written by Elmer Davis, Director Office of War Information (1942-1945), from the Journal of American History (via sonofbaldwin)
I should preface this by saying I enjoy reading. writing, and watching material about Black histories. There is no history of Black peoples that has not been marred by white colonialism and the devastating violence that comes with it. I am no stranger to imagining, describing, or viewing these brutalities.
Even so, I was not prepared for the toll that director Quentin Tarantino’s Christmas release, Django Unchained, would take on me. I walked into the theater feeling hesitant but cautiously optimistic, excited if for no other reason than to see Kerry Washingto and Jamie Foxx act opposite one another. I left 2 hours and 45 minutes later feeling jittery, unsettled, and overwhelmed by emotions I hadn’t experienced consciously in ages.
To be perfectly fair, the film is breathtaking from a cinematographic perspective. Tarantino is an artist, and his eye for camera work is impeccable. He is by no means afraid to take risks, and this resonates with audiences; it is no accident that he has acquired so large a following.
The work has alreay been applauded as groundbreaking; Tarantino has been referred to as “bold,” “daring,” and “edgy” for having the tenacity to write and direct a thriller loosely based on the antebellum South and reveling in depictions of violence primarily against Black people. If I may be blunt, however, I do not believe the risks Tarantino takes in Django are his to negotiate. In “post-racial” America—where Black bodies are disproportionally targeted by hate crimes, police brutality, the prison-industrial complex, dishonest housing and banking practices, and numerous other institutional forms of violence—there is nothing novel about a white director choosing to regale audiences with the coordinated murder of Black people.
[spoilers and descriptions of graphic violence under the cut]
written by Edward Said, Orientalism
From the mud of the Mekong to the bones of the Mississippi
From the dusty winds of Manzanar to the glowing scars of Hiroshima
From the sun in Bombay to the moon in Alaska
From the mists of the Himalayas to the ash of Volcano
From the hills of Laos to the openmouthed mic in St. Paul
From the streets of Seoul to the sidewalks of Tehrangeles
From California shores to New York corner stores
This is for us, my people, who carry the song of burning sugarcane in our lungs
Exhaling spirits with smoky spines
My people, who dig beneath sea foam with salted eyes
To exhume schools of ghosts
Lost from the boats.
This is for you, Celestial, Oriental, Asian, Asian Pacific American,
Woman, Man, Queer, broke, collegiate, young old gook, spitting chink,
Dog-eating dothead, faggot bitch slope,
Our beautiful black hair sticky from colliding with
Sugarcoated glass ceilings,
The ones voted most likely to assimilate
Asians: the other white meat
Bleached by color-blind lies
Buying DKNY and Calvin Klein
So our own bodies are gentrified
Bedecked in sweatshop swooshes
Resurfacing from under a pile
Of the white man’s dirty laundry
To model our minority
Cutting our eyelids to be blind to beauty
Atkins-ing our way to a rice-free waistline
Shoving fingers down the throats of ancestors
To see what comes up.
This is for you, taught to believe in magic
Just not our own
Mistaking appeasement for peace
And selling out for maturity
While they box our geography
And sell it in bougie boutiques
Our culture quite profitable
But can somebody tell me
How our culture can be hip
And yet our people remain invisible?
This ghosthood of honorary whiteness
Miss Saigon-ing our way
Into the pale arms of con men
This is for you, twisting our names
Into bleached demons so foreign tongues
Could invoke them
Mastering our own blondspeak scrabbletalk
This scorched mishmash of grab-bag didactics
Cringing at the sound of our mother tongue’s syllables
This is for you, who use our split lungs as divining rods
To find the flow of our lost languages.
This is for you, whose homes are turned upside down
While men and women debate the sorrows of war
Safe from the scars of barbed wire
For you, whose lands are painted in smoke and bone
Neon bullets ripping thru green
Your heart the same shape
As the hole you buried your family in.
This is for you, whose sons and daughters picked up a gun
And wore a flag for the price of college tuition,
As your war stories fell from under the noise of the machines
You operate to keep the food on the table.
This is for you, shapeshifting evil, taking whatever form
They need for you to be the next enemy
Only loved when you can be used,
Only loved when you can be used.
“For us, Hawaiian self-government has always been preferable to American foreign government. No matter what Americans believe, most of us in the colonies do not feel grateful that our country was stolen, along with our citizenship, our lands and our independent place among the family of nations.
