Dual Ethnicity and Depressive Symptoms: Implications of Being Black and Latino in the United States
This study investigated the expression of depressive symptoms in adolescents who are of Afro-Latino descent. Levels of expression of depressive symptoms were compared for four groups of adolescents in Grades 7 through 12 residing in the United States: European Americans, African Americans, Latinos, and Afro-Latinos. One hypothesis is that Afro-Latinos should exhibit higher levels of depressive symptoms than either African Americans or Latinos by virtue of being double minorities. An alternative hypothesis is that Afro-Latino youth will show lower levels of depressive symptomology because of their access to a broader repertoire of cultural resources when faced with stress and depression-inducing events. Results indicated that Afro-Latino females tended to exhibit higher levels of depressive symptoms than those of the other ethnic groups. Across all ethnic groups, adolescent females tended to show higher levels of depressive symptoms than adolescent males and older adolescents tended to show higher levels of depression than younger adolescents.
The social, political, and economic arrangements of a society can place some people in a privileged position relative to others, particularly with respect to important goods, like institutional representation, economic resources, and even less tangible goods like “respect” and “welfare”. Since societal arrangements are not always brought into reflective awareness, it is unsurprising when even well meaning and well-intentioned members of privileged groups are unaware of how they may benefit from social arrangements relative to members of other groups. Many times have we experienced “upper-caste” Tamils unable and unwilling to recognize the privilege they hold vis-à-vis “lower-caste” Tamils in Sri Lanka and beyond. Sometimes they may well be aware of some of the difficulties faced by oppressed caste members. Sometimes they may even work for the betterment of other communities in the island, but this hardly ever translates into wider acknowledgment of the privilege centred around their “upper-caste” Tamil identity.
The denial of these privileges is widespread. Often we find “upper-caste” people relativising the inequalities felt by deprived caste Tamils, deflecting the undercurrent of casteism that produces systemic and sociocultural inequalities which continue to haunt the island its diasporas.
This list attempts to highlight some of the privileges provided to “upper-caste” Tamils in Sri Lanka and beyond just because they are, yes, Tamils of “upper-caste” origin. Noting these privileges are not meant to antagonize or alienate people of privileged caste origin but rather raise awareness and self-consciousness about how caste identities indeed do play a role in the way they perceive, interact, and ultimately, politicize minorities on the island as well as its diasporas. It is also meant to show the extensive ways that caste identities can track inequalities in opportunity and welfare within a society and displacement. With this compilation we hope to ignite meaningful conversations and introspections into what it means to be a Tamil of “upper-caste” origin and ultimately what it means to not be of “upper-caste” origin in Sri Lanka and beyond.
1) You don’t have to ever acknowledge your caste identity and its attendant privileges.
2) You can think that the invisibility of your caste identity speaks to the erasure of caste as a relevant social system of organisation and segregation.
3) You can think that not being aware of your caste stems from progressive education.
4) You think that not speaking about caste is an act against the caste system, and you do so without having to consider that silencing caste makes it more difficult to challenge the caste system and easier to recode, invisibilise and mainstream it.
5) You can talk about anti-casteism without ever having to name the social group that holds power and sway over every other caste group in the diasporas and homeland (here: Vellalar caste group).
6) You can think that to say that you are against caste already translates into social change.
7) You can claim that the caste system has become obliterate with time while simultaneously continuing to enjoy the fruits of century-old socially constructed inequalities and exclusion.
8) You are able to increasingly replace caste with class in your socio-economic analysis without acknowledging that the historic caste/class overlap, particularly in the homeland, continues through long-term structural effects to affect questions of access and opportunity even years, decades, and centuries later.
9) You can emphasise class over caste as a means to deflect from the importance of caste as a contemporary social marker.
10) You can deny the historic, contemporary, physical and social violence of casteism amongst island Tamils by pointing to the severity of the caste system in neighbouring India.
11) You can oversimplify by saying that “untouchability”, as understood in the Indian context, never existed in Sri Lanka, therefore caste injustices “can’t have been as bad as in India”(although “untouchability” still existed on the island).
12) You can reduce oppression, inequalities and injustices felt by the Tamil people to those committed by the Sri Lankan state.
13) You can be progressive enough to talk about intersectionality with regards to race, ethnicity, gender, class and sexuality while erasing the question of caste from your analysis.
14) You can become an authority on caste without ever having to acknowledge your own privileged caste background and its resulting limits and subjectivities.
15) You can question the “objectivity” of oppressed caste members’ activism, research and work on caste issues based on their own membership in stigmatized caste groups.
Education and Employment
16) You can think of your parent’s aspiration for your (future) job to be completely isolated from the century old caste traditions and aspirations they grew up with.
17) You often have better support mechanisms to access and complete higher education based on the historic proximity of privileged caste members to educational institutions.
18) You can face little or less pressure to perform well or outperform others in education and employement based on your caste identity and history.
19) You can deny that caste discrimination in the employment sector continues to exist amongst Tamils, particularly amongst diasporic communities.
20) You can normalize the casteist organisation of society according to occupational practices.
Migration & Diaspora
20) You can denounce the importance of anti-caste activism in diaspora because apparently “caste doesn’t exist anymore”
21) You can overlook that migration meant for many (upper) caste-Tamils the loss of secular status by losing their inherital socioeconomic privileges on arrival in diaspora and ritual purity by having crossed the Indian Ocean.
22) You can overlook that migration meant for many deprived caste Tamils the relative liberation from caste stratified societies and socioeconomic as well as sociocultural diktats.
23) You can claim that patterns of migration from Sri Lanka had no caste linkage.
24) You can claim that the remittance economy that links diasporas and the homeland today does not reflect caste patterns and allegiances.
25) You can deny that the remittance economy further amplifies social divisions and inequalities between different caste groups in the homeland.
25) You can claim that all refugees experienced flight and integration the same without acknowledging how questions of caste and class altered or limited some people’s choices, opportunities, and adaptabilities.
26) You can deny that caste assumptions and prejudices are recreated and projected in the Tamil vernacular onto new diasporic geographies.
27) You can think of the question of “what’s your ‘ur’(home)?” as an uncritical and sentimental reflection of curiosity/nostalgia without having to consider the socioeconomically profiling/castefying as well as social violence that is hidden behind questions of geographic belonging in Sri Lanka.
Individual Histories & Memories
28) You don’t have to hide your personal biographies or rewrite your own personal history in order to circumvent the possibility of experiencing discrimination.
29) You don’t have to constantly fear for your web of lies and social buffers to be discovered and revealed.
30) You can challenge the reinvention and rewriting of identities and social histories of deprived caste members in diaspora as you consider your history as socially incontestable and free of social stigma.
31) You can proudly attest to your history without having to care about the social consequences.
32) You can publically remember and mourn your social position back home without ever having to acknowledge how your privileged caste background entitled and made you inherit your place in society.
33) You can remember your socioeconomic background without having to acknowledge how you benefited from caste inequalities, and how you were inherently embedded and complicit in the exploition of “lower caste groups”.
Society & Culture
34) You don’t have to fear discrimination amongst larger groups of Tamils based on your caste background.
35) You don’t have to acknowledge that caste is as deeply embedded in Tamil language as it is embodied within and by Tamil culture as a whole.
36) You can deny that negative caste assumptions and associations are made in regards to skin complexion.
