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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Intersectional Food Politics & The Failure of SNAP Challenges

April 16, 2015
Shay-Akil

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Recently Gwyneth Paltrow tweeted a picture of $29 worth of food to equate to what a family on SNAP benefits has for a week with on food stamps.  She isn’t the first celebrity to do this, we’ve even seen politicians do this to make a point to fight against cutting SNAP benefits.  While they may mean well, they may think that they are helping, the end result is about the same as them not speaking or doing anything at all.  SNAP challenges are in many ways a form of problematic mockery that reduce complicated interconnected issues into single isolated problems that appear to have not too difficult fixes.  Attempting to mimic this one component of the very unfortunate inequitable lives of poor people in the U.S. is not solidarity.  In many ways intersectionally privileged people engaging in SNAP challenges comes off as some fad, especially when real help & solutions are possible. What Gwyneth Paltrow’s SNAP challenge reveals is that she really is clueless about the intersections of poverty.  If Gwyneth wants to help then that’s great, she needs to find an effective way to help that isn’t just donating to food banks which usually provide high calorie low nutrient produce & doesn’t solve the issue of poverty.  Food banks do not help combat the ultimate causal factors of poverty, so its influence is minimal & doesn’t combat the host of health problems that come along with poverty.  We don’t need band aid solutions & to be honest here, we don’t need band aid solutions from people with enough influence & power to actually HELP.  Poor people aren’t just here for you to have pity on so you can feel better about your sense of morality.  If you value these human lives then help in was that can alter the balance of power like: a living wage; shifts in workplace control; universal, affordable, quality child care; safe and affordable housing; equitable access to quality education; and universal prevention focused health care, etc..   Continue Reading

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