White Women’s Racism & the Kind of Feminism I Need Now

Oreo.  Sell-out.  House Negro.  Uncle Tom.  Aunt Jemima.  Incognegro.  Miscellaneous.  Negro Bed-Wench.  Tragic Buck.  Coon. Actin White.  Talkin White.  If a black person says any of these things about another black person, it ain’t a compliment; it is intended as a deep critique of one’s racial mental health and identity.  Now, granted, these terms can be used in some of the most problematic and simplistic ways, I admit. Nonetheless, I am drawn to this kind of everyday linguistic system of accountability and obligation that many black folk use to denigrate anything and anyone perceived as an insult and injury to black people.  I have grown up with these terms and, quite honestly, have used them to describe many a folk.  For me, this language can mark insiders, outsiders, and racial violence in some important ways.

As strange as it might seem, I think it is this very same language that makes me perplexed about many white feminists at times.  When the white men who I work with squash all moral obligation and dialogue in the academy, I have seen far too many self-proclaimed “radical” white feminists in these professional settings act in complete alliance with these most bigoted of white male patriarchs and racist systems.  And now, when a white female judge and an almost all-white female jury expects us to understand how and why they sympathized with George Zimmerman/white supremacy and sanctioned white terror under the name of the law, I need a radical feminist agenda that will call out such roles under white womanhood (rather than simply ask folk to remember that black women are as demonized as black men).  When a white woman goes on national television, accepts a major book contract (she has since cancelled) to explain her situation as one of the jurors in the case, and cries with the expectation that her pain will be a central organizing system for national sympathy in the murder of a black woman’s child, white womanhood has got to be called out as a fundamental mechanism for maintaining white supremacy: white male patriarchy never acts alone.   This kind of calling-out is simply an assumption that I readily make from the kind of everyday linguistic system of accountability and obligation that black language has given me.  What black folk/black language seems to get as part of its daily consciousness is that we need some words, tropes, images— some language— for this kinda foul, racist stuff.

Lynching of Rubin Stacy, 1935

Lynching of Rubin Stacy, 1935

At the Feminist Wire today, Zillah Eisenstein writes that “Racism in its gendered forms remains the problem here, not simply the law. Racialized gender in the form of the dangerous black boy/man is a form of white privileged terrorism.”  Also at the Feminist WireMonica Casper makes another compelling case: that we need to talk about “specifically the historical, systemic racism of white women.” And Heather Laine Talley makes it clear that expressions like “well, not all white women/white feminists are like that” is a form of white denial and bad allying. I stand with Eisenstein, Casper, and Talley here.  Their posts at the Feminist Wire, on the heels of a series of writings dedicated to Assata Shakur, have been compelling.  Meanwhile, Janelle Hobson at Ms. Magazine hits it right on the mark:

Adrienne Rich said it best in “Disloyal to Civilization” when she argued that white women could not form important connections with other women across the planet—the kinds of connections that would advance women’s collective power and overturn patriarchy—if they remained forever loyal to a white supremacist system. This year we’ve seen women like Abigail Fisher try and overturn affirmative action in a Supreme Court case, much like Barbara Grutter before her, even though white women as a group have benefited more than anyone else from affirmative-action programs. And now, another group of women have failed to give Trayvon Martin justice. These instances suggest that white privilege, power and dominance outweigh any notions of gender justice and solidarity.

The white female judge and jury in this case did not experience their own motherhood in sisterhood to the mother of Trayvon Martin, Sybrina Fulton; their motherhood set its gaze only on Zimmerman and property. And the white female judge and jury in this case did not experience the words of a young black woman, Rachel Jeantel, as representative of Knowledge and Truth either.  Hobson’s claim that there is no cross-racial gender solidarity in the context of white dominance seems worth heeding.

