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

July 25, 2015
Shay-Akil

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 1 Summary – Capitalism

July 6, 2015
Shay-Akil

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

D.A.T.T. Freedom School Summer 2015 Syllabus

June 22, 2015
Shay-Akil

In preparation for the summer workstudy program, read these articles:

(1) Critical Thinking & Employing Education to Develop A Critical Consciousness: http://wp.me/p4oYXR-63

(2) Black Feminism: A Short Intro: http://wp.me/p4oYXR-w

(2) Patriarchy & Gender: http://wp.me/P4oYXR-55

(3) Race, Ethnicity, & Racism: http://wp.me/P4oYXR-5o

(4) Books You Can Read & 3 Documentaries You Can Watch Instead of Exposing Yourself to the Hegemonic Lies in the Hidden Colors Films: http://wp.me/p4oYXR-3O

D.A.T.T. Freedom School Summer 2015 Syllabus:

Week 1: Capitalism – Week of June 28th

Readings:

  • “A Companion to Marx’s Capital” by David Harvey – Introduction, Chapter 1, Chapter 3
  • “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery & The Making of American Capitalism” by Edward Baptiste – Chapter 1-2
  • “Black Marxism” by Cedric J. Robinson – Chapter 1: Racial Capitalism – The Nonobjective Character of Capitalist Development
  • “Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism” by Kwame Nkrumah – pp. 1-3

Week 2: Scientific Socialism – Week of July 5th

Readings:

  • “Class Struggle in Africa” by Kwame Nkrumah – Chapter 12 “Socialist Revolution”
  • “Stokely Speaks: From Black Power to Pan Africanism” by Kwame Ture/Stokely Carmichael – Chapter 7: The Dialectics of Liberation
  • “Black Marxism” by Cedric J. Robinson – Chapter 3: Socialist Theory & Nationalism

Week 3: Race & White Supremacist Racism – Week of July 12th

Readings:

  • “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
  • “Stokely Speaks: From Black Power to Pan Africanism” by Kwame Ture/Stokely Carmichael – Chapter 3: Power & Racism
  • “Unsettling Ourselves: Reflections and Resources for Deconstructing Colonial Mentality” compiled by Unsettling Minnesota – “What is White Supremacy” by Elizabeth Martinez pp. 71-74
  • “White by Law” by Ian Lopez – Chapter 1 “White Lines”

 

Week 4: Cishetpatriarchy, Gender, & Sexuality – Week of July 19th

Readings:

  • “Doing Gender” by West & Zimmerman (1987) [Article]
  • “Doing, Undoing, or Redoing Gender” by Connell (2010) [Article]
  • “Black Sexual Politics” by Patricia Hill-Collins – Chapter 6 “Very Necessary: Redefining Black Gender Ideology”
  • “Heteropatriarchy & the 3 Pillars of White Supremacy” by Andrea Smith
  • “The Invention of Women: Making An African Sense of Gender Discourses” by Oyeronke Oyewumi – Chapter 1 “Visualizing the Body: Western Theories & African Subjects” & Chapter 4 “Colonizing Bodies & Minds: Gender & Colonialism”

Week 5: Black Feminism – Week of July 26th

Readings:

  • “Black Macho & The Myth of the Superwoman” by Michelle Wallace- Chapter 1
  • “Black Feminist Thought” – 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”
  • “Sister Outsider” by Audre Lorde – The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House
  • “Africa: homophobia is a legacy of colonialism” by Val Kalende: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/30/africa-homophobia-legacy-colonialism

Week 6: Anti-Colonial Struggle – Week of August 2nd

Readings:

Week 7: Pan Africanism (Scientific Socialism) – Week of August 9th

Readings:

  • “Global Circuits of Blackness: Interrogating the African Diaspora” – Introduction
  • “Stokely Speaks: From Black Power to Pan Africanism” by Kwame Ture/Stokely Carmichael – Chapter 14: Pan Africanism & Chapter 15: From Black Power to Pan Africanism
  • Africana Critical Theory by Reiland Rabaka – Chapter 2 “W. E. B. Du Bois: The Soul of a Pan-African Marxist Male-Feminist” & Chapter 3 – “C. L. R. James: Pan-African Marxism Beyond All Boundaries”