37) You can deny that aesthetics, particularly regarding women, in the Tamil community are based on a history of casteification of body and mind.
38) You can disregard the ways caste shapes aesthetic ideals by pointing to European colonialism.
39) You have normalized the social violence that lies underneath everyday relations between different caste groups, including in the diasporas.
40) You can hide casteist mentalities by coding caste-based languages to hide caste attributions and judgements made in regards to social behaviourism.
40) You are quick to challenge any caste group that assumes to hold equal power to your own caste group (here: Vellalar caste group).
41) You can deny that your social surrounding is, with most likelihood, already caste gentrified.
42) Your religious identity isn’t challenged by Hinduism’s socially discriminatory practices.
43) You don’t have to question the extent of Brahmanism within Tamil Hindu culture and beliefs.
44) You can deflect from personal responsabilities in regards to caste-based inequalities by pointing to Brahmins as the gatekeeper of caste structures and hierarchies.
45) You can be quick to point to the lower secular status of Brahmins in regards to socioeconomic parameters in Sri Lanka (unlike India), without having to acknowledge that your secular superiority equals to greater responsibilities in regards to caste inequalities and violence.
46) You’re able to be religious without feeling the need to interrogate or critique Hinduism’s role in creating caste as a way organizing societies.
47) You can assume that anyone who converted to Christianity or another religion must be of deprived caste status.
48) You can say that discrimination in religious institutions have ceased to exist with the 1968 Temple Entry Movement.
49) You can locate discriminations in religious institution to Sri Lanka while being ignorant about the existence and importance of casteism in temples abroad.
50) You can say that caste doesn’t matter in diaspora while the majority of intra-communal marriages continue to be along caste-based lines.
51) You can say you don’t believe or care for caste but have no remorse over your family arranging marriage proposals according to caste-based lines.
52) You can claim that matrimonial sites and outlets’ insistence on caste doesn’t reflect the reality of marriages to be engineered according to caste ideology.
53) You can think the absence of the usage of the word “jaati/saathi” indicates to the erosion of the importance of caste as an ideology.
54) You can arbitrarily judge or force someone from an inter-caste marriage to decide between caste identities
55) You can assume someone’s caste identity based on prejudicial viewpoints
56) You don’t have to deal with the consequences of being unaccepted amongst both privileged and oppressed castes.
57) You can challenge someone from an inter-caste marriage on their “authenticity” if they choose to identify with one identity over the other.
58) You can live a life without negotiating identities and histories based on caste fault lines.
Writing of History
59) You don’t have to question the writing of history of the people because your presence won’t be unsettled or threatened by the current and dominant upper-caste narrative.
60) You are more comfortable in remembering anti-Tamil violence that affected the centres of upper-caste, (upper) middle class, urban life than those of deprived caste, low class and rural background.
61) You can be sure to encounter narratives and other forms of expression that reflect a similar experience as your’s/your family’s than one of caste-difference.
62) You can think the mainstream postcolonial history of Tamils in Sri Lanka vis-à-vis the Sinhalese’s national building project is reflective of the experience of all subgroups within the heterogenous Tamil community.
63) You can be certain that identity politics and politics of representation only matter in inter-ethnic relations, but not in intra-ethnic relations.
64) You can claim that we all suffered the same without acknowledging that deprived caste groups were disproportionally affected by war, violence, displacement and destitution.
65) You are quick to incorporate the injustices committed against Hill Tamils by the Sri Lankan state (i.e. 1949 Citizenship Act, Repatriation Act) into your narrative on oppression and genocide of Tamils of the island as a whole (yes, we concur IT IS a genocide), but fail to acknowledge the “upper-caste” “Ceylon Tamil’s” complicity in these legislations as well as forms of social ostracization and exclusion of Hill Tamils based on the social parameter of caste.
66) Some of you may acknowledge the preferential role and benefits enjoyed by the Tamil “upper-caste” society during British colonialism, but fail to acknowledge that not all Tamils were equally positioned during colonialism (and thereafter).
67) You can say that Tamil nationalism has successfully eradicated caste without ever attempting to enquire into the lived reality of deprived caste members today.
68) You can claim that the LTTE’s anti-caste politics were built upon a general social consensus instead of a socio-political and socio-economic diktat imposed upon society.
69) You can externalize the Hill Tamils on the national question (on the basis of caste) while failing to acknowledge their contribution to anti-Sri Lankan state resistance.
70) You can conveniently divorce the history of Tamil resistance from its origin in anti-caste resistance.
71) You can deny that caste politics continue to be part and parcel of electoral politics in the homeland.
72) You can blame deprived caste members for, at times, deviating from the popular Tamil vote without acknowledging the common disregard most Tamil political parties have for deprived castes and their concerns.
73) You can call the TNA the representatives of the Tamil people without ever having to acknowledge that the TNA represents the old boys club of highly educated “upper-caste”, (urban) men who have more often than not inherited their positions of power from an ancestry of privilege.
74) You can be suspicious of the formation of caste allegiances and parties based on caste identity as it challenges the status quo of power relations.
75) You can be sure to find representation of your caste group in almost every meaningful and powerful avenue within the community.
76) You can easily deny that diasporic Tamil political organisations are reflective of an “upper-caste” demographic majority in diaspora.
77) You can deny that the caste background of representatives’of Tamil political organisations has an impact on the political and social position these political institutions take.
78) You think school alumni groups and village groups in diaspora aren’t drawing back on caste identities.
79) You can conveniently deprioritise caste as a social issue that needs less attention than does the national question.
80) You can accuse anyone who raises the question of caste as being a Sri Lankan state or Indian state stooge, thereby making them social and political outcasts.
Latino leaders must begin leveraging their power to speak out against widespread imprisonment
It is 2013, over 40 years after President Nixon launched the War on Drugs in response to conservative demands for “law and order” in the post-Civil Rights era. Every president since has intensified the government’s war efforts, enlisting Congress, the judiciary, and local law enforcement as loyal foot soldiers in ostensibly ridding America’s streets of the drug problem. The result has been a consortium of laws to grease the wheels of a giant, militarized police apparatus that has swelled the prison population from 300,000 in the early 1980’s to nearly two and a half million now—a phenomena that can be explained almost entirely by decades of escalated policing, rather than an actual increase in crime (it actually decreased).
The most disturbing feature of this trend, activists have long said, is that those most targeted for arrest and harsh sentencing are African-Americans and Latinos. Law professor and civil rights activist Michelle Alexander has gone as far alleging that the mass incarceration of black Americans is tantamount to a contemporary manifestation of Jim Crow—a method of racial control far more subtle than its predecessor. She isn’t the only black leader to condemn pervasive imprisonment resulting from draconian drug laws—voices as mainstream as Oprah and Will.I.Am have also taken to public channels to protest the merciless aggression with which the criminal justice system has decimated families and communities.
CREDIT: Bob Jagendorf/Flickr
Yet while a number of influential African-Americans have spoken out vehemently against mass incarceration, Latino leaders have proven inept at mirroring this outrage. Overall, our leaders have failed to take a bold stance on policies that have wrought unspeakable damage upon our people, and this failure may be indicative of a deep crisis of identity within our community.
It is not as if we lack adequate information. Although the terrain of data on imprisoned Latinos is harder to traverse than other groups because of its often incomplete, ambiguous nature (owing the confused designation of “Hispanic” as an ethnicity rather than a race), the numbers that we do have are revealing in their own right: as of 2012, Latino men were incarcerated at a rate nearly 40% higher than whites (1,822 per 100,000 compared to 708 per 100,000). In all, one in three persons held in federal prisons is Latino, and Latinos are four times as likely as whites to end up in prison.
