Week two post for the 30 Day Real Black History Challenge are diverse, deep, and intense. From a few jokes to one of the most challenging Ted talk about “How to Raise A Black Son in America”, this week made me laugh and made me cry. The power of the experiences we are exploring give such depth to what many people dismiss as normal life.
*A special note. I have been trying to find the best way to transfer the posts from facebook to here. About midway through the posts for this week I changed methods and it would be too challenging to go back. So please forgive the switch but it is much easier to do, and therefore faster to get back out in digest format for later review. Thank you!
|White Women’s Workout (could not embed, please click link to watch)Speaking of stereotypes, misconceptions and Black men (specifically)….. Things often feel so overwhelming that one has to laugh. And this video always makes me laugh. It is one of those horrible and yet funny videos that speak on a reality and truth that is terrible…. and yet do it with humor to help others reflect on it.
|Forcing Black Men Out of Society“An analysis in The Times — “1.5 Million Missing Black Men” — showed that more than one in every six black men in the 24-to-54 age group has disappeared from civic life, mainly because they died young or are locked away in prison. This means that there are only 83 black men living outside of jail for every 100 black women — in striking contrast to the white population, where men and women are about equal in numbers.
This astounding shortfall in black men translates into lower marriage rates, more out-of-wedlock births, a greater risk of poverty for families and, by extension, less stable communities. The missing men should be a source of concern to political leaders and policy makers everywhere.
While the 1.5 million number is startling, it actually understates the severity of the crisis that has befallen African-American men since the collapse of the manufacturing and industrial centers, which was quickly followed by the “war on drugs” and mass imprisonment, which drove up the national prison population more than sevenfold beginning in the 1970s.
In addition to the “missing,” millions more are shut out of society, or are functionally missing, because of the shrinking labor market for low-skilled workers, racial discrimination or sanctions that prevent millions who have criminal convictions from getting all kinds of jobs. At the same time, the surge in imprisonment has further stigmatized blackness itself, so that black men and boys who have never been near a jail now have to fight the presumption of criminality in many aspects of day-to-day life — in encounters with police, in schools, on the streets and on the job.
The data on missing African-American men is not particularly new. Every census for the last 50 years has shown the phenomenon.”
|Racial Disparities in Incarceration:African Americans now constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million incarcerated population
African Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites
Together, African American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one quarter of the US population
According to Unlocking America, if African American and Hispanics were incarcerated at the same rates of whites, today’s prison and jail populations would decline by approximately 50%
One in six black men had been incarcerated as of 2001. If current trends continue, one in three black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime
1 in 100 African American women are in prison
Nationwide, African-Americans represent 26% of juvenile arrests, 44% of youth who are detained, 46% of the youth who are judicially waived to criminal court, and 58% of the youth admitted to state prisons (Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice).
About 14 million Whites and 2.6 million African Americans report using an illicit drug
5 times as many Whites are using drugs as African Americans, yet African Americans are sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of Whites
African Americans represent 12% of the total population of drug users, but 38% of those arrested for drug offenses, and 59% of those in state prison for a drug offense.
African Americans serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months). (Sentencing Project)
Inner city crime prompted by social and economic isolation
Crime/drug arrest rates: African Americans represent 12% of monthly drug users, but comprise 32% of persons arrested for drug possession
“Get tough on crime” and “war on drugs” policies
Mandatory minimum sentencing, especially disparities in sentencing for crack and powder…
|More Than Cries For Freedom, Negro Spirituals Were Coded Messages For…The survival skills of Black people throughout time have been very strong and incredible, even in times of slavery and Jim Crow. Songs became messages to those around them.
“n song, lyrics about the Exodus were a metaphor for freedom from slavery. Songs like “Steal Away (to Jesus)”, or “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” raised unexpectedly in a dusty field, or sung softly in the dark of night, signaled that the coast was clear and the time to escape had come. The River Jordan became the Ohio River, or the Mississippi, or another body of water that had to be crossed on the journey to freedom. “Wade in the Water” contained explicit instructions to fugitive slaves on how to avoid capture and the route to take to successfully make their way to freedom. Leaving dry land and taking to the water was a common strategy to throw pursuing bloodhounds off one’s trail. “The Gospel Train”, and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” all contained veiled references to the Underground Railroad, and “Follow the Drinking Gourd” contained a coded map to the Underground Railroad. The title itself was an Africanized reference to the Big Dipper, which pointed the way to the North Star and freedom.”
