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Dear White People Who Insist On Acting Brand New





You are not fooling anyone when you claim to have no idea that POC existed before slavery. No one. Not in a world where the internet & libraries exist & are accessible to most if not all of you. This is especially true for white people who are regular users of social media. If you can access Tumblr, you can access Google and looks hit up before you claim that POC were nowhere near Europe before colonialism. We have always traveled the world, we will always travel the world, we have been royalty in your courts, merchants in your marketplaces, mercenaries in your wars, & most of all we have existed, resisted, survived & thrived throughout of all of history. So stop pretending you can believe in magic, dragons, and flying elephants, but the sheer idea of POC in what is now England, Germany, or France is anathema. Because you look like a ignorant shit head & while mocking you is fun I am incredibly tired of pointing out the same basic historical facts. Pick up a book (on tape if you need to ) and learn something before you fix your fingers to type ignorant shit about fabric, science, math, art, music, literature, or religion. We have done it all, will do it all again, and really we would be just fine without your input.

white people do so love acting brand new, don’t they

they love it almost as much as being anti-racist racists

Bolded that last bit so I could go even further, we were doing way fucking better before y’all decided to forcibly inject your input all over everything.


Internationally renowned Universities, libraries that people traveled across the world to see, proprietary knowledge on just about everything (aka, the whole reason you white folks wanted to find another way to trade with China and India, because we had your asses on lockdown).

Until y’all up and decided it was time to fuck everything up so no one could have nice things, everything was looking pretty fucking rosy for the rest of us.

When y’all throw a temper tantrum it destroys generations of progress. Just keep that in mind.

This last reblog —i’m sorry, who is “we”? For someone who supposedly “calls people out on their racism” you sure seem to essentialize and generalize a lot. So if i’m reading this correctly, you are classifying the Incas in the same category as the Egyptians, the South African Bushmen with the Chinese, the Indians with the Ashante etc? What does “we had libraries” even mean? Who had them? A universal collective race/culture of PoC perhaps? In which everyone coexisted in peace and harmony and sang “Kumbaya” holding hands around the fire and everything was just peachy, right? Until the “white people” came along, who i’m assuming you also view as a homogeneous group of bloodthirsty warmongers who instantaneously and single-handedly ruined everything. Yes. This is exactly what happened. Or maybe you’ve been watching too much Pocahontas.

Need i remind you that the Library of Alexandria in Egypt was partially destroyed by Muslim conquest around 641 AD? Just an afterthought. 

Now see, somebody come collect your cousin. She can’t can figure out that Islam is a religion not a race, much less engage with history long enough to figure out that there is more than one way to pass down knowledge from one generation to the next.

"Why Africa Fears Western Medicine" by Harriet A. Washington


TO Westerners, the repatriation of five nurses and a doctor to Bulgaria last week after more than eight years’ imprisonment meant the end of an unsettling ordeal.

The medical workers, who in May 2004 were sentenced to death on charges of intentionally infecting hundreds of Libyan children with H.I.V., have been freed, and another international incident is averted.

But to many Africans, the accusations, which have been validated by a guilty verdict and a promise to reimburse the families of the infected children with a $426 million payout, seem perfectly plausible. The medical workers’ release appears to be the latest episode in a health care nightmare in which white and Western-trained doctors and nurses have harmed Africans — and have gone unpunished.

The evidence against the Bulgarian medical team, like H.I.V.-contaminated vials discovered in their apartments, has seemed to Westerners preposterous. But to dismiss the Libyan accusations of medical malfeasance out of hand means losing an opportunity to understand why a dangerous suspicion of medicine is so widespread in Africa.

Africa has harbored a number of high-profile Western medical miscreants who have intentionally administered deadly agents under the guise of providing health care or conducting research.

In March 2000, Werner Bezwoda, a cancer researcher at South Africa’s Witwatersrand University, was fired after conducting medical experiments involving very high doses of chemotherapy on black breast-cancer patients, possibly without their knowledge or consent.

In Zimbabwe, in 1995, Richard McGown, a Scottish anesthesiologist, was accused of five murders and convicted in the deaths of two infant patients whom he injected with lethal doses of morphine. And Dr. Michael Swango, ultimately convicted of murder after pleading guilty to killing three American patients with lethal injections of potassium, is suspected of causing the deaths of 60 other people, many of them in Zimbabwe and Zambia during the 1980s and ’90s. (Dr. Swango was never tried on the African charges.)

These medical killers are well known throughout Africa, but the most notorious is Wouter Basson, a former head of Project Coast, South Africa’s chemical and biological weapons unit under apartheid. Dr. Basson was charged with killing hundreds of blacks in South Africa and Namibia, from 1979 to 1987, many via injected poisons. He was never convicted in South African courts, even though his lieutenants testified in detail and with consistency about the medical crimes they conducted against blacks.

Such well-publicized events have spread a fear of medicine throughout Africa, even in countries where Western doctors have not practiced in significant numbers. It is a fear the continent can ill afford when medical care is already hard to come by. Only 1.3 percent of the world’s health workers practice in sub-Saharan Africa, although the region harbors fully 25 percent of the world’s disease.