To truly observe the racially biased nature of unequal incarceration, however, one must examine drug-specific arrests. Owing to the incomplete nature of such statistics at a national level, we can use select metropolitan data as proxies for understanding broader phenomena.
In New York City, Latinos are arrested nearly four times as often as whites for drug possession, even though government records consistently indicate that whites are more likely than any other racial or ethnic group to use and sell drugs. In California, Latinos were disproportionately represented in drug arrests in all cities within Los Angeles and Orange County, along with fifteen other major cities. In Alhambra, a city with a population of 85,949, Latinos made up only 35.5% of the population but 74.6% of marijuana arrests. Given the macro forces that undergird these figures, one can intuit that these arrests are happening by extension on a national scale.
For a person with a felony conviction, the consequences of incarceration extend far beyond time spent in prison. Reduced to second class citizenship because of the black mark on their record, a former prisoner is left alone to navigate a world in which gaining employment, housing, financial aid for higher education, and other benefits is significantly more difficult if not impossible. These effects ripple out to soil the person’s family’s lives as well, and, if he or she has children, potentially enforcing the cycle of imprisonment and disenfranchisement for a new generation.
Despite all the suffering wrought by the War on Drugs on Latino communities, Latino leaders seem as if they’d rather sweep the issue—and those most affected by it—under the rug, out of sight and the way of their efforts to acclimate into elite American society.
A review of Latino Leader Magazine’s 101 most influential Latinos of 2013 features mostly pale visages posing in front of American flags or underneath the flattering glow of studio lighting.
One would imagine that these leaders, most with palpable European heritage, likely look much different from the average Latino inmate, who we know anecdotally tend to possess more indigenous features. Perhaps this ethnic variation, and the historically rooted idea of superiority that accompanies it, partially explains the disconnect between the Latino elite and the imprisonment issue within our community. This may also account for why contemporary Latinos in positions of power are notoriously more conservative on social and economic issues than African-American leaders. An uncertain sense of identity may be advantageous for someone hoping to chameleon his or her way up the social hierarchy, but it is supremely detrimental for shoring up a sense solidarity with our most vulnerable brethren.
The old adage of a chain only being as strong as its weakest link should resonate loudly with Latino leaders. Mass incarceration hinders the potential of millions and destroys the precious familial bonds on which we have traditionally prided ourselves. If our community’s leaders are going to shirk their responsibilities in advocating for the most aggrieved among us, then perhaps our communal ties are more precarious than we would like to admit.
“In the iconic automobile industry, which had become the new growth hormone for the whole economy, US plants were producing over 80 percent of all the cars made in the world by the end of the 1920s (not even counting the cars made by American multinational auto manufacturers in Canada and Europe)… The price of a car had fallen by over three-quarters in the two decades after 1909, and this opened the way to mass consumption of a kind not yet seen anywhere else in the world. At the end of the 1920s there were close to 30 million cars in the US, and the number of drive-in gas stations had increased from 12,000 in 1921 to 143,000 by 1929. By this point, one in five Americans owned a car, and 60 percent of these cars were bought on credit. In 1927, Edwin Seligman’s The Economics of Installment Selling captured the ethos of Fordism in the new mass consumer age. He extolled credit-based marketing for not only increasing spending but ensuring that a “family with car payments to make would be forced to work hard to make the payments.” The overall explosion in demand for consumer durables also transformed the retail sector with the aid of a massive advertising industry, whose expenditures at the end of the 1920s were five times what they had been before World War I.”—
Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch, The Making of Global Capitalism
This is why a car is necessary for most Americans to do any sort of basic living (shopping, getting to work, leisure, etc). Not only are they heavily profitable for numerous industries, they also make most Americans indebted to a bank in some way, ensuring they’re less likely to go on strike and disrupt labour relations. Today, this technique has evolved into the mass student and mortgage debt we have.
This is my 72nd Read This Week feature! If you’re new to Gradient Lair, (just about) each week I post essays, articles and/or journal articles and papers of interest to me that I think will be of interest to you, based on your interest in my blog.
Check these out:
The Politics of Black Superwomanly Otherness by @Pundit_AcadEMIC is good. She writes: “Black superwomanly otherness is a performance of strength, and a costly one for that matter. We bottle everything up as we struggle silently like we are told and eventually the pain, hurt, frustration, and anger that is bottled up is consumed by us and leading to more pain.”
A great piece by @redlightvoices summarizes how some White feminists are trying to destroy the word intersectionality because they refuse to learn the concept and want to devalue Black epistemology, as it does not center Whiteness. Through this devaluation, they harm Black women/women of colour and proliferate White supremacy. And she has the receipts in this post! Their tweets, quotes and all.
Eve Didn’t Exist. Can We Move On? by @FeministaJones is an older essay from 2012 and an incredible read. I’m not a Christian or even a theist but I didn’t read this as a bible bashing piece. It’s not. It’s simply brilliant, highly critical literary analysis of many of the metaphors in “the garden of eden” story that are taken for granted and on a superficial level and used to proliferate misogyny today. It’s impeccably written.
Recent Plantation History and the Modern Plantation Economy by @PhuzzieSlippers of Still Furious and Still Brave is really good. He wrote about his own family history of sharecropping and how its connection to enslavement is not some ancient thing. In fact, he’s of the first generation of his family not to sharecrop in Mississippi and he’s only in his 20s. This analysis matters greatly in light of Ani DiFranco’s plantation stunt. He also wrote about how profit is still made off of the remnants of slavery.
Hey there. Sorry to interrupt whatever you were doing. But could you maybe post or recommend some areas one could look up the African (Black African) influence in Puerto Rico. When dealing with Caribbean Blackness we tend to get left out, and while its probably the least influential in my families ancestries I still find it an important aspect of what it means to be Puerto Rican. Id like to read up and uncover some more info about it. Thanks !
Note: For future asks like these check the “recommended readings” page first and the tags, I have posted about the African influence in about every Hispanophone country at this juncture.
Also search the tags for this blog: boricua, puerto rico, afroboricua, boriken, afropuerto rican, puerto rican etc.
