african-americans

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"WHAAAT?! WHITE PEOPLE DO NOT APPROPRIATE OTHER CULTURES THAT’S CRAZY. REVERSE RACISM REVERSE RACISM! AND EVEN IF THEY DID THIS IS A FREE COUNTRY I CAN WEAR WHATEVER. THAT DOESN’T MAKE ME DISRESPECTFUL! SO WHAT. AHAJJABGAnigganigganiggaHABBALAYGEVBWB! I HAVE LOTS OF DIFFERENT COLORED FRIENDS! FUK U BRO! I CAN DO WHATEVERTR."

White privilege is just a play-word so they don’t have to say racism/white supremacy, which supports privilege. White supremacy is what supports the privilege. White supremacy means power. So, to talk about privilege, without talking about white supremacy is like playing games.
—  Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, African-American psychiatrist
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Now I’m not telling you to tell your son to go out with his hair matted to the side of his head or dirty, and not all black people do this but too often I hear black people tell young black boys that they got to “cut that nappy shit” or “aint no way we’re going to let you grow your hair”. They’re shamed for letting their hair grow and their parents are uncomfortable with it. It just goes along with Black people and our negative views about our own hair.

I work in the education system and I notice that young White, Asian, and Latin boys are allowed to rock a variety of short-mid length hairstyles. They are not just limited to the “low cut”. It seems that when Black boys try to do it they not only get made fun of as it being “nappy, ugly, peazy” but it’s reinforced by their parents.

We as a people think that when our hair grows out of our head it is unpresentable and we pass it down to our children. The only way a Black boy is presentable is when his hair is “clean-cut”. It’s a mindset that needs to change. We have to promote our own images.
Post Made by @Solar_innerg

‪#‎sancophaleague‬

Black children need culturally based education that centralizes and roots them. They are not dropping out, misbehaving, and losing interest in school because they are stupid. They have lost interest because they do not see the cultural relevance of the information. The manner in which Black children are socialized in American schools is not functional, and the vestiges of structural racism ingrained in these institutions is having a mental, emotional, academic, and physical impact on these children.
—  Genevieve Mitchell, Africa…Messages to Black Women
"I want to set forth this proposition, which will be easier to reject than refute: Black people will never gain full equality in this country. Even those herculean efforts we hail as successful will produce no more than temporary ‘peaks of progress,’ short-lived victories that slide into irrelevance as racial patterns adapt in ways that maintain white dominance. This is a hard-to-accept fact that all history verifies. We must acknowledge it, not as a sign of submission, but as an act of ultimate defiance.”

—-Derrick Bell, “Faces at the Bottom of the Well”, p.12, 1992
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Derrick Albert Bell, Jr. (November 6, 1930 – October 5, 2011) was the first tenured African-American Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and is largely credited as one of the originators of critical race theory (CRT). He was a Visiting Professor at New York University School of Law from 1991 until his death. He was also a former Dean of the University of Oregon School of Law.

I’ve been posting alot lately about the important role the internet plays in African-Americans having the ability to create and publish their own content.  If you look above, you’ll see that what appears to be a diverse selection of television channels is actually only a network of channels owned by the same few corporations.  If the owner of a network does not want a certain television show aired, it wont get aired.  

The reasons for certain shows not getting aired can vary greatly, but when it comes to the types of Black television shows that get played, many African Americans are left asking questions.  In 2008, VH1 was set to air a show titled Interracial Love. The show, created by Tobias White, the white father of two interracial children, would feature professional, respectable, Black women who look beyond race to find true love.  According to the employee, network execs rejected the show because the depiction of the Black women would be in opposition to those shown on such popular (yet controversial) shows as Flavor of Love and its spawns, I Love New York and Flavor of Love: Charm School. In a letter written to Black Press Radio, a VH1 employee shared what she was told happened during the production meeting. According to the employee, an executive stated: "It is our thoughts that the viewers are more interested in seeing Black people in a ‘ghetto’ role. This show will not sell." 

Who is telling our stories for us?

