Think Out Loud: The Emerging Black Digital Intelligentsia | The New Republic

Along with [Ta-Nehisi] Coates, a cohort of what I would like to call the “black digital intelligentsia” has emerged. They wrestle with ideas, stake out political territory, and lead, very much in the same way that my generation did, only without needing, or necessarily wanting, a home in the Ivy League—and by making their name online. They include, to name only a few, Jamelle Bouie at Slate, Nikole Hannah-Jones at The New York Times Magazine, Joy Reid at MSNBC, Jamilah Lemieux at Ebony, and the New Republic’s Jamil Smith. Brilliant, eloquent, deeply learned writers and thinkers, they contend with the issues of the day, online, on television, wherever they can. Academics haven’t disappeared, of course. Their influence, however, isn’t exclusively dependent on validation at the university level. Podcasts, blog posts, social media, and television shows are of vital importance for them. Among this number, I would also include Marc Lamont Hill, James Braxton Peterson, Brittney Cooper, Jelani Cobb, and Melissa Harris-Perry

 Despite all the talk of the digital divide—the very real gulf that separates those with access to technology from the black and brown folk who lack it—the black digital intelligentsia has ingeniously used technology to extend and explore thought and fight injustice. Black folk, and particularly well-educated, elite black folk, have taken more quickly and creatively to technology than their white peers, and turned its myriad functions to our social and professional use. “Black Twitter” may be infamous for scorning white women like Rachel Dolezal who think they are black, but it has also pioneered the idea of hashtag activism, such as #SayHerName, which highlighted the invisibility of black women in discussions of police violence in black communities, or #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen, with its allusion to tensions between black and white feminists, to offer but two examples. 

Source: Think Out Loud: The Emerging Black Digital Intelligentsia | The New Republic

Black Americans Wearing African Clothing Is NOT Cultural Appropriation | Our Legaci

Source: Black Americans Wearing African Clothing Is NOT Cultural Appropriation | Our Legaci

Cultural appropriation is when a dominant culture takes, claims and establishes itself the creator of the cultural heritage and artifacts of a minority and or marginalized culture thereby erasing the history of the marginalized culture.

‘The Twelve Tribes of Hattie,’ by Ayana Mathis –

‘The Twelve Tribes of Hattie,’ by Ayana Mathis –

Hattie, her men and her children — unmoored, lost and isolated — stumble through a joyless world where “talcum powder and hair grease and smoke fouled the air.” All are seeking a place for themselves, an identity to hang on to: sexual, spiritual, geographic, familial. 

DR Congo welcomes sanctions against rebels (via AFP)



Congo Cockatoo

Congo Cockatoo (Photo credit: AndyRobertsPhotos)


DR Congo welcomes sanctions against rebels (via AFP)


DR Congo welcomes sanctions against rebels (via AFP)

The Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday welcomed UN sanctions imposed on the M23 and FDLR, two rebel groups that Kinshasa and Kigali accuse one another of using as proxies in the country’s troubled east. “It’s a condemnation we expected… and it arrives at the right time because these groups threaten…


Quentin Tarantino says Roots was inauthentic


Quentin Tarantino says Roots was inauthentic.

Quentin Tarantino’s highly-anticipated Django Unchained hasn’t even hit theaters yet, but it’s already become the most controversial film of the season, with its central theme of slavery being mashed up with the extreme violence and humor of a classic Blaxploitation film. And though the film is already causing a stir, the film’s director, Quentin Tarantino, recently stirred up even more drama when he criticized the landmark television miniseries “Roots.”

Add your tWhile conversing on the topic and my thoughts, my colleagues in the office agreed that she looked fabulous, and explained that as a black woman in a pretty nit-picky and white-washed industry, she probably wasn’t fully comfortable with her hair yet, and clearly not ready to show it off. I felt that. But one co-worker said she could see why Davis had been so particular about showing off her natural hair in a way that had me thinking. She said, “You know, a lot of people used to say that natural hair wasn’t formal.”houghts here… (optional)


Rwanda revisited with Mahmood Mamdani’s When Victims Become Killers

Teaching African History or Politics this semester? Don’t forget to add “When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda” by Mahmood Mamdani to your suggested reading list.

Afterdeath: The Sixth Bell – Simplistic Power

Power for the powerless is examined in quite a few texts. Self-help literature sells more than most literary markets, with exception of the Bible. Even the Bible can be classified among the Self-Help genre if utilized effectively. So no one is truly powerless. They are power ignorant, at best. A patriarch or matriarch is powerful in his or her ability to marshal family resources, and manipulate its members. So it is with managers and CEOs of businesses. Politicians are effective through their ability to accumulate and utilize the power of a community, nation, or any universe. It is the individual power of a number of people that denotes the sway and ability of one to have a voice.  Gangs control an entire neighborhood as long as the power of each member remains dedicated to that purpose. Why do you feel powerless in the Afterdeath phases of your life?  What you perceived as leverage in a world of hidden power has been removed. It could be health, money, physical and mental independence, geography, or any other parameter of symbolic organized power. That only means it is time for you to reorganize the power within yourself.