Here’s a recent post: http://diasporadash.tumblr.com/post/71115123758/puerto-rico-sees-increase-in-blacks-american-indians
And WOOOF you want AfroPuerto RIcan sources, there are TONS but here are must-read ones to start:
-“Tuntun de Pasa y Griferia” by Luis Pales Matos one of the earliest writings on the African presence in the Caribbean (I scored this book for a couple bucks in San Juan, a priceless prize)
-“Down These Mean Streets” by Piri Thomas
-“The AfroLatino Reader” has a lot on AfroPuerto Ricans, the editors, Miriam and Juan (I love them), of the book are Afrodescendant and are executive directors of the AfroLatino Forum, also a great org/website to check out, I am part of the organization and if you are in NYC, we put on programming that speaks to the AfroLatino/AfroDiasporic experiences. Our 2nd conference will be October 2014. Subscribe for updates
-Women Warriors of the AfroLatina Diaspora
Africa and Afrodescendant spirituality is big in Puerto Rican music:
Ismael Rivera - Las Caras Lindas de mi gente Negra
The following is a collection of articles, essays, and books on Palestine. These are not introduction texts to the question of Palestine or the Palestinain-Israeli “conflict”. If you need one read The Palestine-Israel Conflict by Gregory Harms and Todd Fery. Further, this is…
Gentrification in Harlem was in its incipient stages during the early 1980s. Revitalization’s potential causatum, whether positive or negative, was not totally clear at that point. While it began with residential restructuring, gentrification eventually came to include commercial redevelopment, ranging from retail services to entertainment options. While gentrification can be seen to bring about a full-scale revitalization of the economy, for many of the most disadvantaged, displacement and limited access to the new resources brought into the community is the only reality. Gentrification’s benefits are not spread equally throughout the affected area. Harlem exists simultaneously as both the cultural epicenter of Black America, via the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Power Movement, and the quintessential Black ghetto fraught with crime and drug trafficking. From 1960s, Harlem was already suffering from wide-scale disinvestment. Nevertheless, Harlem’s convenient location has made it a prime target for gentrification. Changes in the per capita income, the median household income, racial demographics, and median contract rent offered the first indication that gentrification was both possible and likely. Larger corporations, such as Disney and Starbucks, with access to large pools of resources have forced many smaller businesses to close. The financial incentives offered by the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone to businesses have accorded larger corporations opportunities to flourish in a way that smaller businesses cannot. Because of rising real estate costs, middle and upper-middle class White participation is necessary for gentrification to flourish as the number of African-Americans who can afford to move into a highly gentrified Harlem was so limited. And provided that opposition to redevelopment stays politically weak and New York’s housing market remains financially secure, widespread gentrification is somewhat inevitable in Harlem. Unfortunately, displacement and unequal access to the benefits of gentrification are equally likely for longtime Harlem residents.
As the wave of gentrification continues to impact inner city communities across the country, it becomes increasingly important to understand how various social, economic, and political factors interplay and change the neighborhood as a result. The influx of middle and upper-middle class Black residents who reenter these communities has every bit the impact as the inflow of Whites. In many cases, they come to these neighborhoods that previous generations fled with the hope of returning the community to a prosperous and safe status; some of these well-off African-Americans view this as a racial uplift of sorts, as well as a reconnecting with their ethnic identities. With the arrival of affluent Blacks, longtime residents of Harlem are faced with the probability of displacement, changes in the community that do not take their needs into account, and unequal access to the benefits of gentrification. Oftentimes, this leads to intraracial strife.When the African-American gentry returns to these communities, the political actions and community improvements for which they advocate are primarily reflective of their own interests; they can even have a detrimental impact on the working classes. Unlike in disadvantaged communities where collective actions are the primary mechanisms for accomplishing political change, coalition-building is much more of a challenge in mixed income communities due to differences in shared resources, needs, and goals.The Black middle class has tripled since the 1960s; this increase has affected sociopolitical unity in Black America. Though there is a school of thought that contends that racism binds all Black Americans, irrespective of their socioeconomic and educational background, others argue that as the Black middle class grows, they become more detached from working class Blacks.During the 1990s, the number of middle and upper-middle class households in Harlem increased by thirty-five percent. The numbers of professionals, individuals with higher education, and homeowners all increased in those communities. Community boards in Harlem advocated developments out of the price range of longtime Harlemites, indicating that they supported driving up Harlem’s housing market, thereby displacing them. The concerns of the African-American middle class in both neighborhoods typically have not included maintaining a comfortable way of life for the poorest members of the community. As a result, intraracial animus can be observed emanating from both sides.
Some longtime residents see the middle class Blacks who promote development as bringing positive new opportunities to the community. Others label them as sell-outs. Because the African-American middle class is less secure than their White counterparts, they have to work much harder and act more stringently to protect their investment and social status. Class differences keep political unity fractured. As real estate rates continue to rise, the number of individuals who can afford to buy into the neighborhood has steadily decreased; even those recent transplants from as few as ten years ago might not be able to afford to move into Harlem now. A valid concern is that the direction of growth will make Harlem a place where only the upper-middle and upper classes will be able to survive. Many stalwarts of the community who have been responsible for laying the foundation for gentrification (i.e. people who formed block associations to keep their community safe during the drug trade) are now being pushed out of their own neighborhoods –neighborhoods they worked so hard to save – due to rising prices. Considering Harlem’s future, a few broad, but relevant questions remain:What does gentrification look like? To whom does Harlem belong? Even if Harlem remains Black, will it remain Harlem? If some degree of gentrification is inevitable, what form should it take?
Wow, you've shown me so many examples of people of color in medieval art, that i'm suprised that even professers of history seem to deny the there were POC in medieval europe! My question though, is this: has there been any research done as to when this white-washing of medieval europe began?
Actually, my next queued post addresses that in detail, particularly in regards to Art Education.
Quick-n-Dirty Version: it began during “The Enlightenment”, during colonization and the beginnings of chattel slavery. The idea of “White People” had just been invented, along with the idea of White supremacy. Basically, all the leading “scientific minds” directly benefited from genocide, kidnapping people an enslaving them, and stealing their land, resources, and skills.
And in order to justify this, it was very important to create this idea not just that “these people are in a subordinate position now”, it had to be retroactive. As in, “these people have never had any accomplishments, their culture is primitive, worthless, ugly, uninteresting, therefore whatever we do to them is okay/for their own good/helping them/better than leaving them to their own depravity” et cetera.
The amount of “science” devoted to proving that people of color were inherently inferior to white people was like…pretty much the ENTIRETY of “science” from the late 1700s to….well.
Shingles concludes it is an American problem brought on by the history of the nation’s oldest and largest Mexican American communities, a history that started with conquest and has excluded generations from the benefits of development. “Our past cannot be separated from our future.”
See how that works?
No past, no history, no context, just a huge group of people that are somehow “inherently inferior”, and coincidentally not historically f*cked over for hundreds of years. It’s about blaming the victims of racism for suffering from the results of racism.
Suppose an evil king decides to do a twisted moral experiment on you. He tells you to kick a small child really hard, right in the face. If you do, he will end the experiment with no further damage. If you refuse, he will kick the child himself, and then execute that child plus a hundred innocent people.
The best solution is to somehow overthrow the king or escape the experiment. Assuming you can’t, what do you do?
There are certain moral philosophers who would tell you to refuse. Sure, the child would get hurt and lots of innocent people would die, but it wouldn’t, technically, be your fault. But if you kicked the child, well, that would be your fault, and then you’d have to feel bad about it.
But this excessive concern about whether something is your fault or not is a form of selfishness. If you sided with those philosophers, it wouldn’t be out of a concern for the child’s welfare - the child’s getting kicked anyway, not to mention executed - it would be out of concern with whether you might feel bad about it later. The desire involved is the desire to avoid guilt, not the desire to help others.
We tend to identify guilt as a sign that we’ve done something morally wrong, and often it is. But guilt is a faulty signal; the course of action which minimizes our guilt is not always the course of action that is morally right. A desire to minimize guilt is no more noble than any other desire to make one’s self feel good at the expense of others, and so a morality that follows the principle of according value to other people must worry about more than just feeling guilty.
