eurocentrism

“Their Eyes Were Watching God” is like one of my favorite books because Zora’s writing style is very unique and during this time intraracial issues like colorism weren’t being discussed in a lot of AA literature that exists in the canon today (at least not to this extent)… but after a while you start to realize that her critiques on intraracial issues are essentially the faults of black people and not, say, racist ideologies during the time that created these intraracial issues such as Eurocentric beauty standards, economical disadvantages, the breaking of the family in slavery, and much more

This is a response to a post made by @nilaharan earlier today. I found the post to be very troubling and completely misinformed. Firstly, it is important to know that there is no such thing as “reverse racism.” Racism is based in systemic and institutional oppression. POC do not navigate society with the same power and privilege that white people do and therefore cannot be “racist” towards white people. People of colour (POC) calling out Amy Jackson for putting on brownface and portraying a Tamil girl on screen is a critique of this very system that celebrates Eurocentric standards of beauty. Also, Amy Jackson in Indian films is not at all comparable or the same as POC taking up roles in Hollywood. Aspects such as dialogues that are written for her (the picture for this post) are degrading and we need to continue to speak out against these aspects of Indian movies. As a makeup artist, I think it is important that we critically analyze what we post and understand that when we post images of Amy Jackson in South Asian attire/jewellery we are perpetuating the same systems of oppression that we experience on a daily basis. As a womyn of colour (WOC) I am dedicated to making sure that my workspace, social media included, is a safe space for POC. I encourage you to do the same and rethink some of the information you’ve posted.

Ig: MakeupForMelanin

indigenoushistory.wordpress.com
What if people told European history like they told Native American history?

“The first immigrants to Europe arrived thousands of years ago from central Asia. Most pre-contact Europeans lived together in small villages. Because the continent was very crowded, their lives were ruled by strict hierarchies within the family and outside it to control resources. Europe was highly multi-ethnic, and most tribes were ruled by hereditary leaders who commanded the majority “commoners.” These groups were engaged in near constant warfare.

"Pre-contact Europeans wore clothing made of natural materials such as animal skin and plant and animal-based textiles. Women wore long dresses and covered their hair, and men wore tunics and leggings. Both men and women liked to wear jewelry made from precious stones and metals as a sign of status. Before contact, Europeans had very poor diets. Most people were farmers and grew wheat and vegetables and raised cows and sheep to eat. They rarely washed themselves, and had many diseases because they often let their animals live with them.

"Religion infused every part of Europeans’ lives. Europeans believed in one supreme deity, a father figure, who they believed was made of three parts, and they particularly worshiped the deity’s son. They claimed that their god had given humans domination over the earth. They built elaborate temples to him and performed ceremonies in which they ate crackers and drank wine and believed it was the body and blood of their god, who would provide them with entrance into a wondrous afterlife called heaven when they died. Many wars were fought over disagreements about the details of this religion, each group believing their interpretation was the right one that should be spread across the land.”

Now imagine that is part of a textbook that has entire chapters on the Mississippian polities of the 1200s and a detailed account of the diplomatic situation of the southeastern provinces in the 1400s and 1500s, an enormous section that goes through the history of the rise of the Triple Alliance in Mexico and goes through the rule of each tlatoani and their policies, the heritage of Teotihuacan and its legacy in later Mesoamerican politics, elaborate descriptions of the trade routes that connected and drove various nations in North America. Long explanations of the rise of various religious movements such as the calumet ceremony and Midewiwin, and how they affected political agendas and artistic trends. Pages and pages and pages going through the past thousand years of American history century by century.

And these three paragraphs are the only mention of European history before the year 1500.

If your textbook of North American history goes into the details of the Middle Ages, the Reformation and Renaissance, the Silk Road, and European monarchies, and you don’t include equal description of the Mississippian coalescence and dispersal, Haudenosaunee-Algonquian relations, the Woodlands, trans-plains, and southwestern trade systems, the Mexica conquests and the Fifth Sun ideology with explicit naming of various places and leaders, then your textbook is inadequate.