Well the answer to this question lies in the percentage of African-Americans who are actually directors and producers (you know, the people who in the end decide to force Black actresses to compete for limited roles and decide which direction the show will go in) .  When you look at the percentage of television producers who create “Black” television shows, the overwhelming majority of them are White.  When you look even closer at the percentage of White producers and directors who are also Jewish, you see that they make up an even larger percentage than those who are non-Jewish.  

I point this out for two reasons.  The first is that it is evident that diversity is not only measured by the diversity of the actors on the screen, but also by the diversity of the directors and producers.  The second is that if African-Americans are not able to create their own content and context, we are left with the same old stereotypical, fake Black media that BET has become so notorious for.  The television show Love and Hip Hop comes to mind.  I’ve listed below the producers for Love and Hip Hop.  The majority are white and Jewish.  We are not creating our own content on television.

Mona Scott-Young…executive producer (48 episodes, 2011-2014)Stefan Springman…executive producer (48 episodes, 2011-2014)Toby Barraud…executive producer (40 episodes, 2011-2014)Jeff Olde…executive producer (36 episodes, 2011-2014)Christian McLaughlin…executive producer: VH1 (26 episodes, 2011-2014)Stephanie Gayle…supervising producer / co-executive producer (26 episodes, 2011-2013)Lauren Veteri…story producer (20 episodes, 2011-2013)Jonelle J. Fenton…line producer (14 episodes, 2011-2012)Erin Mae Miller…associate producer (14 episodes, 2011-2012)David DiGangi…supervising post producer (12 episodes, 2013)Adrienne Jacobs…associate producer (12 episodes, 2013)Brian Jones…associate producer (12 episodes, 2013)Steve Unckles…post producer (12 episodes, 2013)Ian Gelfand…co-executive producer (11 episodes, 2013-2014)Kenny Hull…executive producer (9 episodes, 2011)Kate Barry…line producer (9 episodes, 2013)Timothy McConville…post producer (8 episodes, 2011)Jay Sinrod…line producer (8 episodes, 2011)Christopher Stout…co-executive producer (8 episodes, 2013)Amita Patel…post producer (7 episodes, 2013)Joyce Washington…segment producer: reality (6 episodes, 2011-2012)Renard Young…co-executive producer (6 episodes, 2011-2012)Jim Czarnecki…line producer (5 episodes, 2013)Sean David Johnson…co-executive producer (3 episodes, 2013)Brad Abramson…executive producer / executive producer: VH1 (2 episodes, 2013)Danielle Gelfand…executive producer / executive producer: VH1 (2 episodes, 2013)Chase Peel…co-executive producer (2 episodes, 2013)Shelly Tatro…executive producer / executive producer: VH1 (2 episodes, 2013)Timothy Cashman…associate producer (1 episode, 2011)Angela Castro…supervising producer (unknown episodes)Phakiso Collins…associate producer (unknown episodes)Dalia Davies…associate producer (unknown episodes)

Try it out for yourself…

I encourage everyone to look up the list of producers who make these stereotypical, fake, “Black” television shows and google their names.  You will find that rarely is an African-American in a main decision making position on the set of these shows. Of course, it has purposefully been made very difficult for any producer or director who does not cater to the same stereotypical B.S., to get their work made into a show or movie.  If we do not take full advantage of the opportunities the internet provides us in creating our own media, then the same stereotypes will continue to be shown in that circus they call Hollywood.

HI!

My name is Sammie, I am a research assistant working with Drs. Karen Suyemoto  and Tahirah Abdullah , psychology professors at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. On the behalf of my team, we would like to invite you to participate in our study.

We are currently conducting a much needed study examining experiences of racism, and reactions to these experiences. This study is an online survey that will take about 30-45 minutes.

To participate in this study, (1) you must be over 18, (2) understand written English, and (3) identify as a person of color or racial minority. Participation is completely voluntary and you can stop at any time without risk of any negative consequences. As a “thank you” for completing the survey, you are eligible (1) to be entered into a raffle for one of several $200 gift cards, or (2) choose to have the researchers make a $10 donation to an organization advocating for social justice.

If you are interested in participating in our study, please visit tinyurl.com/race-study. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at aart@umb.edu.

We want to thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

Below are tweets by Nigerian writer Luvvie Ajayi that I compiled together. 