“Diasporic intimacy does not promise a comforting recovery of identity through shared nostalgia for the lost home and homeland. It might be seen as the mutual enchantment of two immigrants from different parts of the world or as the sense of the fragile coziness of a foreign home. just as one learns to live with alienation and reconciles oneself to the uncanniness of the world around and to the strangeness of the human touch, there comes a surprise, a pang of intimate recognition, a hope that sneaks in through the back door, punctuating the habitual estrangement of everyday life.”—Svetlana Boym, “On Diasporic Intimacy” (via ojo-de-venado)
“In a class I taught, we discussed the issue of spiritual appropriation. The white students told me how beneficial Native spirituality was to them and that they had to take part in these New Age movements because they find no other substitute. So I asked, even if the New Age movement is as beneficial to you as you say, do you have any responsibility to Native communities when you take part in these practices? What struck me was that no one had even considered this question before. This practice of taking without asking, the assumption that the needs of the taker are paramount whereas the needs of the one being taken from are irrelevant, mirrors the rape culture of the dominant society.
Thus, it is particularly ironic that this colonial practice, structured by sexual violence, is often perpetuated by white feminists in their efforts to heal from the wounds of patriarchal violence. Sadly, they do not consider how such practices may hinder Native women from healing as well. Native counselors generally agree that a strong cultural identity is essential if Native people are to heal from abuse because a Native woman’s healing entails not only healing from any personal abuse she has suffered but also from the patterned history of abuse against her family, her nation, and her environment. When white women appropriate Indian spirituality for their own benefit, for whatever reason, they continue this pattern of abuse against Indian peoples’ cultures. This exploitation has a specific negative impact on Native peoples’ ability to heal from abuse. Shelley McIntyre, formerly of the Minneapolis Indian Women’s Resource Center, complains that Native women who are trying to heal from abuse have difficulty finding their rootedness in Native culture because all they can find is Lynn Andrews or other ‘plastic medicine wo/men’ who masquerade as Indians for profit. It is unfortunate that, as many white women attempt to heal themselves from the damage brought on by Christian patriarchy, they are unable to do so in a way that is not parasitic on Native women. They continue the practice of their colonial fathers who sought paradise in Native lands without regard for the peoples of these lands.”—
These are stories about injustice, about broken promises, about frustration and desperation and of course, debt. This is a list for anyone caught in a gross transition period, in a dead-end job, who is trying to make something, anything work out long-term. This is a list for anyone who has been told to “just find a job” or “you can do anything you set your mind to” or “your generation is so lazy/narcissistic/vapid.” This is a list for anyone who has been late on their rent, or hassled by credit card companies, or received overdue loan warnings. You’re not alone.
The Billfold is my go-to site for voyeurism, empathy, financial advice, and great storytelling. Schiller and her friends attempt to “ford the murky river of the hiring process” of self-employment, multiple part-time jobs and internships—anything but traditional full-time work.
The recently founded Association of Transgender Professionals (ATP) works to further transgender equality in the workplace in the U.S. and abroad. ATP helps trans* individuals prepare for interviews, apply for jobs, and find employment; it also assists companies in recruiting LGBTQ folks.
Silva spoke to over a hundred working-class citizens in Lowell, Mass. and Richmond, Va. She found that education for working-class teens is no path to success; rather, these students have no one to advocate for them or explain the labyrinthine bureaucracy of higher education and financial planning, which ends in a dead-end of debt and frustration.
Slavery transformed America into an economic power. The exploitation of black people for free labor made the South the richest and most politically powerful region in the country. British demand for American cotton made the southern stretch of the Mississippi River the Silicon Valley of its era, boasting the single largest concentration of the nation’s millionaires.
But slavery was a national enterprise. Many firms on Wall Street such as JPMorgan Chase, New York Life and now-defunct Lehman Brothers made fortunes from investing in the slave trade the most profitable economic activity in New York’s 350 year history. Slavery was so important to the city that New York was one of the most pro-slavery urban municipalities in the North.
According to Harper’s magazine (November 2000), the United States stole an estimated $100 trillion for 222,505,049 hours of forced labor between 1619 and 1865, with a compounded interest of 6 percent.
Between 1761 and 1808, British traders hauled 1,428,000 African captives across the Atlantic and pocketed $96.5 million – about $13 billion in value today – from selling them as slaves.
From 1500 to 1860, by very modest estimations, around 12 million Africans were traded into slavery in the Americas. In British vessels alone, 3.25 million Africans were shipped. These voyages were often very profitable. For instance, in the 17th century, the Royal Africa Company could buy an enslaved African with trade goods worth $5 and sell that person in the Americas for $32, making an average net profit of 38 percent per voyage.
Slave-owning planters and merchants who dealt in slaves and slave produce were among the richest people in 18th-century Britain, but many other British citizens benefited from the human trafficking industry.
Profits from slavery were used to endow All Souls College, Oxford, with a splendid library; to build a score of banks, including the Bank of London and Barclays; and to finance the experiments of James Watt, inventor of the first efficient steam engine.
As the primary catalyst for the Industrial Revolution, the transatlantic slave trade provided factory owners who dealt in textiles, iron, glass and gun-making a mega-market in West Africa, where their goods were traded for slaves. Birmingham had over 4,000 gun-makers, with 100,000 guns a year going to slave-traders. The boom in manufacturing provided many jobs for ordinary people in Britain who, in addition to working in factories, could be employed to build roads and bridges, and in whaling, mining, etc.
With over 1,600,000 enslaved Africans transported to the West Indies, France was clearly a major player in the trade. Its slave ports were a major contributor to the country’s economic advancements in the 18th century. Many of its cities on the west coast, such as Nantes, Lorient, La Rochelle, and Bordeaux, built their wealth through the major profits of triangular slave trade.
Between 1738 and 1745, from Nantes, France’s leading slave port, 55,000 slaves were taken to the New World in 180 ships. From 1713 to 1775, nearly 800 vessels in the slave trade sailed from Nantes.
By the late 1780s, French Saint Domingue, which is modern-day Haiti, became the richest and most prosperous colony in the West Indies, cementing its status as a vital port in the Americas for goods and products flowing to and from France and Europe.
The income and taxes from slave-based sugar production became a major source of the French national budget. Each year over 600 vessels visited the ports of Haiti to carry its sugar, coffee, cotton, indigo, and cacao to European consumers.
The Dutch West India Company, a chartered company of Dutch merchants, was established in 1621 as a monopoly over the African slave trade to Brazil, the Caribbean and North America.
WIC had offices in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Hoorn, Middelburg and Groningen, but one-fourth of Africans transported across the Atlantic by the company were moved in slave ships from Amsterdam. Almost all of the money that financed slave plantations in Suriname and the Antilles came from bankers in Amsterdam, just as many of the ships used to transport slaves were built there.
Many of the raw materials that were turned into finished goods in Amsterdam, such as sugar and coffee, were grown in the colonies using slave labor and then refined in factories in the Jordaan neighborhood.
Revenue from the goods produced with slave labor funded much of The Netherlands’ golden age in the 17th century, a period renowned for its artistic, literary, scientific, and philosophical achievements.
Slave labor created vast sources of wealth for the Dutch in the form of precious metals, sugar, tobacco, cocoa, coffee and cotton and other goods, and helped to fund the creation of Amsterdam’s beautiful and famous canals and city center.
Portugal was the first of all European countries to become involved in the Atlantic slave trade. From the 15th to 19th century, the Portuguese exported 4.5 million Africans as slaves to the Americas, making it Europe’s largest trafficker of human beings.
