Monthly Archives: April 2013

Looking fierce may not transform systems that actively work against my body, but it has and continues to help me reconfigure space through self-definition. Moreover, it empowers me to unapologetically take up (and reconfigure) more space.

–Eddie Ndopu, A Black Crip’s Perspective on Fashion and Embodied Resistance

(via the bad dominicana)

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There are a few misguided wits who think they are being complimentary when they declare a woman is ”too much”. While it is admirable and desirable to be enough, only masochists want to be ”too much”. Being, claiming, or accepting the status allows others to heap responsibilities upon the back of the ”too much” woman, who naturally is also referred to as ”super.” ”Super Woman” and ”Earth Mother.”
The flatterer, for that is what the speaker means to be, exposes himself as an manipulator who expects to ingratiate himself into ”Earth Mother’s” good graces, so that she will take his burdens upon her and make his crooked ways straight.
When the complimenter is confronted, he will quickly disavow any scurrilous intent and with hurt feelings declare, ”I meant ”too much” to be a sign of my appreciation. I don’t see how you could misread my meaning. You must be paranoid.”
Well, yes. A certain amount of paranoia is essential in the oppressed or in any likely targets of oppressors. We must stay vigilant and be very careful of how we allow ourselves to be addressed.
We can too easily become what we are called with all the unwelcome responsibilities the titles makes us heir to.

–Maya Angelou

(via the bad dominicana)

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Fact: It is hard for me to reconcile my general abhorrence for the police as an institution (as I generally abhor any institution whose top two complaints are brutality and sexual assault) and my intense gratitude to the individual police officers who found and arrested my cousin’s murderer. I suppose every bad system can contain good people, but I now feel a twinge of regret when I publish stuff like this.

Black men occupy an interesting place in the popular imagination. Their superhuman sexuality is an integral part of American lore. It’s most prominently on display in the titles of pornographic videos that market the ability of big black men to ravish young, innocent white women. It’s more subtle in the white women who walk past with their eyes firmly locked on my crotch, undoubtedly pondering the question that the bold will occasionally whisper in a dark corner of a house party: “Is it true?” And the misguided among us will certainly whisper “yes” through a sly grin, unaware that entangled with the superhuman lore of the black penis is the dangerous specter of dehumanization. This strange combination of fear and fascination reveals the superhuman-subhuman duality that black men embody.

The very same superhuman virility fuels fear of black men. It’s why white women run from us in the hallways, scream when they see us jogging toward them in the street, tell us we look dangerous, and clutch their purses in elevators if they get on the elevator at all (these are actual anecdotes from me and a friend, some of which occur occasionally, others, regularly). A few decades ago, these fearful reactions would be enough to put us in danger of mob violence, regardless of how benign our presence may have been. Even now, racial hoaxes are an ever-present danger. When white people claim to have been victimized by a fictitious black man, hundreds of innocent black men are endangered as law enforcement officials search out the supposed assailant. While perceptions of hypermasculinity elevate us to the superhuman, they simultaneously reduce us to subhuman status.

–Robert Reece, “White Women’s Gazes, Black Men’s Bodies: Superhuman-Subhuman Duality,” Still Furious, And Still Brave:Who’s Afraid Of Persistent Blackness 1/27/13

 (via Racialicious)

This nation was, simply put, conceived in and plagued by formal white supremacy for over 350 years, going back to the colonial period: it was a system of racial fascism. I know we don’t like that kind of talk. It probably seems like the kind of thing that would only be said by someone who hated America, or, alternately, had studied history.

–Tim Wise

(via Mastering The Arts)

I recognize that Tim Wise can be a problematic figure, but I cannot deny that he is on point, though. 

An even bigger issue is that if people think social justice is about niceness, it means they have fundamentally misunderstood privilege. Privilege does not mean you live in a world where people are nice to you and never insult you. It means you live in a world in which you, and people like you, are given systematic advantages over other people. Being marginalised does not mean people are always nasty to you, it means you live in a world in which many aspects of the cultural, social and economic systems are stacked against people like you. Some very privileged people have had awful experiences in life, but it does not erase their privilege.

The Revolution Will Not Be Polite

(via knowledge is black power)