We’re all so ethnocentric and we think our history is taught to everyone else. It’s not. Africans aren’t taught about the Middle Passage in school or about slavery in the U.S. We don’t get lessons about the Civil Rights Movement in Nigeria when we got the Biafran War to learn about. Nahmean? 

Much of the tension between Africans and African Americans exists because we don’t talk enough about our uncomfortable relationship. I didn’t know a thing about African Americans being slaves when I was growing up. I thought everyone had a maid and driver like I did. I didn’t even give the United States extra thought because I was comfortable in Nigeria. I was GOOD. I thought all Black folks were. I was 9. I never identified as “Black” growing up because Black was the default where I was from. Racial politics is something I learned when I got here.

Many Africans who come to the U.S. do so when they’re FULL GROWN. That means you won’t be immersed in studying black history and whatever biases you already had will probably stay because who will teach you otherwise? Certainly not the bogus ass mainstream media.

"Akata." It’s a word that some Nigerians use to refer to Black Americans. It’s ugly. I don’t use it. That word epitomizes the terrible stereotypes that Africans have about African Americans. Many young Africans don’t know what it MEANS. They participate in dehumanizing a people w/o even knowing it. They use it because they’ve heard it being used so casually that many don’t know that it’s derogatory. Passed down prejudice. It means "wild animal." 

Africans who come to the U.S. are statistically more successful than African Americans and they think “if I could do it, why not them?” Again, it goes back to not knowing how slavery wreaked havoc on these people who are our skinfolk and kinfolk. We do not understand. It’s coming from a place of “pull yourself up from the bootstraps because I did” when there’s 400 years of damage folks still gotta fix.

I want Black folks in the U.S. not to hate us for the ignorance we carry. It’s from our lack of knowing. Teach us. The same blood runs through our veins. Many of yall look like my cousins. I can’t see Black folks in the U.S. as anything BUT my peoples. I credit the classes I took in undergrad for really opening my eyes. Many of the Africans in the generation above me don’t get the chance.

It is up to those of us who are young to let our African parents know some of the things we know about the history of those we sold. We sold you to those white folks. We are/were kings back home. I want to think we didn’t know they’d do this to you. :-( And those some white folks ransacked our own nations and drew arbitrary borders that are causing wars TO THIS DAY! The weird thing is that Africans and African Americans have the same villain, who’s tried to take our culture from us and rob us blind.

I hope we can have these types of convos in person in a room, fish bowl style. There’s a lot of hurt on BOTH sides.

When I came to the U.S., I had a STRONG Nigerian accent. I learned to hide it by imitating how my classmates spoke. It’s mostly gone now. I was in a new school—public school—for the first time in my life. I was the new kid FIRST TIME! When teachers would look at my name, then at me, then down at the list again, I sheepishly raised my hand and say “that’s me.”

The teachers would BUTCHER my name beyond recognition without even TRYING and students would say “MON” after every sentence to me. I felt like a foreigner… that is when I learned to hide my Nigerian accent. It worked. Kids would ask me, ‘Do you have lions in your backyard? Do you wear clothes?’ I didn’t have a quick enough comeback. I wanted to reply with ‘GIRL I HAVE A DRIVER, A MAID, MY OWN TAILOR AND HAVE NEVER DONE MY OWN DISHES!’ But alas… I was there, wasn’t I?

I learned doubt when I previously had very little. At 9, I learned that the world might not be my oyster, after all. It was humbling. We left Nigeria because my mom wanted us to do out higher education here because universities kept striking and all’at.

There’s 2 chapters of my life: in Nigeria and after. I grew up in privilege over there. Here? We started over. The fact that I have one foot on the continent of Africa and one here. I feel like a literal African American, having understanding of both. To be able to trace my lineage back as long as I want is a privilege. I’m sorry for those who were robbed of it. :-(

What can we all do to heal? What can we all do to really come together and realize that we’re fighting the same struggle, after all? My story isn’t extraordinary. It just is. However, what I’ve learned is that sometimes, we gotta drop the pain at our feet for rest. I’ll be back in Nigeria next month. Usually when I go, I’m silent on social media. I want to bring you all along w/ me this time.