Showing posts from January, 2019


"In 2006 I Had an Ordeal with Medicine" from Bettina Judd on Vimeo . "Bettina Judd’s phenomenal debut poetry collection, Patient., is about recovery in many senses: recovery of the subjectivity of several historical figures, through the recovery, reconstitution, and telling of their stories—among them Anarcha Westcott, Betsey Harris, Lucy Zimmerman, Joice Heth, Saartjie Baartman, and Henrietta Lacks, who were infamously 'patients' or subjects of inspection and 'plunder' by, among others, J. Marion Sims, the controversial gynecologist, and P.T. Barnum, showman and circus founder. Sims (and the speculum) and Barnum are the featured antagonists in many of these flawlessly empathetic poems, but an unnamed speaker who adds a contemporary voice to the lyric chorus implicates those in charge of her care during a present-day hospital stay at Johns Hopkins—suggesting the linkage of modern medical treatment to the traumas vulnerable Black wom

What is “blackbirding”?

Elles Houwelingon, January 21, 2019, New Historian Everyone has heard shocking stories about the transatlantic slave trade, but this was hardly the only type of slavery in which Europeans were engaged. The Pacific slave trade involved the forceful enslavement of Pacific islanders from the mid 19thcentury to the 20thcentury. This particular type of slavery is often referred to as “blackbirding”. The primary focus of “blackbirding” was to supply cheap labor to sugar-cane plantations on Pacific plantations, particularly in Queensland, Fiji, New Caledonia, and the Samoan Islands. This was mainly achieved through trickery and kidnapping. They were frequently deceived about the length of time for which they were “contracted” and the nature of their “contract”. If all this failed, the islanders were simply loaded onto slave ships at gunpoint. The captured islanders were collectively known as Kanakas, which means Person or Man in Hawaiian. These workers were essentially t

LaTanya McQueen

Excerpt There is a story I must tell you and it begins like this—once, a woman once had a relationship with a man. Her name was a Leanna Brown and she was a slave to the Bedford Brown and his family. Bedford Brown was Senator of North Carolina during the 1830s. Next to Brown’s plantation lived a man by the name of William Siddle. The two of them, Leanna and William, sometimes called Willie, had a relationship that resulted in at least two, possibly three children, and one of those children was my great grandfather. When I look at history, at the ways in which black women’s bodies have been treated and are continually treated, it is easy for me to look on this past and believe she was raped—that her children and their children and ultimately my own reason for existence, is because of this. It is easier to simplify their history, to make black and white a situation I don’t understand, but there is a fact that keeps me questioning, one I come back to ti

How Germany is in Denial of its Historical Racism Today

How Germany is in Denial of its Historical Racism Today In this series, C& and Arts Everywhere commission texts inspired by the books in C&’s Center of Unfinished Business last installed at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin in 2018. Political activist and culture and media theorist Nelly Y. Pinkrah is inspired by Langston Hughes’ The Ways of White Folks and James Baldwin and Margaret Mead’s A Rap on Race. Is it possible to talk about an ordinary German experience as a structurally racialized one in the sense Baldwin and Mead did? Pinkrah thinks so. Here she connects the dots between racisms of the past and present to show how things become invisible when they become structural. READ: How Germany is in Denial of its Historical Racism Today | Contemporary And

Urgent Restitution of looted African artifacts

“Behind the mask of beauty, the question of restitution invites us to go right to the heart of a system of appropriation and alienation, the colonial system …” These are the first words of a groundbreaking 108-page-report commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron. In conversation with 150 experts in France and Africa, French art historian Bénédicte Savoy and Senegalese academic Felwine Sarr evaluated the need for urgent restitution of looted African artifacts held in French museums. Only time will tell how this report will impact ethnographic collections in France and elsewhere in Europe, such as London’s British Museum and Berlin’s Humboldt Forum. The full report can be read in English and French at BIG READ: 108 Pages On The Restitution Of Looted Art From Africa | Contemporary And

The continuation of lynching culture

According to one report, based on data from 2010 to 2012, black teens are 21 times more likely to be shot and killed by the police than their white counterparts. As several scholars have recently acknowledged, these killings represent the continuation of lynching culture in the United States. Today, black Americans die at the hands of police at a rate that is almost equivalent to the number of documented lynchings during the early twentieth century. READ SPEECH: Ida B. Wells, Police Violence, and the Legacy of Lynching – AAIHS

MLK Day Special: Rediscovered 1964 King Speech on Civil Rights


MLK on Creative Maladjustment

Martin Luther King, Jr. said repeatedly that the world was in dire need of a new organization, "The International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment ." Apparently none ever was created in a formal sense… until MindFreedom and the Mad Pride movement. VIA King’s image of creative maladjustment is certainly evocative and implicitly cautioning against pathologizing protest (a trend in psychology at the time). He is certainly saying that accepting an unjust society should be questioned. But there is no critique there of diagnosis. He gave one of the “creative maladjustment” speeches at the American Psychological Association, who he was challenging in his inimical, powerful, and eloquent way. His problem with the APA was that these were a bunch of almost exclusively white, privileged people who were part of an unjust society. He was asking them to stop smugly seeing themselves as doing good by helping distressed people, and instead recogniz

I Have A Dream

Martin Luther King Day 2019 Published January 21, 2019   A Letter to Our Youth: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech, “I Have a Dream” is a powerful, eloquent, sacred vision and prayer for the future of the United States of America. “I Have a Dream” magnifies the urgency for us to teach the footprints of our past, the Doctrine of Discovery, Manifest Destiny, slavery and Jim Crow. The footprints are etched into every fiber of our social educational and political way of life, influencing our rule of law. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech, “I Have a Dream” is not just a speech, it is a way of life we all must strive for if we truly want our democracy to mature to the sacredness that our flag represents. I take great strength and hope from “I Have a Dream.” I strongly believe in the youth of America and take inspiration from them, knowing our future is in good hands. ―Billy Mills

Ohio. 2018.