|The first time I heard this little song was in high school. A rendition of this was sung in a documentary we watched in february, except the lyrics said “Run slave run, your master’s coming… run slave run, you better get away”. I laughed at the time because I thought it was so absurd, but it has stuck with me for over 20 years. Stuck with me in a hauntingly horrific way.#30DaysRBHC
|Why Race Conversations are like Crappy Auto-tune SongsJay Smooth makes such a great point here…… We keep repeating the same mistakes. Maybe they are not mistakes at all actually. It begins to make you wonder….|
|.||“The promise of America is that those who play by the rules, who observe the norms of the “middle class,” will be treated as such. But this injunction is only half-enforced when it comes to black people, in large part because we were never meant to be part of the American story.” — Ta-Nehisi Coates#30DayRBHC|
|CHAPTER 1 – HIGH SCHOOLThe impact of racism (overt, covert, microaggressive and systemic) are huge on those Black kids watching systems of injustice happen right in front of them. This video is POWERFUL!! And part of the power that this video exudes comes from the fact that it is from the words and thoughts of Black boys. They are speaking for themselves…. telling us what it feels like to experience what they do every day. How this is normalized in their lives…. and they have to grapple with these injustices.. these judgements…..
The lack of empathy given to Black people, especially to Black boys, is astounding. They speak the truth in such a genuine, authentic and REAL way that it is hard not to hear them.
They hit respectability politics, colorism, racism in the classrooms, codeswitching….. amazing. I will post the other chapters of these videos as well as we move forward.
|Maya Angelou – Because of Them, We Can | @AmFam®This year’s theme speaks on perseverance, understanding and healing. I want to focus a moment on perseverance. We are a beautiful people. We are strong, we are wise, we are resilient, we are powerful and we don’t stop. The pain of our history have added to an already powerful and incredible core of brilliance…..
I saw this video and thought….
“THAT!!! That right there….”. To see these beautiful little ladies, in all their natural hair brilliance, speaking the words of our great Maya Angelou (who we lost one year ago)… reminds us all that we cannot be stopped. We have always been incredible, and we still are….
|Artist’s Nude Self-Portraits Explore Former Sites Of Slavery Throughout…There is something so beautiful and intriguing to me about researching and experiencing the places that held and sold our peoples. I have never been on the sites where slaves were sold. And in these photos, the simple white shoes on the Black queen, standing in the places of forgotten history…… it is an amazing contrast of beauty and horror together.|
|TX teachers mock special ed students with ‘ghetto awards’ – insist they…The horrific and enmeshed racism in this is blatant. And yet even without the racist addition it would be horrible. I don’t care WHAT kid is being picked out for this, it is wrong. And the added bonus of racism just adds salt to the wound.
No excuses… termination is the only answer.
|.||“Race holds a central place in our society’s deepest and most persistent patterns of social inequities, exclusion and divisions. Racial disparities, discrimination and segregation are widespread and continue to undermine our nation’s social fabric. Without equity, economic stratification and social instability will continue to increase and far too many families and children will continue to lag behind. Without inclusion, many are marginalized economically, politically and culturally, facing bias and barriers when seeking basic opportunities for security and advancement. Race continues to play a defining role in one’s life trajectory and outcomes.A complex system of racial bias and inequities is at play, deeply rooted in our country’s history, culture and institutions. This system of racialization — which routinely confers advantage and disadvantage based on skin color and other characteristics — must be clearly understood, directly challenged and fundamentally transformed. If our nation is to live up to its democratic ideals — that all people are created equal and treated fairly — then racial equity and inclusion must be at the forefront of how we shape our institutions, policies and culture. “ — Annie E. Casey Foundation#30DayRBHC|
|Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup) | The Wild HuntFor the first time (that I recall) the #30 Day Real Black History Channel got a shout out!! The Wild Hunt included us in the round up for last week. Very exciting!!|
|“You have to understand that people have to pay the price for peace. You dare to struggle, you dare to win. If you dare not struggle, then goddammit you don’t deserve to win.” – Fred Hampton|
|“I am…. a revolutionary!!!” The words of a true fighter for justice and liberation. Killed before he could see his child born. Killed at the hands of our government and law enforcement, in his bed while he slept with his pregnant wife. Killed because of the fear he instilled in White america by empowering Black people.#30DayRBHC
|Moment of Reflection #1: When we think about the uprising that is happening all over the world, and especially in America today… the fight for liberation for Black people…. we are looking at a point in time where we are (once again) pushing beyond the false walls of the American dream and demanding equality and equity. We are saying… we will not stop until we too have the ability to thrive in this country. We are stepping back in time and pulling from the wisdom and fight of our ancestors that have fought this fight before us.And so those of you who have followed this challenge before know that I am, and will continue to, highlight some of the work of Black people fighting for liberation in our past that are often dismissed, glossed over, or discredited through lies and bigotry. We get very comfortable in this country when looking at Black history and discussing Martin Luther King Jr, and Rosa Parks. But we still buck at the idea of Huey P. Newton, George Jackson, Fred Hampton, Malcolm X, Mumia Abu Jamal, MOVE, and others that we are conditioned to see as divisive and “bad”.Some of the most powerful liberation and freedom fighters did so by sacrificing their reputations to the overculture and standing strong in opposition to the status quo. And so I continue to uplift information about some of the most demonized of our Black liberation ancestors and elders…. and even more so today since we are once again embarking on a journey that continues to do this to our freedom fighters today.