Why do you include those “pre-contact” European things? Because they explain the motivations and reasons for what Europeans did. But people largely imagine North America as this timeless place and don’t recognize that pre-contact American history had just as much of an effect on post-contact history because it provides explanations of the motivations and reasonings behind indigenous peoples’ actions.

But of course, that would require people to recognize that indigenous people had their own histories and agendas and agency that affected the course of history rather than making them a passive recipient of European historical force.

vanadiumn asked:

Its not white power its MAJORITY power, POC are not 'persecuted' in coountries where theyre the majority.

When a white person migrates to Africa, he is going from a position of power, to power. An African coming to Europe lands from power into powerlessness. We Africans cannot do much with our diplomas here. Once I had learned Dutch and went to the job centre, they offered me a position as a cleaning lady. And in the shop it happens regularly that someone follows me around to check that I am not stealing anything. In expensive boutiques I might not even get served. The sales personnel assume I cannot afford to buy anything anyway. Whereas a white person in Nigeria, even if he has no skills whatsoever, always gets opportunities. No Nigerian would dream of offering you a job as a cleaning lady.

-“Strangers in Each Other’s Countries: A Discussion with Chika Unigwe”

(Femke van Zeijl)

and

…Yet magically they think they are in the position to determine where racism is or is not. 2) Varying population densities where Whites are a numerical minority erases racism and White supremacy. This is also false. Whites do not have to have a numerical majority for White supremacy to exist. Because Whiteness impacts the entire globe—you know the globe where over 80% of it has been impacted by colonialism and White supremacy—yet of course actual White people are a numerical minority globally, clearly it can be seen that this is not a numbers issue. Power, platform, and money lie in the hands of small groups that are often White (and usually cis hetero male) lead. Governments, global corporations, and more are concentrated in power and regardless of the race of the person “in charge” reflect the whims of imperialist White supremacist capitalist cisheteropatriarchy. 

-White Supremacy is GLOBAL: Racism Isn’t Only American. White Supremacy Isn’t Only Western

(Gradient lair)

and

“The media in black countries is white wtf are white people talking about. White supremacy rules the world. All these books and movies we have in gambia are from america and all of the characters are white why do you think so many black women in african countries bleach themselves to death. In asia tanned and dark skin is looked down upon and are treated as inferior and whites are treated like these pure trophies like white ppl stfu.”

-Anonymous via We Love Black Girls

and

Adoptive parents have the right to choose between age, country, race, handicap, et cetera. The fact that certain countries remain strong favorites for adoptive parents speaks volumes of how racialized thinking continues to live on under anti-racist surface narratives.

Korea, Ethiopia, and Colombia are countries whose children fit Eurocentric standards of beauty more than others in the same regions; compare children from Korea to children from Malaysia, children from Ethiopia to children from Kenya, and children from Colombia to children from Bolivia. Furthermore, [Western] adoptive parents display a clear preference for girls and ‘racially pure’ children.
—  Tobias Hubinette, A Critique of International Adoption [translated from Swedish]
  • Jazmine DuBois:Huey, what does Eurocentrism mean?
  • Huey Freeman:Eurocentrism, it's when you eliminate the african perspective and marginalize or omit people of color, their contributions, their experiences, etc... Understand?
  • Jazmine DuBois:Not really...
  • Huey Freeman:Do you watch "Friends"?
  • Jazmine DuBois:Yes
  • Huey Freeman:Then you understand.

Why don’t they teach us more about Latin America in school? I spent so much time learning about European history, but didn’t learn much about the rich history that was happening in the Americas.

Adoption is a White privilege.

In 1904, a group of forty New York orphans were sent to live with Catholic families in Arizona. However, the Catholics turned out to be Mexicans and the local Anglos were so outraged at this race boundary transgression that they instigated a mass abduction of the children.

Through this direct action, trans-racial adoption as a white privilege was resolutely reinforced.This privilege continues in the contemporary era. One can only imagine the reactions if white European children were to be sent to Latin American or African countries for international adoption.