A minimum of 2.5 health workers is needed for every 1,000 people, according to standards set by the United Nations, but only six African countries have this many. The distrust of Western medical workers has had direct consequences. Since 2003, for example, polio has been on the rise in Nigeria, Chad and Burkina Faso because many people avoid vaccinations, believing that the vaccines are contaminated with H.I.V. or are actually sterilization agents in disguise.

This would sound incredible were it not that scientists working for Dr. Basson’s Project Coast reported that one of their chief goals was to find ways to selectively and secretly sterilize Africans.

Such tragedies highlight the challenges facing even the most idealistic medical workers, who can find themselves working under unhygienic conditions that threaten patients’ welfare. Well-meaning Western caregivers must sometimes use incompletely cleaned or unsterilized needles, simply because nothing else is available.

These needles can and do spread infectious agents like H.I.V. — proving that Western medical practices need not be intentional to be deadly. Although the World Health Organization maintains that the reuse of syringes without sterilization accounts for only 2.5 percent of new H.I.V. infections in Africa, a 2003 study in The International Journal of S.T.D. and AIDS found that as many as 40 percent of H.I.V. infections in Africa are caused by contaminated needles during medical treatment.

Even the conservative W.H.O. estimate translates to tens of thousands of cases. Several esteemed science journals, including Nature, have suggested that the Libyan children were infected in just this manner, through the re-use of incompletely cleaned medical instruments, long before the Bulgarian nurses arrived in Libya. If this is the case, then the Libyan accusations of iatrogenic, or healer-transmitted, infection are true.

The acts may not have been intentional, but given the history of Western medicine in Africa, accusations that they were done consciously are far from paranoid. Certainly, the vast majority of beneficent Western medical workers in Africa are to be thanked, not censured. But the canon of “silence equals death” applies here: We are ignoring a responsibility to defend the mass of innocent Western doctors against the belief that they are not treating disease, but intentionally spreading it. We should approach Africans’ suspicions with respect, realizing that they are born of the acts of a few monsters and of the deadly constraints on medical care in difficult conditions.

By continuing to dismiss their reasonable fears, we raise the risk of even more needless illness and death.

(via masteradept)

Children of the Dragonfly Excerpt - Black Robes


 The importance of language in the replacement of Indian culture “cannot be overstated,” according to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples: “The entire residential school project was balanced on the proposition that the gate to assimilation was unlocked only by the progressive destruction of Aboriginal languages” (Canada, Report 1.10.1). Yet in “Black Robes” (1996), her grandmother will not let the young Lee Maracle speak her own language. Her advice to the girl is to “Master their language, daughter; hidden within it is the way we are to live among them.” From that directive the writer’s work grows.

[ADR Warning: ableist language ahead]

Black Robes

By Lee Maracle

            The children of our people must seek knowledge wherever life presents it. Black Robe was a new thing: thus, she was there in the green meadow where Mexica horses lolled about, clipping grass and enjoying the soft warmth of mother sun. Here, indeed, was something different. Wordlessly, she absorbed its newness.

            Black Robe seemed agitated. He spoke fast, and later the girl learned from her father’s account to her mother that he never repeated his listeners’ words as we do (very rude). She heard everything Black Robe said only because her father spoke in the old way. He was careful to repeat Black Robe’s words verbatim, to show respect for the speaker’s vision of truth and to ensure that no misunderstanding or distortion of his words occurred. Then, her father answered him.

            “There is only learning and knowledge, Black Robe. We do not deny our children knowledge. You say that you have teachers who will show my children how to live. Can you not see? Behind me sits my daughter, who is neither blind nor deaf no imprisoned. She is free to seek knowledge among whomever she chooses to learn from. Her presence among adults indicates her desire to know. Hence, are we not obligated to give her our knowledge whenever she walks among us? You see her. She will have no need of interpreters if we continue to counsel, you and I. What need, then, has she of this place called ‘school’?

            “Her brothers and she can learn things that we cannot teach them, like medicine, sanitation, housekeeping and flight, you say.” Her old father laughed. “When she grows wings and learns to fly, will she also acquire the beauty and sense of freedom of the eagle, the brazenness and wit of raven? Will her eyes see at night like owl? Black Robe, show me how you fly and my daughter will fly tomorrow; then, she will have no need of canoes. It takes a long time to build a bridal canoe.

“You say she will learn not flying, but different things than her brothers; that her brothers will learn about flying in something of their own making, not by themselves. In a glider, you say. That they will not actually make such a thing but only know of its existence. Of what use is such knowledge? You will fill my young men’s minds with useless knowledge, Black Robe. You say my daughter will learn how to be a good Christian wife, to do a thing called read from deadwood leaves. What need has she to be a woman different than what she is? To kill trees and put marks on deadwood leaves o remind her of how she must conduct herself? She is not lazy, nor is she forgetful. She is a good girl and will become a good woman. She will make a good wife –maybe Pierre’s wife,” he teased. She blushed and looked at the ground. Her old father chuckled sensuously.

