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Monday, October 10, 2016

Hey Scholars!

Around the nation, college students are protesting the racial and sexual injustices they are facing on their college campuses. On Wednesday October 5th, 2016, the Black Student Association at the University of Memphis, staged a protest in response to a situation that took place within the last couple of weeks on campus:

A University of Memphis student found her car keyed and a racist note on her windshield on the morning of Sept. 23 in the parking lot off Central Avenue, opposite Carpenter Complex.

Written on the note were a racial slur against African-Americans, “You dumb n*****s,” and the words, “F**k North Carolina,” said sophomore track and field student, Nicole Lawson.

Read the full article here

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Projection of Images in the Media

As I sit here and watch bell hooks' Cultural Criticism and Transformation and listen to her caution audiences on being aware and critical of images Hollywood projects on us through film, tv, and music videos, I am processing the murders of Tyree King, Terrence Crutcher, and Keith Lamont Scott. I am thinking of how this projection works in news media outlets as well. When a black man is killed, the media demonstrates all the ways he was a bad man and deserving of his fate. When a white man rapes, media tells us about the many ways he can go on and become a great man, undeserving of punishment. 
#Representationmatters #Blacklivesmatters

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

If Only

If only injustices enraged you as much as someone refusing to pledge allegiance to a flag enrages you. If only it mattered to you that human lives are not valued they way animals lives are valued. If only people's stolen lives and names are not celebrated through trending hashtags the way a television show's premiere trends. If only the heritage of group mattered the way people scream the Confederate flag's heritage matters to them. If only black lives mattered to you like the first and second amendments matters to you. If only you loved blackness the way you love red, white, and blue. If only you could speak out against injustice of your fellow man the way you speak up for patriotism. If only tomorrow or the next day, or the next, I didn't have to see another video of another life taken away. #BlackLivesMatter

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Super Delicious, Creamy Dreamsicle Juice

Hey Scholars!

For the past year, I have been transitioning from vegetarianism to veganism. It has been a year since I have eaten chicken and fish, however, I have been consuming dairy this summer. I understand that this is a process, so I am not beating myself up too badly. I will say that I am reevaluating my lifestyle and am making conscious decisions to consume only a vegan diet. I am also thinking of being a fullyraw vegan, at least most of the time. 

Last week, I had a stomach virus. It was hard to eat anything, so to be gentle with my stomach and intake nutrients, I decided to make a juice that would be easy on my stomach and help me replenish the nutrients I lost while sick. One of my favorite juices is a Dreamsicle juice. This juice is creamy, smooth, and so flavorful. It is really simple to make. All you need are five ingredients: carrots, oranges, coconut water, pink lady apples, and vanilla extract. You will also need a juicer or a blender as this recipe is great for a smoothie as well. 

Regardless of your dietary choices, it is important to consume colorful foods for your overall health. I posted a previous blog about colorful foods and what they do for your health. Find it here.


For this juice I used:

1 Bag of Carrots (It has roughly eight carrots in it.)
5 Pink Lady Apples (You can also use Fiji or any red apple)
8 Navel Oranges (Tangelos also work)
2 Cups of Coconut Water (Whichever brand you prefer)
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (A little goes a long way, but if you love vanilla you may add more; you can also use a sliver of vanilla bean)

Prep your ingredients by cutting your apples, washing your carrots, measuring your coconut water and vanilla extract, and peeling and cutting your oranges.  

Feed everything into your juicer or blender. For my juice, I take and strain it into a large glass bowl and then pour it into a glass jar and sip from a glass straw.  If blending, make sure to blend until it is smooth. 


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Appropriation and the Power Behind Racism

Hey scholars! 

I came across the photo below on some social media platform. What interests me about is how wrong the caption/text is. 

Since we're on the topic of appropriation, I think someone needs to look up the definition. If the Simpsons were black characters, white people dressing up as them would not be considered racist unless they painted their faces black. 

Also, people use the terms racist/racism too loosely. The fundamental definition of racism is to systematically benefit from advantages based on race. We do not have the power to benefit from such a system. While anyone can be prejudice, black people cannot be racist. 


Friday, July 1, 2016

Let's Get Physical: The Commodification of Black Women's Bodies

Hey scholars! 

Usually when I see shit like this, I ignore it, this time I will not. Why? Why white women? Why do you feel the need to post stuff like this? When we, black women, see images and captions like this, we immediately question your state of mind, not perceived inadequacies in us. Why do you think that we that we are jealous of you? I could drag this photo, but I will refrain from doing so. Instead, I will not take a learning opportunity from you. I find it rather insulting that many of you think that we covet features you enhance, the same kinds of features we are naturally born with and have been degraded for, for centuries.

bell hooks wrote an essay entitled, “Eating the Other: Desire and Resistance,” in Black Looks: Race and Representation. In this essay she states, “cultural, ethnic, and racial differences will be continually commodified and offered up as new dishes to enhance the white palate” (39). The other is ‘eaten’ as whites consume aspects of the other’s culture such as music, language, and even the body. For example, let me take you back to 19th century Great Britain where a young South African woman was forced by white men on display for public consumption. Why? This woman, Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman also known as the Hottentot Venus, had physical features common among Khoikhoi women where their labia, buttocks and thighs are a bit more prominent than other women. This right here points out another issue. In the dictionary, the Greek term used for African women with excessive fatty tissue in these areas is “steatopygia”- a disease. For white women with normal waistlines and flat buttocks, the Greek term, “callipygian,” is utilized. History tells us that in order to be considered beautiful, one has to have flat rear ends, a characteristic according to dictionaries, only white women have. However, these terms are outdated now seeing as how many women are enhancing their asses though various means such as silicon or fat injections or by exercising.   

