Wednesday, October 29, 2014

“Are the Gods Afraid of Black Sexuality? Religion and the Burdens of Black Sexual Politics" @ Columbia University

On October 23-24, 2014, the Institute for Research in African-American Studies (IRAAS) at Columbia University will convene “Are the Gods Afraid of Black Sexuality? Religion and the Burdens of Black Sexual Politics.” The meetings for our two-day event will be held in New York City, on the campus of Columbia University, October 23-34, 2014. An evening plenary on Thursday, October 23rd will be hosted at First Corinthians Baptist Church in Harlem.We are living through a moment of tremendous change at the intersection of race, religion, and sexuality, which has significant implications both for those who study and practice religion alike. “Are the Gods Afraid of Black Sexuality?” will bring scholars, activists and religious leaders together to explore a range of historical and contemporary phenomena associated with religion, race and sexuality, as they coalesce and converge. The task before us is not to address a single problem, but rather to unearth and engage with the often-unstated normative claims -- surrounding race and religion, gender and sex -- that continue to inform the work of scholars of (and the lives of people within) the US and the African Diaspora.

Presenter bios here: http://iraas.com/node/367
Link to all lectures, panels, films: http://new.livestream.com/accounts/5576628/events/3490591/videos/65911792


 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Join new Facebook page dedicated to honoring the legacy of Texas' Freedmen's towns, settlements

 
Former slaves African American (AA) families aggressively pursued land ownership after the Civil War in Texas. Clusters of agrarian, land-owning settlements or “Freedom Colonies” emerged from secluded areas (Leslie 2013; Baum 2009; Sitton and Conrad 2005).  Also known as Freedmen's Towns, settlements, "my family place", "where we go for homecoming", Black settlements, or "the Black side of town", these communities were unique in that they were founded by former slaves in Texas and trace their origins directly back to the period between 1866-1890.  They often shared the same name as the cemeteries, churches, and schools in the area (Sitton and Conrad 2005; Crouch 2009). At one time, as many as 500+ settlements existed. Yes, 500 in Texas alone
Learn more about The Texas Freedom Colonies Project,  an effort to preserve, honor, & sustain the legacy Texas' first African American placemakers on the new Facebook Page here: https://www.facebook.com/TheTexasFreedomColoniesProject?ref=aymt_homepage_panel 
More details are available on the blog Project Page here: http://www.sensingplace.com/p/freedom-colonies-black.html

More about Freedom Colonies

Wheatville, Austin, Texas
Former slaves African American (AA) families aggressively pursued land ownership after the Civil War in Texas. Clusters of agrarian, land-owning settlements or “Freedom Colonies” emerged from secluded areas (Leslie 2013; Baum 2009; Sitton and Conrad 2005).  Freedom Colonies is a name coined by historians Sitton and Conrad in a book by the same name. However, they didn't "discover" these places. Also known as Freedmen's Towns, settlements, "my family place", "where we go for homecoming", Black settlements, or "the Black side of town", these communities were unique in that they were founded by former slaves in Texas and trace their origins directly back to the period between 1866-1890.  They were often share the same name as the cemeteries, churches, and schools in the area (Sitton and Conrad 2005; Crouch 2009). At one time, as many as 500+ settlements existed. Yes, 500 in Texas alone.
You won't find many of them on maps or in current census maps, but they live on in memory, church anniversaries, and family reunions. Nearly 150 years later, most settlements have lost population, and their landowners have lost property through auctions, partition sales, inability to pay taxes, or outright theft. A minority of Freedom Colony residents have retained land and continued to live within settlements for generations. 
- See more at: http://www.sensingplace.com/p/freedom-colonies-black.html#sthash.92iXMnoY