            Black Robe sucked in his breath. (I should not say this, nor even think it, but written on his face was exasperation, like when a young girl weaves her first basket and her fingers disobey the heart and will not weave it right.) The interpreter interjected, trying to bring depth to Black Robe’s shallow vision of life. He tried to make the father and Black Robe see each other’s point of view; to make them understand hat there is no disagreement over the value of different (new) knowledge, but only a difference in how to learn –at home, or far away, with children from many different villages.

            The interpreter is not speaker or listener, so neither Black Robe nor the father responded. But his words stayed with the young woman. She looked hard at the interpreter. She knew that her father would not relent. Her eyes tried to tell the interpreter that Black Robe was wasting his time. She wanted to save him more embarrassment. Soon the father would look upon his pleas as begging. No woman should sit and watch a man reduce himself to a beggar without first warning him. Black Robe was blind to the young woman’s eyes and the interpreter dared not say what he thought he saw in the young woman’s eyes.

            Black Robe did not stop talking.

            In the end, the father did not relent, but he invited Black Robe to counsel whomever he pleased. “Turn anyone around that you may, Black Robe.” It was for her father a great and generous concession.

            His prophecy about the young woman and the interpreter came to be. Pierre Deneuve, a man whose father came from a place called France and his mother from her own people, came to be her partner.

            Partner. Husband in English. She learned to understand his immodest and mean language which has so many names for the same man; as though they were the land, not men from-such-and-such a land. She never bothered to speak the language much, and by the time I came to be it was hard for her to speak English.

            In the warmth of her kitchen the soft tones of her voice toughed my ears and gentled my raucous spirit. She brought me sadness but once in the multitude of after-school days I spent in her kitchen. I had learned not to query uselessly before I learned to speak. This day I mentioned all my great-grandmothers and how I would like to see them. She could not give me their presence; instead she gave me her story.

            “Pierre tried to teach me all the new things he knew, but they never made sense.” She winced and laughed mischievously. “He said that he was a Christian, a Catholic, an interpreter, a Half-breed, a worker, and not just Pierre. To me, he was always Pierre. The funniest thing he said was that he was a Roman Catholic. Rome is in a place called Italy –far away. How could he be from here and from Italy?”

            She stopped laughing. Silent, gentle tears flowed from her tired eyes. “He made me send my children to school. All my babies, I knew them only while they were small. They came home men and women. So different were they from me. So many of their words grated on my being, foreign words, like Pierre’s. So little did they speak their own language. Today, I am surrounded by the faces of our people speaking as the Black Robes spoke. IN the faces of the children are written the characters of the people of the Black Robes. The laughter of my ancients died in the house that Pierre built.

            “ ‘My brothers, my sisters are all dead from the Black Robes’ disease or killed in their wars. How can you ask me to send my little ones to grace their presence and not shorten my own life with their smiles and their growth? Will you call me wife, yet deny me motherhood’ I asked him.”

            She said that Pierre had said a lot of nice things to ease her pain, but he sent the children. “Of what use were nice words? Was he standing at the precipice of our son’s grave –my son–alcohol-crazed, screaming insane words at a room with deaf walls, in a dirty hotel, while alcohol ate the life from his body? No. The Black Robes’ disease had already taken his life and it was I who had to bury my son. All mothers ever ask of life is to die before their children. I have buried four of mine. Worse, now I must bury my tiny little grandchildren.”

            She whispered in the language of the old people, a language she forbade me to speak lest the craziness of her sons and daughters who had died overtake me. Lest I have no one language but become a crippled two-tongue.

            “Master their language, daughter; hidden within it is the way we are to live among them. It is clear that they will never go away. Every year more of them come. England, France, Wales –all must be terrible places, for they keep coming here to get away from there. I do not begrudge them a place here, but why do they have to bequeath to us the very things they escape from?”

            It was like that in the 1950s in the wood-smoked kitchens of our grannies. I thought then that I would join the lonely march of six-year-old children going to grow up in the convent, missing my mom and unable to speak to my brothers. What a shock when school arrived and I was thrown not among Native children, but Europeans. The teacher was not a nun, but an ordinary white woman.

            Back in my granny’s kitchen I was in tears, complaining about not being with the other children. She watched me weep until a deep sense of foolishness overtook me and I stopped the flow of my tears. “You are fortunate. How else will we master the language and keep our ways unless we can learn among them and still live with our mothers and grandmothers? You are fortunate. How else will we learn to master their ways and still master the ancient art of motherhood unless we are schooled by them and our mothers too? Further, it is not our way to bring misery to others. Better to teach them to treat you as a human being ought to be treated than to come here making gifts of misery to an old woman who has done you no harm.” Her silence spelled dismissal.

            At age ten I stood at the edge of my granny’s grave, surrounded by Europeans, and witnessed the burial of our ancient ways. I wondered if the birth of a new world founded on the coming together of both our histories was really possible. Would Europeans ever look at me and see an equal, not an aborted cripple but a human being with all my frailties, my separate history, and our common future? I would not have had such thoughts if the grandmothers of this land had not battered themselves with the question, mused aloud in the presence of their granddaughters.

