Decolonize ALL The Things

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

Creating Healthy Masculinities

June 30, 2016

Below are slides from a workshop that I designed & presented 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

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

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 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. And these contexts have shaped me but I am not limited to them.

I was socialized into the wrong gender, misgendered since my birth, and socialized into a transphobic society.  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 Transman.  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.

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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

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An Overview of Dialectics & Historical Materialism

January 31, 2016


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


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

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

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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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

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