Colin Kaepernick And Our Collective Denial That Football Is (Already) Political

When San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the “Star Spangled Banner” during a preseason game, he didn’t “bring politics into football.” Football – like most things in this country – has always been political. We’ve just spent an inordinate share of our lives trying to ignore it. Continue reading “Colin Kaepernick And Our Collective Denial That Football Is (Already) Political”

Four Ways Patriarchy Became The Norm In My Romantic Life

I recently watched a video where trans men explained the idea of male privilege. In the video, they talked about how, after transitioning, they experienced a sense of freedom when walking down the street and moving in public spaces. They noticed that people stopped cutting them off when they spoke. In essence, they were shocked by the ways that their perceived manliness made people treat them like humans. Continue reading “Four Ways Patriarchy Became The Norm In My Romantic Life”

Black Girl Magic and the 2016 Olympics: The Water and Oil of Black Athleticism

Over the past two weeks, I have watched Black girl after Black girl medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics. Simone Biles has dominated gymnastics. Simone Manuel did the same in swimming. Michelle Carter won gold in shot put. And, while I felt immense pride watching each of them claim victory in their respective sports, I can’t lie and say that I wasn’t conflicted about it all. Continue reading “Black Girl Magic and the 2016 Olympics: The Water and Oil of Black Athleticism”

Cutting our hair won’t guarantee our “success” but ending white supremacy will

Changing our hair has never been enough to protect Black people from anything in this country. The mere notion is unfounded and problematic. But that hasn’t kept some especially respectable Negros from suggesting otherwise.

Last week, educator and television personality, Dr. Steve Perry, came under fire for suggesting that young Black people, specifically young Black men, cutting their dreads, braids, and “unkept frosh” might garner them greater professional and social success. Social media erupted in response.

These comments were made in relation to a recent camp Perry participated in with TV host and comedian Steve Harvey and the US Army that hosted approximately 200 Black boys in an effort to “support” them.

According to the press release on the camp,

A total of 220 fatherless male youths from across the country, aged 13-18, were invited to attend a mentoring camp experience at Camp Grace in Roberta, GA hosted by the Steve Harvey Mentoring Program for Young Men. During the program, the teens live among male role models and are exposed to educational and inspirational activities aimed to introduce them to adulthood and teambuilding, instill self-respect and respect for others, teach helpful life skills and introduce problem-solving techniques to conquer obstacles and empower their futures.”

 

Read the full article at Black Youth Project.

Black and Proud in Public: How Black Girls and Women Are Shamed For Being Dope

From proms to graduations, this time of the year is meant to be a celebratory period for high school and college students everywhere. But, when the valedictorian of Central High School in Tuscaloosa, Alabama posted her accomplishments on social media, she was met with both admiration and hatred. This is yet another example of the ways that Black women and girls are rarely praised for their outstanding accomplishments, making it almost impossible for them show even an ounce of pride for themselves in public spaces.

Mari Flier is a magical Black girl who is graduating at the top of her class with a 4.56 GPA and acceptances to at least three dozen colleges with almost $3 Mil in scholarship offers. She has every reason to be proud of herself. However, after she posted her accomplishments on social media, she was met with criticism from people who doubted that she was being truthful about her success. Some others thought she was just trying to floss on the Internet for her own vanity.

 

Read the full article at Black Youth Project.

Trump, Clinton, and A Tale Of Two Racisms

Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee for President, is working tirelessly to distance herself from her (former) friend, Republican nominee Donald Trump. Her method in doing so suggests that she is somehow critically different from him. But, young people of color don’t seem to be buying that claim. This begs the question: Why are her supporters struggling to understand this dissonance? Well, it’s likely because many of those in the Clinton camp have a problematic definition of racism and, to a larger extent, systematic oppression in general.