            Had mass death, tuberculosis, and the loss of our grandmothers’ right to raise their young not have accompanied the development of Canada, the settlers would not have though thus. Should we have been invited not as inferior sub-humans, but as people with a great contribution to make the creation of a next nation, death would not haunt us as it does. More, our disappearance from the realm of history –the lingering realization that to most Canadians we do not exist –would not be our intimate agony.

            Racism is an essential by-product of colonialism. That Europeans came her to escape something may be true, but it was not the real reason for erecting a colonial colossus all over the world. It was not the reason for he enslavement and importation of millions of African citizens to work our lands and build a meaner system than the world had ever known.

            Europeans today see Natives without being able to imagine our grandmothers. They never see the old woman who shaped our lives: the ankle-length flowered and paisley cotton skirts; the warm earth colours of their clothes; the kerchiefs and laughing eyes are lost to Europeans. They can never hear the soft tones of our grandmothers’ ancient languages.

            Europeans are blinded by Hollywood images. How sad. Not for me, but for them, as humanity is forever lost to those who would object to the colours and voices of the people of the past that have left their mark on the hearts and minds of the people of the present.

            As a child I was humiliated by a string of teachers wearing brothel-tinted sunglasses. I was accused of sluttish behavior by a moralizing principal whose assessment of me was guided by the colour of my skin rather than my character. Now that line of teachers look pathetic and the poetry of T.S. Eliot burns new meaning into the pages of my own book: “We are the hollow men / stuffed men…”

            I no longer weep for myself or the lost Europeans, but rather insist on writing myself into a new book that counts all of humanity on its tender warm and colourful pages.

            We are not integrated people. We do not even co-exist peacefully. The reality of death still mangles our existence.

            Black Widow-maker

            Death hangs over us

            like a black widow-maker

            on a treeless mountainside.

            A beleaguered army

            caught in a valley

            we thought green, lush

            and teaming with life

                        suddenly becomes a swamp

                        full of alligators

                        leeches, filth and disease


            Caused more by the shame

            of being fooled one more time.

            In the darkness of our own

            confusion we have forgotten

            our reason for being.

In our grannies’ kitchens, where the scent of wood smoke and sumptuous meals cooked over a thousand fires lingered in the unpainted walls and cupboards, that is where I learned he laws which enabled me to love my children. In my granny’s kitchen, the sweet smells and gentle words soothed the aches and pains of a six-year-old growing up in a schizophrenic situation. Unlike in school, in my granny’s kitchen I as not made to memorize or even contemplate the meaning of her words.

            “You will remember what you need to know when the time comes.”

            Right then, it was he sunshine of her presence that I needed. Her radiance was neither finite nor momentary. It was this shower that I bequeath to my children.

            Her love was not without discipline, but it did preclude violence. I searched her story for some parable, but after many years realized there was none. She could not give me my ancestors. I would have to find them myself. Not to let me walk away empty-handed, she gave me herself. She must have known I was desperate, for she never shamed me for begging. I was desperate, so desperate.

            Before the fires of maddened Blacks burned their anger into the face of a frightened white America and made it forever impossible to erase African-Americans, there was sleep. The sleep of fools who know what they do but don’t think of the consequences of their actions. It was the sleep of an insipid historical continuum that repeated its idiocy, not just by force of habit, bt because no one raised any objections.

            Force is the midwife of historical change.

            “I was the best of times and the worst of times…” We need only add, “and the stupidest of times,” and we will have painted the prosperous ‘50s in the bleak colours of mass insensitivity and righteous, red-neck practice. In the ‘50s there was no challenge. The Red “man” was vanquished –cosigned to a kind of living purgatory in curio shops and tourist-trap trading posts. The Black “man” was reduced to a toe-tapping bundle of rhythm. (Black and Red women did not exist for anyone, yet.) All Natives were happy, and working-class European-cum-CanAmerica was movin’ up.

            Before Rusty and Alexander Street,

            skid row and my children

            there was my grandmother.

            On the shore by the lakes

            and in the hills of our heritage,

            our grannies sat on dead wood logs

            behind the Black Robes

            and their fathers.

(via rematiration-deactivated2013111)

Excerpt: Children of the Dragonfly - Children of Nature, Children of the State


“But you, who are wise, must know that different nations have different conceptions of things; and you will therefore not take it amiss, if our ideas of this kind of education happen to not be the same with yours. We have had some experience of it; several of our young people were formerly brought up a the colleges of the northern provinces; they were instructed in all your sciences; but when they came back to us […] they were totally good for nothing. (qtd. in Franklin 10: 387)”

In 1784 Benjamin Franklin may have concurred with this assessment of colonial education by the Iroquois leader Canassatego, who spoke to commissioners from Virginia at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1744 (Baker 47). On behalf of the sachems who refused the Virginians’ offer to educated twelve young Iroquois men at the College of William and Mary, he offered instead t host twelve sons of Virginia’s gentlemen promising to “take great care of their education, and instruct them in all we know, and make Men of them” (qtd. in Franklin 10: 386-87). As a revolutionary with a sense of humor, Franklin must have admired the Iroquois’s satiric send-up of the Virginians’ arrogance and ignorance.