Slave labor was the driving force behind the growth of the sugar economy in Portugal’s colony of Brazil, and sugar was the primary export from 1600 to 1650. Gold and diamond deposits were discovered in Brazil in 1690, which sparked an increase in the importation of African slaves to power this newly profitable market.
The large portion of the Brazilian inland where gold was extracted was known as the Minas Gerais (General Mines). Gold mining in this area became the main economic activity of colonial Brazil during the 18th century. In Portugal, the gold was mainly used to pay for industrialized goods such as textiles and weapons, and to build magnificent baroque monuments like the Convent of Mafra.
Starting in 1492, Spain was the first European country to colonize the New World, where they established an economic monopoly in the territories of Florida and other parts of North America, Mexico, Trinidad, Cuba and other Caribbean islands. The native populations of these colonies were mostly dying from disease or enslavement, so the Spanish were forced to increasingly rely on African slave labor to run their colonies.
The money generated from these settlements created great wealth for the Hapsburg and Bourbon dynasties throughout Spain’s hold on the area. But it also attracted Spain’s European rivals, prompting Spanish rulers to spend the riches from the Americas to fuel successive European wars.
Spanish treasure fleets were used to protect the cargo transported across the Atlantic Ocean. The ships’ cargo included lumber, manufactured goods, various metal resources and expensive luxury goods including silver, gold, gems, pearls, spices, sugar, tobacco leaf and silk.
Port cities in Spain flourished. Seville, which had a royal monopoly on New World trade, was transformed from a provincial port into a major city and political center. Since the Spanish colonists were not yet producing their own staples such as wine, oil, flour, arms and leather, and had large financial reserves to pay for them, prices in Castile and Andalusia rose sharply as traders bought up goods to ship out.
Prices of oil, wine and wheat tripled between 1511 and 1539. The great vineyards of Jerez, the olive groves of Jaén, and the arms and leather industry of Toledo were established on their present scale during these years.”
Stop thinking in terms of countries, and realize that all of these were in fact royal families. In particular the Habsburgs, who are one of the greatest oppressors of all time, who are merely descendants of previous royal families.
If people could just stop worshiping these motherfuckers and smash the state they have built.
Please let me know if any of the links go down. I have most if not all of them saved. Also if you have any articles, books, or fact sheets you recommend, add them or message me. Also message me if there is something specific or a specific group you’d like information about. I have a large list (and I have no problem searching a little if it’s something I don’t have).
Also let me know if I should divide them into sections by ethnic background.
I got a message from the anon from an ask on ladyatheist’s tumblr about mental ilness and PoC, and I got an anon asking for this information and I feel it is a good reference/starting point so I am making it into a post.
A lot of literature regarding people of color and mental illness is about the stigma within the Black community or Latin@ community, rather than the struggles faced from within mental health institutions, so I am mostly posting other kinds of links.
History of black people and mental institutions (link)
In Our Own Voice: African-American Stories of Oppression, Survival, and Recovery in Mental Health Systems (link) (pdf)
some papers and books I uploaded on the Ottoman occupation and post-Ottoman period of European occupation and colonialism, cultural appropriation, the resistance to British occupation, the civil war, women and feminism, Marxism and communism, the relationship between Orientalism and Philhellenism, Balkan issues, the recent IMF take-over, indigenous persecution, critical ethnography, etc.Anthropology through the Looking-Glass: Critical Ethnography in the Margins of Europe Michael Herzfeld
The Ionian Islands under British Protectorate by David Hannell (this one is full of colonial apologetics but nonetheless offers keen insights into the economic construction of tourism as a force of domination in crypto-colonized Greece)
Calls for General strike and protests on July 15 , 2013 to say no to this by Palestinians who live in the lands that were occupied in 1948 , other calls to protest in west bank and Gaza until this plan is cancelled , as activists described ” another Nakba” .
The Bill on the Arrangement of Bedouin Settlement in the Negev . The bill is based on the Begin Plan, approved by the government on January 27, 2013, which effectively constitutes a modified version of the Prawer Plan for Bedouin settlement in the Negev, approved by the government on September 11, 2011.
The bill outlines a framework for the implementation of government policies toward the Bedouin population on two separate issues: (1) the evacuation of unrecognized villagesin the Negev, and (2) the settlement of ownership of lands in the Negev. The bill is based on the absolute negation of the Bedouin population’s rights to property and historical ties to the land, in violation of the residents of the unrecognized villages’ basic rights.
Around half of the Arab population in the Negev – some 90,000 people – live in 46 Bedouin towns and villages. This accounts for just five percent of the entire land of the Negev region. Israel does not recognize 35 of these villages.
These Israeli citizens are denied their most basic rights: their villages are not connected to the state’s water and sewer systems nor to its electrical grid; education and health services are only partially provided to them, and are inadequate; and the state refuses to recognize villagers’ historical claims of ancestral ownership of the land.
Like Prawer, the Begin Plan is also based on an erroneous assumption that views the Bedouin as “squatters,” ignoring the fact that most of the villages have been in existence in their current location since before the establishment of the State of Israel. Other villages were established by coercive transfer during the period of martial law. Like its precursor, the current plan also seeks to restrict the Bedouin to a specific area and toforcibly apply this policy.
A Problematic Plan
The plan will lead to the uprooting and forcible eviction of dozens of villages and 30-40,000 Bedouin residents, who will be stripped of their property and their historical land rights. Thousands of families will be condemned to poverty and unemployment. The communal life and social fabric of these villages will be destroyed.
The plan implies that the Bedouin population should be concentrated in a specific area in recognized settlements and that no Bedouin settlements will be established beyond this pre-defined area – compounding concerns of ethnic discrimination.
The attempt to create a special arrangement on land issues for a specific group severelyundermines not just the principle of the rule of law but also the principle of equality under the law. The state cannot legislate arrangements that, in effect, suspend the application of administrative and constitutional law regarding actions and authorities granted to the state according to that same law. The state also cannot legislate arrangements that suspend real estate law for the Bedouin population when they are valid and apply to all other citizens.
Not only have unique planning regulations been created for the Negev Bedouin settlements which are not an integrated part of the regular Israeli planning laws, but these regulations are also discriminatory against the Bedouin when compared to Jewish localities in the area: There are currently over a hundred Jewish settlements in the Be’er Sheva Region, with an average population of approximately 300 people per community. This is in addition to dozens of lone farms, which were established without a permit but the government worked to grant some of them retroactive recognition.
While seeking to demolish dozens of villages and displace thousands of people, the Government is simultaneously promoting the establishment of new Jewish communities, some of which are due to be built on the ruins of Bedouin villages.
The bill rests on a mistaken assumption that the ownership claims of Bedouins on their land in the Negev are not legitimate. There are a number of reasons why the ownership rights of the majority of Bedouins in the Negev were not listed in the Land Registry books. The process of regulating land ownership during the British Mandate period, through which many of the landholders in the north and center of the country were officially registered, was not carried out in the Negev. As a result of this, the land registration mechanism was inaccessible to Negev residents. Another major factor is the existence of the Bedouin’s own traditional system of property acquisition, which for years had been used to settle matters of ownership among them. The Ottoman and British recognition of this mechanism created the impression among the Bedouins that registration in the government Land Registry was unnecessary for the recognition and preservation of their land rights.
The bill fails to take into account the circumstances of each specific unrecognized village and instead treats all of the villages as a single entity, without examining the relevant facts in each specific instance.
