Books You Can Read & 3 Documentaries You Can Watch Instead of Exposing Yourself to the Hegemonic Lies in the “Hidden Colors” Films

Rhoades to Reality:

Read this twice.

Originally posted on Decolonize ALL The Things:

Introduction

So I have been thinking about writing this post for a while & now I’m finally getting to it.  In light of a lot of people paying attention to the extrajudicial murders of Black men in the news (& all the Black women being murdered by both the police & Black men but I see the reactionary cishetpatriarchs are ignoring that) a lot of people are open to trying to find out more about their Blackness, our history, and understanding how we got to where we are today.  Unfortunately reactionary cishetpatriarchal Black men & Black women are taking advantage of these interests & are directing many to hegemony painted in Black.

So in light of these misinformation campaigns, I decided to list out key texts on understanding race, ethnicity,  & how white supremacist racism works as well as some ACTUAL documentaries that do a way better job at providing historically accurate…

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Celebrating Solidarity at Frederick Douglass’s House

Originally posted on Chocolate City Skeptics:

Chocolate City Skeptic's National Day of Solidarity for Black Nonbelievers Outing 2/22/15

February not only marks the celebration of Black History Month but the Annual National Day of Solidarity for Black Nonbelievers, an event founded by Donald Wright, author of The Only Prayer I’ll Ever Pray. The event was conceived as a day to encourage fellowship and solidarity for black non-believers, as well as to encourage community activism and social justice. It is fitting that during this time that we reflect on radical humanist and freethinkers of color who fought for the equality and justice. And so, to celebrate Chocolate City Skeptics decided to visit the estate of one of these figures who once called The District his home: Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass is one of the often celebrated black humanist/secular figures that you often see referenced in the atheist secular community.

We visited Douglass’s beautiful Cedar Hill home, in Anacostia, in the Southeastern part of the city. Douglass purchased this home…

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nivedita menon: feminism and the family – thoughts on international women’s day

Originally posted on blkcowrie ❀:

Excerpts from my forthcoming book Seeing Like a Feminist (Penguin India/Zubaan Books).

Have you heard of ‘nude make-up’?

This is what it is:

‘Nude makeup looks are all about your skin looking fresh and dewy, without looking like you’re even wearing any makeup. All you need is eyeliner, mascara, nude lipstick, and a highlighting blush that will give your skin a natural-looking glow.’[1]

The whole point of nude makeup clearly, is to spend hours painting your face in order to make it look like you never touched it at all.

The maintaining of social order is rather like that. It requires the faithful performance of prescribed rituals over and over again throughout one’s lifetime. Complex networks of cultural reproduction are dedicated to this sole purpose. But the ultimate goal of all this unceasing activity is to produce the effect of untouched naturalness.

When one ‘sees’ the world like a…

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These never-before-seen portraits of former enslaved blacks will move you

Originally posted on theGrio:

January 31st marked the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery.

To commemorate the occasion new photos have been released showing some of the men and women who lived through that era – and were finally granted their freedom.

The portraits focused on a group of 500 people and were taken in the late 1930s, as part of the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP), 70 years after abolition.

The set was eventually published in 1941 and called Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slaveryin the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves. All total, there were 17 volumes. While the pictures give an honest glimpse into an important part of our past – historians agree the stories in the collection are biased since they were conducted by white interviewers.

Slavery historian John Blassingame publicly said that the collection can present “a simplistic and distorted view of the plantation” that is too positive. But…

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On Division and Solidarity

Discussions about solidarity and division in the secular community are nothing new. There are people in the larger movement that feel that only strict matters related to church and state separation or science advocacy, secular hallmarks, should be central. Feminists and those interested in addressing homophobia, transphobia, racism, xenophobia, are termed as “Social Justice Warriors”. A term that is meant to be derogatory and dismissive, as though those concerns are not “real”. When we offer critiques on the larger movement, we are seen as divisive.It is funny that within the secular movement that even organizations and leaders who claim to be humanist would regard our calls for inclusion, for compassion, and for even the very recognition of the value of lives who are not afforded the same type of regard extended to white cis-hetero bodies as divisive. What kind of humanism is that? None that I recognize.

Thankfully this hasn’t deterred brilliant leaders, bloggers, and activists like Sikivu Hutchinson, Greta Christina, Kimberly Veal, Heina Dadabhoy, Rebecca Watson, Surly Amy, and others from speaking out and confronting many of the contradictions of the professed humanism of the secular “elite”. I have taken the same position that many of them have taken regarding these “divisions”: they exist for a reason and they are necessary. Not all divisions are petty or small. And those divisions which concern deeply held principles, should not be disregarded for the sake of petty solidarity.

