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13th AMENDMENT: A Black Disabled Poetic Viewpoint

17 Feb
krip-hop-painting-copy1

Painting by Carina Lomeli

My Black disabled ancestors
Weren’t free by a swift of a pen
Way back then
Black Codes, Ugly Laws & Lynchings
Dancing on slave ships
Shackles on our feat shaking our hips
Also lead many to freedom
Hey let’s talk Representative James Mitchell Ashley & Abraham Lincoln
What happened to your pen back then
What was your definition of “Involuntary Servitude?
I don’t mean to be rude
Your pen back then
Separated us by law
Ok I can understand that was a flaw
In 2017 we are still living your mistake
And it is hard to take
Decades of freak shows, circus & museums
Involuntary entertainment for the public sake
Forced to work against his or her will
Only way to make a buck was to shut up
And get into a cage
As “owners” took our income was the hardest pill
13th Amendment wrote into the US Constitution
While Black disabled people were locked up in run down state institutions
Today we think that shelter workshops of the Salvation Army are the solution
If it wasn’t abuse it was sub-minmum wage
And we must not show any rage
Cause we weren’t free so could be again locked in a cage
Separated so not mentioned
No wonder Black scholars have no comprehension
When they write, teach & create art on the 13th to the New Jim Crow
We were never the invisible nation
My Black disabled ancestors gave my generation
The foundation to write books & make art and music
Inside & outside of Krip-Hop Nation
________________________________________________________________________________
Leroy F. Moore Jr. is a Black writer, poet, hip-hop\music lover, educator, community activist and feminist with a physical disability. He’s been working in the areas of identity, race & disability for the last thirteen years as a veteran columnist for Poor Magazine, creator of Krip-Hop Nation, Co-founder of the Sins Invalid and as the founding member of Black Disability Studies Working Group with the National Black Disability Coalition. Leroy’s book The Black Kripple Delivers Poetry & Lyrics was published by Poetic Matrix Press in the Winter of 2015. He currently resides in the Bay area.
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Misogyny, Racism, Sexism, and Capitalism Rule Everything Around Me

6 Jan

ouwc9khri9g-william-stittA Black femme writer and sex worker by the name of suprihmbé writes: “we deserve your money and then some for birthing your babies, for putting up with your abuse, your violence, your terror. But most of all, we deserve to live.”

It might seem more than obvious that women deserve to live, but the often-violent actions of men proves this is not always the case. There is a sense of entitlement that many men feel we have over women, one that is quite frightening. suprihmbé highlights how we, as a society, expect constant emotional labor, sexual labor, and any form of labor we can squeeze out of women for little to no compensation. The expectations that suprihmbé explores are rooted in a system that we like to conveniently “forget” exists: “Mr. Scream”: Misogyny, Racism, Sexism, and Capitalism Rule Everything Around Me. Building on the phrase popularized many years ago, “Cash Rules Everything Around Me” (C.R.E.A.M.), we have to examine how capitalism’s misogyny, racism, and sexism touch everything we do, even holiday shopping.

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If ‘Orange is the New Black’ Upset You, You Need to Know about Real Prisons

11 Jul
A_Southern_chain_gang_c1903-restore

A Southern chain gang (1903)–the racist history of today’s prison conditions (source: Wikimedia Commons)

 

If you’re anything like me, this summer you were counting down the days to Netflix’s release of the new Orange is the New Black season. If you’re anything like me, you devoured the season in two days and have been thinking and reading about it ever since. There has been an awful lot written about this season. If you’re so inclined, check out this piece, and this one, and this one, and this one (these are full of spoilers, fyi). My post, today, will not actually be about the show. There will be no spoilers, so please keep reading. Continue reading

Masculinity and Mass Shootings in the US

24 Jul

Originally posted at Feminist Reflections

By Tristan Bridges and Tara Leigh

Following the recent mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17th, 2015–a racially motivated act of domestic terrorism–President Barack Obama delivered a sobering address to the American people. With a heavy heart, President Obama spoke the day following the attack, stating:

At some point we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. And it is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing that politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge. (here)

President Obama was primarily referring to gun control in the portion of his speech addressing the cause of attacks like this. Not all mass shootings are racially motivated, and not all qualify as “terrorist” attacks—though Charleston certainly qualifies.  And the mass shooting that occurred a just a month later in Chattanooga, Tennessee by a Kuwati-born American citizen was quickly labeled an act of domestic terrorism. But, President Obama makes an important point here: mass shootings are a distinctly American problem. This type of rampage violence happens more in the United States of America than anywhere else (see here for a thorough analysis of international comparisons). And gun control is a significant part of the problem. But, gun control is only a partial explanation for mass shootings in the United States. Mass shootings are also almost universally committed by men.  So, this is not just an American problem; it’s a problem related to American masculinity and to the ways American men use guns.  But asking whether “guns” or “masculinity” is more of the problem misses the central point that separating the two might not be as simple as it sounds.  And, as Mark Follman, Gavin Aronsen, and Deanna Pan note in the Mother Jones Guide to Mass Shootings in America, the problem is getting worse. Continue reading

White Terrorism in Black Communities: What masculinity studies can offer to the conversation

19 Jun

The nation is reeling in the wake of this most recent mass shooting, a racially-motivated terrorist attack on the black community of Charleston, SC. Nine lives taken, among them an elected political official, and countless others left devastated by the actions of a young, white man named Dylann Roof. They were family members, community members—four ministers, a librarian, a recent graduate, a grandmother, a bible study teacher, a retiree. And they are gone because of racism. Before I say more, here are their names, because in our rage against a killer, we are too often forgetful of those he has taken: Clementa Pinckney, Daniel Simmons Sr., Cynthia Hurd, Sharonda Singleton, Myra Thompson, Tywanza Sanders, DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Susie Jackson, and Ethel Lance. Their lives add to a growing list of black lives taken and black bodies assaulted this year. Dylann Roof is yet another white man engaging in the kind of racist violence made possible (even permissible) in a system that devalues and denigrates blackness.