For some, the Afterdeath is a curse. All has been lost and the individual looks, feels, and thinks like someone pulled from a major auto accident; still alive but barely. They see it as failure or disgrace. For others, the Afterdeath phase becomes a reawakening of simplistic power. Simplistic power, for this piece, is the power inherent in all and pursued by everyone. Take a metropolitan clothing store for instance. The store had been busy for at least two hours at the end of the day shift. The evening shift is arriving. Sales clerk 1 is 15 minutes late.  Sales clerk 2 is 30 minutes late. Still another, Sales clerk 3, is 1 hour late, with a plausible excuse. Customers sift through table items until each display table is unmanageable. The manager attempts to field customers’ questions, but is overrun. He becomes combative with those he considers least likely to purchase major items. Customers become agitated and begin to leave without a purchase.

Every customer in the store was equal in power, yet unequal in their ability to use it. Luckily in most metropolitan areas there are a variety of venues to purchase goods and services. Each customer had the power to search out that coat, hat, etc… at another location. It may take some longer to realize it than others. There are those who are easily diverted from their original motivations and get caught up in the extraneous, like demanding attention or acknowledgement of their importance in any situation. In the Afterdeath phase, this is dangerous. Stick to the point. Don’t get diverted from your purpose. Let others have their 2 seconds of fame while you continue on your journey. Why did I cut the 15 minutes to 2 seconds? You don’t have the time.

At the weekly employee meeting, the manager tightens the policy on lateness and absence. His tone is threatening, vulgar, and demeaning. Where was the simplistic power in this scenario? The manager imagined the power to vent his unbridled frustrations. Was it the manager’s ability to fire the tardy employees? You would think so. But in actuality the power actually laid with the first person who frowned their lips, sucked their teeth, and headed for the door without a purchase. There was also the power of the individual (simplistic) and collective power of the employees to consider. With all of the manager’s power to relieve others of a livelihood, his careless use of this power damaged him.

Let us examine the employees at the weekly meeting.  Each employee received the same message from the manager. They each had collective and individual reactions. The measure of simplistic power in each individual is the same. They can take the trashing and learn to prepare better for appointments, which will definitely be an asset to any individual. But in the perfect world, there are still unseen complications. Sales clerk 1 took an important phone call just as she was ready to leave for work. She may reassess her actions by weighing the chastisement against the importance of the call. Sales clerk 2 slipped and fell on ice two blocks from his home. He returned home to address a bloody nose.  Assessing that the nose was not broken, he went in to work. He may feel quite undone by the manager’s attitude. Sales clerk 3 advised the manager two weeks earlier of a doctor’s appointment, which, with travel time, would stretch and hour into her shift. She was scheduled for surgery in two weeks and would also have to take time for recuperation. Will this affect her job in the future? Two of the three, Sales clerk 2 and 3 were bound by their obligations to their health in this scenario. Their simplistic power used properly will either, after close assessment of the salary and future prospects, bring them to choose other employment or battle through an abusive experience. Regardless of the circumstances, they have the power to cause a business to lose viable assets. The business must then use unnecessary resources to train new people. Small retail businesses find it difficult to hire legal, loyal employees, who will work hard at minimal pay.

The Afterdeath experience becomes cultivated ground for training your simplistic power. The aim is to cut down on loss of time and resources while recovering self.  After all you have already lost, utilizing your personal power effectively improves your mental, physical, social, and economic health exponentially.

Afterdeath: The Third Bell

To begin this conversation on the right note, let us recall the table of delights from our first chapter. Remember the waiter. He was ready and eager to grant your every wish when you first sat down to the meal.  Gradually, he became more distant. Slow to bring that extra napkin or carelessly dropping fresh silverware here and there. It’s his job to know when the hook is securely in place. And when to jam it deeper. The one thing to the carrier’s advantage is the advancement into self. This can also be the dangerous curve in the road where they will lose quite a few passengers.

We are conditioned to be polite, giving, cooperative, patient, accepting, etc… The waiters of this world depend on these qualities to shame the carrier into compliance. The waiter nurtures the fear of hunger, rejection, isolation, and abandonment. He can be the lonesome parent leaning heavily on her adult child, the ill-prepared educator trying to save face; or the faith-leader, counselor, or employer unable to keep pace with his competitors. The parent will never become satisfied no matter how much the adult child cares for him or her. The rest must convince the carrier, like the salesperson, that without them, the carrier will be destitute. They are the keepers of all that is binding to the self.

Suppose, for instance, the student ceases to become the carrier and actually asks the right questions, challenging the educator. Society is set up where, for the student, there is no reward, only condemnation. The student learns to absorb the nagging stomach, just to get the ‘A’ or ‘B.’ Now as an adult carrier, the store clerk sells them items they’ll never use, but are too embarrassed to turn down.  Likewise, an employer slights them on wages and promotions, because they will never complain. Family and friends will cheer them on for lasting 30 years with the same firm – as they watch others with less education and ability, reap the benefits of maneuvering the corporate arenas.

While taking a computer certification course in the late 1970’s, one instructor counseled the students to never stop looking for the ideal position. Global technology called for lateral movements between companies and corporations in order to rise. Technology did not only change the speed at which we did business, but the essence of the employer/employee relationship.  A systems engineer at one company could get twice his pay and loads of benefits at another company. Also, employees were now vested after 5 years, instead of 15 or 20 years, as decades before.

The average middle-aged or senior citizen was at a disadvantage re-entering the job market unless they had computer skills. Their labor was now disposable, since most of them were declining in health and ambition. The world began to run helter skelter to work, instead of the cog and wheel past. So if they appear to represent more of the carrier and keeper set, fear is all they have lived after the Great American Depression, two world wars, nuclear threats, drug wars, and loosing that lovely head of hair.  Radical as those times seemed, the present is even more radical with choices of lifestyles, employment, and social communities.