Decolonize ALL The Things

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

D.A.T.T. Freedom School Week 3 Summary – Race & white supremacist racism

July 25, 2015

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

Summer 2015 – Week 3

Race & white supremacist racism

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


Summary of “Fatal Invention” by Dorothy Roberts – Chapter 1: The Invention of Race & “Racial Formation in the United States” by Michael Omi & Howard Winant – Chapter 4: The Theory of Racial Formation & Chapter 5: Racial Politics & the Racial State

In this chapter, Dorothy Roberts quickly reviews the history of the invention of “race”.  The title of the chapter alone challenges the popular notion that race has always existed along with the complete separation of racial groups till colonial contact.  Robert’s historical analysis poignantly reveals that is not the case.  Roberts points out the importance of race in settler colonial US,

“Americans are so used to filtering our impressions of people through a racial lens that we engage in this exercise automatically – as if we are merely putting a label on people to match their innate racial identities … So we force the melange of physical features and social clues into a code that tells us how to categorize each person – so as to know where each person fits in our society (Roberts, 2011:1)”.

This process of “racialization” is about making approximations about people’s cultures, behaviors, and etc..  But overall its a series of political processes.  Omi & Winant call race a “way of making up people” and also a “process of othering” (2015:105).

According to Michael Omi & Howard Winant in “Racial Formation in the United States” race is “a concept that signifies & symbolizes social conflicts and interests by referring to different types of human bodies” (2015:110).  But we know from Roberts (2011) that race is not just a social construct; race is a political relationship.  Thus, race is a political conflict carried out by reference to specific types of human bodies. Racism is not something particular to the United States & race is not the same everywhere in the world. Racial categories serve particular contextual purposes depending on the society they are used in, but generally follow the base logic of the supremacy of one type of human body over all others (ordering these human bodies in a hierarchical fashion).

Race is a typology based in zoological typologies and heavily influenced by the line of thought in “the great chain of being”, a concept derived by Plato and Aristotle. Continue Reading


D.A.T.T. Freedom School Week 2 Summary – Socialism

July 17, 2015

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

Summer 2015 – Week 2


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

Summary of “Stokely Speaks: From Black Power to Pan Africanism” by Kwame Ture/Stokely Carmichael – Chapter 7: The Dialectics of Liberation

In Chapter Seven of his seminal work, Stokely Speaks: From Black Power to Pan-Africanism (1965), Kwame Ture, also known as Stokley Carmichael, elucidates the connection between autonomy—as an ideal—and the institutional structures that affirm, legitimize, and undergird autonomy.

This “Dialectic of Liberation” distinguishes between an “individual racism and an institutionalized racism” (p. 78). The political injustices related to every milieu of Western society –from public health to the edifice of academia—is abstracted by what Kwame Ture notarizes as “distant and dismissible statistics” (Memoirs, p. 421). In this way, the Pan-African struggle to disentangle from the neo-colonial handmaiden of capitalism is decontextualized of intergenerational oppression— and the germs of wrought imparted by hegemony. In other words, Ture’s referendum on the “pure theater” (p. 420) of individualism within Western politics, catalyzed by his premise that the integration of black diasporic peoples into white hegemony does not decentralize power from the white establishment. In fact, integration merely casts a wider net of influence upon the governed. He cautions that individual reciprocals of oppression (e.g., low-income schools that pathologize students as nouns, rather than adjectives) or segregation, are not ameliorate as a result of integration into districts, gerrymandered by classist inflections. Proposition 13, which severely hampered the ability for post-civil war, black municipalities in California to appreciate tax wealth, was a prime example of corporate tools employed in colonial wedlock. As a result, black neighborhoods were blighted and the social proximity between low and high-income neighborhoods began to mirror that between predominantly black and white schools. Thus, integration failed to meet a semblance of financial equilibrium as instruments of capitalism were harnessed to influence propositions that swiftly catapulted the status of white neighborhoods—and by proxy, “white” schools—despite the SCOTUS decision in 1954. Continue Reading

D.A.T.T. Freedom School Week 1 Summary – Capitalism

July 6, 2015

Liberation Circle Summaries from Week 1 of D.A.T.T. Freedom School 2015 Summer Session:

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

Summary of “Black Marxism” by Cedric J. Robinson – Chapter 1: Racial Capitalism – The Nonobjective Character of Capitalist Development

We see in the Cedric J. Robinson text (Chapter 1) that the development of capitalism was one that is not so separate from feudal Europe.  The shift to more capitalist modes of production versus feudal modes of production was ushered in with the new bourgeoisie during the 11th century.  They included merchants as well as serfs escaping their lordes.  Through their consistent travel they found ways to maintain freedom from land.  Into the 12th & 13th centuries we see more and more forms of capitalist modes of production, including the clothing business in Flanders.  In essence, Europe first colonized herself, leading to dangerous consequences.  As the bourgeoisie began to grow and expand their trade relations they also changed their relation to the land – e.g. in Italy & Italian colonies in the Mediterranean they began clearing out land (rapid deforestation that changed spring & fall flood seasons) for urban development, as they changed the ecology, there were environmental & health consequences.  As trade centers developed & serfs rose in resistance against lordes, the bourgeoisie offered the “freedom from the land” just to re-enslave people through wage labor.  Urban industry thus helped move people away from feudal modes of production.  These industries created the bourgeoisie. Continue Reading

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