Because of the overthrow [of Lili’uokalani] and annexation, Hawaiian control and Hawaiian citizenship were replaced with American control and American citizenship. We suffered a unilateral redefinition of our homeland and our people, a displacement and a dispossession in our own country. In familial terms, our mother (and thus our heritage and our inheritance) were taken from us. We were orphaned in our own land. As a result of these actions, Hawaiians became a conquered people, our lands and culture subordinated to another nation. Made to feel and survive as inferiors when our sovereignty as a nation was forcibly ended, we were rendered politically and economically powerless by the end of the century.
Today, Hawaiians continue to suffer the effects of haole [white American] colonization. Under foreign control, we have been overrun by settlers: missionaries and capitalists (often the same people), adventurers and, of course, hordes of tourists. The latest affliction of corporate tourism has meant a particularly insidious form of cultural prostitution. The hula, for example—an ancient form of artistic expression with deep and complex religious meaning—has been made ornamental, a form of exotica for the gaping tourist. Far from encouraging a cultural revival, as tourist industry apologists contend, tourism has appropriated and prostituted the accomplishments of a resurgent interest in things Hawaiian (e.g., the use of replicas of Hawaiian artifacts). Hawaiian women, meanwhile, are marketed on posters from Paris to Tokyo promising an unfettered “primitive” sexuality. Burdened with commodification of our culture and exploitation of our people, Hawaiians exist in an occupied country whose hostage people are forced to witness (and, for many, to participate in) our collective humiliation as tourist artifacts for the First World.
In the meantime, shiploads and planeloads of American military forces continue to pass through Hawai’i on their way to imperialist wars in Asia and elsewhere. Throughout the Second World War and its immediate aftermath, Hawai’i was under martial law, during which time over 600,000 acres of land were confiscated, civil rights were held in abeyance, and a general atmosphere of military intimidation reigned. Fully one-fifth of our resident population is military, causing intense friction between locals who suffer from Hawai’i’s astronomically high cost of housing and land, and the military who enjoy housing and beaches for their exclusive use.
In colony Hawai’i, not only the cruelty but the stench of colonialism is everywhere: at Pearl Harbor, so thoroughly polluted by the American military that it now ranks among the top priorities on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Super Fund list; at Waikiki, one of the most famous beaches in the world, where human excrement from the over-loaded Honolulu sewer system floats just offshore; at Honolulu International Airport, where jet fuel from commercial, military and private planes creates an eternal pall in the still, hot air; in the magnificent valleys and plains of all major islands, where heavy pesticide/herbicide use on sugar plantations and mammoth golf courses results in contaminated wetlands, rivers, estuaries, bays and, of course, ground water sources; on the gridlocked freeways which swallow up more and more land as the American way of life carves its path toward destruction; in the schools and businesses and hotels and shops and government buildings and on the radio and television, where white Christian American values of capitalism, racism and violent conflict are upheld, supported, and deployed against the Native people.
This is Hawai’i, once the most fragile and precious of sacred places, now transformed by the American behemoth into a dying land. Only a whispering spirit remains.”
—Haunani-Kay Trask, excerpts from From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai’i
written by Jackie, Sara and Asam of the It Gets Fatter Project for Black Girl Dangerous
Ph.D. dissertation by Huey P Newton, analysing certain features of the Black Panther Party and incidents that are significant in its development. Some central events in the growth of the Party, from adoption of an ideology and platform to implementation of community programs, are first described. This is followed by a presentation of the federal government’s response to the Party.
“It is logical that Oakland, California, should be the focus of hostile government actions against the Party because it is the place where the Party was founded, and it is the center of its organizational strength. In discussing Party leaders, including myself, and events in which they were involved, there has been a persistent temptation to write personally and emotionally. Individuals, with all their strengths and weaknesses, make significant differences in the outcome of political struggles; however, their roles are too often romanticized, clouding an understanding of the political forces propelling them into struggle. I have tried to maintain an objectivity consistent with scholarly standards by placing the roles of the involved personalities in proper political perspective. To aid in this effort, I will be referred to throughout this study in the third person. This dissertation is then, by necessity, illustrative, not exhaustive; a history in brief, not a biography of the Black Panther Party [BPP].
What is perhaps most significant about [this study] is that it suggests how much we still do not know. How many people’s lives were ruined in countless ways by a government intent on destroying them as representatives of an “enemy” political organization? What “tactics” or “dirty tricks” were employed, with what results? Perhaps we shall never know the answers to these questions, but this inquiry about the BPP and the federal government will hopefully help us in our search for “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”
smh brown guys who are primarily into that white pussy. don’t come running to me when the white pussy is racist to you or denies your humanity.