Monday, February 17, 2014

Black in London

I was privileged to be a guest on Adrian X's "Just My 2 Cents" show on Blogtalk last week - and a very great privilege it was. The topic for discussion was "What Is It Like to Be Black in London?"  Scroll down to listen to it.  

We were joined by Adrian's panel and guests including Nia Imara of the National Association of Black Supplementary Schools (NABSS).  

There was a lot of common ground - which is something I have said repeatedly over the years.  African people all over the world are facing a lot of the same challenges.  We have economic difficulties.  Our children are denied the best-quality education.  

Our communities, and particularly our men and boys, are targets for violence, including state-sponsored violence.  

Another issue we almost always face is internalised racism - the particular kind of self-hatred with which we were indoctrinated during the enslavement era.  Nia made the point that, although slavery has ended, mental slavery continues. And we see it everywhere.  It is in all of us.  

In order to combat mental enslavement, we first have to acknowledge that we have it.  Mental enslavement is like a disease, and we have all been infected.  In order to cure ourselves of it, we first need to acknowledge the problem.  

Harriet Tubman said, "I freed a thousand slaves.  I could have freed a thousand more, if only they knew they were slaves". 

A lot of the origins of mental enslavement were depicted in the BAFTA award-winning film 12 Years a Slave, and I shall be writing more about this soon.  

Nia made the point that the film did not depict Black people banding together to fight their oppressors, and this is a fair criticism.  However, we need to remember that this was one man's story.  What 12 Years a Slave showed very clearly were the reasons why some Black people, in some situations, did not fight back, at least not overtly.  Because of the daily brutality they experienced, they were too beaten down, physically and mentally, to fight back. 

Click here for Samuel L. Jackson's comments on 12 Years a Slave.  

You can listen to the show below.  Please post your comments below.  Thanks.  

More Politics Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Adrian X Just My 2 Cents on BlogTalkRadio

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Samuel L. Jackson Says "12 Years A Slave" Is Proof That Hollywood Still Isn't Ready To Deal with Racism

Samuel L. Jackson is quoted as saying that 12 Years a Slave is proof that Hollywood only wants to deal with the past - not the present.  

I have to disagree.  12 Years a Slave is not just about the past.  There are a lot of lessons in this film about the roots of modern-day racism.  This is one reason I am so glad the film was made, and why I think everyone should see it.  In order to understand the present, we need to have knowledge of the past. 

Jackson went on to say, "I'm glad 12 Years got made and it's wonderful that people are seeing it and there is another view of what happened in America".  But this is missing the point - it's not just what happened in America.  Similar things happened in Africa and the Caribbean, and we are still dealing with the consequences of this now.  Click here to read more of Jackson's comments.  

Click here for my analysis of 12 Years a Slave.   The brutalization inflicted on Black peple during slavery still has implications and still affects us today. 

Click here to read my review of The Black Jacobins, C.L.R. James's classic study of slavery and revolution in the French Caribbean.  

You want a context for what happened to Trayvon?  Read The Black Jacobins, an analysis of the Haitian Revolution, and see 12 Years a Slave.   

Want to know why a reporter confused Samuel L. Jackson with Lawrence Fishburne?  There is a scene that relates directly to this in 12 Years a Slave

As African people, we need to get over this tribalistic view of the world.  We are facing similar challenges, wherever we are, and we share a common history.  This Black History Month/ African Heritage Month, let us remember our common history and work towards our common goals.