The Context (the rant):
My students’ math teacher is white, racist, and white.
His idea of pep-talk is “You should be ashamed. Your scores are awful. You can’t read. What are you gonna do when you get the new, harder, impossible standardized tests?!”
He shames them for not studying. Doesn’t teach them how to study. Lectures for nearly the entire 90minute class period. Then rants at them every day about how much they fail, but he just wants them to succeed!!!!!
He cares so much about their success that he told them today the Department of Education declared Detroit ground zero of stupidity— and that this insult should embarrass them.
He went on to say dictator-run EAA (former DPS) schools are doing just as bad as DPS schools because it’s the same kids.
(He asked “…and what do they both have in common???” to which I said “40+ students in a classroom?” But he still bulldozered on to say “Detroit students! That’s the common factor. You.”)
And now I need kid-friendly, Spanish-English bilingual fact sheets or videos about inequality of education in Detroit, and what Detroit kids are doing to remain awesome and badass and great.
I want them to have some armor for these racist tirades. I want them to know TRUTH FACTS! And I want to be right and defeat this teacher while still being able to charm him to bits so he does right by my kids.
I’ll post some stuff I already found. But my google skills in Spanish are subpar. And I’ll probably be passed out in an hour. So if you know of any kid/youth orgs or kid-friendly articles lemme know! I’m currently searching DetroitFuture.org for something that fits my needs…
The urban pastors reported that, in the wake of Governor Cuomo’s announcement, many predominantly white, wealthy suburban churches in the area have expressed renewed interest in Buffalo’s urban center. But rather than connecting with the urban pastors who have been doing ministry among the oppressed in Buffalo for years, and looking for ways to support the indigenous leaders who are already in place, they have simply begun making plans to expand their suburban ministry empires into the urban center. In other words, they’re venturing out into the world of urban church planting.
One older African-American pastor said he’s heard chilling reports of meetings, in which representatives from many of the suburban churches have gathered around a map of the city and marked each church’s “territory,” as if Buffalo was theirs to divvy up. The indigenous leaders were not invited to these meetings, nor have they been contacted by these churches. It’s as if they don’t exist, their churches don’t exist, and their expertise doesn’t exist. The suburban churches are simply marching in.
This is happening all over the U.S. In Seattle, Minneapolis, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Boston , Charlotte and many other cities, I’ve seen predominantly white, wealthy suburban churches take an imperialistic glance at the urban center, decide that they are called to “take back the city” and then proceed with all of the honor and finesse of a military invasion.
I started this blog with the goal of posting something a few times a week for each of the 30 weeks before my 30th birthday. Of course, I failed. But I’ve enjoyed writing here when I’ve found the time to do so and the halfway mark sounds like a good time to re-commit. Or re-fail. I was going to do a list of 15 things that were on my mind today (spoiler: boys, faux outrage and the silence of allies were all up on it), but then a friend sent me Nicki’s new song. I think I’ll do all lists of 15 this week, 14 next week, and so forth, until I inevitably fall off again. I have something really cool for week zero though, I promise to follow through on that.
Either way, here are 15 thoughts on “Chiraq,” Nicki Minaj’s latest song; this post reflects the views of me (in case the chairman of the Cash Money National Committee feels like firing off an open letter.)
1) I’m so sick and disgusted and tired and tight over these “Chiraq” references from people who aren’t from Chicago—-and people over the age of 25 who are. It’s not cool, it’s not bad ass and it’s not accurate. What exactly is the draw of the Chicago as third-world country narrative for us? “I’m tough like Chicago, because n*ggas be dying in Chicago?” That’s sad.
2) Nicki’s rapping harder than ever these days. She’s also looking better than ever, posting pictures of herself with natural makeup and dark hair. She can rap good and is gorgeous and has subjected us to “Starships” and clown makeup for the last 5 years. How it happen? Why it happen?
3) So many quotables that I can only quote among my Real Friends or at a party, three Hennys in. I wish Nicki had said, “I don’t tell MFs, I show MFs” instead of “n*ggas,” I really would like that to become my life mantra. There’s another one of those on the track, but I’m far too classy to say.
4) The blatant disrespect for Malcolm’s daughter and the original use of the “Looking Ass N*gga” artwork is just a reminder about how unintelligent some of these super talented, business savvy artists can be. It wasn’t provocative, it wasn’t subversive or thought-provoking. It was stupid. Like, “I be killing n*ggas, get it?” stupid. Basic. That she felt the need to reference it here instead of just backing away from the original fail makes that rather clear.
5) I don’t think I will never know exactly how to feel about Nicki. She is extremely talented and extremely problematic. I hope she leaves that Pecola Breedhate ish behind. She was so interesting around the time “Monster” dropped, when she outrappped half the rappers of note at that moment in history. But then we got this strange ‘gangsta b*tch in Sketchers and glitter’ aesthetic, when I thought we were going to get something else…what, exactly, I’m not sure. A bad ass, someone sex positive and raunchy who would laugh at “Super Bass.”
