What I’m Reading (and Listening to) This Week: August 1, 2019

Toni Morrison. I cannot get enough of sitting at the feet of your wisdom and listening. Just drinking it in. These video clips are awesome.

We are reminded of the work of indigenous writer and literary elder, Lee Maracle by Brad Wheeler, “Writer Lee Maracle on her Neustadt nomination, and making room for more Indigenous writers,” The Globe & Mail Books, July 31, 2019.

Professor Eddie Glaude, Princeton – knocks this moment out of the ballpark with real talk, intelligence, passion. “The danger of their ignorance.” So worth listening to him. “Lord help us.” Àṣẹ. Professor Carol Anderson, Emory University has written a fact filled opinion piece in The Guardian, August 6, 2019.

I am wondering how far out of the water I’m going to stay on the upcoming elections. So. Jumping right in with something slightly old, Aaron Ross Coleman, “Black Culture Won’t Save Kamala Harris,” The Nation, January 28, 2019.

Did I say I wouldn’t get into the waters of the upcoming election? Malaika Jabali, “Black women deserve better than Kamala Harris. Don’t take our vote for granted.” The Guardian, August 9, 2019. Hmm. I see I have started by going after Kamala. No worries, I’m coming for you too Cory, and the old guys also.

I am hoping to figure out a way to catch this exhibition (Minneapolis, Nashville, Washington, Tulsa): Prospero, “Hearts of Our People: A blockbuster exhibition of art by Native American women,” The Economist, August 7, 2019.

This article caused me to feel despair and joy in equal measure and at the same time. The photographs are beautiful. Laila Elhaddad, “How to Eat Well While Living Under Siege,” The Economist 1843, Photographer Heidi Levine, August/September, 2019.

Microscopy of herbs?! Totally cool photos including lavender and sage. Rob Dunn & Martin Oeggerli, “Microscopic images reveal how herbs get their flavor,” National Geographic August 1, 2019.

The Movement for Black Lives is putting words to action in a Toolkit for reparations. Contains great historical information, I learned something just reading the Reparations Timeline. M4BL, “Reparations Now Toolkit” August 2019. Primary Authors: Andrea Ritchie, Deirdre Smith, Janetta Johnson, Jumoke Ifetayo, Marbre Stahly-Butts, Mariame Kaba, Montague Simmons, Nkechi Taifa, Rachel Herzing, Richard Wallace, and Taliba Obuya. Primary Editors: Andrea Ritchie, Marbre Stahly-Butts, and Dominique Zenani Barron.

This one is educational and a shout out to my favorite watermelon farmers! “At its core, watermelon represented a pathway to economic freedom for formerly enslaved Africans. While enslaved, they were forced to farm watermelons. But once they were free citizens, watermelons provided a way to reclaim their lives and make money. They grew and harvested them, becoming vendors and selling them on street corners. And of course, that growing business was seen as a threat to white residents in cities across the South during the Jim Crow era.” Nneka M. Okona, “How Watermelon’s Reputation Got Tangled in Racism,” HuffPost, August 2, 2019. William R. Black, “How Watermelons Became a Racist Trope,” The Atlantic, December 8, 2014.

While we are on the vast subject of stereotypes: National Museum of African American History and Culture, “Popular and Pervasive Stereotypes of African Americans,” The Smithsonian. Accessed August 1, 2019. Anderson, Holland, Heldreth and Johnson, “Revisiting the Jezebel Stereotype: The Impact of Target Racism on Sexual Objectification,” Psychology of Women Quarterly (Sage) 42, no. 4 (2018): 461-476.

Always thinking of our family farmers: Mary Papenfuss, “Largest farms grab lion’s share of Trump trade war aid,” HuffPost, August 2, 2019.

Well, uh, yes. Duh? But thanks Sac Bee. Sacramento Bee Editorial Board, “Despite sunny image, Ronald Reagan’s racism paved the way for Trump’s,” The Sacramento Bee, August 1, 2019. I see you Patti Davis, but in the context of disproportionate impact and consequences I’m going to pause at “forgiveness” and contemplate restorative justice and reparations instead (a link to the Davis editorial is in the article): Zachary Halaschak, “Daughter of Ronald Reagan breaks silence on monkeys remark,” Washington Examiner, August 2, 2019.

The decolonization of the history of techno? I am all ears: Lee DiVito, “Before techno was white and hedonistic, it was black and political.” Detroit Metro Times, February 4, 2015. I am always all ears for classical music – 7 siblings in one family! Awesome. Paul Georgoulis, “In a family filled with musicians a young pianist finds her voice,” NPR, August 7, 2019.

What is decolonization? The collective, Decolonize This Place, reports in Hyperallergic, July 30, 2019, about the successful removal of Warren Kanders from the Witney board of trustees, with an informative summary and a great definition of the project of decolonization, linked to an excellent article by Tuck & Yang: “A decolonial perspective approaches our present political condition by beginning with the occupied land on which we stand. It acknowledges that the settler-colony of the United States was founded on the theft of land, life, and labor over 400 years, and that it operates as an external empire as well. The term insists that colonization is not a period sealed safely in the past, but an ongoing process inherent to the dynamics of contemporary racial capitalism. It also, as a framework, necessitates abolition of prisons and police, borders and bosses, empires and oligarchs.”

Follow the link on racial capitalism to an article about the late UC Santa Barbara Professor, black studies and social justice theorist Dr. Cedric Robinson. Robin D.G. Kelley, in the Boston Review says of Robinson’s research and dissertation process, “Contending that “orthodox Western thought was neither universal nor coherent,” he ultimately arrives at the conclusion that “the political is an historical . . . illusion.”  When he submitted a draft of his dissertation in 1971, the [Stanford] faculty was ill-prepared to sign off on a project that questioned the epistemological foundations of the entire discipline. Since no one could reasonably reject a thesis so sound, elegant, and erudite, some members resigned from his committee citing an inability to understand the work. It took three years and the threat of a lawsuit for his dissertation to be approved, and another six years before it was published as The Terms of Order: Political Science and the Myth of Leadership (1980).”

And Camila Guiza-Chavez writes about settler colonialism, “Accomplice and Art: Indigenous Feminist Activism and Performance,” in The Politic, March 10, 2016.

Monotropa uniflora is a sacred plant, and I have been fortunate to meet this plant in one of its habitats, in the woods of Down East Maine. This article about plants that do not photosynthesize reminded me of the complicated grace of Monotropa uniflora: Alun Salt, “When a plant loses photosynthesis, what else does it lose?” BotanyOne July 31, 2019. Staying on the botany track I was introduced to botanist Janaki Ammal (1897-1984), by, Leila McNeill, “The pioneering female botanist who sweetened a nation and saved a valley,” Smithsonian.com, July 31, 2019. Climate change impacts on Yucca brevifolia, thanks to: Julia Wick, “For the Joshua Trees of Joshua Tree National Park, time may be running out,” Los Angeles Times, August 7, 2019.

Cryptobiosis is awesome, but. This left me speechless. I actually don’t know how to feel about this. Uneasy, but I can’t pinpoint why. Daniel Oberhaus, “A crashed Israeli lunar lander spilled Tardigrades on the moon,” Wired, August 5, 2019.

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One thought on “What I’m Reading (and Listening to) This Week: August 1, 2019

  1. From Farmer Larisa: I love how this article puts it all together, drawing in so many threads. The connection between the racist imagery and associations and economic and systematic undermining of Black farmers and entrepreneurs—I appreciate how powerfully and profoundly this was woven together. Thank you for sharing Mama C! You share the BEST, most mind and heart-stirring readings that I always want to pass on in turn and shout from the rooftops to read…

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