, they’re defended especially when the rape survivors are Black women.
I remember when I first told someone about what had happened to me. I told her that I was a virgin before it happened and she didn’t believe me. She accused me of lying about my virginity but never questioned the actions of the man who preyed on me. Another person I told indicated that I should feel honored or special because the man involved was attractive and a lot of other girls at the high school wanted to “go with him.” More and more young Black men and women found innovative ways to valorize the man who preyed upon and manipulated me into sexual intercourse when I really just needed help and safety. Because he was a role model for the basketball team and a “nice guy,” they undermined my experiences. Eventually, I began believing their arguments. I stopped talking about it altogether.
Like the man who sexual assaulted me, Bill Cosby did all the things sexual predators know to do in order to avoid public ire. He gave money to schools. He presented himself as a pillar in the Black community. He became “America’s Dad.” With a rap sheet like that, imagine how difficult it would be for anyone to believe he wasn’t an honorable, pure, and just human being?
In my case, the man who coerced me befriended me and made me think he was an older brother figure. He listened to me discussing my issues at home with the intention of exploiting those hardships later on. All the while, I’m sure he considered that, by building this relationship with me – an impressionable, vulnerable girl, he’d never have to worry about being accused of rape. Sadly, he was pretty much right.
My experiences in high school echo many of the recent defenses of Bill Cosby. Originally, singer Jill Scott jumped to Cosby’s defense. She has since recanted. Now, after news broke that Cosby admitted to procuring drugs for the purpose of raping women, comedian and TV host Whoopi Goldberg joked about drug use and claimed that Cosby still hasn’t been “proven a rapist.”
To be clear: Even after over 40 women came forward describing being drugged and raped or otherwise sexually assaulted by Bill Cosby and he admitted to procuring drugs for the purpose of raping them, some people still don’t believe it. I have seen posts on social media where people are blaming media bias for the revelation of Cosby’s drug procurement. Others have latched onto this being a conspiracy to bring down the Black man. All the while, the dozens of women whose bodies were violated and lives were infringed upon by Cosby’s predation have had to sit by watching people scramble to the aid of their rapist.
Yes, Bill Cosby raped and abused over 40 women and people are more concerned about him and his legacy.
Perhaps, the most disappointing aspect of this conversation is the fact that Black people, Black men in particular, have been some of the most consistent voices in defense of Cosby. Like R. Kelly, the fascination with his fame and on-screen persona seem to outweigh the love these individuals have for their mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins, aunts, and friends. But what if we all loved women as much as we loved rapists? Specifically, what if we loved Black women as much as we loved Black male rapists?
I imagine, in a world where we actually loved Black women, rapists like Bill Cosby and R. Kelly and the countless others who remain unidentified wouldn’t have the cloak of reputation to hide under. They wouldn’t be able to use our mental commitments to disbelieving Black women against us. They certainly wouldn’t have the power to silence the women who they victimized with threats, bribes, or other forms of manipulation.
In a world where we loved Black women as much as we loved Black male rapists, this article wouldn’t even exist because sexual justice wouldn’t be seen as a euphemism, a silent attack on Black men. In this world, the very real attack on Black womanhood in the form of sexual and domestic violence wouldn’t be seen as less important than the imaginary assault on Black manhood. Sex would be understood as an agreement between two consenting parties. Consent wouldn’t be relative. Plausible deniability wouldn’t be a “Get Out of Jail Free” card to be wielded even after folks are found guilty of sexual assault and violence.
I don’t have confidence we will ever love Black women as much as we love Black male rapists. In fact, I don’t think patriarchy will ever allow us to love Black women as much as we love Black men in general. But, I do wonder what that would look like and feel like. My life has been affected by our love for Black male rapists. So have the lives of tens of thousands of other Black women. In my mind that will, one day, be important to us. Not today though.
From Water Cooler Convos
While writing a piece yesterday about John Crawford – the 22-year-old killed in Walmart for playing with a toy gun – I became aware of another story of ‘homicide by cop’ inflicted upon an unarmed black teenager. Michael Brown, 18, was seen running in his home town of Ferguson, Mo, a suburb of St. Louis, and moments later, he was shot dead in the streets by Ferguson Police. I am just so tired of covering these stories. And I feel overcome with powerlessness as white fear claims yet another innocent life in the black community.
Explanations as to why Brown was killed abound. According to the AP, the FBI is already looking into the causes of his death. But, initially, police authorities were not releasing any information regarding the homicide to anyone including the teen’s family. Following the shooting, police sectioned off the area and left Brown’s body lying in the streets for hours as the community looked on in anger, hurt, and rage. As the crowds grew and organized into a protest, over 100 cops with assault rifles, shotguns, and dogs were called in to ‘protect the crime scene.’
hile watching this horror unfold, all I could think about was the multitudinous historical events of terror inflicted on blacks since the 1790s. From the mass beheadings and maimings on the heels of Nat Turner’s Rebellion to the destruction of private property in the 1920s burning of Black Wall Street conveniently called the “Tulsa Race Riots” (although only whites were rioting), white fear has taken the form of terror for black folks attempting sanctity and mobility in their own lives.
White fear has manifested itself in outright violence post-slavery through the imposition of Jim Crow segregation. White fear has manifested itself legislatively via redlining laws and cruel lending practices barring blacks from owning property in ‘white neighborhoods.’ White fear has manifested itself in so many structural ways that it has become part and parcel with the fundamental functions of every private and governmental institution in this country. White fear is inescapable.