Despite a three-month “listening process,” the Begin Plan did not introduce any substantive changes to the bill on resettling the Bedouin, despite the overwhelming opposition from the Bedouin community and human rights organizations. Repeated efforts by the representatives of the residents of the unrecognized villages to engage in further dialogue with the government regarding these plans have been rejected.
gonna start doing this as often as possible because a lot of my favorite blogs do this and I’ve amassed a shit ton of helpful literature this way. today’s theme is imported colonial archetypes and the biopolitics of space
“Power feminism is just another scam in which women get to play patriarchs and pretend that the power we seek and gain liberates us.”—
Let’s talk about this quote for a second.
I remember I attended a college lecture about what feminism means in America and how imperial politics and economic gaps between the West and East render what women want and consider pivotal to their feminsim as conflicting and even antagonistic to each other.
My feminism, first and foremost, will always be anti-imperialism.
Imperial politics are dangerous and the very essence of narcissism. Imperial politics demonstrated within a feminist frame usually goes as follows: the most privileged women, ie. those who have access to technology, representation, occupy a particular media-friendly image or ideology and have access to those in higher slots in society are allotted platforms to speak about their experiences as women and without question, this gets presumptuously labelled “women’s experiences”. Being that women who are globally bestowed the highest tier are usually allowed such room to speak, their minimal struggles are then homogenized as the quintessential female experience and misogyny is wholeheartedly announced a tangible issue that can be easily eradicated out of modern Western society.
Its no accident that women of color, women in occupied regions and those who face mass political or economic repression and their words which don’t satisfy neoliberal, imperialst gaze are deemed anti-progressive, race baiters, backwards, terrorist apologists, etc. Our complex, multi-faceted struggles within a white supremacist empire tap into too many accepted status quos for the average American moderate. It forces those who legitimize the war on terror and view racism as an entity of the past to confront their own unsightly prejudices and the systematic brutality their nations enacts on various global societies, as well as within its borders. Its easier to find (and fabricate) any reason to demonize the likes of Trayvon Martin and his family for his own tragic demise or deem young Yemeni children necessary collateral damage for “the greater good” than to examine what other oppressions beyond misogyny exist that unquestionably burden the lives of otherized communities, including and especially the women in said communities.
Power feminism expects women to unanimously rejoice in the presidential election of Hillary Clinton, while her administration carries out the same murderous policies as her predecessors. Power feminism labels any legitimate criticism of influential women as inherent egregious misogyny. Power feminism devalues the loss of women’s lives abroad, while infantizling their independent resistance and stripping their agency by shamelessly declaring intervention as saving them. Power feminism within an imperialistic frame needs the hyper-demonization of otherized communities to justify its occupation. Power feminism can be even more dangerous than ruthless misogyny because of its insidious nature and lack of culpability.
Thesis 1: The idea of ‘humanity’ has no fixed meaning and cannot act as the source of moral or legal rules. Historically, the idea has been used to classify people into the fully human, the lesser human, and the inhuman.
Thesis 2: Power and morality, empire and cosmopolitanism, sovereignty and rights, law and desire are not fatal enemies. Instead, a historically specific amalgam of power and morality forms the structuring order of each epoch and society.
Thesis 3: The post-1989 order combines an economic system that generates huge structural inequalities and oppression with a juridico-political ideology promising dignity and equality. This major instability is contributing to its demise.
Thesis 4: Universalism and communitarianism rather than being opponents are two types of humanism dependent on each other. They are confronted by the ontology of singular equality.
Thesis 5: In advanced capitalist societies, human rights depoliticize politics.
Thesis 6: In advanced capitalist societies, human rights become strategies for the publicization and legalization of (insatiable) individual desire.
Thesis 7: For a cosmopolitanism to come (or the idea of communism).
For the most part, I usually consider myself a philosopher. Even as I rarely say so aloud, since this field and title are most often the sole domain of cishet white men. My training in school was in philosophy (focus on logic). In many ways, this analytic approach is still very much present in how I approach conceptualizing gender, colonialism, race, and all the other stuff I normally write about.
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument. In more casual speech, by extension, “philosophy” can refer to “the most basic beliefs, concepts, and attitudes of an individual or group”.
Now, looking over this, especially if you note what is considered a ‘fundamental’ problem: reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language1. Okay. So why is it that only when white men do this is it lifted to the heights of philosophy? While most anyone else who engages these ideas is just… what, blowing hot air?
Of course, the definition goes on “philosophy is distinguished by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument”. Okay. So this might rule out a lot of armchair philosophers. And we can also see that there are many different traditions of critical, systematic approaches to the fundamental problems. Where many of these traditions ‘fail’, as far as white philosophy is concerned, is on the charge of rational argumentation. It isn’t accidental that what is considered ‘rational’ is self-referring to the white man’s philosophy itself2. This reflexivity automatically precludes pretty much any other critical, systematic approaches to fundamental problems from ever truly being considered philosophy.
This is exactly why, in most white run philosophy departments in europe, canada, and the usa, the only ‘philosophy’ most people will study is that written and articulated by white men. This is why, if you want to study the long tradition of Confucian philosophy, you are better off doing so in a religious studies department (or history, or area studies of some kind). Or you can go to school in an East Asian country, where they’ll teach Confucian thought along side Kant.
And you cannot point to content. Because if St. Anselm can be considered a major philosopher for his argument for god’s existence, but Confucius can’t, even though he explicitly refused to talk about ghosts and spirits. Or, why Nagarjuna is rarely noted in any white-focused philosophy department as one of the most influential thinkers in global history?3
Why must we study Confucius or Nagarjuna in religious departments while studying St. Augustine in philosophy departments4?
These attitudes and whatever continue on to today.
Today we have a situation where technology has reached a point that many different kinds of people are able and equipped to disseminate their ideas with a fair amount of ease; thus, dodging the barriers to access that have prevented many of these same people from articulating and sharing their ideas in the past (at least in a large sense, since people can always talk amongst themselves).
More to the point, it doesn’t even take a great deal of imagination or stretching to see how many of these people are addressing the fundamental problems: reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. It also doesn’t take much effort to see how many of these people are addressing these problems in critical and systematic ways. And that they are using rational argumentation when supporting or articulating their views.
And yet… very few of us either claim the title ‘philosopher’ or be considered to be contributing to philosophy, despite our continued efforts to critically, systematically, and rationally examine reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Indeed, many of us are dismissed as simply being ‘social justice warriors’ or ‘internet slackivists’.
Sure, it is obvious that white supremacy must maintain hegemonic control over what is considered ‘philosophy’ or even what is considered a ‘fundamental problem5. And, of course, what is considered ‘rational’, ‘systematic’, or ‘critical’.
Because, as any blogger or tweeter or tumblr person knows, if you make a habit of critically, systematically, and rationally engaging topics surrounding oppression, you’ll constantly be singled out as making too big of a deal about stuff. Spend your time analyzing how videogames reify certain hierarchies of personhood via the mis/representation of marginalized people? You are a whiner who takes things too seriously. Spend your time critically, systematically, and rationally examining what it means to be a trans feminine person of colour in this world? You are playing identity politics6.
Note what the implications are here: understanding and exploring what freedom means to someone like me is not a fundamental problem, as far as white philosophy and its adherents are concerned7. It is why, in discussions of free will, you’ll never see Franz Fanon’s theories of decolonization and colonialism.
