Transracial doesn’t mean what Rachel Dolezal thinks it means

Originally posted on Media Diversified:

By Ellie Freeman

I am transracial. But I am nothing like Rachel Dolezal.

This week, Rachel Dolezal, the head of the Spokane, Washington chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), was revealed to be a white woman masquerading as a black woman. Just when you couldn’t imagine anything more contemptible than someone from a privileged racial background faking her way into a space for ethnic minorities, Dolezal claimed she was “transracial.”

According to Dolezal and some dark corners of the blogging platform Tumblr, “transracial” is the racial equivalent of “transgender” – meaning a person who believes they are a different race than what they biologically are.

Andy Marra, an LGBTIQ activist, is a trans woman and Korean adoptee. To Andy, who faced coming out to both her adoptive family as well Korean birth family, the state of being transracial is not comparable to being…

View original 1,079 more words

Adopting The Right Name

Jaz is I:

Apparently being Kikuyu is equivalent to being white in America. I scoff at that, but I wait to see these benefits practised upon me.

Originally posted on Truth of the matter:

Minnie Kasyoka

I have two names. That’s how it’s always been. Both names are mine, I took up no surname. My mum was unmarried for most of my formative years and since we no longer lived with my father, it made sense not to include his name on mine and my sister’s documents.

I have never felt unloved, unwanted or had the feeling of not belonging because I have no family name. Instead I have an overwhelming sense of independence from the unhealthy attachment to familial norms that conflict with my ideologies.

View original 1,093 more words

What fresh hell is this? ‘The Princess of North Sudan; more scary tale than fairy tale’

Originally posted on Media Diversified:

by Samira Sawlani

Bir tawil Bir tawil

Between Sudan and Egypt lies Bir Tawil an area which is simply desert, rocks and mountain under the scorching sun. Both states neither claim nor desire Bir Tawil, preferring to focus upon their dispute over the nearby territory of Hala’ib which is situated by the Red Sea. As with many regions which more than one state lay claim to, the interest in Hala’ib and disinterest in Bir Tawil are a result of two different treaties drawn up by the British while they were getting their kicks out of colonialism.

Without delving too much into history, in 1899 the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium established a joint British-Egyptian rule over Sudan (in reality the British were running the show). Under this treaty a straight border between Sudan and Egypt was drawn however in 1902 the boundaries were amended by the British. The 1899 split places Bir Tawil in Sudan…

View original 1,488 more words

Tourism, White Privilege and Colonial Mentality in East Africa

Originally posted on Media Diversified:

By Samira Sawlani

We walked into the police station in Uganda. My white British friend who wanted to file a complaint had asked me to accompany her. The three officers behind the desk stood up immediately, one giving her his chair, the other rushing to take notes and the third, with a great deal of concern on his face asked her what had happened.

Sat in the waiting area were a pregnant woman and an elderly gentleman, both were black Ugandans. The lady had been waiting over two hours for the police to attend to her while the gentleman had spoken to them regarding his issue and been told to wait. He’d been waiting for almost three hours. My friend on the other hand was dealt with immediately and within thirty minutes all procedures had been carried out and her complaint both logged and addressed.

Two years prior to this…

View original 1,911 more words

Dieselpunk: Myth and Metaphor

Originally posted on Media Diversified:

Editors note: Dieselpunk is shorthand to describe a fantasy society with an industrial level of development, informed by Cyberpunk sensibilities, The dieselpunk narrative is characterized by conflict vs the undefeatable (nature, society, cosmic), strong use of technology, and Grey and Gray Morality. The protagonists are often Heroic Neutral and have low social status.

Black Empire: George Schuyler, Black Radicalism and Dieselpunk

by Phenderson Djeli Clark

Sometime in the 1930s, a black journalist is kidnapped in Harlem by the charismatic Dr. Henry Belsidius, leader of the Black Internationale–a shadowy organization determined to build a Black Empire and overthrow the world of white racial hegemony with cunning and super science. Journalist George S. Schulyer’s fantastic tale was written in serials in the black Pittsburgh Courier between 1936 and 1938 under the pseudonym Samuel I. Brooks. It quickly found a loyal following among African-American readers, who saw in Dr…

View original 2,517 more words

The ‘N’ word through the ages: The madness of HP Lovecraft

Originally posted on Media Diversified:

By Phenderson Djeli Clark

When, long ago, the gods created Earth
In Jove’s fair image Man was shaped at birth.
The beasts for lesser parts were next designed;
Yet were they too remote from humankind.
To fill the gap, and join the rest to Man,
Tåh’Olympian host conceiv’d a clever plan.
A beast they wrought, in semi-human figure,
Filled it with vice, and called the thing a Nigger.

–H.P. Lovecraft, On the Creation of Niggers (1912)

H.P. LovecraftH.P. Lovecraft

I had come to believe that by now the racism of H.P. Lovecraft, the celebrated author of horror and fantasy, was a settled matter–like declaring Wrath of Khan the best film in the Star Trek franchise. Arguing against such a thing should be absurd. I certainly thought so after the matter was thrust into the spotlight in December 2011, when author Nnedi Okorafor won the esteemedWorld Fantasy Award–whose statuette is…

View original 3,068 more words

Fantasy’s Othering Fetish, Part 1

Originally posted on Media Diversified:

By Phenderson Djeli Clark

This is Part 1 of a three-part series.

Over the years demands for more meaningful diversity in our fantasy realms have grown increasingly louder–a clarion call that echoes from the mundane world to haunt our usual lands of elves, dragons, orcs and whatnot. Back in 2010 when local New Zealanders were told they were “too dark to be a Hobbit” (no one’s ever too dark to be an Orc, it seems) in the new Peter Jackson films it caused a stir, highlighting the at times “unbearable whiteness” of the heroes of Tolkien’s masterpiece. Both Pixar’s Brave and Disney’s Frozen were criticized for their similar ode to all things vanilla, without even attempting a hint at color.