Dylann Storm Roof, wearing racist patches on a military style jacket. Photo from Roof's facebook page (source: New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/us/on-facebook-dylann-roof-charleston-suspect-wears-symbols-of-white-supremacy.html)

Dylann Storm Roof, wearing racist patches on a military style jacket. Photo from Roof’s facebook page (source: New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/19/us/on-facebook-dylann-roof-charleston-suspect-wears-symbols-of-white-supremacy.html)

While there are a few out there trying to distract from Roof’s obvious racial motives (like pundits at Fox News who are scrambling to describe this as a hate crime against Christians), most of us recognize that this was indeed a hate crime. Roof himself made it clear, both in word and action. He targeted a church that has suffered racist attacks throughout its nearly 200 year history in Charleston. He targeted a sacred space, a supposedly safe space, for Charleston’s African-American community. He was known for making racist jokes, hoping for a race war, and wearing racist garb. And, as if that wasn’t proof enough, he admitted to his victims that he was there to kill them because of their skin color, because blacks “rape our women and you’re taking over our country.”
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Out of Prison, but Not Free

17 Sep

Colorlines is running an extensive, brilliant and insightful series on Black Men: Life Cycles of Inequity. This video, produced by filmmaker André Robert Lee focuses on the adjustments of Black men after exiting prison. Colorlines’ Kai Wright writes:

They’ve all served many years in Louisiana’s infamous Angola penitentary. The state incarcerates a greater share of its residents than any government in the world, and the overwhelming majority of those prisoners are black men. The same is true nationally—one study estimated there are 65 million people with criminal records in the country. The men André spoke with described the emotional scarring those millions of people are carrying around with them—the myriad not-so-obvious readjustments they are still trying to make as they reenter society, with their families, lovers, friends and coworkers. We invite you to hear what they have to say, and to share it with your networks.

Why Young, Black Men Can’t Work

13 Aug

Photo byKai Wright.

The great folks at Colorlines are currently running an extensive, brilliant and insightful series on Black Men: Life Cycles of Inequity. While Monday’s re-post discussed the challenges faced by African American students in schools, today’s article focuses on the labor market. By Kai Wright, first published at Colorlines.com, June 25 2014.

The first thing you notice about Dorian Moody is how easily he laughs. He punctuates conversation on just about any topic with a shy smile and a disarming chuckle. It comes out as a self-mocking accent when he describes his initial boredom with high school. “My mother was like, you can’t fail,” he says with a smirk. “Alright, so I’m gonna give you Ds!” It takes the edge off of his raw pride when he describes his later academic revival, which began after his whole family sat him down and warned he’d be “a nobody” if he kept screwing around. And it softens his chiding response when I comment on the peaceful, spring vibe of his Irvington, N.J., neighborhood, on the western edge of Newark. “Well, go up to that corner and see what the Bloods think of that.”

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Race, Disability and the School-to-Prison Pipeline

11 Aug

It should not need to take the death of yet another unarmed African American man at the hands of law enforcement to remind us that looking at the intersections of race and masculinity is crucially important. Here at Masculinities 101, we have talked about the challenges face by young men of color and the flaws with policies supposedly designed for them.

Photo by Julianne Hing/Colorlines

The great folks at Colorlines are currently running an extensive, brilliant and insightful series on Black Men: Life Cycles of Inequity. Today’s post addresses the issue of implicit biases in schools. By Julianne Hing, first published at Colorlines May 13 2014.

Enikia Ford-Morthel speaks of Amo (a pseudonym) with the fondness of an auntie talking about a beloved nephew. She recalls watching Amo at his fifth-grade graduation from Cox Academy in Oakland two years ago. The memory of him walking across the stage still fills her with emotion. “He looked so cute in his little white suit, with his jewelry on,” Ford-Morthel says of his graduation. “I just cried.”

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Not All Men: Activism and Defensiveness in the Wake of Tragedy

19 Jun

There’s nothing particularly interesting about Elliot Rodger.

He wasn’t a supervillain, or a master criminal, or a charismatic manipulator. He didn’t embody a unique cultural moment, or speak to our society’s contradictions like a D.B. Cooper or a Patty Hearst. He was unusual in the sense that rampage shooters are statistically rare, but many utterly mundane things are statistically rare. The Santa Barbara shooting is uniquely disturbing because the poisonous ideology that inspired it is so infuriatingly, terrifyingly common. Continue reading

Want to Help Marginalized Students Improve in Schools? Stop “Stop and Frisk” (and other punitive practices, too).

4 Nov

Protest against police brutality

Source: Fibonacci Blue (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Last week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a previous ruling that had determined that New York City’s controversial “Stop and Frisk” practice constituted a civil rights violation, thereby placing any reforms (or the outright abolition of “Stop and Frisk”) on hold. In addition to being a highly ineffective police strategy, extremely questionable from a civil liberties perspective and undeniably a case of racial profiling, this policy might also impact marginalized students’ educational outcomes. Sociological research suggests that the interplay between constructions of masculinity and punitive criminal justice (and school) policies ends up harming marginalized boys’ educational prospects and channels them into crime – and ultimately the criminal justice system.

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