Close-up from the Lynching of Rubin Stacy, 1935

Close-up from the Lynching of Rubin Stacy, 1935

I am NOT talking here to people who support Zimmerman and the verdict. I know that I am not part of that “sanctified universe of obligation” and have no expectation that dialogue will be possible— American lynch law has never required that the ones swinging from trees be heard and recognized.  That ain’t who I think of as my audience, nor where I mark the possibility of a radical humanity and a radical feminism. White femininity in this moment is being (re)scripted  in the most dangerous ways and shows itself as, once again, integral to the “sanctified universe of obligation” where white women and families mark themselves as needing protection from black people, especially young black men.  This is why I gravitate towards Sylvia Wynter’s re-mix of Helen Fein’s work: you need to look to the decades and centuries preceding a group’s annihilation to see and understand how the dominant group has perpetrated a regime that marks some groups as “pariahs outside the sanctified social order.”  It’s a conceptualization that protects us from the claims that we are simplifying history by saying racism today is the same as years before.  No, today is not like the lynching of Rubin Stacy as so brilliantly described by Justin Hill at the Black Youth Project.  Stacy left Georgia to go to Florida where was murdered on July 19, 1935 in Fort Lauderdale for allegedly trying to harm a white woman (who later reported that he only came to her door begging for food).   Apparently, Stacy had walked too closely and too comfortably up to white homes and needed to be killed for it. In the foreground of this now famous lynching photo, you can even see a young white girl, smiling, camera-ready for her special Kodak moment.   No, we can’t say that Sanford, Florida is the “exact same” as 1935 Fort Lauderdale, Florida but we CAN say that the “universe of sanctified obligation” created and sustained the murder of Trayvon and the acquittal of his murderer by a white female judge and jury today whose political lenses have, at least partly, manifested from the gaze of that smiling, little girl.

I also go back here to Wynter’s essay, “Beyond Miranda’s Meanings,” where she takes Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest, and shows how Miranda, as a white woman/the only woman in the New World/Island is a “mode of physiognomic being” that gets canonized as the only “rational object of desire” and, therefore, the “genitrix of a superior mode of human life.”  What Wynter calls the “situational frame of reference of both Western-European and Euroamerican women writers” has seldom countered this “regime of truth”  that must be implicated in the ongoing murder of Trayvon Martin in the courts of the United States. As always, Wynter argues that contending with our present social reality requires a re-writing of the entire episteme and it should be obvious that race AND gender can never be disentangled from this work.

N.H.I.: Sylvia Wynter Said There’d Be Days Like This…

ap_abc_george_trayovn_kb_130625_wgIn fall of 1992 when I was a senior in college, Sylvia Wynter published an essay forever etched in my mind:  “No Humans Involved: An Open Letter to My Colleagues” in Voices of the Black Diaspora ( pages 13–16). That letter was her response to the acquittal of the white police officers in 1992 who brutally beat Rodney King and the jury who further co-signed this social epidemic of white violence.  In fall of 1994, the journal, Forum N.H.I.: Knowledge for the 21st Century, published Wynter’s letter in its entirety in its very first issue themed “Knowledge on Trial.”   Both the journal and our mission as part of Institute N.H.I. (named from the charge of Wynter’s letter) was to follow-through on Professor Wynter’s call.

Now 20 years later, after a jury of white women and one Latina have sanctioned and anointed the murderer of Trayvon Martin, I find myself re-reading Professor Wynter’s letter.  After the verdict, as I sat for hours and reread her words, I am clear that things are even worse.  

In particular, Wynter reminds us in the letter that our social crisis is one that teachers/theorists/educators have created.  These people who have normalized anti-black brutality are, in fact, our students, the people who have been educated by us within paradigms that require the murder and annihilation of black people.

Here are the first two sections from the opening to Wynter’s essay. I will continue to post sections of the essay in the coming days (until I get thrashed for copyright issues):

Dear Colleagues,

You may have heard a radio news report which aired briefly during the days after the jury’s acquittal of the policemen in the Rodney King beating case.  The report stated that the public officials of the judicial system of Los Angeles routinely used the acronym N.H.I. to refer to any case involving the breach of the rights of young Black males who belong to the jobless category of the inner city ghettoes. N.H.I. means ‘no humans involved.’

Stephen Jay Gould argues that ‘systems of classification direct our thinking and order our behaviors’ (Gould, 1983).  By classifying the category as N.H.I., the public officials would have given the police of Los Angeles the green light to deal with members in any way they pleased.  You may remember too that in the earlier case of the numerous deaths of young Black males caused by a specific chokehold used by Los Angeles police officers to arrest young Black males, the police chief Darryl Gates explained away these judicial murders by arguing that Black males had something abnormal with their windpipes. That they had to be classified and thereby treated differently from all other North Americans, except to a secondary degree, the darker-skinned Latinos.  For in this classificatory schema too all ‘minorities’ are equal except one category— that of the people of African and Afro-mixed descent who, as Andrew Hacker points out in his recent book, are the least equal of all.