The media and government smear campaign has not changed.
|Colorlines does another incredible segment giving voice to the struggle of Black people, this time in the area of employment. Guest appearance from Michelle Alexander, and lots of personal information from the voices of those who are suffering under the weight of injustice and inequality today.#30DayRBHC
|McKinney Pool Party Teen InterviewThe 19 year old that was hit by the woman at the party speaks… and so does her other on this video. Why do I think this is so relevant? It isn’t just the cop being abusive to these young black kids, or the fact that it was a pool party gone wrong…. it is the amount of horror that comes up when kids cannot go anywhere without the threat of hearing racist stuff being said to them. That parents have to worry about people calling their children Black Bitches and telling them to go back to their section 8 housing. It is for those reasons that I think this situation relevant.
That people can put up signs thanking the police for “protecting them” from 14 year old children, a 19 year old sister and a mother. Horrible behavior is excused for reasons that are incomprehensible against ANY human being…. but because of racial caste systems here in America it is automatically believed that the kids must have been thugs and violent… in their two piece swim suits and shorts…. and that the white people at the party had the right to punch a 19 year old sister and tell children they should go back to where they came from. And that doesn’t even touch the behavior of the cop.
What does it say to these children and this community that kids can be verbally attacked, and then physically attacked by a bunch of adults and the cops come in and then attack them and treat them as criminals? The message is loud and clear. http://ow.ly/O0aT4
Put in Rikers at 16 years old and left there with no trial, beaten and assaulted…. Commits suicide after released. How do these injustices continue to happen underneath the nose of America?
|Teen Speaks Out About What Happened When Cops Broke Up A Texas Pool PartyFuck…… And check out the 23 second video of the woman attacking the teen. Sigh… No updates so far on if the older white woman was arrested for assault.
“When Miles Jai Thomas arrived at a party at the Craig Ranch North Community Pool in McKinney, Texas, on Friday night, the pool was open to everyone — until a security guard showed up and removed black partygoers from the area.
“Then he started making up rules to keep us out,” Thomas, 15, told The Huffington Post.
A white woman at the pool started making racist comments, Thomas said, such as telling black teens at the party to get used to the bars outside the pool because that’s all they were going to see.
Grace Stone, 14, who is white, told BuzzFeed News that she and friends objected to an adult woman making racist comments to other teens at the party and that the woman turned violent.
This is when, according to Thomas, a 19-year-old black woman told the belligerent white woman to stop fighting with the teenagers. The white woman called the black woman a “young bitch,” then walked up to her. After the young woman said her age out loud, the older woman punched her in the face. Another unidentified white woman jumped in as well before Thomas, who was recording the incident, and his friends went to break it up.
|99-Year-Old Woman Who Graduated From College of the Canyons: ‘This Is My…
Brought tears to my eyes. How amazing is she!! 99 years old!!
|.||Bronx 6th Grader Wows NYC Poetry SceneWe are a magical people, I just need to keep saying that. And this young woman shows us just how much this is true. When we talk about perseverance we can see the incredible talent, beauty and passion… despite the challenges, histories and oppressions. This young girl reminds us that we are indeed magical and we are indeed powerful.
She is beautiful. She is a 12 year old prodigy of poetry, wise beyond her years and epic in her whisper. She is channeling the spirit of the Gods through her voice. Amazing she is.
|And so let’s look at a little bit of what Nina Simone was talking about in Mississippi Goddamn.Cops called on a pool party in Texas…. it is reported that there were too many Black kids there, not sure what the reasoning was for the cops being called by the neighbors. The kids are not hostile, did not have any weapons and are in swimsuits and appropriate pool party attire. They are teens.
The cops tackle them, cuff them, attack them…. for speaking, for being there, and even for running when they got scared. The cop attacks a teen girl in a two peace bathing suit, who was doing nothing violent…. drags her to the ground and then another cop basically sits on her for some time. No parents present to help the kids…. they kept screaming at their friends and family members to call their parents.
“Why don’t you see it? Why don’t you feel it? I don’t know!!! I don’t know!!!”
|And with that… let’s listen to a little Nina…… When I hear this song (and it is one of my favorites) I always hear the message coming through. I hear her speaking about the pain and devastation caused to our people, that we are tired of it, and that we are watching all the other people do nothing.