Petty solidarity is simply falling in line, never challenging the status quo, not speaking out when you or when you see others dehumanized. Petty solidarity demands SILENCE. Petty solidarity makes one complicit in VIOLENCE. Petty solidarity never seeks out root causes. Petty solidarity loves it’s empty slogans.

Some divisions exist for good reasons.

Not all “solidarity”, not all “allyship” is productive. Not all “solidarity” or “allyship” lives up to true humanistic ideals.

We can see examples of this throughout history in the struggle for abolition, civil rights, and gender equality. We can see where on the surface those fighting for their humanity and their so-called “allies” appeared to have similar goals but beneath the surface we see how phony and how the beliefs, actions, or inaction of so called allies undermined the overarching goal of achieving full recognition as a human being. Within the abolition movement, for example, there were white abolitionists who fought against the institution of slavery but ultimately did not believe that black people (or any people of color) were in fact equals and deserving of full human and civil rights. The video below illustrates this fact using the example of Tobias Lear:

This video, which is obviously intended to be humorous, is truthful in its depiction of the problem of the popular depictions of white abolitionists as universally heroic and humanistic in their motives. Even while abolitionists like John Brown, and his raid on Harper’s Ferry, are usually regarded with disdain. As Frederick Douglass himself noted, discussion of this incident and various insurrections (if they are ever mentioned) usually focuses on his violence towards the “peaceful” white populace, ignoring the violence that the participants were attempting to end.

Differences existed between Frederick Douglass and other prominent black leaders such as Henry Highland Garnet. Douglass regarded Garnet, who by the way was the first African American to speak before Congress, as “too radical”. Though, I wish he might have heeded, as we all should, some the wisdom of Henry Highland Garnet who once said, ” Eternal justice holds a heavy mortgage against us and will require the payment of the last farthing.” Perhaps, if he and others had heeded those words, the work of Reconstruction, The Civil Rights Movement, and other movements might not have been left unfinished and people of color, in particular, would not be as we find ourselves today.

Frederick Douglass was also a supporter of women’s sufferage even found himself contending with white supremacists within that movement just as Ida B. Wells and black suffragists did. He specifically spoke out against these elements and named Frances Willard, a women’s suffragist, who like many whites in that movement, defended mass lynchings and violence towards black men as necessary for the preservation of white womanhood.

Should Douglass or Ida B. Wells have remained silent? Should they have allowed women like Frances Willard to say those horribly racist things and simply continued raising the banner for women’s suffrage? Should Ida B. Wells have been content marching behind the white delegations just so that she could be in solidarity with the overall goal of women’s suffrage? Surely not.

Even within the activist movements of the Reconstruction Period and the 1960’s there were divisions among black men and women regarding “the place” of women in that movement. Some black men in those movements felt that black women’s clubs and black women leaders like Daisy Bates undermined their black masculinity, something they felt these movements would redeem. What was missed by them and remains missed by many is that the focus on this narratives erased the struggles of black women. Black women were not seen as having suffered as much due to racism because they were able to find works as domestics at times when black men were deliberately excluded from the work force. But black women didn’t exactly have it made, as salve nor as domestics. In addition to sexual harassment and sexual violence black women faced the were also vulnerable to wage discrimination and other unfair and now illegal practices. We still are to a  certain extent.These narratives have also excluded how racism and sexism made black women vulnerable to domestic and sexual violence within their own communities as well.

Similar divisions continue to plague the mainstream feminism movement, as women of color, poor women, and women in the developing world struggle to have their voices heard in a movement where the lives of white upper middle class women are centered. A movement where some of these white privileged women tell the rest of us to “lean in” while ignoring the systemic discrimination that keeps us out.

None of these issues are trivial. None of these divisions are meaningless.

And so too, when we look at the state of the secular community with it’s divisions, we should keep in mind that some divisions, some stands, are necessary. We cannot be expected to trade our humanity and dignity for separation of church and state, atheist memorials, and meaningless rallies where we gloat over how smart we all are for coming to non-belief. Some of us need and desire more. Some of us want to challenge dogmas beyond what deity may lurk in the cosmos. Some of us don’t want to dehumanize the faithful. Some of us don’t want to blame faith for “crippling” communities of color without acknowledging the more significant impact of white supremacy and institutional discrimination. We don’t want to be Charlie Hebdo, because while we value free speech and freedom of the press, we recognize that speech can also contribute to violence and that speech can also dehumanize. We recognize that satire can also contribute to the oppression of others. And, yes, we love science and reason but we know that they aren’t enough. We know that they are tools. They are tools that can build better futures or destroy lives, humanity of others, and even the planet itself. And because we know these things we are comfortable with division. Because sometimes divisions matter.

So what is solidarity?