‘Certainly,’ Hacker writes, in Two Nations: Black and White, Separate, Hostile, Unequal (1992) ‘all persons deemed to be other than white, can detail how they have suffered discrimination at the hands of white America.  Any allusions to racist attitudes and actions will find Cherokees and Chinese and Cubans agreeing with great vigor… yet… members of all these intermediate groups have been allowed to put a visible distance between themselves and Black Americans.’

‘The Vietnamese,’ Richard Pryor quipped, ‘have learned how to be good Americans.  They can now say nigger.’

Where Did This Classification Come From? The Point of My Letter To You

TMYet where did this system of classification come from?  One that was held both by the officers involved in this specific case of the routine ‘nigger breaking’ of Black males, as well as by the mainly white, middle class Simi Valley jurors?  Most of all, and this is the point of my letter to you, why should the classifying acronym N.H.I., with its reflex anti-Black male behaviour-prescriptions, have been so actively held and deployed by the judicial officers of Los Angeles, and therefore by the ‘brightest and the best’ graduates of both the professional and non-professional schools of the university system of the United States? By those whom we ourselves would have educated?

How did they come to conceive of what it means to be both human and North American in the kinds of terms (i.e., to be white, of Euroamerican culture and descent, middle class, college-educated and suburban) within whose logic the jobless and usually drop-out/push-out category of young Black males can be perceived, and therefore behaved towards, only as the Lack of the human, the Conceptual Other to being North American?  The same way, as Zygmunt Bauman has point out, that all Germans of Jewish descent were made into and behaved towards as the Conceptual Other to German identity in its then Pan-Aryan and Nazi form (Bauman, 1989).

If, as Ralph Ellison alerted us to in his The Invisible Man, we see each other only through the ‘inner eyes’ with which we look with our physical eyes upon reality, the question we must confront in the wake of the Rodney King Event becomes: What is our responsibility for the making of those ‘inner eyes’?  Ones in which humanness and North Americanness are always already defined, not only in optimally White terms but also in optimally middle-class (i.e., both Simi Valley, and secondarily Cosby-Huxtible TV family) variants of these terms?  What have we had to do, and still have to do, with the putting in place of the classifying logic of that shared mode of ‘subjective understanding’ (Jaime Carbonell, 1987) in whose ‘inner eyes,’ young Black males, can be perceived as being justly, shut out from what Helen Fein calls the ‘universe of moral obligation’ that bonds the interests of the Simi Valley jurors as Whites and non-Blacks (one Asian, one Hispanic), to the interests of the White policemen and the Los Angeles judicial officeholders who are our graduates?

In her book on the 1915 genocide of the Armenians by the Turkish pan-nationalists, and on the Jews by the Pan-Aryan racialists of the 1930s-1940s, Helen Fein points out that in both cases there was a common causal factor.  This factor was that the millennium which preceded their group annihilation, ‘both Jews and Armenians had been decreed by the dominant group that was to perpetrate in the crime to be outside the sanctified universe of obligation— that circle of people with reciprocal obligations to protect each other whose bonds arose from their relation to a deity or a sacred sources of authority’ (Fein, 1979). In both cases, although the genocides were inflicted in the secular name of a now sacred ‘national’ identity, based, in the case of the Turks on the discourse of a historical Pan-Turianism and, in the case of the German-Aryans, on that of the sanctity of a ‘pure’ racial stock, both groups had been defined ‘within recent memory similarly to pariahs outside the sanctified social order.’ It was this discursive classification that had enabled them to be misrecognized as aliens, as strangers who were, as if it were, of a different species, strangers, ‘not because they were aliens but because the dominant group was alienated from them by a traditional antipathy’ (Fein, 1979).

This is the same case, of course, with the N.H.I. acronym. For the social effects to which this acronym, and its placing outside the ‘sanctified universe of obligation,’ of the category of young Black males to which it refers, leads, whilst not overtly genocidal, are clearly having genocidal effects with the incarceration and elimination of young Black males by ostensibly normal and everyday means.

Statistics with respect to this empirical fact have been cited over and over again.  Andrew Hacker’s recent book documents the systemic White/Black differential with respect to life-opportunity on which our present North American order is based.  Nevertheless, this differential is replicated, and transracially so, between, on the one had, the classes (upper middle, middle, lower middle and working, whether capital owners or jobholders), who are therefore classified within the ‘universe of obligation’ integrating of our present world system and its nation-state subunits, and on the other hand, the category of the non-owning jobless young of the inner cities, primarily Black and Latino, and increasingly also, White, assimilated to its underclass category.