            Within twenty years of Franklin’s writing, however, a competing conception of Indian-white difference would gain ascendancy in the young republic, one which asserted parental authority over the Native nations: “Children […] the great Chief of the Seventeen great nations of America has become your only father,” wrote William Clark and Meriwether Lewis to the Ote in 1804, addressing them as “children” eighteen times, e.g.: “Children. -Do these things which your great father advises and be happy” (qtd. in Carrol 16) Thomas Jefferson’s seaboard America looked west at a continent-wide “Indian problem.” It sought to reduce by reducing Indians to children. Jefferson held contradictory views of Indians, using their physical, intellectual, linguistic, social, and political equality with whites as evidence against the environmental degeneracy theory that was popular in Europe, by calling them “children” when perceiving them as impediments to expansion (Grinde 197, 208).

            Such opportunistic paternalism “required children to have no independence or life of their own,” according to Michael Paul Rogin in his study of the Jackson-era subjugation of American Indians (10). Since Columbus, Europe had conceived of indigenous people as having child-like qualities (Todorov 34-40), but the United States and Canada transformed them from children of nature to children of the state, and gradually assumed parental authority over them in matters of territory, commerce, and religion. The metaphor of Indians as children was soon placed at the enter of the legal definition of Indian status, when Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that tribes “are a people in a sate of pupilage. Their relation to the United States resembles that of a ward to his guardian” (The Cherokee Nation v. The State of Georgia, 1831, qtd. in Norgren 101). Marshall’s figure of speech justified subjugation and relocation of the Cherokee and others. Describing the Cherokee removal in his 1838 report, Secretary of War Joel R. Poinsett asserted that “Humanity, no less than sound policy, dictated this course toward these children of the forest” (qtd. in Rogin 247).

            In Canada, the original partnership between Crown, Indian nations, and colonies was expressed in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 as a nation-to-nation relationship hat protected Indian sovereignty (Canada, Report 1.9.2). The next century of frustrated legislative efforts to civilize and assimilate Indian people led Canada to create a framework of political, social and cultural jurisdiction through the Indian Act (1876) that has persisted to the present. The Interior Department’s report for 1876, written under the same theory as the Indian Act, repeats Marshall’s language from forty years before, revealing that Canadian Indian law “rests on the principle, that the aborigines are to be kept in the condition of tutelage and treated as wards or children of the state” (qtd. in  Canada, Report 1.9.8).

            And if Indians are reduced to children, then their parental role is debased, and their children will be raised by some agency of the parent-state. The metaphor of custodial paternalism presaged the development of Indian education and child welfare as instruments within the larger effort to eradicate Indian culture. The effect of other efforts, such as the end to government-to-government treaty-making in the United States in 1871 and in Canada in 1876, and the US General Allotment Act of 1887, was to further erode Indian sovereignty and disrupt  the passing of Native ways from parents to children, interrupting family, clan, and other relations (Priest 96; Canada, Report 1.9.2). According to Robert Berkhofer, the 1870s saw US federal assumption of “full responsibility for native education” through actions that moved Indian tribes from “being domestic dependent nations […] as utterly dependent wards in order to prepare them for American individualism” (White Man’s Indian 171).

            In Lewis’s terms, the less the great father’s adult Indian “children’ followed his advice, the more his government believed that future accommodations for Native Americans depended on children. In his 1831 report, Secretary of War Lewis Cass wrote that “Our hopes must rest upon the rising generation,” a hope that would be renewed each new generation, as each grown generation defeated that hope (qtd. in Prucha 141) .  The adult Indian, that “simple child of nature” whose mind was “dwarfed and shriveled,” the Baord of Indian Commissioners reported in 1880, was beginning to see the value of education for his children (qtd. in Iverson 20). In 1889, Commissioner of Indian Affairs Thomas Jefferson Morgan predicted that all Indian children would be in school within two or three years, but the number fell far short of his prediction. The 1892 Lake Mohonk Conference asserted that it was not “desirable to raise another generation of savages,” and that “the government is justified, as a last resort, in using power to compel attendance” when “ parents, without good reason, refuse to educate their children” (qtd. in Pruha 70)

(via rematiration-deactivated2013111)




A father stares at the hands of his five year-old daughter, which were severed as a punishment for having harvested too little rubber.

This is what was happening in the Congo at the hands of the Belgians under King Leopold. Let us be clear dear people who like to claim that because their parents were immigrants to America they never benefited from the slave trade. People were taken from Africa & exported as slaves to other countries, but Africans were also enslaved & killed on the continent. For generations. That’s the legacy of the colonialism & imperialism that made the West so wealthy & created the “Third World”.

Not to detract from the point of this, but see this people who got this on the ‘steampunk’ tag?
The above is why dressing like this:

Is not fucking ON.




A father stares at the hands of his five year-old daughter, which were severed as a punishment for having harvested too little rubber.

This is what was happening in the Congo at the hands of the Belgians under King Leopold. Let us be clear dear people who like to claim that because their parents were immigrants to America they never benefited from the slave trade. People were taken from Africa & exported as slaves to other countries, but Africans were also enslaved & killed on the continent. For generations. That’s the legacy of the colonialism & imperialism that made the West so wealthy & created the “Third World”.