It is putting aside your privilege to stand in defense of others like Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, who lost their lives along with James Chaney in their efforts to fight for the right of black people to be represented. Solidarity is not affirming that #AllLivesMatter when black and brown ones are ended by state violence or banished by disproportionate incarceration. It isn’t engaging in narratives that claim that the “moral arc” that Martin Luther King said “bends towards justice” is somehow pulled by “science and reason” (as is claimed by Michael Shermer*), without at the very least acknowledging that both have pulled that arc in the opposite direction as well. It means we do not simply defer to power or the privileged. And we don’t just give them credit because they utter nice things about diversity, or even because they allow a small number of minorities to have a voice in their movement. It isn’t being able to point at a single black friend (who probably has never been to your house). And as beautiful and as touching as some moments of altruism can be, that time you did a favor for a black person doesn’t count either. Solidarity is recognizing the humanity and the needs of your fellow human being EVEN WHEN IT IS NOT CONVENIENT FOR YOU TO DO SO, and responding. And it means that we challenge one another to be and to do better. That, is what solidarity is.

*Michael Shermer wrote a book, The Moral Arc, that makes the grand claim that reason and science are the forces that are driving humanity towards a better morality.

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Abortion 101

Originally posted on FtBConscience:

For such a contentious issue, exactly how abortions are performed is still shrouded in mystery to the general public. This has the unfortunate consequence of allowing misinformation to spread. This presentation aims to give a basic overview of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and medicine abortions and the myths surrounding each. CONTENT WARNING for depictions of fetal remains.

Presenter: Niki Massey

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Why I am not Charlie

Rhoades to Reality:

This is the best statement I have seen on this so far.

Originally posted on a paper bird:

imagesThere is no “but” about what happened at Charlie Hebdo yesterday. Some people published some cartoons, and some other people killed them for it.  Words and pictures can be beautiful or vile, pleasing or enraging, inspiring or offensive; but they exist on a different plane from physical violence, whether you want to call that plane spirit or imagination or culture, and to meet them with violence is an offense against the spirit and imagination and culture that distinguish humans. Nothing mitigates this monstrosity. There will be time to analyze why the killers did it, time to parse their backgrounds, their ideologies, their beliefs, time for sociologists and psychologists to add to understanding. There will be explanations, and the explanations will be important, but explanations aren’t the same as excuses. Words don’t kill, they must not be met by killing, and they will not make the killers’ culpability go away.

To abhor what was done to the victims, though, is not…

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How to win friends and influence people in the mainstream secular community as a person of color

This is a list I have compiled based on observations of some of the so-called black leaders in the atheist/secular communities:

1. Allow yourself to be tokenized. Don’t let the fact that you are the only or one of 2 faces of color represented in the leadership or speaker’s list of [insert name of conference here] after years of discussions on the lack of diversity in the atheist community bother you. Remember: You are special (Even if all you can do is bash the religious and social institutions of the community you claim to represent with little to no meaningful critique of white supremacy or patriarchy.).

2. Do cover for organizations that make little to no meaningful efforts to improve diversity or address intersectionality. Tell people that the lack of inclusion is accidental or that the problem is that minorities don’t seek after mainstream organizations (and not the other way around). Say that you have to give them credit for trying despite the lack of measurable progress.

3. Do make sure to fill your presentations that invoke racist dichotomies and stereotypes. Be sure to say things like “the black community does rely heavily on dogma, superstition, and religion”, refer to black leaders as “chitlin circuit” personalities, be sure to characterize black Christians as violent and hostile, etc. You can make passing references to the long-term effects of racism but make sure to emphasize that black people are uncritical, frivolous, and superstitious and in desperate need of salvation via non-belief.

4. Engage in a lot of self-promotion. Don’t highlight other organizations or leaders in the community. Don’t partner with other groups to make progress towards addressing problems faced by communities of color.

5. Do not speak out against racism or injustice in general. AND don’t attempt to use your influence to convince atheist/humanist organizations, even those whose boards you sit on, to commit to agendas that are pro-social justice even when those agendas intersect with mainstream secular issues like science education.

6. Do throw parties and rallies. And only parties and rallies.

7. Do castigate religious (especially black religious) organizations for their lack of transparency, while making little to no effort towards transparency yourself. Do have programs that collect money annually but post no annual reports or demonstrate how the funds are utilized.

8. Do inflate your membership numbers  and rally attendance. 

9. Never criticize or correct the mainstream movement, it’s leadership, or anyone who makes statements that are racist or insensitive. It’s not that people are intentionally racist or forwarding agendas that are white supremacist by nature, it’s all in your mind. It’s simply your perception. Stop being offended so we can all have fun, ok? Cause being offended is a choice. The offender bears no responsibility.*

10. Do repeat all the trite slogans like “good without god”.

* These are sarcastic paraphrases of things I’ve actually heard people say in this community. 