In the wake of the Civil Rights movements, and of the Affirmative Action programs which incorporated a now new Black middle class into the ‘American Dream,’ the jobless category has been made to bear the weight of the Deviant status that, before the Sixties had been imposed on all Americans of African and Afro-mixed descent, by the nation-state order of the U.S., as an imperative condition of its own system functioning.  Indeed, it may be said that it is this category of the jobless young Black males who have been made to pay the ‘sacrificial costs’ (in the terms of Rene Girard’s The Scapegoat, 1986) for the relatively improved conditions since the 1960s that have impelled many Black Americans out of the ghettoes and into the suburbs; that have made possible therefore the universal acclamation for the Cosby-Huxtible TV family who proved that some Black Americans could aspire to, and even be, drawn inside, the ‘sanctified category’ of Americans just like us— if still secondarily so, behind ‘women’ and the other ‘minorities.’

The price paid by the jobless Black male category for this social transformation is inescapably clear.  With respect to the judicial apparatus itself, statistics show that whilst Black men constitute 6% of the U.S. population, they have come to make up 47% of the prison population.  Whilst, in the entire prison population, in the wake of the mandatory sentences for drug offenses imposed by (largely White and middle class) Drug War officials, both Afro-Black young males and Latino-Brown ones, are to be found out of all proportion to their numbers in the society.  The May 7, 1992 New York Times editorial which gives these statistics, also points out that it costs $25,000 a year ‘to keep a kid in prison; which is more than the Job Corps or college.”  However, for society at large to choose the latter option in place of the former would mean that the ‘kids’ in question could no longer be ‘perceived in N.H.I. terms as they are now perceived by all; nor could they continue to be induced to so perceive themselves within these same terms, as they now do, fratricidally turning upon themselves, killing each other off in gang wars or by other violent methods.

Where does this ‘inner eye’ which leads the society to choose the former option in dealing with the North American variant of the jobless category of the post-Industrial New Poor (Bauman, 1987), the category to which at the global level, Frantz Fanon has given the name les damnés, the condemned (Fanon, 1963), come from?  Why is this ‘eye’ so intricately bound up with that code so determinant of our collective behaviours, to which we have given the name race?

‘It seems,’ a sociology professor, Christopher Jenks, points out in the wake of the L.A. uprisings ‘that we’re always trying to reduce race to something else.  Yet out there in the streets race does not reduce to something else’ (Chronicle of Higher Education, May 13, 1992).  I have come to believe, after struggling with this issue from the ‘lay’ perspective of Black Studies (which was itself able to enter academia only in the wake of the Civil Rights movements, the Watts urban riots, and the protests which erupted after the assassination of Martin Luther King), not only that ‘race’ cannot be reduced as an issue, to anything else, but that it is we in academia who alone hold the key to ‘race’, and therefore to the classificatory logic of the acronym, N.H.I.

My major proposal is that both the issue of ‘race’ and its classificatory logic (as, in David Duke’s belief that ‘the Negro is an evolutionarily lower level than the Caucasian’) lies in the founding premise, on which our present order of knowledge or episteme, [Foucault, 1973) and its rigorously elaborated disciplinary paradigms, are based.

(pages 42-47)

Citation Information:  Wynter, Sylvia.  “No Humans Involved: An Open Letter to My Colleagues.” Forum H.H.I. Knowledge for the 21st Century 1.1 (Fall 1994): 42-73.

 

What Freedom Has Looked Like

I’m not someone who tweets so maybe I just don’t get it.  Maybe. When I see what happens there (and yes, I do call twitter a social place/location), I am sometimes stunned.  But then again, these are the kinds of discourses that have always happened behind closed doors anyway.

