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One to One

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An Artist’s Critique of Colonialism in Brazil
Commissioned by the MCA for the exhibition, de Andrade’s “Jogos dirigidos” (Directed games) (2019) plays with the conventions of educational films. The film documents a community with an unusually high prevalence of deafness in the isolated town of Várzea Queimada, in which people communicate through an unofficial form of sign language. De Andrade leaves many of these gestures untranslated, providing glosses of some afterwards, like so many video flashcards. Since only certain phrases are defined, it is difficult to follow the thread of the story, allowing the film’s subjects to hover between intelligibility and incomprehensibility in a way that underscores our shared humanity while acknowledging the very real barriers that divide us. Through “Jogos dirigidos” and its other works, One to One dramatizes exchanges between colonizer and colonized, between the global north and the global south, between the haves and the have-nots — exchanges …

In the News

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How activists used photography to help end slavery
Matthew Fox-Amato, April 24, 2018, The Washington Post



It seems it’s not a protest in the age of social media without a photograph. From the women’s marches to Black Lives Matter protests to sit-ins for a Green New Deal on Capitol Hill, participants have flooded the digital landscape with photos of their activism: demonstrators brandishing signs and packing America’s streets, plazas and corridors of power.

But while social media makes this act of sharing protest imagery seem like a new innovation, it's actually an organizing tool with roots almost two centuries old. Antebellum abolitionists pioneered the use of photography as a tool for social movements, and in the process, they heightened their sense of solidarity and urgency, exacerbating the political crisis over slavery.

Abolitionists understood that building a movement meant making themselves visible. Early photography offered a bracing new tool for them to do so…

Judge Damon J. Keith, Judicial Giant And Civil Rights Icon, Dies At 96

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In his dissenting opinion, Keith included the photographs of 36 civil rights martyrs, and he wrote:"The utter brutality of white supremacy in its efforts to disenfranchise persons of color is the foundation for the tragedy that is the Majority's effort to roll back the progress of history. I will not forget. I cannot forget  — indeed America cannot forget — the pain, suffering, and sorrow of those who died for equal protection and for this precious right to vote." Source: Judge Damon Keith, Civil Rights Champion, Dies At 96 : NPR

Prison Abolitionist Movement

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I suggest everyone learn more about the prison abolitionist movement, and this profile of Ruth Wilson Gilmore is a good place to start: Prison abolition, as a movement, sounds provocative and absolute, but what it is as a practice requires subtler understanding. For Gilmore, who has been active in the movement for more than 30 years, it’s both a long-term goal and a practical policy program, calling for government investment in jobs, education, housing, health care — all the elements that are required for a productive and violence-free life. Abolition means not just the closing of prisons but the presence, instead, of vital systems of support that many communities lack. Instead of asking how, in a future without prisons, we will deal with so-called violent people, abolitionists ask how we resolve inequalities and get people the resources they need long before the hypothetical moment when, as Gilmore puts it, they “mess up.” “Every age has had its hopes,” William Morris wr…

Loot and how to return it

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Many German cultural institutions have long begun to address collections from colonial contexts and can build on the experience gained with completed or ongoing projects. We welcome the fact that the German museums have adopted guidelines and recommendations on the sensitive handling both of cultural objects and of human remains.
... Identifying cultural objects from colonial contexts which were appropriated in a way which is no longer legally and/or ethically justifiable and enabling their return is a moral and ethical obligation and an important political task for our age. Human remains from colonial contexts are to be returned.
8.) Requests for the return of artefacts from colonial contexts are to be processed promptly. At the same time, cultural heritage institutions are called upon to take an independent and proactive approach to identify artefacts in their collections which might be returned, even if there has been no request for return.
9.) In principle, returns shoul…

That’s right, slaveowners got reparations

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When Slaveowners Got Reparations
Tera W. Hunter, April 16, 2019, The New York Times




On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill emancipating enslaved people in Washington, the end of a long struggle. But to easeslaveowners’ pain, the District of Columbia Emancipation Act paid those loyal to the Union up to $300 for every enslaved person freed.

That’s right, slaveowners got reparations. Enslaved African-Americans got nothing for their generations of stolen bodies, snatched children and expropriated labor other than their mere release from legal bondage.

The compensation clause is not likely to be celebrated today. But as the debate about reparations for slavery intensifies, it is important to remember that slaveowners, far more than enslaved people, were always the primary beneficiaries of public largess.

The act is notable because it was the first time that the federal government authorized abolition of slavery, which hastened its demise in Virginia and Mary…

Knock Down The House | Official Trailer | Netflix

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“Contemptible Collectibles”

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Contemptible Collectibles Posted: 22 Apr 2019 Content Note: This post discusses racist memorabilia in sociological context and provides an image of one collection critical of this memorabilia below the page break.

Why do some people collect racist memorabilia and artifacts? Objects depicting African Americans in derogatory and stereotypical ways are commonly referred to as “black memorabilia” or “black Americana,” although scholar Patricia Turner more aptly names them “contemptible collectibles.”
As documented by David Pilgrim, founder and curator of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, these artifacts include everyday objects like toys and games, household items such as cookie jars, and postcards. Although usually associated with the Jim Crow era, many of the items are still produced or reproduced today, and all draw on racial caricatures, such as the “mammy,” “Tom,” “picanniny,” and “brute,” among others.
Not without controversy, “contemptible collectibles” hav…

Real Viking History and the Imagined White Supremacist Past

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In the 19th century, Romantic German nationalism metastasized into the Völkish movement, which was interested in historical narratives that bolstered a white German nation state. The movement rewrote history, drawing on folklore such as that of Brothers Grimm, medieval epics and a dedication to racial white supremacy.

READ: Real Viking History and the Imagined White Supremacist Past | Time

sexism is the primal, or first, form of oppression in humanity

Sexism is a form of oppression and domination. As author Octavia Butler put it, "Simple peck-order bullying is only the beginning of the kind of hierarchical behavior that can lead to racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, classism, and all the other 'isms' that cause so much suffering in the world."

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Little Man Little Man

White Fragility