Monthly Archives: October 2013

Trayvon Martin, Black Face, and Halloween

As I went through my tumblr feed, surreptitiously in one of my morning classes, an image popped up which sent me into a rage. The image was of two guys and a girl. All three were white and two were dressed in one of the most distasteful trio costumes I have ever seen. The woman was dressed as “Robin the Hood.” One of the guys was wearing a hoodie with fake gunshot wounds, and the other wore a shirt which read neighborhood watch. As if the allusion wasn’t enough, the guy dressed as Trayvon also was in Black Face.

To some, my rage may seem like an overreaction but historically, Black Face has been used as a weapon against the Black community in America. Black Face minstrelsy first appeared in the United States in the late 1820s. White male performers would use burnt cork to darken their skin and then play into racial stereotypes as a way of getting audience members to laugh. These performances were given the name Jim Crow. As more and more freed slaves began to appear in the North, the performances were used as way of enforcing the segregation of Black people. They were used to say that Black people didn’t belong in white, middle class spaces.

The effect of these performances was not only segregation, but the desensitization of Northerners to the Slave experience. These performances portrayed slaves as lazy, stupid individuals who deserved bondage. Even our “American hero,” Abraham Lincoln indulged in these shows. Black Face continued as part of performance culture into the twentieth century. It was used to sell cigarettes and many of our beloved childhood songs were used in Black Face performance. One song I grew up with – Jimmy Crack Corn – is among these songs. In 1915, the film Birth of a Nation, the first film to be shown in the White House, had white actors portraying black legislators, and perpetuated the lazy stereotype while also enforcing the notion that all black men wanted to rape white women.

As for the initial outrage that sparked this article, not many people seem to truly understand the significance of the Trayvon Martin case. The verdict furthered the idea that people of color’s lives aren’t as important as white ones. People of color are systemically being told their value is less than and that our bodies are worthless. I have known so many families go through this. I’ve grown up with this. I’ve been seeing this first hand since I was six years and this kid Terrance in my neighborhood was shot.

By “dressing up” as Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, these two guys reinforced the devaluing of the lives of people of color and disrespected the memory of a dead seventeen year old boy. They unknowingly continued a tradition of devaluing the lives of black people in America. They made a farce of the identity. But this is not the only case. When Julianne Hough dons Black Face to portray Crazy Eyes from Orange Is The New Black or when Italian fashion designers darken their skin for an African themed fashion party, they too are playing into this systemic oppression of people of color, particularly Black people.

Have a fun and safe Halloween but please remember: an identity, a race, a culture is not a costume to be donned once a year. It is a lived experience that comes with all sorts of oppression and privilege based upon our current societal standards.

Brazil 2014: Latin America.

brazil-worldcup-20141

This past Tuesday, October 15th the last set of qualifiers for the World Cup were played and more than 21 Countries secured their participation in Brazil. Among those 6 Latin American Countries: Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Honduras. These six Countries overcame what has been described as the most competitive qualifiers of the last  couple of decades, as many of the aforementioned Countries only managed to secure their ticket to Brazil on the last date.

The next phase of qualifiers has started, and  two more Latin American Countries are still in contention for participation in Brazil – Uruguay and Mexico. Both come from disappointing qualifying campaigns.  Uruguay after finishing 4th in last edition of the World Cup ( South Africa 2010), was expected (with Argentina) to be the sole dominants of the South American Qualifiers ( Conmebol Round-Robin); but instead suffered getting a spot in the play-off’s. Now they must face Jordan to determine their comeback to Brazil where they previously won the 1950s World Cup. Mexico, on the other hand, has never been considered a major team, but they have  always been expected to qualify. This campaign proved to be a disastrous one, more than two Head Coaches resigned after less than stellar results. In fact they were not supposed to be facing the play-offs, they failed to win their last Match against Costa Rica and only a late victory of the US against Panama saved them from missing out the World Cup altogether for the first time since Italy 1990. Now they must face New Zealand to determine their participation in Brazil. However without a Head Coach and little time to prepare, Mexico has a lot to overcome so as to regain the confidence of their players in order to secure their participation in Brazil.

Zeitnot

Time is the condition,
the inherent volition
in which the experience
of subject and object
a priori and a posteriori,
(which is and exists)
lies through a space

The time came into being with the Big Bang,
or the world is in time,
and the time of the world,
shows that time is in the world,
otherwise recognize how the Big Bang came into being with the time

So I explode as a time-bomb,
and find artificial paradises,
and life gives me drunken thoughts,
and the piece of the puzzle enacts the road,
and I got a Lacanian psychosis,
by breaking from dreams rather than from reality

And in the kingdom of realia,
the subject asks:
What happened with time?
And the object answers:
Life happened, it just happened!
Subjective and objective
rational and experiential questions
are the ones found here

But answers turn us
into unique beings
whereupon false connections
ought to burn the bridges,
flood the streets,
flying through the deserted mountains,
and descend from the ether
to verstehen this

Believe in me,
because by creating your own world
(solipsist of false admirations)
you must go beyond the eyes,
with the help of your psyche,
before Shiva destroys the outside,
and your very own creations

Aber, ich bin not a solipsist,
come with me,
let’s go to the end of the foundation,
through our perceptual and conceptual vehicle,
by our induction and deduction,
our transcendental machine,
aesthetics, dialectics, analytics,
all of a sudden the slumber disappears,
because there wasn’t any slumber at all,
just illusion of one: an utterly completed synthesis

An inference of perspective,
a glimpse of regularity,
causation of habit,
and the only recurrence:
my faith in you