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September 2014
02

Prison Is Not Feminist: These photographs are of attendees at the exhibition of No Selves To Defend that was held on July 18, 2014 and were taken by photographer Sarah Jane Rhee. The sign was designed by Antonia Clifford.

According to @prisonculture, this is how they framed the actual exhibit:

We decided that we would anchor it with the stories of Celia (a 19th century enslaved black woman) and Marissa (a 21st century unjustly prosecuted black woman).

All of the photographs created with the sign can be seen on the Prison Is Not Feminist blog, and a few photos of the exhibit itself are on Prison Culture blog.

September 2014
02
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imsirius:

The way I dress is really about the message I want to send out to the world about who I am. Growing up in Alabama, I was black. I was poor. I was assigned male at birth — that’s how I like to put it. These things defined me, but I’m not any of these things. Clothes were a way for me to announce to the world who I was. I am not any of these things. This is who I am." - Laverne Cox

She is glorious. Beautiful. Love what she had to say about beauty politics here.  

September 2014
02
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There Is No “Neutral Gaze” In Photography

(I originally posted this on my photography blog Drift Sojourn.)

One of the troubling ideas that I see among photographers is that somehow when they are engaged in street photography, they have a “neutral gaze” where they simply “observe” and do not impact the surroundings. This myth is borrowed from colonialist mentality where the White Gaze is deemed a “neutral” one that can “observe” cultures through consumption, appropriation and exploitation, but that Gaze has no impact since they are not a part of the culture in question and thereby are “objective.” Such an “objectivity” rests on the illogical notion that one is “rational” if one is less informed and less experienced with the culture one gazes at. (It also rests upon a false notion that emotions and logic are completely divergent and raced/gendered.) It blatantly ignores the structural power that Whiteness affords. (In fact, see this great thread of people speaking on the colonialist gaze and Steve McCurry’s photograph of “Afghan Girl.”) 

There is no neutral gaze. Our identities, privileges/oppressions, appearances and behaviors as photographers affect our experiences as photographers and as subjects. It affects how we interact with subjects and how subjects interact with us, period.

I’ve been out doing street photography and caught the eye of a White male photographer doing the same. We of course exchange the knowing photographer slight grin and keep moving. But let him walk by a group of men and ask to photograph them. The level of respect given to him and enthusiasm those men have is much different from those same men street harassing me if I don’t ask to photograph them or them assuming I have some sort of sexual interest in them if I do ask to photograph them.

There is no neutral gaze because there are no neutral identities. The idea that there is a neutral one rests upon White supremacy and how that creates the idea that White is “normal,” because of racism non-White is “not normal” and because of anti-Blackness Black is “not human.” And these particular politics cannot be ignored no matter how much complacency and ignorance some photographers have about people…yet they want to photograph people. 

The fact that primarily cishet White male photographers give street photography “advice” to photographers yet never address how Black male photographers could experience police harassment or how women photographers, especially Black women, could experience street harassment, remains a problem. But let a cop harass a White male photographer, a man who would NEVER be harassed otherwise, and that’s the central focus of photography and harassment while doing street photography. Right.

There is no neutral gaze. There are no neutral experiences. There is no neutral identity. 

Related Posts: 8 Good Reads On Black Women and Photography, As Photographers and/or Subjects, The Clients Who Didn’t Want A Black Woman As Their PhotographerNot All Street Photographers Are Treated The Same, Respect Subjects of Photojournalism and Street Photography, White Privilege and The Photography Industry

September 2014
01

Racist Reactions To My Language On Twitter (And What It Really Means...)

  • Me: *speaks Jamaican Patwah/Patois*
  • Racist: "This is America, speak English! No other languages are ever spoken here, and this country founded on genocide/settler colonialism and anti-Blackness/slavery should only involve the languages that I choose to hear, though I encroached your personal space and interrupted your conversation in a dialect that you were not speaking to me in."
  • Me: *speaks African American Vernacular English*
  • Racist: "This is America and I don't care if AAVE is actually a language with a structure, discussed by linguists everywhere, and if it is one we will later be appropriative for marketing purposes while continuing to profit from economic violence on Black people. I don't like how AAVE sounds right now and I don't want to hear it, even though I encroached your personal space and interrupted your conversation in a language that you were not speaking to me in."
  • Me: *speaks Standard American English*
  • Racist: "What, so you think you're smarter than me, why are you trying to be White? Gonna take my job? Well, you misspelled a word on Twitter, so I am still smarter. Why did you use some big words? They're stupid. I am going to ignore the context and topic of your conversation and mask my insecurity--over never realizing that the lies I was fed about my automatic intellectual superiority are in fact lies--by making jokes about word length versus leaving you alone/not invading your space or actually addressing the topic the words were about."
  • Me: *uses terms attributable to womanist/Black feminist scholarship, critical race theory or other anti-oppression theories/praxes*
  • Racist: "I haven't approved use of these words, so I will call them stupid. It...well...doesn't matter to me that a key facet of White supremacy--with a very long history and reality no less--is degrading the intelligence of a Black woman, or committing epistemic violence, by purposely altering/attacking the language used to describe oppression in order to engage in an ahistorical analysis that supports oppression. I don't like that you can describe my violence with acute accuracy, so I will use violence to critique that perspective. You're a pseudo-intellectual if I don't understand what you are saying, don't want my privilege or violence critiqued with an accuracy that Black thinkers have had for centuries nor want to acknowledge that I am purposely kept ignorant of Black radical scholarship because of White supremacy."
September 2014
01

When I Try To Speak To Other Black Women...

