Coming to Terms with Actually-Existing Black Life – New Politics

“The role of black public officials within the contexts of cities like Washington, D.C., Detroit, New Orleans, and elsewhere was anything but subordinate.  Subordinate to whom?  Moody misses the very powerful role that these black elites played, and continue to play in formal party politics and local economic growth regimes, in legitimating neoliberalization and, at times, insulating such forces from criticism even when they embark on policy decisions that will have negative social consequences for black constituencies.  More troubling, Moody diminishes the role that various black constituencies, neighborhood groups, landlords, business owners, clergy, educators, and activists, not simply political elites, played in shaping the carceral expansion.  The sense of different subject positions among blacks, which cannot be reduced simply to the “petty bourgeoisie” and the “long struggle for black freedom” as Moody does, is totally lost.  Moody refers to the demands of working-class blacks for more police protection and tougher crime policy, but in a manner that returns quickly to the victim narrative, disconnecting their conscious actions as citizens from their unintended consequence, mass incarceration. ”

Source: Coming to Terms with Actually-Existing Black Life – New Politics

Confronting racism is not about the needs and feelings of white people | Ijeoma Oluo | Opinion | The Guardian

“In the hallway an Asian American woman locked eyes with me and mouthed: “Thank you.” A black man squeezed my shoulder and muttered: “Girl, if you only knew.” A black woman stopped me, looked around cautiously to make sure no one was within earshot, and then said: “You spoke the truth. I wish I could have shared my story so you’d know how true. But this was not the place.”

This was not the place. Despite the care I take in these sessions to center people of color, to keep them safe, this still was not the place. Once again, what might have been a discussion about the real, quantifiable harm being done to people of color had been subsumed by a discussion about the feelings of white people, the expectations of white people, the needs of white people.

As I stood there, gazing off into the memory of hundreds of stifled conversations about race, I was brought to attention by a white woman. She was not nervously looking around to see who might be listening. She didn’t ask if I had time to talk, though I was standing at the door.“Your session was really nice,” she started. “You said a lot of good things that will be useful to a lot of people.”She paused briefly: “But the thing is, nothing you talked about today is going to help me make more black friends.”

Source: Confronting racism is not about the needs and feelings of white people | Ijeoma Oluo | Opinion | The Guardian

Psychiatry, Racism, and the Birth of ‘Sesame Street’

IN THE WAKE of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968, a newly formed group called the Black Psychiatrists of America began to challenge their white colleagues to think about racism in a new way. Its members had been discussing for some time the possibility of creating an organization that would address their lack of representation within the key bodies of American psychiatry. But now, as one of these men, Dr. Chester Pierce, later put it ”we anguished in our grief for a great moderate leader,” and it seemed that the time for moderation on their side was also over. In Pierce’s words: “As we listened to radio reports and called to various sections of the country for the on-the spot reports in inner cities, our moderation weakened and our alarm hardened.”

Source: Psychiatry, Racism, and the Birth of ‘Sesame Street’

Beyond Romantic Advertisements: Ancestry.com, Genealogy, and White Supremacy – AAIHS

“In the past year, Ancestry changed its search engine to detach the history of slavery from basic genealogical inquiries. When searching for an individual’s name, Ancestry.com stopped including results from the 1850 or 1860 United States Census Slave Schedules. This means that someone searching for ancestors might discover a wealthy progenitor with no record of the foundations of that wealth, making it all too easy to claim, as many privileged white American families do, that their individual family earned its fortunes outside of slavery despite the central role slavery had in shaping the nation’s politics, economics, culture, and society. Before this change occurred, Ancestry.com subscribers would often have to face the uncomfortable fact that their family kept others enslaved. Indeed, my own family first discovered slaveholders in our lineage because of a rudimentary Ancestry search. Attempting that research today would hide this distressing (though important) aspect of my family’s history.”

Source: Beyond Romantic Advertisements: Ancestry.com, Genealogy, and White Supremacy – AAIHS

In Missandei’s Final Act, She Reminds Us That It Is Okay For Black Women To Be Angry

 

Before the final battle begins, a shackled Missandei is on display for Daenerys, Missandei’s lover Grey Worm, and the rest of her army. Refusing to bend the knee and give up the throne, Cersei commands The Mountain, her knights guard, to kill Missandei. When Cersei offers Missandei the opportunity to have any last words, she only has one: “Dracarys.” In the fictional language, High Valyrian, it literally translates to dragonfire. In her final act, the quiet and reserved Missandei tells both her queen and her lover to burn King’s Landing to the ground.

For Black women who love the show, last Sunday’s episode was especially difficult. As the only Black female character on the show, it seemed that Missandei was the only sister in all of the seven kingdoms. Seeing her back in chains was especially rough and, in light of the series’ trajectory, her death felt unnecessary.

Source: In Missandei’s Final Act, She Reminds Us That It Is Okay For Black Women To Be Angry

The Most Radical City on the Planet | Boston Review

“Black radicals had been experimenting with electoral strategies since the 1960s. In 2008 the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) studied the lessons learned from this work in the South and identified ways to advance movement goals. This work culminated in the 2012 publication of the Jackson-Kush Plan, which called for people’s assemblies (a grassroots co-governance model), an independent black political party, and a broad-based solidarity economy. Along the way, MXGM members identified Chokwe Lumumba to run for Jackson city council in 2009. He won, and by the time he ran for mayor four years later, he was well known, with an established infrastructure to support him.”

Source: The Most Radical City on the Planet | Boston Review

 

An Introduction to the Black Arts Movement | Poetry Foundation

“Black Arts Movement poet and publisher Haki Madhubuti wrote, “And the mission is how do we become a whole people, and how do we begin to essentially tell our narrative, while at the same time move toward a level of success in this country and in the world? And we can do that. I know we can do that.”

Source: An Introduction to the Black Arts Movement | Poetry Foundation