In the pre-Civil Rights United States, a handful of states even went so far as to legislate against interracial adoption or even fostering of white children by non-whites, and in the late 1990s a widely publicized controversy erupted, when a black woman in Detroit wanted to adopt a white girl.

- Tobias Hübinette, Between European Colonial Trafficking, American Empire-Building and Nordic Social Engineering: Rethinking International Adoption From a Postcolonial and Feminist Perspective

[Translated from Swedish]


Bolded mine.

chronicle.com
Don't Be Snobs, Medievalists
Those "amateurs" just might save your discipline.

…There is now a manifest discrepancy between the large number of students who request that we address their love of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and medieval-themed video and computer games on the one hand, and the decreasing number of medievalists hired to replace retiring colleagues on the other. We are no longer protected by our involvement in preserving European heritages, an involvement often joined up with primordialist, jingoist, and colonialist mentalities discredited in the Western world by the 1970s. And we are as endangered as the rest of our humanities colleagues by the advent of new areas of scholarship, the intimidating popularity of the STEM disciplines, and politically motivated cuts to the liberal arts.

What can we do?

Perhaps we should begin by admitting that in enjoying the splendid isolation that allowed us to learn a lot about medieval culture, we have failed to share that knowledge with the public. As a result, a single 178-minute movie, Braveheart, could wipe out what 150 years of scholarship had established about the Right of the Lord’s First Night (a feudal lord’s rumored right to take the virginity of his serfs’ newlywed daughters). Meticulous source study since the Enlightenment about the horrific crimes committed during the medieval crusades hasn’t stopped schools from naming their teams Crusaders. And tens of thousands of learned books and articles about medieval knighthood have had no influence on white supremacists’ appropriation of allegedly chivalric virtues. It is clearly time to lower the drawbridge from the ivory tower and reconnect with the public.

[READ MORE]

Strategies for Decolonization

(1) Deconstruction and reconstruction. This refers to destroying what has wrongly been written—for instance, interrogating distortions of people’s life experiences, negative labeling, deficit theorizing, genetically deficient or culturally deficient models that pathologized the colonized Other.

(2)  Self-determination and social justice.  This refers to the struggle by those marginalized by Western research hegemony to seek legitimacy for methodologies embedded in the histories, experiences, ways of perceiving realities, and value systems.

(3) Ethics. There is a need to recognize—and where none exists, formulate, legislate, disseminate, and make known and understood internationally— ethical issues and legislation that protect indigenous knowledge systems.

(4) Language: recovering and revitalizing, validating indigenous knowledge and cultures of the historically marginalized, and thus creating space to decenter hegemonic Western research paradigms.

(5) Internationalization of indigenous experiences. Struggle collectively for self-determination.

(6) History. People must study the past to recover their history, culture, and language to enable a reconstruction of what was lost that is useful to inform the present

(7) Critique. There is a need to critique the imperial model of research, which continues to deny the colonized and historically marginalized other space to communicate from their own frames of reference.

- Linda Tuhiwai Smith, University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand.

Whenever somebody unearths an ancient knife or comb or what-have-you, the articles about it invariably talk about the complex geometric symbolism of the decorative patterns and how the animal motifs have deep spiritual significance with respect to the object’s function and so forth. Does anybody else always wonder whether it’s complete nonsense? Like, are we expected to believe that pre-modern humans had no concept of decoration as decoration? That aesthetics are a modern invention? Maybe the reason that thousand-year-old hair-brush has a cat’s face carved into the handle isn’t because its originating culture regarded cats as the tutelary spirits of tidy hair. Maybe it’s just because they thought kitties are pretty.

1st Panel
Robert Freeman: School starts in a couple weeks, Huey. Excited?

Huey Freeman: WHAT?! Hold up, I thought we agreed that I would be home schooled.

2nd Panel
Robert Freeman: We never talked about that.

Huey Freeman: Yes we did. Remember I was explaining to you the white man’s conspiracy to brainwash me wih eurocentrism?

3rd Panel
Robert Freeman: Oh. Maybe we did talk about it. I have a tendency to tune you out whenever you say the words “White Man’s Conspiracy”