 

Every week on Saturdays (with the exception of the 1st Saturday) we will have “Liberation Circles” which is our tweet chats where we discuss the readings & topics as a community.  This is where the participants & the coordinators come together to share and build in critical thought.  Below are the dates & times for the Liberation Circles:

Week 1: Friday, July 3rd, 2015 (7 PM – 8 PM EST, 6 PM – 7 PM CT, 4 PM – 5 PM PT)

Week 2: Saturday, July 11th, 2015 (4 PM – 5 PM EST, 3 PM – 4 PM CT, 1 PM – 2 PM PT)

Week 3: Saturday, July 18th, 2015 (4 PM – 5 PM EST, 3 PM – 4 PM CT, 1 PM – 2 PM PT)

Week 4: Saturday, July 25th, 2015 (4 PM – 5 PM EST, 3 PM – 4 PM CT, 1 PM – 2 PM PT)

Week 5: Saturday, August 1st, 2015 (4 PM – 5 PM EST, 3 PM – 4 PM CT, 1 PM – 2 PM PT)

Week 6: Saturday, August 8th, 2015 (4 PM – 5 PM EST, 3 PM – 4 PM CT, 1 PM – 2 PM PT)

Week 7: Saturday, August 15th, 2015 (4 PM – 5 PM EST, 3 PM – 4 PM CT, 1 PM – 2 PM PT)

The D.A.T.T. Freedom School’s Liberation Circle will be facilitated by @DATTFreedomSch

The D.A.T.T. Freedom School hashtag that we will use our tweet chats is #DATT

 

COMING THIS SUMMER: D.A.T.T. Freedom School

May 2, 2015
Shay-Akil

Its about to go down.
DATT School Announcment Tweets

DATT School Announcment Tweets2

The goal is for the freedom school to function as a work study program that provides people with the basics of critical thinking skills & begin their political education process.  The DATT Freedom School will host weekly tweet chats where the basics of how to understand hegemony is taught & discussed by guest educational coordinators & a DATT Freedom School Team Member as well as tweet chats reviewing the chosen book of the week or month.  I also plan on setting it up where participating educational coordinators & community activists record video sessions that easily breaks down concepts and applies them to historical & contemporary examples.

If you would like to participate DM me on twitter or email me at decolonizeallthethings@gmail.com!

MORE DETAILS COMING SOON!!!!!!!!!!

Critical Thinking & Employing Education To Develop A Critical Consciousness

January 1, 2015
Shay-Akil

Introduction

As a scholar and lover of learning I have constantly been asked how I manage to learn, remember, and understand so much.  Quite honestly its through a very particular form of critical thinking that is heavily influenced by brilliant minds like Paulo Friere, bell hooks, and the research skills I learned from the amazing staff of the Ronald E. McNair Program at UB.  So in this blog post I quickly run through some of the key components that underline the theory and praxis of critical thinking that I employ.  This post is designed to be introductory, it requires that you move forward on your own to engage in practically applying critical thinking.  This means you should check out the literature suggested here, pay close attention to the charts and try everything out on your own. Continue Reading

Books You Can Read & 3 Docs You Can Watch Instead of Exposing Yourself to the Reactionary Lies in the “Hidden Colors” Films

November 19, 2014
Shay-Akil

Introduction

So I have been thinking about writing this post for a while & now I’m finally getting to it.  In light of a lot of people paying attention to the extrajudicial murders of Black men in the news (& all the Black women being murdered by both the police & Black men but I see the reactionary cishetpatriarchs are ignoring that) a lot of people are open to trying to find out more about their Blackness, our history, and understanding how we got to where we are today.  Unfortunately reactionary cishetpatriarchal Black men & Black women are taking advantage of these interests & are directing many to hegemony painted in Black.

So in light of these misinformation campaigns, I decided to list out key texts on understanding race, ethnicity,  & how white supremacist racism works as well as some ACTUAL documentaries that do a way better job at providing historically accurate information as we attempt to decolonize & move forward towards equitable political liberation for all.  This blog post serves the purpose of serving as a teaching tool that provides information & links for: (a) someone who is unaware about these topics &/or (b) a quick link for those who want to help the those who don’t know. 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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