I am not ‘non-white’

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2020-01-13 02:36Z by Steven

I am not ‘non-white’

Daily Kos
2020-01-12

Denise Oliver Velez

Denise Oliver, Minister of Economic Development of the Young Lords at the office headquarters. - Hiram Maristany, c.1970. Mapping Resistance exhibit
Denise Oliver, minister of economic development of the Young Lords, pictured at the office headquarters in East Harlem. Photo by Hiram Maristany, c.1970.

I’m black.

I’ve been black, and proud to be black, my whole life. My parents raised me like that. They grew up as ‘Negroes.’ They had to drink at water fountains labeled ‘colored.’ They lived long enough to become Afro-Americans, and then African Americans.

I was, and still am, militantly black. I’ve lived through the “Ungawa Black Power” of Stokely Carmichael and Rap Brown; the clenched, raised fists of the Panthers and Young Lords; and through this decade’s Black Lives Matter and #VoteLikeBlackWomen movements. My mom, who was never seen without her hair hot-comb pressed straight as a board, even accepted my Afro hairdo.

Though I was raised by a socialist dad and I was a member of revolutionary nationalist socialist movements as a young person, I do not want to hear anyone spouting that it is more important to address class issues before we deal with racism and white supremacy. The two are inextricably intertwined in this country founded on African enslavement. All the money and economic equality in the world won’t wipe away our blackness and potential death by a white-aimed bullet. Racial issues steeped in malevolent anti-blackness do not deserve “back of the bus” status…

Read the entire article here.

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Chris Harper Mercer’s “Mixed Race” Identity and the Umpqua Community College Shooting

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2016-05-11 17:49Z by Steven

Chris Harper Mercer’s “Mixed Race” Identity and the Umpqua Community College Shooting

Daily Kos
2015-10-02

Chauncey DeVega

It is a new/old day in America. On Thursday, there was another mass shooting. On Friday, today, and tomorrow, and in the week’s thereafter America’s politicians will do nothing to stop the plague of gun violence. This is a choice. It is cowardice. The weakness is caused by the grip exerted on America’s political elites by the ammosexuals and gun money barons in the National Rifle Association.

Chris Harper Mercer killed 10 people at Umpqua Community [College] in Oregon. Much will be written about what his murder spree reveals—none of it really new—about toxic aggrieved masculinity, gun culture, ammosexuals, the online Right-wing sewers that gave him aid and comfort, and other matters.

I would like to call attention to one detail about Mercer’s personhood, a detail that may be overlooked or not discussed by the mainstream news media out of fear of being called “racist”, or alternatively because they lack the conceptual tools (and will not feature experts who possess them) to talk about race and the color line in a nuanced way…

Read the entire article here.

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I went to black skate parties, black block parties/festivals, and did so not as a white intruder, but as a Karl Kani wearing, widely welcomed, light-skinned black kid.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2015-08-24 02:21Z by Steven

Outside of my mother’s home, as a kid I lived a deeply black experience. Black families invited me to attend vacation Bible school. I attended black family reunions where old people would come up and pinch my cheeks and tell me who I looked like in their family. I went to black skate parties, black block parties/festivals, and did so not as a white intruder, but as a Karl Kani wearing, widely welcomed, light-skinned black kid. I soaked up every moment I had as I was fully, unabashedly loved, even doted upon, by black families throughout central Kentucky. It was a refuge for me and also a rite of passage of sorts. In high school I joined exclusively black achievers groups. With scholars I love and respect to this day at the University of Kentucky, I attended and helped plan King Day events, and just lived my life.

Shaun King, “Race, love, hate, and me: A distinctly American story,” Daily Kos, August 20, 2015. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/08/20/1413881/-Race-love-hate-and-me-A-distinctly-American-story.

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Race, love, hate, and me: A distinctly American story

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Law, Media Archive, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2015-08-21 01:36Z by Steven

Race, love, hate, and me: A distinctly American story

Daily Kos
2015-08-20

Shaun King


[Shaun King] 14 years old. Sophomore in high school

Over the past 72 hours I have been attacked with lies by the conservative media, lies that have been picked up by the traditional media and spread further. I have kept silent at the advice of friends and mentors, but I will do so no longer.

