Decolonize ALL The Things

The UNsettling reflections of a Decolonial Scientist in a Constant State of Rage

Critical Thinking Series: Education & Colonial Assimilation

October 20, 2016
Shay Akil


Critical inquiry is understood as a means through which you built and articulate an argument.  Morrow & Weston actually do a great job of taking on some of the stigma of ‘arguing’.  In their workbook for arguments, Morrow & Weston discuss the ways in which we tend to see arguments as frames of confrontation when they really function as a means through which we put forth efforts to support specific views or ideas with reasons.  Without arguments, we cannot engage in informative dialogue or come to improve our understandings of the world around us.  I always see knowledge and its application to my life as something that is always open to an update, there is always room for growth.  If I fail to be open to logical arguments backed by good quality research (from institutions, analysis from those outside of academe &/or other formal institutions, etc.) then I will have an inaccurate understanding of how something works or how it has changed, stifling my own learning process.

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Announcing The “Creating Healthy Masculinities” Project

September 11, 2016
Shay Akil


What is “Creating Healthy Masculinities”?

Creating Healthy Masculinities” is an outreach program specifically interested in providing spaces for Black men to directly confront the ways in which Black men fail to show up for Black women and in many cases perpetuate harm that leads to acts of violence against Black women (E.G. Tiarah Poyau, Jessica Hampton, Joyce Quaweay, Mary Spears, Marissa Alexander, & many others).  

As an outreach program for Black men, we are focused on creating ‘healthier masculinities’ to help reduce gendered violence against Black women.  This means actively discussing and strategizing ways to be ‘masculine’ and a ‘man’ that do not involve enacting harm against Black women and girls in a collective setting.  This provides ways for Black men to work to confront gender essentialist attitudes in their homes, families, and in communal spaces with other men.

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Creating Healthy Masculinities

June 30, 2016
Shay Akil

Below are slides from a workshop that myself & @eTheHustla at the 2016 BTAC conference.  The goal was for attendees to learn what gender, masculinity, and patriarchy are in relation to power dynamics in modern history.  We want attendees to be able to grapple with the meaning of gender performance and how the Trans masculine community can construct healthy masculinities that are not carbon copies of the patriarchal toxic masculinity of our current society.  This conversation aims to be accessible across demographics, so the goal is to speak about these issues in plain language rather than assuming everyone utilizes the same activist and/or academic vocabulary.  We want to try to also incorporate interactive discussions within the workshop (e.g. what are some words that you associate with the terms: man, masculine, etc.?).

Supporting documents being used to design workshop:

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D.A.T.T. Critical Thinking Series

June 14, 2016
Shay Akil

jake readingLast summer was the first time that I decided to run the freedom school.  I designed a syllabus, held the twitter chats, & I and my comrade Arash worked hard to get the reading summaries out to people.  They have operated as great tools that allow people to grasp not just the general argument in texts but also general arguments that help them understand how society and systems operate based on historical analysis.  While I think that the first way that I constructed the DATT Freedom School was useful and helpful to many people (they regularly shared their appreciation and gave their thanks), there are many of us who seek to learn this new information but we have our own reservations given tattered relationships to institutions of education and the use of education as a systematic means through which many marginalized people are told they are to learn in top-down fashions and are not seen as creators of history and new ways of being.  So this summer the DATT Freedom School is going to be a Critical Thinking series.  Continue Reading

Cishetpatriarchy is not community

February 20, 2016
Shay Akil

I am Black and TransI AM A GENDERQUEER BLACK TRANS MAN.  I am racialized as Black, a Trans man, genderqueer, bi, & a descendant of stolen Africans on Indigenous peoples’ stolen land ALL AT THE SAME TIME.  I know this may be astonishing to you but none of these things are choices.  They are who I am and the social, political, and historical contexts within which I live. They just are. They don’t have a switch.  They don’t click on or off. I am all of these things & so much more all of the time simultaneously.

I was socialized into the wrong gender, misgendered since my birth, and socialized into transphobia.  Just because I was misgendered as a cis woman does not mean that I know what its like to be a cis woman.  I am, always have been, and always will be a Black Trans man.  I knew that when I was a small child, I knew that when I was terrified into having to perform cisheteronormativity.  What I do know is how cis Black women are treated.  That’s all, but that does not make me a cis Black woman, I have never been one.  I AM A TRANS MAN. RACIALIZED AS BLACK. OF AFRICAN DESCENT.

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A Short List of Articles on the Impact of Intersectional Hegemony on the lives of Black People In The US

February 1, 2016
Shay Akil

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An Overview of Dialectics & Historical Materialism

January 31, 2016
Shay Akil



MESSAGE TO READER FROM THE AUTHOR: Below is a summary of Karl Marx’s theorizations of dialectics and historical materialism that I put together.  What I review is the main contributions of Karl Marx’s work that contributes to how many critical scholars theorize the place of capitalism and hegemony in what we see as the history of “modernity”.  This encyclopedic entry is NOT a replacement for reading Marx’s work.  Your thoughts and analysis on a text matter and you should read things for yourself to confirm and evaluate their value and context to your political ideological development.