Far too often, it is assumed that racism and many other public forms of oppression are reserved for conservative, usually Republican, people in America. Mythological ideas about old southern racists grasping their confederate flags and antebellum nostalgia still emerge in the collective psyche when folks discuss explicitly racist manifestations of hatred in the United States. The problem with this conception is that it only focuses on one type of racism: the explicit kind. And, even then, it doesn’t acknowledge the ways that racism has transformed into colorblind systems of oppression which are usually embraced by younger, “liberal”, upwardly-mobile Whites, precisely the types who support Hillary Clinton.

This limited perception of racism leaves out the ways that many people in power (especially White, affluent, generationally wealthy people) maneuver through society without any intention of ending racial oppression. In this context, people of color who have voiced opposition to Clinton (and also Bernie Sanders), are repeatedly disregarded, overlooked, and effectively silenced as Clinton’s supporters ignore their political concerns as they espouse their own form of “egalitarian liberalism.”

 

Read the full article at Black Youth Project.

Who’s making the ‘Lemonade’? On bell hooks’ and Beyoncé’s Feminisms

I wasn’t going to get into the bell hooks versus Beyoncé fray over Lemonade and its myriad implications. I resisted the echo chamber hoping the frenzy would die down sooner rather than later. I told myself that there really was no point of debating the merits of either side since most of the dialogue has been forced into imaginary binaries like “old feminism” versus “new feminism”, intellectual versus artistic expression, academic versus non-academic, and the like. But, after seeing a Feministing article called “A Black Feminist Roundtable on bell hooks, Beyoncé, and “Moving Beyond Pain”,” I think it might be time we start thinking more critically about how we situate both women’s feminisms and who we foreground when critiquing them.

All of this started last week when foremother of Black Feminism bell hooks published a critique of Lemonade called “Moving Beyond Pain.” (Some would say this actually started when hooks called Beyoncé a “terrorist” because of her phenotypic imagery and effect on young Black girls but I am choosing to start with this recent issue).

In her critique, hooks offers both an anti-capitalist and anti-patriarchal analysis of the visual experience and lyrics Beyoncé offered us with Lemonade.

Read the full article at Black Youth Project.

‘Zootopia’: Disney’s Feeble Attempt At Discussing Racism Without Discussing Racism

Disney’s new film Zootopia has been universally praised by critics and watchers alike. Some have even called it an “instant classic.” The film features a slew of characters dealing with structural oppression and the politics of fear, but the title should clue you into the fact that they are all animals. And while that is a major problem for me, I was more concerned about the film’s handling of race, sexism and misogyny, police brutality, and a host of other very serious issues facing communities of color. It took the same preachy, white-washed, tone-deaf tenor that just isn’t going to dismantle any oppressive institution in the United States. Continue reading “‘Zootopia’: Disney’s Feeble Attempt At Discussing Racism Without Discussing Racism”

Let’s stop bothering Meagan Good about her clothes

Folks have been concerned about Meagan Good’s clothing choices for what feels like forever. A few years ago, she was in the news for wearing a revealing dress (that she looked absolutely stunning in) as a Christian woman and a reverend’s wife. The concern was that her attire didn’t match up with her faith. Now, video footage has emerged of yet another person who identifies as Christian maligning Good and telling her to “cover up.” Continue reading “Let’s stop bothering Meagan Good about her clothes”

Why Aren’t the ‘All Lives Matter’ People Outraged About Ethan Couch?

In December 2013, news broke that a young, well-to-do 16-year-old White male named Ethan Couch had been sentenced to probation after mowing down four people in a drunken stupor, killing them all and injuring two others. The claim: he suffered from something called “affluenza” – a problem which kept him from truly understanding the consequences of his actions because he had grown up never really having to answer for anything. Now, Couch is defying those orders and evading capture by police, and even the FBI and US Marshals.  Oddly though, there seems to be a deafening silence coming from all those people shouting “all lives matter” at the protestors and demonstrators all over this country who have been speaking out against the murders of innocent Black and Brown people. I wonder why… Continue reading “Why Aren’t the ‘All Lives Matter’ People Outraged About Ethan Couch?”