6) You gotta be 18 to find “Lil’ Herb” acceptable as a rap name. We are officially out of rap names. We also are without memory. I see “Lil Herb,” I think “Lil’ Lame,” but this is a generation of rappers that grew up on snap music and Soulja Boy. So, I reckon they wouldn’t even know what “herb” meant.
7) I’m old.
8) I’m younger than Nicki, though. Which is why some of the things I want her to know and want her to care about (like encouraging masses of White teen fans and Black girls to make quips about “nappy headed hoes,” or USING AN ICONIC IMAGE OF MALCOLM X TO TALK ABOUT SCRUBS) drive me crazy. Barbs are young, she’s over 30.
9) Beat is sick. If the entire album sounds like this, no “Starships,” no “Super Bass,” we might have the guilty pleasure record for the ‘99 and the 2000.
10) Black nihilism is so sexxxxxy. Imagine the Lucian Grainges, Lyor Cohens and Jimmy Iovines of the world getting rich off of White kids celebrating White death and pain. You can’t. Meanwhile, Jay put Yacub out on front street recently and I’m biting my nails and hoping folks just look the other way.
11) I wonder how the tweeny-bopper, high-top sneakers and tutus crowd reacts to this Nicki.
12) Has there ever been an artist in the game with such jarring code switching practices?
13) Toure has a short story in The Portable Promised Land that is soooo about Nicki Minaj. The book came out in 2002 (but I first remember reading that piece in The Source, perhaps a year earlier?) and I can’t see Nicki without thinking about it.
14) One of the criticisms of Toure’s book (and the “Black Widow” piece that gives me Minaj-realness) is that some of the essays “rely on catalogs of pop culture references [and] words and phrases in the black lexicon.” I suppose America wasn’t “tan” in 2002.
15) Dammit. Tan America is officially going to know about “Chiraq” now. Chiraq t-shirts coming to a Forever 21 near you. Some kid from Winnetka or Des Plaines is going to tell people they are from Chiraq over Strawberitas at a frat house. Everything is terrible.
Thanks for this message-I think a lot of people have some really unreasonable expectations when they come here, which on the one hand, I get, but on the other, still totally unreasonable.
The only time it starts to get to me is when people come right out of the gate with assumptions that I am purposely withholding information for My Own Nefarious Purposes. Like, why this immediate jump to make things so sinister? I’ve actually gotten a fair amount of messages that are literally cussing me out for “excluding” something from medievalpoc that I have never even heard of.
I’ve actually been thinking about that ever since I read N.K. Jemisin’s article here, “Confirmation Bias, Epic Fantasy and You”. While the process of reframing new information as a psychological threat is something I’ve understood intuitively for a long time, having been subjected to the fallout for quite some time now, I’m not very good at articulating it.
In other words, people willing to believe that I am Actually and Truly Evil shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me…but it still did. And does, I guess.
Sometimes running this blog is a very odd tightrope walk/dance between being accountable for what I say here, obviously, and an increasing expectation that I have a moral obligation to be right about everything all the time.
It’s that last part that’s the most baffling, because it comes from both people who consider themselves critics of medievalpoc as well as fans of the blog. It’s a bit disappointing to me personally, because I’ve gone to such great lengths to try and demonstrate that your history book isn’t always right, you professor isn’t always right, your institution of learning isn’t always right.
But then you assume that *I* have to be?
I wonder if it might be time for a small reality check and maybe a warning. Medievalpoc is A Thing because of its readers. What I’m doing is sharing every bit of information, research leads, writing prompts, and my own interpretations that I can muster the energy for.
If you choose to try and set up Medievalpoc as an infallible and and ultimate source of Absolute Truths, you’re doing far more to debunk Medievalpoc than any critic can ever do. I can tell people REALLY want to do that, as well as setting up Medievalpoc as a moral authority.
If you build up the idea that I am “respectable” as a reason for trusting what I say here, then this information rises and falls with who I am personally (and whatever people THINK that is!!), and that is a terrible and huge mistake.
And that’s one of the dangers in running a single-mod themed blog like this one: it becomes linked to that person and ideas about who they are. And yet, adding another mod would introduce an element of chaos in regard to accountability here…not only do I cringe at the idea of being accountable for someone else’s mistakes and misunderstandings (my own are bad enough!), but who on earth would want to be responsible for things that could possibly come out of MY mouth?
I’m not a cult leader, I’m not a moral authority, I’m not an “example of respectability” or “one of the GOOD ones”. The more you polarize these discussions and the more pedestals you build, you are recreating the uniquely American version of the “Politician Laid Low by Scandal” narrative.
Well-thought-out criticism of Medievalpoc is the best thing you can do for this blog.
And once again, thank you for reading.