For People of Color, Halloween Often Isn’t Just About Candy & Cute Costumes

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Team Westport’s own Ramin Ganeshram, posted an essay today on Medium, entitled “Why I Hate Halloween” that reveals a truth not often discussed when we talk about Halloween–it’s not a holiday that everyone loves. For people of color, immigrants, and communities of “othered” individuals, Halloween can often be a holiday fraught with real fear and intimidation.

In the essay Ganeshram writes: “Halloween is the embodiment of our American myth of “benign mischief” — malice masquerading as “innocent” fun.”

You can read more here: Why I Hate Halloween by Ramin Ganeshram

Black Women Who Wanted a Revolution

Celebrating the Power and Persistence of Black Women Artist Who ‘Wanted a Revolution’

I just read about this exhibit and its importance. It’s at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

There is so much I don’t know from my position of white privilege.

The article, from Atlanta Black Star, says, “The 20-year time frame the exhibit spans notably gave rise to the women’s liberation movement, but many Black women felt marginalized by mainstream white feminism. They began to identify as womanists (coined by “The Color Purple” author Alice Walker) rather than as feminists to embrace their specific take on women’s liberation and the double jeopardy they experienced being both Black and female in a white supremacist and patriarchal society.”

I do not recognize the names of the artists referenced in the article. But I do not recognize many artists’ names, white or Black.

I was especially struck by this: “Remarkably, ‘We Wanted a Revolution’ shows how the social issues of importance to the Black community during the 1965-85 time frame, such as the prison industrial complex, are much the same today.

We have so much work to do!

A Real “Duh” Moment

I just saw a quick headline from The Economist saying, “A study suggests that black Americans are unfairly fined by police.” I was surprised. All one would need to do is ask to find that out.

Still, a study is good. It can provide the basis for legal challenges at some point.  I’ll give you the link, but you probably can’t read the article unless you’re a subscriber.

This was for me, not an “Aha” moment, but a “Duh” moment. Didn’t everyone know this already?

What do you think?

Do We Really Know American History?

By Catherine Onyemelukwe

I get regular emails from Atlanta Black Star. In the email I receive, the online journal declares its point of view: “Atlanta Black Star is a narrative company.  We publish narratives intentionally and specifically to enlighten and transform the world.”

This week they published a story on America’s history and our lack of knowledge about it. The author of the article, D. Amari Jackson, says, “A 2012 [American Council of Trustees and Alumni] ACTA survey found that less than 20 percent of college graduates could identify the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation. A 2015 survey revealed more than one-third could not place the Civil War within the correct 20-year time frame.

“Such widespread historical ignorance is problematic for a nation currently grappling with deeply entrenched issues of economics, power and race,” she says.

The lack of knowledge is frightening. But there’s so much more that many of us don’t know or don’t think about. She cites Gerald Horne, the John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston, who says, “America began as a slaveholder’s republic.” According to Horne, the American Revolution was fought because the slaveholders wanted to maintain their slaves, not for some lofty principle of freedom. The colonists also wanted to continue the practice of dispossessing Native Americans of their land which they feared Britain would halt.

He believes that today, “the exoneration of police officers who kill us [Blacks] on a regular basis tends to show” that there the Constitution does not really pertain to everyone. There is a “disconnect between the official stated policy of nondiscrimination and “what’s actually happening to Black people in the streets.”

Harsh words! I find truth in the article. What do you think?