Toledo, Ohio (CNN) It took 14 months for the noose to show up. Fourteen months where Marcus Boyd says he endured racist comments, slights, even threats in a hostile workplace run by General Motors. A workplace where people declared bathrooms were for "whites only," where black supervisors were denounced as "boy" and ignored by their subordinates, where black employees were called "monkey," or told to "go back to Africa." A workplace where black employees were warned a white colleague's "daddy" was in the Ku Klux Klan. Where white workers wore shirts with Nazi symbols underneath their coveralls. In Ohio. In 2018. READ: Inside the GM plant where nooses and 'whites-only' signs intimidated workers - CNN

Orson Welles' "Voodoo Macbeth"


Vernon Keeve III

This book will break your heart (in a good way) Amazon Review March 23, 2018 This book is not easy. It is uninterested in your comfort. In fact, dis-ease is a core theme, along with the trauma of being othered in various ways. It didn't occur to me that nature, here in the U.S., could be associated with danger, that trees are a constant reminder of the horrors of racism, that camping is predominantly part of white culture for historical reasons. Similarly, while I have thought about the corrosive pollution (and loneliness) of city living, removed from nature, I never tied it so neatly with racism the way Vernon deftly does in this impressive autobiographical exploration. And if that was all this book explored, it would still be worth your time, but that is merely the opening salvo of an emotional tour de force. The generational trauma of parental abuses, the intense pain of peers ostracizing with sexual and racial slurs, the fetishization of queer black bod

Race Files: headlines

Antisemitism Is Racism By Scot Nakagawa on Jan 13, 2019 08:48 pm I believe that the reason that so many progressives, including racial justice progressives, don’t understand the threat of antisemitism and even, really, that antisemitism is in fact racism!!! is that we understand racism wrong, or at least incompletely. Here’s what I mean. U.S. residents, for the most part, think of racism in terms of effects […] more RECENT ARTICLES On 50th anniversary of MLK assassination, ICE deports Khmer refugees to Cambodia Twenty-Five Years after Sa-I-Gu: Multiracial Politics in Times of Crisis Put Some Knowledge in Your Pocket! Navigating the Pro-Democracy and Antiracist Struggle Ahead The Dumb Prof Considers Intersectionality in the Age of Trump

Traveling with "The Green Book" during the Jim Crow era


Cancer and the Poor

Cancer is increasingly a microcosm of the inequality that defines our time. As the gap between the haves and have-nots widens, the income gap in cancer deaths will continue to grow, too. The cancer death rate in the US has dropped by 27 percent since 1991... Some people face real barriers accessing treatment. Some of the latest cancer treatments can cost as much as half a million dollars in the US, and even if your insurance covers them, living outside of certain US cities could make getting the treatments almost impossible.  Source: We’re making real progress against cancer. But you may not know it if you’re poor. - Vox

If Beale Street Could Talk

Until now, James Baldwin’s books had not been adapted into a feature film in English. There is one French adaptation of If Beale Street Could Talk and excerpts from other books appear elsewhere, but the new If Beale Street Could Talk is the first full Baldwin book to be reimagined by an American director. After his Oscar-winning hit Moonlight, Barry Jenkins took on the ambitious project of turning Baldwin’s novel about a passionate couple torn apart by an unjust system into a screenplay. Jenkins told IndieWire about the adaptation process: “While it was the first time Baldwin has been adapted for an English-language feature film, and there was some pressure to keep as much of it the same as possible, what it ultimately comes down to is: the book is the book, and the movie is the movie.” Source: Barry Jenkins’s Tender Adaptation of James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk

Long Hair: White Folks Hair Fetish

Who to Blame for “Crisis of Racism” Who can be blamed for this crisis of racism that the ACLU letter so aptly describes? Among the living, let’s start with POTUS Donald J. Trump, who demands his “free speech” and tramples on that of non-white peoples, women and poor people who are not part of his base. It is virtually impossible to make a coherent argument that his “free speech” rhetoric is something other than railing against racial and cultural attributes and the equivalent of shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater. U.S. “Civilization” Rules Banned Cultural Expression, including Long Hair KEEP READING

Q+A with Andre Perry, author of Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now

Andre Perry:  If American society seeks to improve, part of our labor is for us to fully embrace the whole truth of how we arrived here (and where exactly our culture is) at this moment. That includes a reckoning with our origin story — the violent annex of land, forced labor towards the creation of wealth, and the inequitable distribution of that accumulated wealth — and how the ramifications of those first centuries affect us to down to the minutiae of our daily lives (like you know, being screamed at by an attendant to pull down my hoodie in a gas station outside of Little Rock, AK). My deepest hope is that this text provides yet another insight into our current condition and drives a reader’s hunger to learn more about our history, present, and possible ways forward. All of our challenges: classism, racism, sexism — they are intertwined — so I am aware that my reflections are mere strands in a much larger framework. GOOD READ: Q+A with Andre Perry about Some of Us Are Very Hun

Indian Slavery

Think so?

absolute power depends on absolute control over knowledge, which in turn necessitates absolute corruption

Think about this

“Politicians, Priests, and psychiatrists often face the same problem: how to find the most rapid and permanent means of changing a man’s belief…The problem of the doctor and his nervously ill patient, and that of the religious leader who sets out to gain and hold new converts, has now become the problem of whole groups of nations, who wish not only to confirm certain political beliefs within their boundaries, but to proselytize the outside world.” – William Sargant “Battle of the Mind”

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