It is a surreal feeling to know that you could go to war and fight for your country, survive the war and instead of coming back as a celebrated hero, be assaulted and lynched by the people whose freedom you fought for them to have. That was the reality of many black veterans who returned from World War I and World War II, a history that is not taught. For fear of black people becoming to “uppity” and demanding their rights after coming back from war, there were white people who needed to make examples of black veterans and keep them in their place, that they owed nothing to these soldiers who went off to fight a fight for them.
Below are some news stories and opinion pieces that I collected over the week. Since Facebook is changing up its system of how posts are viewed and is fishy with what it considers as “violating community guidelines,” I will post the articles I come across during the week on Sunday along with posting them there throughout the week.
* Storify post of mine and other attendees’ tweets from the Black Comic Books Festival panels.
* Afropunk Interview with fantasy artist, Fabiola Jean-Louis: “Interview: Photographer Fabiola Jean-Louis – Magic & The Machine:” “It’s believed that there lies a fine line between
genius and insanity. But what is the case when reality and fantasy stumble upon one another, uniting the ultimate contrasts? Perhaps, creativity? In all my adventures and stumbles upon wonderful artists, I’ve never came across any like photographer, Fabiola jean-Louis. Somehow she’s found a connection between the Victorian era and whimsical urban legends like unicorns and Black fairies. Oddly enough, the two unique cultures mesh well together; not to mention the beautiful people she uses as her subjects to create what I like to call, Afro Magic, her being the Alchemist. In our interview below, Fabiola gives me a deeper understanding of her creative process and provision. Get ready to dive into a an exotic and beautiful mind!”
* Daniel Jose Older’s “12 Fundamentals of Writing ‘The Other’ (And The Self)” (I especially thought the part about American Horror Story: Coven was interesting. Why is it religions outside of the Abrahamic religions don’t receive as much respect and are thought of as fantasy. I don’t see the mainstream religions treated the same way; for example, the talking snake is probably not real.)
* Saul Williams Tribute to Amiri Baraka: ” Amiri Baraka: Poet Laureate:” “The real power of influence occurs when you influence people who don’t even realize that they’ve been influenced by you. They may not even know who you are. This mainly happens when your art is so deeply embedded with love and your desire to see change in the world that the message becomes detached from the author and travels on its own. From heart to heart. We felt Amiri Baraka. I wasn’t even born yet and I felt him. I felt my mamma feeling him. He was part of the reason my mom turned to my dad, after having already birthed two mid-complexioned daughters, and said, “I just want a dark, dark boy with curly, curly hair.” Presto. Black Magic.”
Fear of Negro rule was still evident in 1900.
Rising Down, the eighth studio album of The Roots was released on April 29, 2008. Above is the original drawing used the for the cover, “The Vampire that Hovers Over North Carolina,” a cartoon by Norman E. Jennette, which was published in the Raleigh News And Observer on the 27th of September 1898 during the North Carolina election. It is apparent that there was still fear of a Negro rule.
Questlove from The Roots explains the cover: “it’s about The Reconstruction period in American History. This drawing is entitled “Negro Rule,” and it pretty much sums up the feeling of the Confederate Union towards the newly freed slaves, and the idea that if given power they would reek havoc and chaos on the country.”
Sadly, this kind of thinking is still true today. Black people are thought of as the vampires of the country, sucking it dry (ex. welfare queens), but it is actually the other way around.
Washington Post writer, E.J. Dionne Jr., wrote a piece about the ridiculous disrespect of Barack Obama as president:
Please forgive this outburst. It’s simply astonishing that a man in his fourth year as our president continues to be the object of the most extraordinary paranoid fantasies. A significant part of his opposition still cannot accept that Obama is a rather moderate politician quite conventional in his tastes and his interests. And now that the economy is improving, short-circuiting easy criticisms, Obama’s adversaries are reheating all the old tropes and cliches and slanders….
But there is something especially rancid about the never-ending efforts to turn Obama into a stranger, an alien, a Manchurian Candidate with a diabolical hidden agenda. Are we trying to undo all the good it did us with the rest of the world when we elected an African American with a middle name popular among Muslims?…”
Although he hints at it in the title and the article, Dionne never explicitly says that due to racism embedded in this country, people will see President Obama, the first black president of the United States, as “other,” “strange,” “weird” and as Dionne says “alien.” It is the reason the birthers question his birthplace, his citizenship and his religion. He is seen as not as American, but a “brother from another planet.” Just read about the Alaskan man’s lawsuit claiming that Obama cannot be president because he is black.
Yesterday I watched this BBC documentary on racism. It included information on the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Imperialism, Colonialism, Scientific racism, Social Dawinism, Eugenics, genocides (as one of the speakers called it, “bureaucratization of killing”), racist experiments (ex. mass sterilization), fear of immigration, different ethnicities and lower classes, and economic, cultural and political disenfranchisement, and how all of this affected people all over the world.
There was not only one holocaust in the world and this documentary helps in revealing them. Warning: There are disturbing pictures in this film. It is really sickening what people have done to each other in the past and now.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court denied Troy Davis a stay and he was executed at 11:08 pm. We may have lost this battle, but let us continue the war on the death penalty and the prison industrial complex:
1) “Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal’s deed, however calculated, can be compared. For there to be an equivalency, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date on which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not to be encountered in private life.” – Albert Camus’ “Reflections on the Guillotine.” (Especially when they test death row inmates beforehand to make sure they are healthy enough to kill…)
3) Ohio State Research claimed in a study that “states that sentence the most criminals to death also tend to be the states that had the most lynchings in the past…” Researcher David Jacobs said that the death penalty has become a legal replacement for it. Here is more information on racial bias in court cases.
4) If you know very little on the subject of the death penalty, the prison industrial complex and social biases, try reading these:
Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The New Press, 2010.
Butler, Anne, and C. Murray Henderson. Angola: Louisiana State Penitentiary, a half-century of rage and reform. Center for Louisiana Studies, University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1990.
Curtin, Mary Ellen. Black prisoners and their world, Alabama, 1865-1900. University of Virginia Press, 2000.
Davis, Angela Yvonne. Angela Davis—an autobiography. Random House, 1974.
———. Are prisons obsolete? Seven Stories Press, 2003.
Jackson, George. Blood in my eye. Black Classic Press, 1990.
———.Soledad brother: the prison letters of George Jackson. Bantam Books, 1972.
James, Joy. Resisting state violence: radicalism, gender, and race in U.S. culture. U of Minnesota Press, 1996.
Lichtenstein, Alex. Twice the work of free labor: the political economy of convict labor in the New South. Verso, 1996.
Oshinsky, David M. Worse Than Slavery. Simon and Schuster, 1997.
Shakur, Assata. Assata: an autobiography. Zed Books, 1987.
Wells, Ida B. Southern Horrors. 1892. <http://www.gutenberg.org/files/14975/14975-h/14975-h.htm>