Decolonize ALL The Things

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

We Need Decolonial Scientists

November 10, 2016
Shay-Akil

cropped-tumblr_ndea0bn9ls1s0auzbo1_500.jpgI write this essay with the poignant words of writer and Sociology Phd student Zoe Samudzi in mind: “Donald Trump is as quintessentially American as they come. In so many ways, Trump is the president that contemporary white America deserves: he is an amalgamation of some of the worst racism, ableism, misogyny, and anti-poor attitudes and rhetoric that collectively comprise ‘American values’. Outside of Republicans’ own involvement in sexual misconduct, the party is ultimately responsible for draconian anti-choice policies over sexual reproduction, horrific discourses around rape, and a perpetual onslaught on the rights of women and gender and sexual minorities.”  These words highlight a settler nation’s refusal to see that Donald Trump is and always has been NORMAL.  By normal I mean just that, status quo.  There is nothing about him nor his track record that deviates from America’s accepted rules about behavior.  It is not taboo to be a bigot in the United States, its an accepted and expected behavioral practice and demanded in many cases.  These contemporary colonial relations dominate our minds and how we teach our children to treat other human beings.  White supremacy is central to how we socialize our youth and regulate adults into model citizens, designed to defend the logics of settlement and profit even at their own expense. Continue Reading

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Dear white anthropologists, I don’t believe you: When will #BlackLivesMatter & #BlackMindsMatter in Anthropology departments?

January 13, 2015
Shay-Akil

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INTRO

Historically academic organizations have made statements at times of peril in particular communities across the world to signify their official stance on the events taking place.  From UNESCO’s statement on race in 1950 to the most recent academic organizations’ statements on the oppression of Palestinians and recent media attention brought to Ferguson and other cases of police brutality.  But unfortunately these statements don’t necessarily materialize into anything of substance in the academy.  Academic organizational statements have not been resulting in changing the racial politics in these departments.
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Black Feminism(s) Taught Me

December 30, 2014
Shay-Akil

16427_10154921330175521_1391279896173625381_nIntroduction 

This past year I spent a lot of time working on me.  There were some major events at hand that contributed to some key changes in my life.  I for one took a step back from problematic and unhealthy friendships and relationships in my life.   For 6 months I didn’t talk to 2 of my best friends.  This was a time for self reflection, confronting hurt, and healing.  I decided to focus on myself during that time and embark on my person journey of decolonization and depatriarchalization.  It was during this time that I started to come into my own.  During the beginning of the year I suffered from some serious writer’s block, I was dealing with PTSD as a consequence of white supremacist racist trauma from the Fall Semester of 2013 along with acute stress disorder.  I started off 2014 hurt, pissed, and betrayed.  But what was most challenging for me was confronting with starting my process of unlearning unhealthy habits that this hegemonic society has taught me.  I told myself that this would be a year of self care.  I achieved that by actively engaging in self care, saying “no” more often, choosing to not doubt myself at every turn, and believing in my own abilities. Continue Reading

Educated/Intelligent African = Weaponized African

March 16, 2014
Shay-Akil

Image:assataposter.jpgIntroduction

I figured I would write this post to share my recent experiences with some individuals in my department and specifically with some of my classmates in one of my classes this semester.  This semester I have come to understand that there is nothing more dangerous than an intelligent, well spoken, conscious, & confident African woman.  I have become aware of this because my classmates have highlighted me as a present threat in class. Continue Reading

Intro to Political Liberation Reading List

March 16, 2014
Shay-Akil

1531680_522983234467062_1285373759_nGreetings everyone,  I have been getting a lot of emails & questions from hordes of people about what books to read in regards to political liberation.  Below I have compiled a list of readings separated by topic.  This is an introductory reading list so it does not have everything BUT it provides some CORE books that are AMAZING starting points.  Below is a nice little list that I put together & I hope everyone can benefit from it.  If you have any awesome pieces of literature on political liberation to suggest leave a comment below!!!

 

 

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Solidarity Is For White Women…In Academia

March 16, 2014
Shay-Akil

twittere755f00_jpgI previously did a blog post called “Educated African/Intelligent = Weaponized African“, detailing my experiences in class when a number of classmates labeled me as a literal physical threat to their well-being because I was smarter than them.  Such instances have happened to me all the time with people in class.  Their stereotypical generalizations of Black women deem me as a threat and my supposed “deviation” from those said stereotypes also deem me as just as dangerous if not more.  But I must admit, I was still naïve.  I never thought a professor would attack, disrespect, and belittle me in class until today.