Not to detract from the point of this, but see this people who got this on the ‘steampunk’ tag?

The above is why dressing like this:

Is not fucking ON.


A father stares at the hands of his five year-old daughter, which were severed as a punishment for having harvested too little rubber.

This is what was happening in the Congo at the hands of the Belgians under King Leopold. Let us be clear dear people who like to claim that because their parents were immigrants to America they never benefited from the slave trade. People were taken from Africa & exported as slaves to other countries, but Africans were also enslaved & killed on the continent. For generations. That’s the legacy of the colonialism & imperialism that made the West so wealthy & created the “Third World”.


A father stares at the hands of his five year-old daughter, which were severed as a punishment for having harvested too little rubber.

This is what was happening in the Congo at the hands of the Belgians under King Leopold. Let us be clear dear people who like to claim that because their parents were immigrants to America they never benefited from the slave trade. People were taken from Africa & exported as slaves to other countries, but Africans were also enslaved & killed on the continent. For generations. That’s the legacy of the colonialism & imperialism that made the West so wealthy & created the “Third World”.

(via )

The Black Man’s Burden by Hubert Harrison (a reply to Rudyard Kipling’s The White Man’s Burden), 1920


Take up the Black Man’s burden—-

Send forth the worst ye breed,

And bind our sons in shackles

To serve your selfish greed;

To wait in heavy harness

Be-devilled and beguiled

Until the Fates remove you

From a world you have defiled.


Take up the black Man’s burden—-

Your lies may still abide

To veil the threat of terror

And check our racial pride;

Your cannon, church and courthouse

May still our sons constrain

To seek the white man’s profit

And work the white man’s gain.


Take up the Black Man’s burden—-

Reach out and hog the earth,

And leave your workers hungry

In the country of their birth;

Then, when your goal is nearest,

The end for which you fought

Watch other’s trained efficiency

Bring all your hope to naught.


Take up the Black Man’s burden—-

Reduce their chiefs and kings

To toil of serf and sweeper

The lot of common things:

Sodden their soil with slaughter,

Ravish their lands with lead;

Go, sign them with your living

And seal them with your dead.


Take up the Black Man’s burden—-

And reap your old reward;

The curse of those ye cozen,

The hate of those ye barred

From your Canadian cities

And your Australian ports;

And when they ask for meat and drink

Go, girdle them with forts.


Take up the Black Man’s burden—-

Ye cannot stoop to less.

Will not your fraud of “freedom”

Still cloak your greediness?

But, by the gods ye worship,

And by the deeds ye do,

These silent, sullen peoples

Shall weigh your gods and you.


Take up the Black Man’s burden—-

Until the tail is told,

Until the balances of hate

Bear down the beam of gold.

And while ye wait remember

The justice, though delayed

Will hold you as her debtor

Till the Black Man’s debt is paid.

(via leonineantiheroine-deactivated2)

[pdf] Cultural Identity and Diaspora

(via rematiration-deactivated2013111)


From left, Mangbetu woman, Congo, c. 1929-37; woman with child, Guinea, 1915; Tutsi woman, Rwanda, c. 1929-37. Photos courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.
During Colonial times, it wasn’t unusual for photographers to feature ‘natives’ (as they referred to Africans) on postcards. 
Over 8,000 different postcards were produced in colonial West Africa from 1901 to 1963. Often these postcards were intended to document racial “types,” as the French called them, or illustrate the progress of French development projects. The postcards were sent mainly by European merchants and members of the French military. These postcards circulated throughout Europe, received by friends and families back home.


From left, Mangbetu woman, Congo, c. 1929-37; woman with child, Guinea, 1915; Tutsi woman, Rwanda, c. 1929-37. Photos courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.

During Colonial times, it wasn’t unusual for photographers to feature ‘natives’ (as they referred to Africans) on postcards. 

Over 8,000 different postcards were produced in colonial West Africa from 1901 to 1963. Often these postcards were intended to document racial “types,” as the French called them, or illustrate the progress of French development projects. The postcards were sent mainly by European merchants and members of the French military. These postcards circulated throughout Europe, received by friends and families back home.


Extension of that dialogue on colourism, femininity and other fucked up ideals of a “chaste” woman




First off, this is a dialogue primarily between people who know South Asian contexts and histories beyond “wonderful land! wonderful people! the rich colourful textures!” and I. Saying this upfront, I will not engage with anyone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. I have limited spoons to share, might as well engage in dialogue than school ignoramuses. 


This is an extension of the post I reblogged from Hi-C, that discusses colourism in India. There were a few questions Hi-C posed that I didn’t get to addressing last time, namely: 

I wonder if that’s an imported idea? If Indians got the dark = erotic idea from colonizers? If we actually adopted messed up ideas about sensuality and femininity from Westerners?

