“I like people with depth, I like people with emotion, I like people with a strong mind, an interesting mind, a twisted mind, and also someone that can make me smile.”—Abbey Lee Kershaw (via onlinecounsellingcollege)
Nelson Mandela’s death has unleashed a flood of whitewashed, politically correct memorials of a man who spent most of his life as a deeply radical and controversial figure.
In the desire to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s life — an iconic figure who triumphed over South Africa’s brutal apartheid regime — it’s tempting to homogenize his views into something everyone can support. This is not, however, an accurate representation of the man.
Mandela was a political activist and agitator. He did not shy away from controversy and he did not seek — or obtain — universal approval. Before and after his release from prison, he embraced an unabashedly progressive and provocative platform. As one commentator put itshortly after the announcement of the freedom fighter’s death, “Mandela will never, ever be your minstrel. Over the next few days you will try so, so hard to make him something he was not, and you will fail. You will try to smooth him, to sandblast him, to take away his Malcolm X. You will try to hide his anger from view.”
As the world remembers Mandela, here are some of the things he believed that many will gloss over.
1. Mandela blasted the Iraq War and American imperialism. Mandela called Bush “a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly,” and accused him of “wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust” by going to war in Iraq. “All that (Mr. Bush) wants is Iraqi oil,” he said. Mandela even speculated that then-Secretary-General Kofi Annan was being undermined in the process because he was black. “They never did that when secretary-generals were white,” he said. He saw the Iraq War as a greater problem of American imperialism around the world. “If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care,” he said.
2. Mandela called freedom from poverty a “fundamental human right.” Mandela considered poverty one of the greatest evils in the world, and spoke out against inequality everywhere. “Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times — times in which the world boasts breathtaking advances in science, technology, industry and wealth accumulation — that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils,” he said. He considered ending poverty a basic human duty: “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life,” he said. “While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.”
3. Mandela criticized the “War on Terror” and the labeling of individuals as terrorists, even Osama Bin Laden, without due process. On the U.S. terrorist watch list until 2008 himself, Mandela was an outspoken critic of President George W. Bush’s war on terror. He warned against rushing to label terrorists without due process. While calling for Osama bin Laden to be brought to justice, Mandela said, “The labeling of Osama bin Laden as the terrorist responsible for those acts before he had been tried and convicted could also be seen as undermining some of the basic tenets of the rule of law.”
4. Mandela called out racism in America. On a trip to New York City in 1990, Mandela made a point of visiting Harlem and praising African Americans’ struggles against “the injustices of racist discrimination and economic equality.” He reminded a larger crowd at Yankee Stadium that racism was not exclusively a South African phenomenon. “As we enter the last decade of the 20th century, it is intolerable, unacceptable, that the cancer of racism is still eating away at the fabric of societies in different parts of our planet,” he said. “All of us, black and white, should spare no effort in our struggle against all forms and manifestations of racism, wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head.”
5. Mandela embraced some of America’s biggest political enemies. Mandela incited shock and anger in many American communities for refusing to denounce Cuban dictator Fidel Castro or Libyan Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who had lent their support to Mandela against South African apartheid. “One of the mistakes the Western world makes is to think that their enemies should be our enemies,” he explained to an American TV audience. “We have our own struggle.” He added that those leaders “are placing resources at our disposal to win the struggle.” He also called the controversial Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat “a comrade in arms.”
6. Mandela was a die-hard supporter of labor unions. Mandela visited the Detroit auto workers union when touring the U.S., immediately claiming kinship with them. “Sisters and brothers, friends and comrades, the man who is speaking is not a stranger here,” he said. “The man who is speaking is a member of the UAW. I am your flesh and blood.”
“Sometimes we devalue ourselves; we don’t really look at ourselves in the whole picture. Sometimes it’s good to take a minute to look in the mirror and assess yourself— and really realize how powerful, how talented, and how important you are.”—Masai Minters (via marzstateofmind)
because the truth is
there is too much room
to think about how real
this all is.
and so we fill
with the noise
of facade.”—'drowning out' by Della Hicks-Wilson (via dellahickswilson)
The asexual Mammy and hypersexual Jezebel work together to suppress black women’s own liberated sexual ethics that reflects their perspectives, values, and humanity. Slavery’s stereotypes linking natural black femaleness to sexual promiscuity and black female respectability to sexlessness leave a crippled cultural language for black women to define an alternative sexual ethics.
There is a significant difference between the Mammy/Jezebel dichotomy and the Madonna/whore dichotomy, which helps to police white women’s sexual behavior. Black sexuality is defined as inherently and essentially immoral; the black female body represents promiscuity. Unlike black women, white women were never defined as animal-like and naturally immoral. Indeed, at the time of African enslavement, Victorian culture treated white women as essentially pure and moral, corruptible but not innately corrupted. Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham observes that the pervasive imagery of black female promiscuity had the effect of ‘ascrib[ing] pathological uniformity onto black women as a group, such that every black woman, regardless of her income, occupation, or education became the embodiment of deviance.’
Thus, redeeming the black female body has often meant desexualizing it. It is extremely difficult in a culture seeped with these slavery images to imagine a positive black female sexuality because black women’s bodies and behavior are so easily seen as depraved.
”—Dorothy Roberts, “The Paradox of Silence and Display: Sexual Violation of Enslaved Women and Contemporary Contradictions in Black Female Sexuality,” in Beyond Slavery: Overcoming Its Religious and Sexual Legacies, 2010. (via wocinsolidarity)
“To be sensual, I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, in life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the breaking of bread.”—James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (via plumpprettypisces)
“I want to make you smile and I want to make you cum.
I want to hold your hand and I want to hold your hips down while you’re writhing.
I want to make your eyes light up and I want to make them roll in the back of your head.
I want to be your reason to wake up and your reason to stay in bed.
I want to kiss your wounds and I want you to leave them on my back.
I want to play with your hair while you sleep and I want to feel it between my fingers while you are on top of me.
I want to memorize the repetition of your breathing and I want to memorize the sporadics of your moaning.
I want to see the arch in your grin and I want to feel the arch in your back before you collapse.
I want to go out to dinner with you and I want to go down on you.
I want to to feel you in my heart and I want to feel you inside me.
I want to make you laugh and I want to make you scream.
I want to still be able to taste you in the morning.
I want you in every form.”—(trm) Desire (via paragraphsofaprosaist)
“We have to get out of this “victim” mentality; take responsibility for your feelings. No one is greater than yourself. Therefore don’t let anyone rule over you.”—Ralph Smart (via weareinfiniteloveconnectionn)
if you want a nice body, go get it. if you want to become a lawyer, study your ass off. if you want nice hair, pick a style and get it done. stop being afraid and motivate yourself. find yourself. find your happiness, because it’s out there waiting for you.
I notice everything. And by everything, I literally mean everything. I notice when someone stops hitting me up like they used to. I notice when the way someone talks to me starts changing. I notice the little things that people do, and the little things they used to do. I notice when things change, and when it’s no longer the same. I notice every single little detail. I just don’t say anything.
when people say they don’t date black girls, what i hear is “i’m not interested in the baddest bitches on the planet. instead, i enjoy mediocrity, green bean casserole during the holidays, milk with my pasta, and keds”
Y'all do realize that most of these male heroes in our society were misogynists and abusers right? Oh. Find you some sheroes gir'. The only thing I've ever know about Betty and Coretta was that they were married to Malcolm and Martin. They were great and intelligent too, but Black male patriarchy is real. Find you some people to look up to that look like you Black women.