This semester I am taking a “Readings in Feminist Theory” course, taught by a professor who is a White woman and also the chair of the Global Gender Studies department at the university that I attend.  I was so excited to take this course and I was hoping that I would come to learn more about the experiences of other women of color in other oppressed contexts that I am not familiar with so that I can be a more effective and thorough ally.  I thought wrong.  From the very beginning of class, everything was conceptualized from the experiences of middle class White heterosexual and lesbian women.  Not only could I nor any other person of color or LGBTQIA* member relate, but those articulations of theory and interpretations are inaccurate and don’t apply in other contexts. Continue Reading

They Forgot Mammy Had A Brain AKA Defending Yourself While A Black Woman in Class

March 16, 2014
Shay-Akil

tumblr_n1gl3nXWZA1rgam01o1_1280This past semester I experienced a horrifying incident where the professor of the Readings in Feminist Theory course I was taking (a graduate course in  Global Gender Studies) assaulted me in class in front of my fellow classmates.  The professor is a White woman, tenured professor, & known for her Liberal Feminism in the department & subtly known for her White supremacist racism. While this professor did assault me & I reported it through the appropriate channels (the Office of Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion…& I could write a blog post on why I have a problem with the name of this office), the university did what it does best: COVER ITS OWN ASS.  While talking to a fellow graduate student, about some of the big problems with dealing with systems of domination while in graduate school & a student of color, we both began discussing how somebody needs to start leaving tips, suggestions, clues, and advice to fellow PoC and other oppressed groups (e.g. poor, disabled, LGBTQIA*, etc.).  I had even discussed with a few fellow PoC graduate students the idea of writing a book about my experiences as well as the experiences of other PoC graduate students suffering under the oppressive thumb of academic departments and/or vicious professors. Continue Reading

“Me-search”: When White People Justify Their Colonial White Gaze

March 7, 2014
Shay-Akil

So I have had to hear this god awful word get thrown around a lot for the past week or so.  For those who don’t know or who had the luxury of never hearing it before, “Me-search” refers to observation bias, the idea that a researcher who is part of a sub-population that they are studying can not and will not study it correctly or scientifically because they are “too close” to the “subject”.  A friend of mine who is also a blogger for the Rebel Research Collective, Will wrote a post about this a while ago (check it out here).  I was talking to him earlier today about this very issue & we both came to a hilarious conclusion about how ridiculous “me-search” & “observer bias” truly is.  Will actually asked a Japanese graduate student if she was ever discouraged from studying anything in relation to Japan and she is actually encouraged to study Japan so that “international scholars” can extract from Japanese scholarship aka creating more knowledge for the consumption of curious White people.  But Will and I both have had to deal with being told that we have no business studying our own communities because we have a biased view and are too close to the topic.  So below is a few examples of what can be said by marginalized peoples who are being accused of “me-search” in the academy. Continue Reading

Constant State of Rage: Being an Academic Misfit in Class

March 3, 2014
Shay-Akil

So as a continuation to providing survival tactics for people of color (especially Black women & Black LGBTQ*) in academia I have decided to share some of my experiences and a bit of my discussions with my brother Will about some tactics of surviving whitewashed, imperialist, and andro-centric discussions in the classroom.

“To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” – James Baldwin

So this semester I am taking a “Poverty & Inequality” class in the Sociology department at the university I currently attend.  I am the only Black person in the class.  I was unfortunately under the impression that this class was going to just be the bomb dot com but I definitely lied to myself. Excuse me ya’ll, I’m still removing the rosy shades I have when it comes to the learning process.  So the topic for the day’s class was basically Blackness & Poverty.  All of the white people in the room (including the professor) sat & theorized about what it means to be poor & Black and family & kin networks among poor Blacks in the US.  They had an intellectual circle jerk about poor Black life & kinship while a poor Black woman sat in the damn class.  Now my whole plan was to go to class &  ignore them for the most part since I hadn’t learned a damn thing & its week 5.  But when I heard them sharing their perspectives & opinions about being poor & Black and Black kinship networks I sat there like:

kid-fury-o

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