We *definitely* adopted messed up ideas of sensuality, femininity and “ideal womanhood” in the colonial and post-independence nationalism phase. Remember, not too long ago, Indian women were declared as “vulgar” because they didn’t cover as much as skin as the Victorian women did. Here enters the sari as a colonial intervention, used to cover and hide the “vulgar” native’s skin and immorality. If you read memoirs of nautch women from the colonial era, they used dressing up, buttoning up as a space of eros, as their breasts were mostly uncovered. 

One of the biggest factors that concretised femininity of a new order (that we have today, more-or-less) is publications like Mother India that were circulated widely in England and the US, portraying India as a land of savagery, we did horrid things to our womenfolk like sati and child marriage etc, concretising the idea that “Indian woman” = Upper caste Hindu woman only. There were many societies (tribal, dalit and otherwise) who didn’t practice sati, did in fact have customs like bride-price and karewa (in North India usually) where a widow would be re-married within the household to keep sure her land rights remain in the family itself. I am not insinuating [x] was better than [y], rather there were multiple femininities and ways of being a woman, but thanks to interventions of the Hindu Marriage act, Hindu Succession Act and other land rights  (It would be naive to speak solely of womanhood without bringing the caste and class order into the discussion). acts that were stilted in the favour of the British (so they could amalgamate as much land as they could) new ideals of femininity and womanhood were welded, to make sure the land remains in the same family — to control land you’d have to control her sexuality, her mobility, her right to choose, so you now have ideals of chastity, of observing purdah, of being a “virtuous and subservient” Hindu woman.

The masterstroke of the Hindu-patriarchy, Uma Chakraborty says is having women believe they they *want* to be this subservient, all sacrificing woman — here notions of pativrata, ideas that the only religion a woman can have is worshipping her husband and taking care of her family come into play — codified by the Hindu texts and norms, promising women “heaven” if they are virtuous and chaste — all a pretext to keep the caste and class order in place, to make sure that the patriarchy has control over all reproductive agency, so that non-Hindus can’t climb up the social order. Even with the Persian invasion and the consequent Muslim colonisation, stricter norms on people’s reproductive agency, mobility were imposed so no “blood” mixes again keeping the caste order in control. For many, the British colonisation was a good thing as it freed them from the Muslim regime, and saw the British as their allies. 

Coming to the colonial era and specifically Mayo’s text, as a response to that we have social reformers who set out to “abolish sati”, to get rid of child marriage, to say “see we treat our women just fine!”. The discourse of the time is (ironically!) choice, that women *choose* to traditional and “modern” at the same time — basically wielding a new patriarchy, that mixes ideals of Victorian womanhood — especially when it comes to sexual chastity — and still remain “Indian” i.e. wearing saris, staying in the inner courtyard, speaking English AND their mother tongues, learning science and modern technology to “cook well”, to become “better wives and mothers”, once again concretising the idea that “Indian woman = Hindu upper caste woman”. 

The amount of control on reproductive agency we have here, thanks to Orientalist scholars and anthropologists, Indian woman = always already sexualised, erotic, ready to seduce the White man (Richard Burton I am looking at you). Then we have Mohandas Fucking Karamchand who says “woman is a natural mother”, desexualising her and pigeonholing her as a person who has no voice and no sexual agency. Don’t think these are “things of the past”, just think of the aunties, women relatives you know who *still* take these notions at heart, who have lived all their lives according to these constructed norms, they almost can’t imagine a life out of such structures. 

This isn’t to say there wasn’t ever any resistance, many women’s movements critiqued the Hindu patriarchy, albeit without challenging caste hierarchies, the Self-Respect marriages, Ambedkerite feminists and Dalit feminists have always challenged the Bhramanical patriarchy, but unfortunately, the movements have been parallel to mainstream patriarchy and feminism, almost never converged and those fissures breathe deep today too. 

Any further dialogue on womanhood, what it means to us today has to take in these factors. 

Sources I reffered all this from: 

1. Uma Chakraborty, Gendering Caste: Through a feminist lens. 

2. Kumkum Sangari and Suresh Vaid, Recasting Women: Essays on colonial law. 

3. Chila Bulbeck, Reorienting Western Feminisms. 

4. Mrinalini Sinha, The Colonial Masculinity :The ‘Manly Englishman’ and the ‘Effeminate Bengali’ in the Late Nineteenth Century (Studies in Imperalism). 

5. V. Geetha, The Story of a Marriage: Being a Tale of Self-Respect Unions and What Happened to Them (Pdf file of the essay can be found here). 

Wow, thanks for this piece, J. You’ve helped contextualize a lot of this debate. 

So, let me get this straight. The Hindu ideals of ideal femininity and purity (and I guess, our ideas about fairness and darkness) came about as a reaction to the colonizers’ sexualization of Indian women. Our “dark eroticism” was fetishized by the British and the West, and because female bodies have always been the location upon which men play politics — the way nationalists fought back was to elevate the “ideal” Indian woman to a symbol. The ideal Indian woman was upper caste and Hindu. She’s the ideal mother and she’s utterly desexualized. 

This conversation is disturbing me on a pretty profound level, to be honest.

Because there do exist subaltern narratives that counter this central myth of Indian femininity — you’ve pointed to dalit feminists and Ambedkarites — but the everyday experience of Indian women all over the world prove that this myth of Indian femininity is what rules our lives. 