The reports about my race, about my past, and about the pain I’ve endured are all lies. My mother is a senior citizen. I refuse to speak in detail about the nature of my mother’s past, or her sexual partners, and I am gravely embarrassed to even be saying this now, but I have been told for most of my life that the white man on my birth certificate is not my biological father and that my actual biological father is a light-skinned black man. My mother and I have discussed her affair. She was a young woman in a bad relationship and I have no judgment. This has been my lived reality for nearly 30 of my 35 years on earth. I am not ashamed of it, or of who I am—never that—but I was advised by my pastor nearly 20 years ago that this was not a mess of my doing and it was not my responsibility to fix it. All of my siblings and I have different parents. I’m actually not even sure how many siblings I have. It is horrifying to me that my most personal information, for the most nefarious reasons, has been forced out into the open and that my private past and pain have been used as jokes and fodder to discredit me and the greater movement for justice in America. I resent that lies have been reported as truth and that the obviously racist intentions of these attacks have been consistently downplayed at my expense and that of my family…

Read the entire article here.

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Breaking the silence on Afro-Cuban history

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive on 2015-07-26 23:51Z by Steven

Breaking the silence on Afro-Cuban history

Daily Kos
2015-07-26

Denise Oliver Velez

The news of the re-opening of Cuba’s embassy in the U.S., and America’s embassy in Cuba, was covered worldwide this past week, garnering particular interest in the Caribbean and Latin America, and in Cuban-American communities in the U.S., in stories like this: Cuba opens Washington embassy, urges end to embargo:

The Cuban flag was raised over Havana’s embassy in Washington on Monday for the first time in 54 years as the United States and Cuba formally restored relations, opening a new chapter of engagement between the former Cold War foes.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez presided over the reinauguration of the embassy, a milestone in the diplomatic thaw that began with an announcement by U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro on Dec. 17.

Underscoring differences that remain between the United States and Communist-ruled Cuba, Rodriguez seized the opportunity to urge Obama to use executive powers to do more to dismantle the economic embargo, the main stumbling block to full normalization of ties. For its part, the Obama administration pressed Havana for improvement on human rights.

But even with continuing friction, the reopening of embassies in each others’ capitals provided the most concrete symbols yet of what has been achieved after more than two years of negotiations between governments that had long shunned each other.

Watching the symbolic event, which has been a long time coming, I couldn’t help but notice the three young men chosen to raise the Cuban flag, and I feel sure that their selection was purposeful, making a Cuban statement about who Cubans are racially.

Cubans are very aware of U.S. racial strife, historically and in the present day, and Fidel Castro has had a very particular relationship with the African-American community.

Follow me below for more…

Read the entire article here.

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Monday Murder Mystery: Everything I Never Told You

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States on 2014-11-26 17:52Z by Steven

Monday Murder Mystery: Everything I Never Told You

Daily Kos
2014-11-24

Susan Grisby

Everything I Never Told You: A Novel by Celeste Ng; Published by Penguin Press; June 26th 2014. 297 pages

Families are probably the most mysterious strangers we will ever know. Sure, we know their names and that one is a brother or a father or sister or mother, but our image of them is one that we form very young and rarely re-evalutate.

My older brother used to drive down from Northern California to spend the Thanksgiving weekend with us every year starting about fifteen years ago. For many years before that, we really did not like each other very much. Mostly because we were still clinging to the images that we had carried from childhood.

Strange how that works. Although I had allowed myself to change and grow, my family members always seemed static in my mind. I learned to break through those images to re-discover who these people are that I call my relatives as did my older brother. We became very close friends and I miss him every year around this time.

Having lived family drama, I wasn’t much interested in a mystery that focused on it, and so allowed this one to sit on my metaphorical nightstand for way too long before I finally picked it up and started reading.

Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet. 1977, May 3, six thirty in the morning, no one knows anything but this innocuous fact: Lydia is late for breakfast.

And so begins one of the most remarkable debut novels that I have ever read for this series. A 16 year-old girl disappeared one morning in 1977. Later, her body is found in a nearby lake in the small Ohio town where the family lives. Accident, murder, or suicide?

Celeste Ng smoothly alternates points of view and switches back and forth between the fifties, sixties and seventies to introduce us to the main characters of the Lee family.

James Lee is a first generation Chinese American who was a teaching assistant at Harvard when he met Marilyn Walker, a Virginia student, studying to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor. They fall in love, she gets pregnant, they marry and move to Ohio where James takes a teaching position at Middlewood College and Marilyn, having put aside her own career ambitions, raises their three children, Nathan, Lydia and Hannah…

Read the entire review here.

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