On ‘4:44’, maleness, and the performance of the public apology

This article was originally posted at WaterCoolerConvos and has been republished with permission

Recently, rapper Jay-Z released his thirteenth solo album 4:44. The album details his infidelity to his wife, mother of his three children, and perhaps the biggest superstar in the world, Beyoncé. He also covers his struggle with American capitalism and his reluctant growth beyond a young hustler to a mannish mogul.

Most people have fixated and heaped copious amounts of praise on Jay for his acknowledgement of his past wrongdoings. So grateful that he apologizes for being at various states of trash during parts of his marriage, many have been cheering on his “maturity” and vulnerability.

I’m not one of those people.

Wabano-Iahtail-Canada-indigenous

We need to pay attention to the Indigenous activism that is happening in Canada right now

Young activists and organizers in the United States are often criticized by opponents who suggest that these young people are only focused on their own liberation. But, the truth is: many young Black and Brown activists and organizers have a lens to the ways that our colonial history and the anti-Blackness we experience in the US each day is inherently tied to the mass genocides of Indigenous populations in the Americas. Canada is not immune from this history.

A recent press conference in Ottowa, Canada’s capital, between Indigenous activists and the Canadian press highlighted the ways that our concepts of historical oppression, accountability, and liberation must begin with the ongoing fight for freedom across Indigenous communities.

Why reproductive justice is essential to understanding gene editing

By Victoria Massie

Originally posted at the Center for Genetics and Society Blog.

On June 13, the Center for Genetics and Society, alongside Black Women for Wellness and In Our Own Voice National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda , will be hosting the webinar, “Gene Editing and the Future of Reproductive Justice .”

Featuring University of Pennsylvania Professor of Law and Sociology and CGS Advisory Board member Dorothy Roberts , Princeton University Professor of African-American Studies Ruha Benjamin , and UC Davis Professor of Law Lisa Ikemoto , the webinar will discuss how emerging biotechnologies like gene editing are reshaping our ideas about what kind of human beings we will let ourselves be in the future.

Philando Castile Flickr

The system isn’t failing us because it isn’t ours

One of the earliest lessons I learned as child was “you can’t win if you don’t try.” The logic showed me that the critical ingredient to success was actually doing something to be successful. Now, as I look at the repeated miscarriages of justice where it concerns slain and oppressed Black people in the United States, I don’t see the system as failing. It just isn’t trying and was never meant to address the grievances and harms committed against Black people.

I hate having to write that, just like I hate having to write about a 32-year-old Black man having his life taken because of anti-Blackness and systemic racism only to have his killer walk free.

Yet, here we are.

Hulu Handmaid's Tale

It’s even harder to watch ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ when you know Black women’s history

This article was originally published at Water Cooler Convos.

“I love you. Mommy loves you, Charlotte.”

I watched a character named “Ofwarren” speak those words to a rosey-cheeked baby before jumping from a bridge. She was attempting to end her own life. Ofwarren survived the plunge into the cold waters below. Yet, the image of a mother willing to die, and kill her own child, made the scene especially powerful.

Activist Marlon Peterson tells TED Talk audience ‘I am what garbage looks like’ [VIDEO]

“Am I not human?” This one of the questions Marlon Peterson, a human rights activist and writer, asked during his recent TED Talk.

Peterson connects his experiences coming from an immigrant community and family and the ways he was systematically criminalized in the United States. Following his arrest and incarceration, Peterson reflects on how his experience in the New York State prison system influenced his endeavors to reform the criminal justice system.

It’s time to stop trying to integrate ‘SNL’

This article has been cross-posted with permission.

Saturday Night Live is what happens when white people enjoy something that’s anti-Black, systematically bigoted, and generally exclusionary to non-whites. SNL producers thought that throwing in a few Black people who we hoped had home-training would fix it. Because that’s not how white supremacy works. It took me a while to put all that together though.

Donald Trump civil war

White people have long tried to obscure slavery as the cause of the Civil War. Donald Trump is no different.

In a recent interview with the Washington Examiner‘s Salena Zito, Donald Trump – the current President of the United States – asked, “What caused the Civil War?” This led many in the news media to highlight the sitting president’s apparent lack of knowledge about the historical context surrounding this country’s most deadly war. While it might be the most convenient answer that Trump just “doesn’t know” anything about this country’s history, I have reason to believe this whole farce of a president and the antics he continues to perpetuate run much deeper than simply not knowing any better.