The fear that black people would become too wealthy or accomplished was what caused early twentieth-century southern whites to strategically lynch some of the most accomplished black families, the ones who owned a horse and buggy or a nice suit jacket. The fear that black women would steal white ‘massas’ from their whites wives resulted in the intentional objectification of black women’s bodies and hair, demoralizing them, bestializing them, making them into sexual beings rather than human beings. The fear that blacks were thinking too highly of themselves and threatening white business ownership was what caused them to burn it down on June 21st, 1921. White fear has systematically and by design demolished and suppressed black wealth, mobility, and familial progress for over three centuries. What we are witnessing today is no accident.
When black families were lynched, whites would congregate, often taking pictures with the corpses of black bodies post-mortem. They would leave the bodies for days – and sometimes weeks – hanging in trees birthing the phrase “strange fruit.” This was a primary point of control for whites because seeing the swinging corpses both struck fear into other blacks, potentially dissuading them from rocking the boat, and also made clear that whites deemed blacks absolutely worthless. While we rarely see hanging nooses now, we often see dead, dying, or demoralized black bodies struggling for humanity in streets, Walmarts, apartment hallways, etc. We see them and their purpose is identical.
White fear doesn’t just exist on an individual level. Yes, it was to blame when Michael Dunn shot and killed Jordan Davis, when George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, when Theodore Wafer shot and killed Renisha McBride, when Johannes Mehserle shot and killed Oscar Grant, when Officer Randall Kerrick shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell, and even now as we discuss John Crawford and Michael Brown. But it is much graver than individual animus.
You don’t have to be white to suffer from white fear. White fear causes upper-class black people to whitewash and downplay their own blackness just to achieve social ‘success.’ Perceived social benefits of ‘acting white’ cause many blacks to also fear ‘the other’ black people who might harm them or their families. But, make no mistake, it is a tool of oppression created by whites seeking unrelenting and perpetual dominance in the US.
Many (white) people believe it only exists between people because they choose to ignore its tentacle-like influences on public media, popular culture, education, immigration policy, and social welfare programs. They use their fear to justify their senseless aggression toward black and brown bodies. Then they sit as judge and jury indicting black teens for eating snacks, smoking weed one time, or running fast. Meanwhile, white teenaged boys live fruitful lives after mowing down entire groups of people while under the influence of stolen alcohol because they suffer from ‘affluenza.’ A drunk white murderer is worth more than a dead black honor student. Such is the function of white fear.
White fear is killing us. It is causing us to fear black skin. It is segregating neighborhoods. It is closing public schools. It is cutting welfare benefits to mothers and children. It is undermining a presidency. It is criminalizing black bodies. It is incarcerating black identities. It is limiting black potential. It is sexualizing black girls. And, it is shooting black boys in the streets of their own neighborhoods.
White fear is the single greatest cause of death for black people today and has been so since this country’s inception.1 White fear.
*Writer’s note: The post image has been changed as the Brown family has requested the social media removal of Mike Brown’s lifeless body.
Respectability politics or the politics of respectability refers to attempts by marginalized groups to police their own members and show their social values as being continuous and compatible with mainstream values rather than challenging the mainstream for its failure to accept difference. The concept was first articulated by Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham in her book Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880–1920. In the context of black American history, respectability politics was practiced as a way of attempting to consciously set aside and undermine cultural and moral practices thought to be disrespected by wider society, especially in the context of the family and good manners. The development of African-American politics of responsibility has been traced to writers and activists including W. E. B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington, and has been used as a way of understanding the election and political trajectory of Barack Obama. President Obama has also been criticized for his use of respectability politics during his presidency, as when he brought up issues of black criminality during his speech following the November 24 grand jury decision regarding the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.One of the most open proponents of respectability politics is former-NBA player Charles Barkley.
In the wake of Michael Brown, many black Americas still secretly believed and clung to the idea that respectability politics, or the idea that if we ‘act right’ we will be just fine, were actually a viable way to stay alive. In the past few years, we have been reminded that being respectable will not save our lives.
This summer, I was assigned to report the Sandra Bland funeral taking place about an hour outside of Chicago. At the time, her family had grown angry at the press and asked us not to come in the church. Bland’s story had created a media frenzy of everyone asking: what happened to the black women arrested and found dead days later in a Texas jail cell?
But, of course, barely any of us obeyed.
At the end of the funeral, I reached into my bag to grab my press credentials when an older deacon stopped me. “Young man”, he said and I turned to meet his gaze.
“Remember … you have a target on your back. Don’t you ever forget that”, he continued and patted me on the shoulder.
When his words hit me I didn’t know what to do. So, I smiled. I nodded. And I pushed my way outside as mourners rushed past to their cars and a wall of photographers clicked away. As I walked through the parking lot, placing my credentials back around my neck, what he was saying really hit me and I stopped walking.
He was reminding me that, no matter what my profession is, I am still a black man in America, press credentials or not, and that is still very dangerous. Whether I want to admit it or not.
When ex-tennis player James Blake was aggressively tackled to the ground by the NYPD while standing outside the Hyatt hotel in New York City, we were reminded. When Rekia Boyd was shot for just standing in an alley by an off-duty cop who fired bullets over his shoulder into a crowd in Chicago and still has his job, we were reminded.
And when Sandra Bland was hired for a new job and then was suddenly found dead after her arrest, we were definitely reminded.
We must find another way to freedom. Because being respectable doesn’t work when we can no longer count the hashtags of dead black people, keep schools open in places like Chicago that recently shut down 50 predominately black ones, or keep food on the tables of the black family in poverty whose rates maintain steady as everyone else’s declines.
And in the end, all respectability does is make you ignore that target placed on your back until the day they pull the trigger and shoot.