In life and in death, Saartjie’s body was highly eroticized and fetishized by white audiences. She was taken from her homeland of South Africa and paraded around and exhibited in Great Britain as a freak show due to her voluminous rear end and elongated genitalia. She was sold to a French animal trainer who also put her on exhibit for the public consumption of French audiences. After death, her pickled brain and genitalia were placed on display at the Musée de l’Homme in Paris until 1974. Suzan Lori-Parks’ 1996 play entitled “Venus” explores how whites have associated black women’s bodies with food. At one point in the play, Venus is given chocolates by her lover who as she eats them, he watches and masturbates. She questions if he thinks her body reminds him of the chocolate.

This association of black women’s bodies as food can be seen in recent examples of public consumption of black women’s bodies. In 2012, Sweden’s Minister of Culture, Lena Adelsohn Litjeroth celebrated World Art Day by cutting and eating a cake of a naked black woman that clearly looks like a minstrel caricature. Responding to the racist backlash, the artist stated that this piece of “art” was to bring awareness to female circumcision. One cannot help but to see the blatant racism in this so-called art as white people stand around, take photos of the cake and then consume it. 

After centuries of degradation for our figures, white women feel the need to gloat about their physical features, real and imagined, telling us we are jealous. Trust and believe, we are not pressed. If anything our anger comes from reducing us to our body parts when we are so much more than that. This is not to say we cannot be proud of and celebrate our bodies, we do, but we know that our value cannot be measured by waistlines, bra size, hip dimensions, or thigh thickness. So to all you pressed ass Becky’s with “good hair” (wigs, weaves, and otherwise), try again.  

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Books: Too Heavy a Load and Storming Caesar's Palace

In Too Heavy a Load, Deborah Gray White profiles a group of black women who seek to establish a set of moral standards for other black women in the spirit of racial uplift. She notes, “chastity became the litmus test of middle-class respectability…Middle-class status in black society was associated was much with ‘style of life’ as with income” (30). In other words, gender performance was also class performance, targeting white audiences. For clubwomen, defending their womanhood is an assertion that black women are just as feminine and worthy of respect as white women. While attempting to climb social, economic, and cultural ladders, black clubwomen left many behind, feeling that some black women did not measure up to middle-class standards of cultural refinements. Some rural blacks rebuked the “high falutin’” ways of clubwomen. For example, hair straightening techniques were rejected for preferred multicolored headwraps. This form of resistance is a demonstration of gender, race, and class performativity. Whether images of New Negroes or iconic blues women, young black women were offered various examples of how to (re)present their gender, race, class, and sexuality.    

Annelise Orleck’s Storming Caesar’s Palace, is a story of poor women who became anti-poverty activists. In the 1950s, these southern women left sharecropping behind to become domestic laborers (maids and cooks) in hotels in Las Vegas. While there, a number of the women joined labor unions, providing them with their first experiences with political activism and interracial solidarity. During the 60s, issues concerning layoffs, health, and childcare, resulted in them applying for public assistance and forming a welfare organization. By 1971, their grassroots organizing received national attention following their opposition to drastic welfare cute through a march to the lavish Caesar’s Palace. The march included poor women and their children, peace activists, civil rights leaders, clergy, and celebrities. Eventually, forming Operation Life, these women lobbied politicians and wrote grant proposals to get Nevada to support federal programs like food stamps and WIC as well as attempts to get President Carter to create jobs that addressed concerns of gender segregation in the workforce and lack of childcare for poor mothers. For the mothers, they no longer saw themselves as “clients” rather they saw themselves become “catalysts of change” (167).

            While reading Too Heavy a Load, a couple of books exploring race and gender at the turn of the 20th century came to mind. White reveals that black clubwomen embraced Victorian gender and performance. Responding to this is Glenda Gilmore’s Gender and Jim Crow, which discusses how whites used white supremacy to sexually oppress black people. Entering this conversation is Eileen Suarez Findlay with her work, Imposing Decency, which explores the relationship between political change and discourse on sexuality in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Each of these historians engage in a discourse around racial uplift that links progress with adopting white cultural norms and values. Implied in this assimilation are performances of womanhood related to race and class decorum. During my reading of Storming Caesar’s Palace and thinking of the welfare rights movement, Premilla Nadasen’s Welfare Warriors immediately came to mind. Welfare Warriors examines the racial politics of welfare from the 1950s to the 1970s, during a time when welfare became synonymous with black motherhood. Nadasen explores the grassroots movement and activism of black women in cities across the nation, demonstrating that the welfare rights movement was integral to the Black Freedom Movement and other Black Power organizations.