Its embarassing, to be Indian, sometimes. Because how we react in the face of western imperialism? We out-do Westerners at their own fucked-up game. That’s how strong our inferiority complex is. We develop a chip on our shoulder; we give in to Western notions of propriety. You say that our women are oversexed and animalistic? Ha! That’s what you think. Our women are even more pure and more desirable than your women. (I can’t help but think about Lagaan. Aamir Khan rejects the English woman, and symbolically ruins her for all other white men, choosing the Indian woman, who is more chaste, more womanly, thus, more desirable.)

Its like saying; you have to respect us, for we are whiter than you are. 

My thoughts turn to Bhagat Singh Thind, who fought to be recognized as a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1923, not on the grounds that citizenship should be extended to all, regardless of race, but that he was actually a caucasian. He was fighting for the right to be excluded from Jim Crow, because Indians were actually white. 

I’ve been thinking about that case as kind of a symbol for Indian-African American relations in the US, but now I wonder if its also indicative of a general failure in the Indian response to colonialism and western imperialism.And I also wonder what the anti-colonial response could have been like, if the upper-caste Hindu patriarchy had not been able to dominate the discourse, the way that they did.

[A reminder, do not engage if you don’t know South Asian contexts of colonisation, race and labour relations]

Many of us here have long cherished the Left alliances of South India, of West Bengal especially —which I am extending to even East Pakistan, now Bangladesh as pre-Partition India included Bangladesh — North and North East India have a long standing history of communism, which lingers on today, but is extremely interesting and cannot just be dismissed off as “western influence” the way comrades think of feminism here, and ever since yesterday I’ve been thinking of Bant Singh and the whole CPI, the legacy the Communist Party of India (a few of the original members being Shubhash Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh) leaves as history. As I mention elsewhere, in addition to be the “alternative” to Gandhi’s nationalism, Bose’s legacy also leaves us with preference of Aryan people(s), of openly talking a pro-Nazi stance, of turning *that* fascist. Bhagat Singh — another mourned hero who could have “saved” India from Gandhi in the eyes of revisionist history — also went down a similar route, of claiming racial superiority as you mention. While I cannot understand it (like, you’re a colonised body, someone tells you that you’re inferior and you turn around and do the same thing to everyone else?!), I can see why for the “revolutionary” nationalist, a discourse of pride and superiority seemed like a good idea. 

Indian mistreatment of African-American and Black people(s) predates the freedom struggle — many plantation owners of South Africa would hire young Indian men as overseers, civil labourers etc; from where else do you think Gandhi had such horrid notions about Black people? Remember that train incident — if you were ever educated in India, it’s quite possible that you’ve had at least one history teacher narrate how Gandhi refused to leave the compartment demarcated for white people, almost always from the first person perspective; or rather making Gandhi’s perspective as their own, for it’s a part of our national memory, the moment Mohandas Karamchand decided to actively do something about the colonisation in India. I am willing to concede we’ve received warped notions about the racial hierarchy from white supremacy, but we’ve been extremely diligent about keeping the hierarchy intact also, no? Maybe this goes both ways, point remains that South Asian and African race relations have a long murky history of exploitation and bigotry.

I’ve often thought about the last question you asked — namely what would we be like today if Ambedkar or Periar would have been the “fathers of the nation”? What if their anti-caste movements would have caught on? What if Gandhi had been adamant about abolishing caste from the discourse rather than just alleviating Hindu guilt and trying to “abolish” untouchability — which is still alive and kicking, let’s not even try to evade it now that we’re talking about history — or what if Nehru’s “socialist” (please) state had been more solidly thought through? What would happen if Women’s Role in Planned Economy Bill that envisioned women as citizens and not was people who can only recieve welfare or need to be empowered, which saw women in their full right, outside of kinship models of wifedom and motherhood, a bill that was envisioned in 1934 would have actually been put to exercise? Would the face of Indian femininity be different today? 

But even as I speculate, I know it’s a privilege to re-imagine history, changing a few co-ordinates around when the truth is we are living in a Hindu Bhramanical patriarchal oligarchy that masquerades around as a “secular, liberal socialist democracy”. Truth is, today there are more dispossessed and uncitizens of India — people who have always lived here but have never been seen by the State as its citizens — and State police control and brutality keeps on increasing every single day. 

India has alarmingly huge numbers of custodial rape — especially at the hands of upper caste hindu police officers — we have a history and on going tradition of State sponsored eugenics and forced sterlisations in the climate of making the middle class hindu woman emblematic of *all* Indian womanhood, gender and sexual minorities are somewhat ‘better’ than their earlier status as sexual deviants and criminals and a fucked up government that is becoming more rigid and fundamentalist hindu as the months pass — *this* is one of the pictures of Indian femininity, there are so many others that are simply erased and forgotten. 

Questions I have as someone involved in the feminist and left movements here is — how do we hold our pasts accountable, accept our fucked up legacy and still advocate for an egalitarian society — sometimes I wonder if it’s too ambitious a dream. 

(via oncejadedtwicesnarked-deactivat)