And then I think of what is happening right now. I think about the uprising, the Black Lives Matter movement, the demands for justice that fall on silent ears and go without support from some people in our communities. But “everybody knows about Mississippi Goddamn!”. Everyone knows what is happening…. everyone can turn on their television and see the fight of my skinfolk and yet we do what?
“Why don’t you see it? Why don’t you feel it? I don’t know!! I don’t know!!! You don’t have to live next to me… just give me my equality….”
|Nina Simone Was Asked If She’s Inspired by Anger; Her Answer Is…The incredible Nina Simone speaking on her music as a “political weapon”. And when asked if she sings from anger, she says no….. that she sings from intelligence. Tell em Nina!!
|The week one digest of posts is being put together now and will be available for those who want to go back and find some of the links and videos that have been referenced. Stay tuned!! #30DayRBHC|
|Accused of Stealing a Backpack, High School Student Jailed for Nearly…Did I mention it was a backpack he supposedly stole???? Three years in Rikers with no trial at 16 years old for a backpack….. #hisnamewasKaliefBrowder, #30DayRBHC,#justiceforkalief, #blacklivesmatter
|Watch: Explosive Footage from Inside Rikers Jail Shows Guard Beating…I posted last night about Kalief, the young man who was arrested at 16 years old and sat in Rikers for three years with no trial (two of which were in solitary confinement) and killed himself upon release. Here is a segment on Democracy now that shows some footage of him being beat in prison, and some interview time with him prior to his suicide.
May he finally find peace after the destruction of his life by the hands of racism and institutionalized injustice.#30DayRBHC
|Music has always been the language of the oppressed, reminding us to have faith, to persevere, to stand up and to fight….. #30DayRBHC
|SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) has a pretty great handout on historical trauma and some facts on the impacts to different ethnic groups. Great resource and some good articles to use for reference.It identifies three categories that historical trauma can manifest itself within; historical unresolved grief, disenfranchised grief and internalized oppression. I would say that Black people have manifested the results of historical oppression in all three areas. Sounds like a makings of a good literature review.|
|Sexual Violence in the Lives of African American Women: Risk, Response,…
:Historians estimate that at least 58% of all enslaved women between the ages of 15 and 30 had been sexually assaulted by White men (Hine, 1989).
When the importation of Africans was banned in 1808, the systematic sexual exploitation of Black women was used to produce a perpetual labor force. Some slaveholders paired healthy slaves, a practice known as “slave breeding,” with the goal of producing children who were suitable for heavy labor. Considered chattel property, similar to other farm animals, Black women’s children could be sold to other slaveholders, which separated families and created unimaginable grief (for an audio description of slave breeding see Berlin, Miller, & Favreau, 1998).
The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 did not liberate African American women from sexual terrorism. For instance, White vigilante groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan, whipped African Americans, destroyed their property, and savagely gang raped Black women (Sommerville, 2005). Sexual harassment also frequently occurred in the workplace. Well into the twentieth century, Black women were employed primarily as servants and domestic workers. Desperate to support their families, African American women were coerced into providing sexual favors to their employers (Hine, 1989).
Rape laws did not provide equal protection for all women. 3 In fact, during the 1800s some rape laws were race-specific. For example, an 1867 Kentucky law defined a rapist as one who “unlawfully and carnally know any white woman, against her will or consent” (Sommerville, 2004, p. 148). Lynching, castration, and incarceration were possible penalties for Black men who were accused or convicted of raping a White woman. In contrast, White men faced no legal sanctions for sexually assaulting Black women. Nor did the criminal legal system…
There are times during my research and work on the 30 Day Real Black History Challenge when it feels really heavy on my spirit. The weight of the context of our past and present. Watching things happening today and knowing not much has changed…. wondering why some people ignore what is happening right in front of us.
Tonight is one of those such times. Tomorrows posts are already lined up and ready to go….. and for now I am gonna go rest to face it again tomorrow. #30DayRBHC
The National Survey of American Life: a study of racial, ethnic and cultural influences on mental disorders and mental health, provided evidence of communities holding on to long legacies of secrets, lies and shame originating from slavery. Avoiding emotions was a survival technique which has now become a cultural habit……
Societal issues also factor into a higher percentage of African American women experiencing depression. Being both female and African American can make a person more vulnerable to negative attitudes and behavior. This gender crisis is important in pinpointing depression among the African American population. To serve others in the community, family and others often leaves these women unable to relax or sleep.
Body image also affects women of color, creating a cascade of events: Others may believe the stereotype portrayed by the media of African Americans as curvaceous and sensual. However, for every curvaceous celebrity there are millions of women who do not match this body profile. For some, food then acts as a comfort, serves as protection and results in overeating and sometimes, eating disorders. ”