  • Me: "*says literally anything about Black womanhood to another Black woman on Twitter*"
  • White man: "Well, rationally speaking, with no lived experience, knowledge or emotional investment, while denying your humanity or intelligence, I would just like to say, BLAH."
  • Black man: "Well, the real issue is you aren't worshipping Black men enough. Unity. Blah. Me. Blah."
  • White woman: "ALLLLLL WOMEN. ALL. ME NOT YOU. ME ME ME."
  • Non-Black PoC: "Oh yes, this specifically Black issue that has literally nothing to do with me is about ALL PoC. So let's discuss ME instead. Let's discuss absolutely any WoC except the Black women this is about."
September 2014
01
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If there is one thing that an atheist movement should stand against (or at least be reflexively suspicious of), it is the erection of cults of personality around individual voices. Most movement atheists will be able to, without breaking stride, list a number of specific examples of religious movements that have gone terribly awry when a single person is placed at their zenith. Atheistic communities are no exception, or at least should not be. If Richard Dawkins is ‘a liability’, it is because we atheists have failed to resist the urge toward celebrity worship. In a perfect world, Dr. Dawkins‘ opinions on evolution would be evaluated and lauded when accurate, and his opinions on other matters would be seen as irrelevant when they are false. The fact that he regularly repeats fairly common bromides about rape culture and xenophobia would be seen, in this better world, as reflective of an incurious mind that speaks more than it thinks. To the extent that this is not the case (many atheists I know have no interest in Dr. Dawkins‘ opinions), it should be seen as a failing of the community to live up to its principles. When people continue to write articles as though it was still 2007 and The God Delusion was still one of the only popular sources for atheist advocacy, it cements the perception that Richard Dawkins is reflective of the atheist movement rather than being simply one voice among many.

 

Ian Cromwell (@Crommunist(via feminace)

Quote is from Is Richard Dawkins An Asset Or A Liability To Atheism? No. Must…read. Love how he questions the question itself (problem with liability/asset binary), questions the idea that there is “one” atheist movement (nope) and illustrates how similar personality cult in secular space is to it some theist ones. Oh and I’m one of the atheists that has "no interest in Dr. Dawkins‘ opinions." Must read full essay!

August 2014
31

Charlene Carruthers (@CharleneCac) appeared on The Melissa Harris-Perry Show to discuss youth and activism (cause yeah, some millennials are Black). She’s the National Coordinator for Black Youth Project (@BYP_100). Love that she discussed as a queer Black woman, her work includes Black girls/Black women (as when violence is discussed, our experiences continue to be erased) and Black LGBTQ people, in general. Good chat.

August 2014
28
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bigbeautifulblackgirls:

DressOld Navy Shrug: Fashion to Figure

She’s really pretty. Love the colour of the dress, and the belt. The belt! 

bigbeautifulblackgirls:

DressOld Navy Shrug: Fashion to Figure

She’s really pretty. Love the colour of the dress, and the belt. The belt! 

August 2014
28
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Metal music has historically been heavily influenced by black music. First there was blues music done mainly by black people, then rock developed from blues, and finally metal developed from rock music. Metal has no roots in any of the old Germanic tribes at all. Any metal fan thinking that his music is an Aryan one is simply wrong, and singing German does not make this music traditional white music. Nazis in the third reich called music like blues (as well as jazz) ‘n***** music’ and therefore would also not have liked metal music either.

Apart from the black blues influences of metal music there are lots of other non-Aryan influences in metal. The bass drum used in metal music derived from the bass drum used in jazz, which is originally the Turkish bass drum ‘davul’. Cymbals of any kind have Chinese roots, also with Turkish influences. The same goes for tom toms.

Metal is not the only music that has non-Aryan roots - the same goes for classical European music:

- The oboe derived from the Arabic ‘mizmar’ (or ‘zurna’ in turkish), which later became a shalm and finally the oboe as we know it.

- The lute is nothing other than the Arabic ‘oud’. Not even the shape has changed.

- The guitar is Spanish as well as Mauritanian (that’s probably why ‘Varg Vikernes’ once called them ‘n***** instruments’ and therefore stopped playing guitars in ‘Burzum’).

- The violin derived from the Persian instrument ‘rebab’. It is well known that Persians are ‘Aryans’ as well, but anyway they don’t belong to the old Germanic tribes.

- The complete percussion section in European orchestra music comes from the Turkish military music of the Ottoman empire called ‘Janissary’ music.

 

Summoning’s Protector issues a hard hitting statement summarizing every reason fascism and anti-blackness does not align with metal music. Read the full piece here. (via alahaidgi)

Whew! Never fucking overlook music history….