More about Freedom Colonies

Wheatville, Austin, Texas
Former slaves African American (AA) families aggressively pursued land ownership after the Civil War in Texas. Clusters of agrarian, land-owning settlements or “Freedom Colonies” emerged from secluded areas (Leslie 2013; Baum 2009; Sitton and Conrad 2005).  Freedom Colonies is a name coined by historians Sitton and Conrad in a book by the same name. However, they didn't "discover" these places. Also known as Freedmen's Towns, settlements, "my family place", "where we go for homecoming", Black settlements, or "the Black side of town", these communities were unique in that they were founded by former slaves in Texas and trace their origins directly back to the period between 1866-1890.  They were often share the same name as the cemeteries, churches, and schools in the area (Sitton and Conrad 2005; Crouch 2009). At one time, as many as 500+ settlements existed. Yes, 500 in Texas alone.
You won't find many of them on maps or in current census maps, but they live on in memory, church anniversaries, and family reunions. Nearly 150 years later, most settlements have lost population, and their landowners have lost property through auctions, partition sales, inability to pay taxes, or outright theft. A minority of Freedom Colony residents have retained land and continued to live within settlements for generations. 
- See more at: http://www.sensingplace.com/p/freedom-colonies-black.html#sthash.92iXMnoY.dpuf

More about Freedom Colonies

Wheatville, Austin, Texas
Former slaves African American (AA) families aggressively pursued land ownership after the Civil War in Texas. Clusters of agrarian, land-owning settlements or “Freedom Colonies” emerged from secluded areas (Leslie 2013; Baum 2009; Sitton and Conrad 2005).  Freedom Colonies is a name coined by historians Sitton and Conrad in a book by the same name. However, they didn't "discover" these places. Also known as Freedmen's Towns, settlements, "my family place", "where we go for homecoming", Black settlements, or "the Black side of town", these communities were unique in that they were founded by former slaves in Texas and trace their origins directly back to the period between 1866-1890.  They were often share the same name as the cemeteries, churches, and schools in the area (Sitton and Conrad 2005; Crouch 2009). At one time, as many as 500+ settlements existed. Yes, 500 in Texas alone.
You won't find many of them on maps or in current census maps, but they live on in memory, church anniversaries, and family reunions. Nearly 150 years later, most settlements have lost population, and their landowners have lost property through auctions, partition sales, inability to pay taxes, or outright theft. A minority of Freedom Colony residents have retained land and continued to live within settlements for generations. 
- See more at: http://www.sensingplace.com/p/freedom-colonies-black.html#sthash.92iXMnoY.dpuf

More about Freedom Colonies

Wheatville, Austin, Texas
Former slaves African American (AA) families aggressively pursued land ownership after the Civil War in Texas. Clusters of agrarian, land-owning settlements or “Freedom Colonies” emerged from secluded areas (Leslie 2013; Baum 2009; Sitton and Conrad 2005).  Freedom Colonies is a name coined by historians Sitton and Conrad in a book by the same name. However, they didn't "discover" these places. Also known as Freedmen's Towns, settlements, "my family place", "where we go for homecoming", Black settlements, or "the Black side of town", these communities were unique in that they were founded by former slaves in Texas and trace their origins directly back to the period between 1866-1890.  They were often share the same name as the cemeteries, churches, and schools in the area (Sitton and Conrad 2005; Crouch 2009). At one time, as many as 500+ settlements existed. Yes, 500 in Texas alone.
You won't find many of them on maps or in current census maps, but they live on in memory, church anniversaries, and family reunions. Nearly 150 years later, most settlements have lost population, and their landowners have lost property through auctions, partition sales, inability to pay taxes, or outright theft. A minority of Freedom Colony residents have retained land and continued to live within settlements for generations. 
- See more at: http://www.sensingplace.com/p/freedom-colonies-black.html#sthash.92iXMnoY.dpuf

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The invisible woman: What's missing from media, conversations on partner/domestic violence? #Rice #NFL #FOX #CNN #Janay

 I saw this video this morning and started to get a little excited. I thought, someone is finally going to make the connections. They are going to expose the plethora of reasons that the media's responses, the NFL's, and many Americans' responses to the Ray-Janay Rice video have been inadequate at best. But, well, watch for yourself.