Shay Akil

Karl Marx Encyclopedia Entry

Karl Marx’s philosophy of history is an inversion of Hegel’s ‘idealist conception of history’ that argues that society is determined at any given time by its material conditions.  Marx’s theory of historical materialism, “led him to the view that instead of the state being the basis of “civil society,” as Hegel held, civil or bourgeois society is the basis of the state” (Tucker, 1978:16).  Marx’s historical materialism reveals that no means of social reproduction can exist without the necessary material conditions.  This articulation also reveals that the very circumstances that create social phenomena also harbor the means for their demise: their contradiction. Continue Reading

Transitioning Into A Decolonized Masculinity

November 15, 2015
Shay Akil


Its been 4 months. Its been 4 months today that I’ve been on HRT. I came out to everyone else about being genderqueer about 2 years ago.  I told loved ones that I wanted to transition after the passing of my grandmother this May.  I’ve known I was trans since I was a kid.  As a child I had all senses of mystical rationales that I came up with to be “okay”.  At night I would dream that I was a baby boy in a crib and told myself that being awake was just a bad dream and in reality I was a baby boy and everything was right with the world.  I spent a large bit of my childhood and teenage years rebelling against people telling me I was a girl, telling me what women do, telling me that I need to get into place.  I stayed in trouble mostly because I was gender policed.  The majority of my troubles in school, daycare, and at home was all about me doing things that “only boys do”. Continue Reading

D.A.T.T. Freedom School Week 5 Summary – Black Feminism

August 11, 2015
Shay Akil

Liberation Circle & Reading Summaries from D.A.T.T. Freedom School

Summer 2015 – Week 5

Black Feminism

The Storify for this topic’s Liberation Circle tweet chat can be found HERE.

Summary of “Black Feminist Thought” by Patricia Hill-Collins – Chapter 1 “The Politics of Black Feminist Thought”, Chapter 2 “Distinguishing Features of Black Feminist Thought”, & Chapter 10 “U.S. Black Feminism in Transnational Context”

Dr. Collins opens up the first chapter of Black Feminist Thought with the words of Maria W. Stewart in 1831 challenging the notions of white patriarchy limiting the greatness & brilliance of Black women by delegating them to gendered tasks based on hegemonic femininity.

“How long shall the fair daughters of Africa be compelled to bury their minds and talents beneath a load of iron pots and kettles?”  – Maria W. Stewart, 1831

“Maria Stewart challenged African-American women to reject the negative images of Black womanhood so prominent in her times, pointing out that race, gender, and class oppression were the fundamental causes of Black women’s poverty. In an 1833 speech she proclaimed, “Like King Solomon, who put neither nail nor hammer to the temple, yet received the praise; so also have the white Americans gained themselves a name . . . while in reality we have been their principal foundation and support.” Stewart objected to the injustice of this situation: “We have pursued the shadow, they have obtained the substance; we have performed the labor, they have received the profits;we have planted the vines, they have eaten the fruits of them” (Richardson 1987, 59). Maria Stewart was not content to point out the source of Black women’s oppression. She urged Black women to forge self-definitions of self-reliance and independence. “It is useless for us any longer to sit with our hands folded, reproaching the whites; for that will never elevate us,” she exhorted. “Possess the spirit of independence. . . . Possess the spirit of men, bold and enterprising, fearless and undaunted” (p. 53). To Stewart, the power of self-definition was essential, for Black women’s survival was at stake. “Sue for your rights and privileges. Know the reason you cannot attain them.Weary them with your importunities. You can but die if you make the attempt; and we shall certainly die if you do not” (p. 38).” – “Black Feminist Thought” by Patricia Hill-Collins, p. 1

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D.A.T.T. Freedom School Week 4 Summary – Cishetpatriarchy, Gender, & Sexuality

August 4, 2015
Shay Akil

Liberation Circle & Reading Summaries from D.A.T.T. Freedom School

Summer 2015 – Week 4

Cishetpatriarchy, Gender, & Sexuality

The Storify for this topic’s Liberation Circle tweet chat can be found HERE.

What is GENDER?

Gender is the range of mental and behavioral characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between and across, masculinity and femininity.  In Western societies, the accepted cultural perspective on gender views women and men as naturally and unequivocally defined categories of being with distinctive psychological & behavioral propensities that can be predicted from their reproductive function.  (The idea that women do feminine things, men do masculine things & it is just ‘natural’) (Doing Gender, West & Zimmerman, 1987:126)


Sex is a determination made through the application of socially agreed upon biological criteria for classifying persons as females or males.  The criteria for classification can be genitalia at birth or chromosomal typing before birth, and they do not necessarily agree with one another (Doing Gender, West & Zimmerman, 1987:127).  & its important to recognize that binary ‘sex’ is not supported by biology, if genes & genitalia are the criteria for binary biological sex, then even Eurowestern colonial binary biological sex is false and not supported by biological evidence.


Placement in a sex category is achieved through application of the sex criteria, but in everyday life, categorization is established and sustained by the socially required identificatory displays that proclaim one’s membership in one or the other category.  Sex & sex category can vary independently; that is, it is possible to claim membership in a sex category even when the sex criteria are lacking (Doing Gender, West & Zimmerman, 1987).


Sexuality is a person’s sexual orientation.  Many sexual orientations exist including but not limited to asexual, pansexual, bisexual, gay, lesbian, and heterosexual.  (Its important to remember that sexuality is not the same as gender or romantic orientation)  Some describe sexuality as what you do or don’t do with your genitalia.

– From Patriarchy & Gender by Shay Ture (@They_berian)

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