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Moving Social Justice with People of Color Beyond Faith

Originally posted on Chocolate City Skeptics:

pocbf

“There is no such thing as a single issue struggle because we do not live single issue lives.”
– Audre Lorde

The weekend of October 11th and 12th marked the first Moving Social Justice Conference presented by People of Color Beyond Faith, a project of Black Skeptics Group. The goal of the conference wasto address issues of social justice from a radical humanist perspective and brought together organizers, activists, community leaders, and thinkers from different walks of life to discuss topics ranging from feminism to the school to prison pipeline. So it was a real departure from the general topics addressed by mainstream secular/ humanists groups that narrowly focus on issues of visibility, anti-theism, and science education. This conference embodied, as Debbie Goddard stated during the conference, that “intersectionality is our lives”. And for those of us who stand at the various intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality those…

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When tofu-dashikiists attack

I recently got 6 comments from a misogynistic black nationalist scumbag, who was attempting to “put me in my place” or “tell me a thing or two” in response primarily to my criticism of Umar Johnson and his plans to develop a residential academy for boys. But Kwame, the scumbag, illustrates exactly what I have said about black patriarchy and racialized misogyny, particularly among many so-called Afrocentrics. In a previous blog I wrote about the similarities between reactionary black nationalists and white supremacists. Among many of the similarities is the way that they both view black women. Because white women are the standard of femininity per white supremacy, black women are not regarded as feminine from the outset. Black women are viewed by white supremacy as masculine because they do not meet the racist standards of western beauty. Black women were also never fully viewed as feminine because of work. Black women as slaves had to work rather than maintain homes and children, leading of various stereotypes of emasculating black women- as work outside the home is viewed as a masculine role. A lot of resentment and tension around black women pursuing higher education, working outside of the home, using public assistance to provide for their families (something men are supposed to do per patriarchy), remains to this day, even when it is evident that racist policies limit the economic opportunities of black people- that impair the economic success of black men. But for these men it isn’t just success that they long to achieve but dominance. They want to dominate their homes and families like the white supremacist patriarchs whose power they covet. Sharing in a similar type of nostalgia to that of their white supremacist counterparts, black nationalists believe in an idealized “Afrikan” past where women served men and “knew their place”. This is why typical so-called Afrocentrics regard black women as race traitors for not submitting to patriarchal authority. They typically will accuse black women who question their agenda as “having the white man’s mind” simply for not being gullible enough to believe everything that they say as gospel. It is clear when I see comments like this:

Comment 2Here is the text re-written below for those that have trouble viewing the image with my comments in red.

“Don’t call yourself part with me [I am pretty sure I covered that when I said, “All skinfolk ain’t kinfolk.”], you trying to stop a brother from opening a school for Black men [I’m pretty sure I didn’t try to stop him, I’m pretty sure I just offered my opinion on why Umar Johnson opening a school was a bad idea.], because they are against, this unnatural bullshit [Except that homosexuality is not, in fact, unnatural.], and they won’t educate our kids to be like you, a cog in the white mans wheel [yawn], I’ll bet you either lesbian or married to a white-man [Actually, neither. Not that being in either category would be a bad thing.], and if you are, stat the fuck outta our business, this is why men are mysoginst, because when you women get educated, you always take on your masters mind [1. it is spelled Misogyny 2. That is not why you are a misogynist. You are a misogynist because you hate women.], and bring this garbage to us, you make me began to hate all you under 40 black feminazis [Because fighting for gender equality is the same as marching on Poland.]

brothers, we need to learn another language [Or you could try mastering English first.], and become a new people, and separate ourselves, not only from these amerikkkan loving, ex-women [See what I mean about Afrocentrics and White Supremacists and how they view black women?] , we’ll call ourselves whatever, and these things, can remain afri-can amerikkkan, or whatever they call themselves, we are not the same, It us e like the Arab or the Jew, and separate ourselves, these women are now foreigners, Philistines, they are less than human to us, the enemy in campment, a roach even.”

 

Notice the dehumanizing language. There can be no true equality found among typical so-called Afrocentrics. They don’t want freedom and equality, they just want to exchange places with white supremacist patriarchs with the power to oppress others. This is clear in the way that Afrocentrics narrowly define manhood, womanhood, and blackness. This is why ideologies such as those expressed by people like Umar Johnson, Tariq Nasheed, and other are so toxic. These men cannot free us!!!! They cannot help us. And they cannot help our community because they are not interested in uplifting all of  us. And their ideology encourages abusive and even violent behavior even if they themselves do not do so explicitly. I am sad to say these are the kind of men that some folks think should be educating black children. I think not.

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