Posts tagged black power.
Black People Need More than a Afrocentric Aesthetic, We Need an Afrocentric Consciousness
I love that I am witnessing a revolution around the hair of Black women. Very much like the revival that was seen during the 1960’s and 70’s under the “Black is Beautiful” movement, Black women are now experiencing a sense of liberation and freedom in the choices made surrounding their hair. A space within the African American community has been created where Black women and their natural hair can be recognized and affirmed as being beautiful. However what has disappointed me about this resurgence of Afros, kinks, and Curls, is that unlike the movement in the 1960’s and 70’s it lacks the political and cultural rhetoric that is needed so that Black women’s natural state of being is not limited to how they express themselves from the outside but a political and cultural rhetoric is needed so that they may be able to be liberated and create a revolution amongst the inside.
- Dean Steed (Creator of daughterofzami.tumblr.com)
I can imagine the pain and the strength of my great great grandmothers who were slaves and my great great grandmothers who were Cherokee Indians trapped on reservations. I remembered my great grandmother who walked every where rather than sit in the back of the bus. I think about North Carolina and my home town and i remember the women of my grandmother’s generation: strong, fierce women who could stop you with a look out the corners of their eyes. Women who walked with majesty; who could wring a chicken’s neck and scale a fish. Who could pick cotton, plant a garden and sew without a pattern. Women who boiled clothes white in big black cauldrons and who hummed work songs and lullabys. Women who visited the elderly, made soup for the sick and shortnin bread for the babies.
Women who delivered babies, searched for healing roots and brewed medicines. Women who darned sox and chopped wood and layed bricks. Women who could swim rivers and shoot the head off a snake. Women who took passionate responsibility for their children and for their neighbors’ children too.
The women in my grandmother’s generation made giving an art form. “Here, gal, take this pot of collards to Sister Sue”; “Take this bag of pecans to school for the teacher”; “Stay here while I go tend Mister Johnson’s leg.” Every child in the neighborhood ate in their kitchens. They called each other sister because of feeling rather than as the result of a movement. They supported each other through the lean times, sharing the little they had.
The women of my grandmother’s generation in my home town trained their daughters for womanhood. They taught them to give respect and to demand respect. They taught their daughters how to churn butter; how to use elbow grease. They taught their daughters to respect the strength of their bodies, to lift boulders and how to kill a hog; what to do for colic, how to break a fever and how to make a poultice, patchwork quilts, plait hair and how to hum and sing. They taught their daughters to take care, to take charge and to take responsibility. They would not tolerate a “lazy heifer” or a “gal with her head in the clouds.” Their daughters had to learn how to get their lessons, how to survive, how to be strong. The women of my grandmother’s generation were the glue that held family and the community together. They were the backbone of the church. And of the school. They regarded outside institutions with dislike and distrust. They were determined that their children should survive and they were committed to a better future.
— Assata Shakur, Women in Prison: How it is for Us
Without community, there is no liberation…
— Audre Lorde, The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House
Within the lesbian community I am Black, and within the Black community I am a lesbian. Any attack against Black people is a lesbian and gay issue, because I and thousands of other Black women are part of the lesbian community. Any attack against lesbians and gays is a Black issue, because thousands of lesbians and gay men are Black. There is no hierarchy of oppression.
— Audre Lorde, There is No Hierarchy of Oppression
It is not the destiny of Black america to repeat white america’s mistakes.
— Audre Lorde, ”Sexism: An American Disease in Blackface,” Sister Outsider, p. 63
First, we must massively assert our dignity and worth. We must stand up amidst a system that still oppresses us and develop an unassailable and majestic sense of values. We must no longer be ashamed of being black…
The tendency to ignore the Negro’s contribution to American life and to strip him of his personhood, is as old as the earliest history hooks and as contemporary as the morning’s newspaper. To upset this cultural homicide, the Negro must rise up with an affirmation of his own Olympian manhood. Any movement for the Negro’s freedom that overlooks this necessity is only waiting to be buried. As long as the mind is enslaved, the body can never be free. Psychological freedom, a firm sense of self-esteem, is the most powerful weapon against the long night of physical slavery. No Lincolnian Emancipation Proclamation or Johnsonian Civil Rights Bill can totally bring this kind of freedom. The Negro will only be free when he reaches down to the inner depths of his own being and signs with the pen and ink of assertive manhood his own Emancipation Proclamation.
— Martin Luther King Jr., “Where Do We Go From Here”
We can’t afford to be spectators while our lives deteriorate. We have to truly love our people and work to make that love stronger.
The challenge of the twenty-first century is not to demand equal opportunity to participate in the machinery of oppression. Rather, it is to identify and dismantle those structures in which racism continues to be embedded. This is the only way the promise of freedom can be extended to the masses of people.
The nation must not only radically readjust its attitude toward the Negro and the compelling present, but must incorporate in its planning some compensatory consideration for the handicaps he has inherited from the past. It is impossible to create a formula for the future which does not take into account that our society has been doing something special against the Negro for hundreds of years. How then can he be absorbed into the mainstream of American life if we do not do something special for him now in order to balance the equation and equip him to compete on a just and equal basis? Whenever this issue of compensatory or preferential treatment for the Negro is raised, some of our friends recoil in horror. The Negro should be granted equality, they argue, but he should ask nothing more. On the surface this appears reasonable, but it is not realistic, for it is obvious that if a man is entered at the starting line in a race 300 years after another man, the first would have to perform some impossible feat in order to catch up with his fellow runner.
We had to learn that we’re beautiful. We had to relearn something forcefully taken from us. We had to learn about Black power. People have power if we unite. We learned the importance of coming together and being active.