Ad from Oregon PBS

Ad from Oregon PBS about History of Sex Education Classes

Let’s take, for instance, a woman who has semi-regularly tweeted photos of public sexual innuendos like signposts with the word, HUMP, on them.  It’s almost sophomoric, like in junior high sex education classes when the teacher shows photos of male and female genitalia and everyone starts laughing.  Except this ain’t a kid, this is a grown, professional woman who marks herself as a feminist.  Certainly, feminist consciousness demands that women’s bodies not be circumscribed and defined by Puritan notions of sex and sexuality and instead empowers women’s bodies from alternative spaces of consciousness and politics.  I get that.  Really, I do.  But this ain’t that so let me cut to the chase: I just can’t see myself, as a black female professor, lasting too long if I tweet out sophomoric sexual discourses for fun, with photos, and so willingly offer up a sexualization of my body in public spaces as a hobby for my pastime.  I can tell you that it wouldn’t go well for me professionally and black male professors certainly wouldn’t be out here calling me their sister-in-arms as the second coming of the Angela Davis/Black Power Mixtape. It just doesn’t go down like that.  Not for black women.  For those of us who consider ourselves real students of black women’s histories and black feminisms, we know that we live under very different scripts for race and gender. This twitter example that I am describing is not hypothetical; it represents the very real activities of a non-black female “professor” (in quotation marks since the person engages no intellectual/scholarly pursuits). Now what on earth would ever embolden a professional/professor to initiate such public, sexual invitations and expect relative impunity with no negative result?  That answer comes quite easily for me: the sense of freedom that comes with white entitlement… and, well, all of us ain’t entitled that way; all of us ain’t free.

Some might view my perspectives as conspiratorial or over-the-top but if you are a black woman, you better wake up fast because you don’t have the luxury of such dismissals.  You’ll see exactly what I am talking about when you witness white co-workers criticize black applicants for their lack of a far-reaching scholarly identity in their digital footprint though these white folk themselves ain’t got nothing nowhere about themselves and their scholarship.  You’ll see exactly what I am talking about when you witness white co-workers scrutinize a black woman’s resume, comparing it to items that can be googled— this for a black woman who has dozens upon dozens of lectures and accolades online, too many to count.  Meanwhile, the ridiculous onslaught of online tributes to vampires created by the non-black-female applicant goes unmentioned and unnoticed.  You just can’t make this stuff up.  Like I said, if you are a black woman, you would be stupid to think you can ignore this because non-black folk dismiss you as paranoid… while, of course, they never hire anyone who looks like you.  Don’t you be THAT kind of fool.

Eunique Johnson's “I am Trayvon Martin” Photo Campaign

Eunique Jones’s “I am Trayvon Martin” Photo Campaign

About ten years ago, I taught an intensive summer, 3-hour college writing course in the evenings and we had class on July 3.  All of my students in that course were of African descent; most expected me to cancel class since the 4th was the next day.   They kept asking over and over: but what will we do in class on that day? to which I answered: the same damn thing our ancestors had to do— WORK and FIGHT BACK!  You ain’t free.  Now, some of my students thought that was hilarious and appropriate; others were mad as hell at me and either way, I didn’t give a damn.  We had class and we spent the time reading and discussing “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” by Frederick Douglass alongside current events of the moment.  If I were teaching that same class today, I would do the same thing.  And I would add to that assignment the footage from the current trial proceedings related to George Zimmerman’s vicious murder of Trayvon Martin.  And I would add to that  William Lamar IV’s piece at the Huffington Post on why he will reflect on the 4th of July, but not celebrate.

I am reminded every day of the ways that I am not free, even in the seemingly mundane ways that other women not-of-Afrikan-descent are so casually emboldened to do things that I could just never get away with and maintain a positive social reputation, job, and respect.  I don’t mean to be the grim reaper for my students and disempower them with stories of racism.  But empowerment comes from seeing the world as it is so that you can intervene in it, not from creating fantasies, delusions, and false belief systems. The good thing about all that is there is a tradition for the 4th of July, going all the way back to Frederick Douglass’s 1852 speech, leading the way.

The Records We Leave Behind…

cover

Lynch Law in All Its Phases by Ida B. Wells

I would like to think that I am cognizant and critical of what Adolph Reed has called the tendency to romance Jim Crow where the nostalgia of a more settled, dignified black community often masks class inequalities and deep economic deprivation.  I understand his point and yet, I do believe that there were some political understandings in that moment that we just do not have now.  Poverty does not make you uncritical; but today’s consumer capitalism, media, mass/popular culture surely do.  Today, I am thinking about this in terms of the record we leave behind and how we understand the lives of children of color who are not our own.

The June 12 video at the youtube channel called AllThingsHarlem made me think of this because I see the filmmaker as a Red-Record-Keeper, as part of a historical black protest tradition (and obviously, by calling him a Red-Record-Keeper, I am referencing Ida B. Wells’s writing where she chronicled and protested lynch law).

For me, this kind of video is the best of what youtube and the digital universe have to offer me.  Because our digital world is market-driven under new regimes of capitalism and the individualist, neoliberal imperative, this kind of work at AllThingsHarlem is hardly the norm.

