When I, a Black person, was told I didn’t know enough about another culture to have opinions on slavery

Last week, something Trumpian must have sparked a race between major publications to put out the most fucked up writings on the topic of slavery.

On Tuesday, The New York Times compared Saartje Baartman–an enslaved Black woman who, in addition to the many other horrors she suffered both before and after her death, was forced to perform in freak shows due to her curvaceousness–to Kim Kardashian. Not to be outdone, The Atlantic’s June cover story, “My Family’s Slave”, written by the late Pulitzer Prize winner Alex Tizon, ignited an even bigger controversy with the tale of an abused Filipino maid, Eudocia “Lola” Tomas Pulida, who spent 56 years taking care of Tizon and his family without pay.

Reading came first: how I journeyed from hotep to Black queer feminist

By Myles E. Johnson

“Solitude can be a must-be-desired condition. In silence, we listen to ourselves, and in the quietude we may even hear the voice of God.” – Maya Angelou

The search, as it were, began in wanting to deep-dive into something that was about me, and it began early. I wanted a nappy-headed God. I wanted a history dipped in tar, baby, and I wanted to know about political leaders with Jackson 5 nostrils. This history was not being served to me anywhere, so I reimagined my middle-school classes as spaces for me to find this new world where I was the sun, where I was centered. While my teacher taught the day’s arithmetic, I was slowly, quietly being radicalized by the contents of books. With each page turn, a bomb exploded, and a window was being opened, and nobody was any the wiser.

The authors that I discovered–including Alex Haley, Frederick Douglass, and WEB Dubois–are part of what guided my 13 year-old brain into the place it is currently, and where it is developing into. However, I had a desire for something that made sense of the world I was occupying the way religion does for a new initiate.

I’ll still complain about politics even when I don’t vote – fight me.

I am a non-voter who has the audacity to still be upset that my people are dying. I have been told innumerable times that I am not supposed to be allowed this. “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain” is perhaps the most common non-voter shaming refrain I’ve heard, right up there with “your ancestors died for the right to vote.”

But I am not generally one to accept what society allows me to do as gospel.

I learned this from those very same ancestors, who, as even non-voter shamers acknowledge, lost their lives so that I could do what they weren’t allowed. Some say their deaths were only for my right to vote, but I know they died to get closer to freedom. I know they died also to be able to refuse the vote if it does not work towards that freedom. I know that my people are still dying–still died even when I did vote–and, if anything, my ancestors lost their lives so that I would never let anything get in the way of raising hell about it.

Black people not voting is logical, and vote pushers are usually anti-Black

For most of my schooling, I was treated as somewhat of a golden child. As an advanced placement student in a majority Black district, where most of the other Black kids weren’t surpassing their white peers scholastically like I was, the fact that I seemed destined to follow in the footsteps of my ivy-league older siblings did not go unnoticed by the approving adults in my life.

Not only did my “achievements” translate materially in the form of scholarship money, I received an enviable range of post-graduate opportunities, as well as positions of authority offered to me while still in school. I was also told flat-out many times and in various ways how different I was from the average Black student. It was never an insult. The average Black student was not someone to desire being in community with, apparently. My differences were always pointed out as if not being like them other niggas was the biggest compliment I could ever receive.

Why I don’t want another Black president

In less than a month, the first Black president of the United States will complete his final term. Undoubtedly, these past eight years under President Barack Obama provided a very powerful sense of representation to Black people who have survived over four centuries of violent dispossession largely in society’s shadows. With Obama occupying the highest office in the land, Black folks were able to forge important symbols of Black love, Black family, Black resilience, and Black success from which no one in the world could turn away—until now. Under the coming President Trump, Black communities will certainly be pushed farther into the dark once again.

Mall Of America To Welcome First Black Santa

For many of us, mall Santas are as much a part of the holiday season as anything else. But it would lead to a lot of difficult questions for our families when your house would be full of dark skinned St. Nicholas depictions but the one you’d take pictures with every year looked nothing like them.

Well, the Mall of America, the largest shopping mall in the United States, has hired its first black Santa Claus and changing the way little children think of the man in red. 

When white women and white gay men unite in victimhood

Last Thursday, 42-year-old Bayna-Lehkiem El-Amin was sentenced to nine years in prison plus three more under supervision for his role in an altercation in 2015. His case is a cautionary tale about just how well white gay men and white women have cultivated progressive language around gender and sexuality to mask the violence of their whiteness.

This Is What Can Happen When Data Meets The Movement For Black Lives

On July 5, the number on The Guardian’s police killings ticker The Counted went up. On July 6, it went up again. The Guardian, like many other news outlets, with genuine intentions has made the effort to look at the numerous surveys, polls, and research behind racial disparities in policing in the country. My question is: who does the data usually benefit? Even more importantly: what is being done about it?