A version of this post was originally published on March 23, 2012
In the last few years, there have been a few documentaries which have illuminated a growing community of black surfers and highlights their experiences. In the documentary White Wash, which streams on Netflix, filmmaker Ted Woods refutes the assumption that surfing has always been a “white” sport. As one black surfer says,
People want to ride these things, they want to have fun. And no matter where they are, they want to catch a wave too. You know what I mean? And they’ll do whatever’s necessary within their means at that time to be able to ride a wave.
Posted by Progressive Pupil on July 30, 2012
Portrait of Audre Lorde by Robert Alexander, 1983.
A version of this post was originally published on March 19, 2012
Black women from throughout the diaspora have made significant contributions to Black Studies. Audre Lorde (1934-1992) was a poet, essayist and activist who created a number of ground-breaking ideas about the relationship between race, class, gender and sexuality. Her most well-known quote comes from her classic collection of essays, Sister Outsider: “…the Master’s tools will never dismantle the Master’s house.” Lorde believed that activists of color needed to address all forms of oppression rather than seek inclusion into the elite for members of their particular group. She also advocated for radical political and cultural changes that would equalize power relations in our society.
Posted by Progressive Pupil on July 26, 2012
- International Rescue Committee staff distributes medicine to children in Uganda
A version of this post was originally published on March 9, 2012
Theory: (noun) a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles.
Action: (noun) the process or state of acting or being active; something being done or performed, and act or deed; an act that one consciously wills that may be characterized by physical or mental activity
Yesterday morning, I woke up to a phenomenon. My entire twitter timeline was flooded with #KONY2012, which I initially thought meant King of New York. When I finally reached a desktop computer, I got the chance to see what all the fuss was about. Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) – which was based in Uganda some years ago – is the subject of the latest documentary by Jason Russell, co-founder of Invisible Children. Through genius viral social media marketing, the short video went from having 30 hits on Monday, to over 36 million views by Thursday afternoon. The point of the film, according to Russell, is to make Joseph Kony “famous” the same way celebrities are famous. He hopes that in doing this, he’ll garner the attention of the International Courts and bring Kony to justice. The video, which is roughly 30 minutes long and quite emotional, focuses on the story of Jacob. As a young Ugandan boy, Jacob was captured by the LRA and forced to fight for Joseph Kony’s vaguely Christian agenda to maintain control in Uganda. The Kony 2012 Campaign relies on our emotions to generate sympathy for these young children. It’s important to take a critical look at these tactics.
Posted by Progressive Pupil on July 23, 2012
My maternal great-grandparents, Martha Jane Hicks and Sim Hicks, of Virgina. Photo courtesy of Folashade Kornegay.
A version of this post was originally published on March 28, 2012
Paying homage to our ancestors is rooted in ancient traditions from Africa, where religions such as Yoruba and Lugbara called on those who came before us to help guide our path through our earthly existence. With the advent of the Internet and social media, people have been discovering ways to create digital time capsules and honoring our past. Dwayne Rodgers, a photographer and artist based in New York City has decided to draw on these traditions. This past Black History Month, he began The Black Vernacular, a communal ancestral shrine for people of African descent. (more…)
Posted by Progressive Pupil on July 19, 2012
A version of this post was originally published on April 10, 2012
For one reason or another, I have been groomed to be a loyal follower of Tupac. I have always been a fan of his music, poetry, acting, rhetoric, and overall message. As an undergraduate at the University of Washington, I even took a class on Tupac titled, The Textual Appeal of Tupac Shakur led by an amazing and brave former professor of mine, Georgia Roberts. Now, as a graduate student in New York City, I’m taking a class on leadership development. Recently, we were given the opportunity to either write about a leadership development topic that interested us or the leadership development journey of a real person. Naturally, I chose Tupac Amaru Shakur.
Posted by Progressive Pupil on July 16, 2012
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A version of this post was originally published on February 20, 2012
Half of a Yellow Sun, a novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, has been the recent focus of movie execs and members of the Igbo community in Southern Nigeria. A petition, developed by Ashley Akunna, is protesting the casting of Thandie Newton as the film adaptation’s lead character. Newton is an acclaimed actress who has gained greater recognition in recent years for her roles in films such as Mission: Impossible II, The Pursuit of Happyness and Crash. She is of Zimbabwean descent and is set to play an Igbo woman caught in the thralls of the Biafran War, which ravaged a newly independent Nigeria from 1967 to 1970. The book has been heralded as a stunning depiction of the relationship between the Hausa and Igbo tribes during this period and received the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2007.
Posted by Progressive Pupil on July 12, 2012
A version of this post was originally published on February 29, 2012
I remember going to church as a child and understanding that I was different. My abuela and I used to go to a Pentecostal church that was mostly white Latinos, but I had darker skin. I would see the Pastor’s wife and I yearned to look like her. In my eyes, she had milky white skin and silky hair to her ankles. Though she never knew this, I would go home, look in the mirror and wonder why my skin was darker and my hair was significantly shorter than hers. I did not understand what it was to be Latina and black.
Puerto Ricans are descendants of Africans, Europeans and the indigenous Tainos, so it shouldn’t be surprising that Puerto Ricans come in many colors.
Me and my aunt Tamara. Photo taken by Carmen Medina.
Posted by Progressive Pupil on July 9, 2012
Trayvon Martin (1995-2012) and Emmett Till (1941-1955).
A version of this post was originally published on March 21, 2012
The February 26th killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman has rightfully sparked outrage in communities around the country. The heartbreaking situation Trayvon found himself in is one many black men can relate to, and the details surrounding the events have shed light on ongoing racial injustice in the United States. In a powerful and moving piece in the New York Times, columnist Charles M. Blow says:
As the father of two black teenage boys, this case hits close to home. This is the fear that seizes me whenever my boys are out in the world: that a man with a gun and an itchy finger will find them “suspicious.” That passions may run hot and blood run cold. That it might all end with a hole in their chest and hole in my heart. That the law might prove insufficient to salve my loss.
Posted by Progressive Pupil on July 5, 2012
A version of this post was originally published on March 12, 2012
The mythology of the crack cocaine epidemic misdirects the devastation of persistent social inequities to cautionary tales of crack houses, crack heads and crack babies. Yet the emergence of myth is a predictable response within a society that too often places the blame on those victimized by social marginalization. While there is no doubt that crack cocaine use has devastating effects on individuals, families and communities, the extent to which we attribute the conditions of poor and minority inner city communities to drug use is just too much.
Posted by Progressive Pupil on July 2, 2012