I only bring this up, because the etymology of ‘philosophy’ is that it means ‘lover of wisdom’. Thus, it would appear that if you love wisdom, you are a philosopher. If you’ve spend any amount of your time dedicated to uncovering, exploring, and articulating truth, then you are a philosopher.
A “philosopher” was understood as a word which contrasted with “sophist”. Traveling sophists or “wise men” were important in Classical Greece, often earning money as teachers, whereas philosophers are “lovers of wisdom” and were therefore not in it primarily for the money
Interesting, no? That those of us writing primarily in areas where people do not pay to read our writing and we do not get paid to write. That there are a multitude of us simply devoted to spending our time and energy into critically, systematically, and rationally investigating and exploring our fundamental problems (freedom, justice, existence, etc.) who do this free and simply because we love wisdom and truth.
But none of us are philosophers, amirite? We are all just social justice warriors.
So, yeah, I’m totally reclaiming my role/title as philosopher. Because, sure as fuck, no one is paying me anything for the contributions I make to the areas of gender, colonialism, race, etc. I do this not only because I love wisdom, but because I want freedom. And my problems are fundamental.
Something could also be said about how white centric these ‘fundamental’ problems are in the first place. And that a tradition of critical thought could be considered un-philosophy if it doesn’t actually handle any of these ‘fundamental’ problems ↩
Also note: because women are historical, emotional beings, they also can never be philosophers ↩
I literally dare anyone to make the claim that Nagarjuna did not address fundamental problems in a critical, systematic way while using rational arguments ↩
Yes, I realize that people in religious studies departments may also study St. Augustine ↩
note: I’m not restricting this to men anymore since nowadays, white feminist thought or feminist philosophies have achieved some level of legitimacy in philosphy — definitely not equal, but the recognition is there ↩
And, of course, beyond all belief ‘identity’ should somehow not be construed as a fundamental problem. or something ↩
And by ‘adherents’ i mean those people who’ve taken one intro class to philosophy or have taken no philosophy but believe in ‘rationality’ as some basic virtue. Those people who, very much believe that any emotional content in your argument voids its rationality. ↩
Assata Shakur has been living in Cuba since 1986, after escaping from prison where she was serving a life sentence imposed in a highly disputed trial. Assata was a Black Panther then a Black Liberation Army (BLA) leader in the early ’70s, so she was a target of the FBI’s COINTELPRO operation. Assata was captured in a shoot-out resulting from resistance to yet another “driving while black” police action in 1973 on the New Jersey State Turnpike.
This book literally changed my life and was a huge part of my awakening to radical politics.
Given that the old cultural appropriation resource learning list is being passed around more frequently now, and that some of the links on it no longer work, I thought it was high time to release an updated list. These links pertain primarily to the appropriation of Native…
Israel ranks 55th in the world in terms of gender equality. Only two spots ahead of Russia.
In Israel, a Jewish woman’s husband can legally prevent her from getting a divorce. Islam grants women the right to request a divorce and the husband must obey it.
Around 41% of Israeli Arab women do not finish high school, and 59% of Ethiopian women do not.
Only 21% of Israeli Arab women are employed which is the lowest workforce participation rate of Arab women in the Middle East.
On some buses in Israel, especially in religious neighborhoods, women are essentially forced to quietly sit in the back segregated from men or face intimidation and sometimes violent attacks.
In various places in Israel women have been prevented from singing or dancing in public, barred from student government positions in religious colleges, appearing on billboards or other advertisements, barred from speaking on religious radio stations, or even prevented from walking on a sidewalk during a religious celebration.
In religious neighborhoods it isn’t uncommon for a woman who is deemed to be dressed immodestly to be verbally assaulted or stoned by Orthodox Jews.
Women are not allowed to pray as men do at the Western Wall.
Women have been segregated at times in post offices, pizza parlors, grocery stores, and fairgrounds at the demand of Orthodox men.
A woman was kicked out of an orchestra because it “upset” religious men who don’t want to listen to women sing in public.
Why am I reblogging this? Because there are people spreading propaganda that Israel is some kind of human rights oasis.
The commodification of the self seems to be a misnomer. If a commodity is a product, something that can be bought and sold, then in what sense can the self be commodified? Without any claim to being exhaustive, I want to discuss two possible meanings. A first is that self-understanding is mediated by the consumption of goods and images. In this sense, self-definition depends on the appropriation of the traits of commodities. We know who we are and we judge the quality of our inner experience through identification with the things we buy. A second meaning of self-commodification involves the reorganization of our personal lives and relationships on the model of market relations. This adaptation is well illustrated by the recent practice of “personal branding,” a strategy of cultivating a name and image of ourselves that we manipulate for economic gain. Both of these meanings of self-commodification concern the terms in which we define ourselves and our well-being, and each has been facilitated by the loosening of self-definitions from specific social roles and obligations.
In all these discussions about “having it all” and “leaning in”, this, our contemporary feminism has turned us into commodities to market. We are the product to be sold to corporations in order to have a career. And here is what strikes me as weird-funny-baffling: we have failed to develop our own “properties” to trade in this game of currency exchange (in the sense that women, as a class, have not massively developed a means of production so we are left to play in the guys’ pens) and when confronted with this failure (white, heterocentric patriarchal business models) instead of demanding a structural change to level the playing field, we are advised to turn ourselves into the commodity. I suppose that when we collectively realize we have nothing to trade, all that is left is better marketing for the only commodity we do own: the self. In a sense, this feminism is guilty of the same objectification we have been fighting against for centuries.
It should not be possible to read nineteenth-century British literature without remembering that imperialism, understood as England’s social mission, was a crucial part of the cultural representation of England to the English. The role of literature in the production of cultural representation should not be ignored. These two obvious “facts” continue to be disregarded in the reading of nineteenth-century British literature. This itself attests to the continuing success of the imperialist project, displaced and dispersed into more modern forms.
If these “facts” were remembered, not only in the study of British literature but in the study of the literatures of the European colonizing cultures of the great age of imperialism, we would produce a narrative, in literary history, of the “worlding” of what is now called “the Third World.” To consider the Third World as distant cultures, exploited but with rich intact literary heritages waiting to be recovered, interpreted, and curricularized in English translation fosters the emergence of “the Third World as a signifier that allows us to forget that “worlding,” even as it expands the empire of the literary discipline.
It seems particularly unfortunate when the emergent perspective of feminist criticism reproduces the axioms of imperialism. A basically isolationist admiration for the literature of the female subject in Europe and Anglo-America establishes the high feminist norm. It is supported and operated by an information-retrieval approach to “Third World” literature which often employs a deliberately “nontheoretical” methodology with self-conscious rectitude.
yes, THIS is why I am always whining when I see people on my dash talking about Womanhood and Women’s Subjectivity in nineteenth century English lit (Brontes especially), there is literally no women’s subjectivity in those books without this (and it’s really easy to see this, because most of them—Jane Eyre, I always mention—are really opaquely racist? like half of the plot of Jane Eyre is “this is how my concept of bodies around the world forms my sense of self as an individual and a woman”?? so like whyyyy?)
dickchunks: i’ve had people yell at me for saying i dont read jane austen because i’m not interested in her world which is constructed by slavery and colonialism
they are like ‘WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH HOW BEAUTIFUL HER WRITING IS BLAHBLAHBLAH’ and i’m like what does that have to do with me why would i think her white women problems are interesting in the least