I see this Red-Record-Keeper doing something phenomenally different from what I see many folk of color doing online when it comes to youth: building a kind of digital resume of their children’s individual accomplishments and feats.  I understand that people live long distances from their extended families and share information online but I don’t get when these sites and images are open to the public, which is more normative than not.  And I don’t get when these children’s lives are being chronicled as triumphs of neoliberal accumulation instead of openings into the larger communities in which we come to understand ourselves.

Crocodile+Dundee

Crocodile Dundee and His Black Friend/Brother

I am reminded here of an acquaintance who pointed me in the direction of his friend, a scholar of color, who he continually INSISTED was a kind of third-world-radical, never really backing down from that position.  On the contrary, I saw this person as someone who was performing a kind of caricature of a radical-chic, never concealing how mesmerized by and covetous of whiteness they were, and claiming minority status only when it was convenient after almost a lifetime of passing as white— all of which are pretty common in academia.  Simply out of curiosity, I decided to do some google image and video searching.  I was convinced that this scholar would showcase all manner of white individualism in personal photos and videos online.  I was not wrong.  I typed in the scholar’s name and then, just one click in, there were photos of not-so-cute children (I am mean, I know, but I gotta be honest here), with one dressed as Crocodile Dundee and it was NOT even Halloween!!   That’s right: Halloween wasn’t even around the co’ner; this was a reg’lar excursion. I’m dead-serious. I really wouldn’t lie about something like this.  I couldn’t even make up something like this if I wanted to.  Yes, a “third world radical” calling their child the white male character in a horribly racist and colonialist film (I wouldn’t have actually known that the intention was for the child to look like Dundee but it was explicitly named and celebrated as such in the caption/title.)  Now, you would think my acquaintance would have mentioned or questioned this stuff since he certainly witnessed all of it way before I did and in much stronger doses (that one photo was all I could stand …I couldn’t even glance at all the foolishness captured on video).  Since all these folk proclaim themselves radical scholars, they must think that the very real nooses around black people’s necks in Wells’s The Red Record were simply a theoretical metaphor. And KRS-One’s words about police brutality must also just be more metaphor, just a background song on the video above, all while black and Latin@ children are routinely violated just on their way to school in NYC.  This very real violence is simply not part of your politics when you are digitally celebrating your children’s visual proximity to Crocodile Dundee with a peanut gallery of folk of color proclaiming and co-signing this as “radical” consciousness.

Crocodile Dundee and His Other Black Friend

Crocodile Dundee and His Other Black Friend/Brother

Even if this child wasn’t made into the Dundee-Lookalike-Extraordinaire, I would still have questions about this kind of objectification of children’s bodies in a digital universe where all children can now publicly dance, sing, and perform like Little Shirley Temples for the empire’s cameras. Be clear: I am NOT talking about recording and keepsaking children’s wonderful spontaneous moments, school events, sports, or community functions; I am talking about grown folk who deliberately create digital spectacles from children’s orchestrated, pre-rehearsed performances in a living room.  In this world, of course, the Dundees, though ridiculously exploited, still come out on top because not all children/commodities have good stock value; some can be discarded like the ones caught on the film above. Cameras can amazingly reveal what we really see and value in the world.

crocmain_555076a

When a Black Man is NOT Dundee’s Friend!

I know this Dundee narrative seems like a crazy detour but it is an example of why I am so drawn to people who do the kind of digital work that you see in the youtube video that I have highlighted at the top.  This brotha is not someone who will only construct, notice, and chronicle the individualist accumulations of biological offspring.  Maybe it’s because he’s not the academy’s typical critical theorist who is reading books about radical thought but never actually thinking and doing any of it.  For him, radical ideas are NOT something that you do for university approval while you live the rest of your life as an imperialist.  Adolph Reed hit this best for me when he says such intellectuals are sealed “hermetically into the university so that oppositional politics becomes little more than a pose livening up the march through the tenure ranks. In this context the notion of radicalism is increasingly removed from critique and substantive action. Disconnected from positive social action, radical imagery is also cut loose from standards of success or failure; it becomes a mere stance, the intellectual equivalent of a photo-op.”

I hope to pay more attention to these kinds of Red-Record-Keepers today. I am grateful to my special sistafriends, real maroons, committed allies, and genuine colleagues who will challenge me if I start forgetting or slippin on that kind of work.  Otherwise, history will look back on we “radical scholars of color” who did nothing but act as neoliberal individualists who digitally chronicled, celebrated, and defended ourselves/our children/Crocodile Dundee for accumulation of white capital.