I applaud Carol's comments. Good try. However... you'd have to be blind not to note the racist subtext of the FOX comments. There's a serious racial stereotype both affirmed by Fox and erased by CNN in the current public conversation on domestic violence. So Ray Rice is just  like Chris Brown? And just like Jay Z and Solange's fight in an elevator? What??? All Black people are violent, that's just how they treat each other??? Hypervisible blackness that still leaves "blackness" "black woman-ness" complete invisible, and lots of subtext. Subtext. Subtext.

So a lot of questions and issues came up for me in the midst of the Rice-NFL scandal, namely around the way black women and violence are presented in media and public discourse generally. I'd frankly thought everything had been said on the matter, but here's what I felt compelled to add. 

Some of you may have come across in your life, academics that talk about or frame instances like this as being about race AND gender. They'll explain that these two aspects of identity are "inextricably" linked. To translate to those not familiar with the terms or for those who are a bit woman's studies phobic, here's what they mean... 

If you are black and female or a female of color, one identity doesn't come before the other, you experience them uniquely as one identity at the same time.  So if you are a black woman, from the working class to the upper middle class, you are fighting on a few different fronts as once, just as part of being alive. If we're not fighting for the "Michael Browns" of the world to be treated like humans, we are  fighting for young black women to value themselves enough to leave a relationship and to stop thinking being a cast member of basketball wives will solve all their problems.  Or we may be countering the psychic violence of news media and entertainment, that sees violence among African Americans and toward each other as a norm. Or we, Black mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins, are trying to convince our friends and relatives that their self worth is not measured by whether they are married or partnered.   And others are doing important research to make known the width and breadth of the problem.

This awareness may help explain Janay's response this morning.  Or maybe not. We do not even know who this woman is apart from Mr. Rice. That should tell us a lot.


What is more certain though, is that, this particular instance, with Ray Rice nearly killing his wife and dragging her out like a sack of potatoes, (among many others seen and unseen, involving domestic violence), is an example of how media and public discourse has work to do when it comes to addressing the complexity and dimensions of violence perpetrated against women of color. I argue this work can begin in some public AND private spaces and eventually, have public results.

First. There's a knowledge embedded in the everyday lived experience of women we must be willing to listen to and learn from at these
Making space to tell the story (in your family, community) is key
times. And academics have to serve as translators to remain relevant or we welcome people who doubt the validity of the work we've been doing all these years on gender,race, anti-violence issues. And some academics have to tell of their own experiences...because no space or circumstance is immune.

Some of us use words like "inextricably linked" or "intersectional", that includes me. But what it comes down to is the unique circumstance of women addressing simultaneous oppressions. This is not an oppression olympics. I am not posing the idea that one experience of oppression is worse than another. We simply need to honor, and integrate into our discourse and strategies, the complexity of race and gender. Tons of people who have been doing this work for decades do this and we can learn from the and their work. But we can really learn from women, survivors of violence themselves.  So its connecting and translating...

 What I am saying is certainly not new. This is the same argument, women of color have been making for some time, but frankly many of us have been lazy or afraid to keep making it, speaking it, and bringing it back in from the margins our personal and public dialogues.  Especially with the gendered dimension of the war on black male bodies in this country. So at this time solidarity means being "intersectional" people, or more plainly stated, we should aspire to be a people that recognizes and remains open to adjusting our critique, actions, and support across race, gender, and varied dimensions of oppression. Its not multiculturalism, consensus, or pluralism. Its another step I think. 

Why, does it matter? Because it matters in how we decide to address partner violence in the lives of people we may know. And it also challenges our perceptions of beliefs about people of color. Such an understanding is key to being an effective agent of change and loving support on a micro level, and macro level. 

So who are we talking about? We are talking about you, me, the NFL, media (online/TV), musicfaith communities, its reality TV, its families, its communities of color themselves developing agendas privileging one cause over another when we know they are linked. It is your relatives who send subtly unspoken messages that say, "don't see leaving someone who has gainful employment even if they may be beating them verbally or physically to death. You should be happy to have a man."...there's plenty of reform and transformation to go around here. But it may start by noting the simultaneous reactive, protective, and proactive position women of color are often forced to take. 

After you've done that..do what they used to tell us to do after church service announcements....govern your selves accordingly.