Diversity in fantasy has been thrust into the spotlight due to author George RR Martin’s popular A Song of Ice and Fire saga, which has been adapted as the…

View original 1,566 more words

Fantasy’s Othering Fetish, Part 2

Originally posted on Media Diversified:

By Phenderson Djeli Clark

This is Part 2 of a three-part series. Part 1 is here.

In modern fantasy, with its fascination with medieval Europe, it seemed almost fated that acts of “othering” would take root. Some of Western Europe’s founding notions of non-Westerners trace back long before colonialism, as early as the medieval era, where xenophobic fears (rational and irrational) of Muslim, Tartar or Mongol enemies were part of popular, religious, state and academic culture. We know this in part from the literature of the time, where non-Europeans (and non-Christians) are depicted as less than human and prone to wickedness.

Roland battles Marsile, black “heathen” Saracen king in the Song of Roland.  (Courtesy of Grandes Chroniques de France, Bibliothèque Nationale) Roland battles Marsile, black “heathen” Saracen king in the Song of Roland.
(Courtesy of Grandes Chroniques de France, Bibliothèque Nationale)

The 12th-century Frankish epic The Song of Roland describes the Saracen king Marsile as “cankered with guile and every felony” and who “loves murder and treachery.” As a…

View original 2,095 more words

Fantasy’s Othering Fetish, Part 3

Originally posted on Media Diversified:

By Phenderson Djeli Clark

This is Part 3 of a three-part series. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here.

In the 1970s, African-American (now Afro-Canadian) writer Charles Saunders began publishing short fantasy stories in small magazine presses. From the beginning, his stories pulled on African history, as opposed to, as he put it, “the usual Celtic, Arthurian and Scandinavian underpinnings” that dominated (and continue to dominate) the modern fantasy shelves of bookstores. “I saw a need,” Saunders claimed, “and believed I could fulfill it.” This would lead to the now famous and groundbreaking Imaro saga. Set in a pre-colonial African-based world of spears, monsters and magic called Nyumbani, Imaro tells the tale of an outcast warrior and his larger-than-life quest for his unknown origins.

Saunders, who had grown up reading the likes of Edward Rice Burroughs Tarzan novels and Robert E. Howard’s Conan, struck upon the idea of writing fantasy during the…

View original 1,343 more words

I don’t know what to call this; hence this

Sauti Sol dropped a single featuring Amos and Josh called Nerea, which is, according to their facebook, about males taking responsibility for pregnancies instead of not doing so and contributing to abortions being undertaken by females. Most people are lauding this song as a great push to have males take said responsibility. They say it’s feministic; it’s awesome.

I say it’s bullshit.

Okay, not entirely bullshit, but it’s far along enough to be within sneezing distance of it.

Most of people against, or unsupportive of the song point out the flaw in the message as attempting to shame females who have abortions, or have had abortions, and triggering those who did it under duress. They point out how the song doesn’t hold the contributing factors leading females to have abortions. I agree, it doesn’t. I have other problems with the song; mainly, the subject-non-subject off the song: the baby.

A few days before the song was released, my sister was informing me of the Medical Dept. of the govt having approved measures that would make access to safe abortions easier for females. She explained that she was neither pro-choice nor pro-life because neither teams thought of the baby/fetus involved. She is pro-prevention. Prevent unwanted pregnancies from happening, prevent unnecessary abortions from being carried out. It’s a supreme position, I must say. I didn’t bother telling her my stance; the talk wasn’t about that by that point. The talk was about how the fetus/baby isn’t centred in the argument/war about abortion. It’s control of a female’s body that is centred. So, when Nerea was released, and I listened to the lyrics, I had the ideas in mind. And therein my problems with the song.

The song doesn’t care for the baby no matter what Sauti Sol, Amos and Josh, and the marketers say. The child in question is an idea; it’s an icon, which begs the question, why are you even having a baby if all you want is an icon? Have a baby, not an icon. Don’t have Nelson Mandela, or Wangari Maathai; have a human.

Additionally, what sort of parent are you that you want your child to be brutalised? Good parents don’t want their children to have to fight for rights, to be beaten by police; to be exploited by governments that promote goodwill using their experiences and profile, but do nothing to implement and operationalise that which the icons were fighting for. They want their children to live in a world that practises the ideals of such icons.

Secondly, this song has nothing to do with men save making people sympathetic to their pain when they want children the female subject doesn’t want to have, or can’t have. The song talks solely about the female, and what they want their child to be; which is annoyingly normative. The song asks the female not to got through with the abortion because the man will raise it but says nothing about what it will take. Who will nurse the baby? Who will hold it when it needs be? What if its cholic? What if it’s disabled? What if it’s autistic, or albino? How will it be raised? What if it’s transgender or genderqueer? What if it’s non-heterosexual? What if it has a mental disorder, or illness? What if that child is boringly average? What then? Will they still want to have their non-Mandela child? None of these is addressed. What is addressed is the yearning of the men to raise this child they will neither carry, nor birth; nor really have a plan to raise. Thy just want this child who will be an icon. Ole wako when you you’re not an icon, baby.

It’s good to bring to attention the need for males to take responsibility for an unwanted pregnancy. It’s good to highlight that some men want children that their female counterparts might be unwilling to carry to term, and birth. What’s not good is doing so superficially. Centring the pain of a man without thinking of the other subjects involved. Desiring a child to make them great instead of have them human.

Nerea fails because it doesn’t do much beyond the superficial, and the patriarchal. It’s not all about you, men. It’s about so much more, for which you should be prepared when you decide to go imploring a female to carry a baby you want too term. Have a human, not a project.