Vlog #1: On the African Diaspora, Colonialism, AntiBlackness
I couldnt include this text in its entirety on my Youtube but I wanted to have a space for my people who need text or captions to be able to see the full text of the video. Also I have additional notes that I have added as caveats (they are in brackets)
Full Transcript — everything in brackets is notes to : [Begin Transcript:
You know I do think — A lot of us People of Color, our identities are constantly in flux. Right now a lot of people are coming to terms with the or have already have been working through the fact that the erasure of our identity comes from the fact that our coloniser’s have named us . You know, You have people in Brazil, who formerly didn’t want to be called Black but they are African. But Black has such a negative connotation I feel like that’s often why people want to stay away from it.
You have Afrolatinos whose identity were either previously hidden from them or something they felt shame about, now people are reckoning with and taking ownership of and claiming. We are finding more and more that the diaspora is bigger than we ever thought it was, there are AfroMexicans, Afro Filipinos, BlackNatives. The diaspora continues to get bigger but i think this does call into question you know, like, “does this, does everybody being Black or having Black roots somewhere deep in their heritage grant people access to let’s say — a uniquely African American experience? But who is to say? Maybe if we are Black we are all Black and there are no cross cultural appropriation lines because we are all of the same people.
I just feel like sometimes, in some instances and especially now, everyone wants to be black and that’s cool if it’s done in earnest but I feel like that people just wannabe Black when they want to say the Nword or throw some swag on their name. When previously a lot of communities have shunned the Black portion of their community. You know Andre 3000 had that jumpsuit that said “Across cultures darker people suffer the most” and that’s true.
This example as well — MIA, she looks Black to me — I don’t know enough if she claims her Blackness , or. I just feel like there are so many things to consider and we are constantly, like i said in flux, deconstructing, and reconstructing our identities to get to the truth of who we actually are which has been purposefully obscured from a lot of us. They don’t want you to claim ownership of your Blackness and trace your roots because if we did all unite just on the thread of Blackness we could be very powerful.
And you know, it’s not like anyone is the arbiter or gatekeepers of Blackness, but at the same time I will say I have felt some instances in the past, that people, were selectively claiming Blackness for their benefit. And you know there are mixes of Black and Red and Colonizer people from the Caribbean some who are just Indigenous coloniser mix. [that is to say Not everyone from the Caribbean is necessarily Black, some people are indigenous and colonizer mix]
And sometimes I wonder if we will ever get to the root of where we truly come from
Is everyone just Black, we’re all Black , is the Black experience just open for everyone?
There’s even some arguments I see happening online frequently between Africans who lives on the continent and Africans who happen to be on the North American continent, I think a lot of those arguments are misguided and maybe led by trolls. Because Africa is our home, the fact that we were taken from our Mother doesn’t make her not our Mother. I just want people to — like if you find out you’re Native somewhere in your blood and you wanna claim that, rep that, but also figure out what that means for you and try to connect with the Spirit and you will be welcomed by your community.
I especially want to make sure that I’m being sensitive to the fact that this is heavy shit, a lot of people are trying to figure out who the fuck they are, where we come from, And even myself at times have felt like “Damn Im not full blooded Native, what if I have a child and our blood is even further diluted and then you see “Full-Blooded” shirts at the powwows..” And you know there is pride in having “fullblood” there’s just, our numbers have dwindled, but at the same time I’ve come to learn that my identity as someone who is half Sioux is just as valid, it’s about what it means to me in here.
(AND BLOOD QUANTUM IS A SYMPTOM OF COLONIALISM)
As long as you are being authentic with it and talking to the ancestors and really engaging with the Spirit and digging deep within yourself, I think that’s beautiful.
I think a lot of communities need to have the conversation about Anti-Blackness. It’s in Native communities, in Latino communities [which is arguably — a Native/Black community as well], and it’s definitely in white communities.
And people don’t see the issue with appropriation or why we get so upset when we see our culture being stolen. Because for so long Black bodies, Black culture has been open for everyone to take. Our music, our style, our bodies, and people get surprised when you say “that’s ours, don’t fuck with it” because they don’t expect you to have that pride in yourself, that pride to say that’s mine and you can’t fuck with it.
[Another reason appropriation is VIOLENT is because DIE for our culture Blacks and Natives to this day get killed for our race and embodying our identities that people want to try on for sport. It’s Legal to fire people for wearing dreadlocks which is a NATURAL , Black hairstyle, yet people don’t understand why other people letting their hair matte and calling it “dreadlocks” is problematic]
Growing up — I grew up in an area that was predominantly “Mexican” and “Filipino” and people would constantly assume that my mom or myself was Mexican. And you know that term doesn’t even make sense to me anymore “Mexican,” Mexican people are Indigenous people, there is the coloniser mixed [people], and then straight up Indigenous people.
It just boggles my mind because there is so much tension between the Latino and Black communities
Just so many communities have opposition to Blackness, because it’s been coded as bad.There are centuries of literature behind this. The psychic affect of slavery. It didn’t just affect us it affected everyone else’s perception of Black people
[It seems like I just jumped to this topic and didnt connect the dots — there are tensions between Latino and Black communities but there are many BLACK people in these cultures and Black, Red, Yellow we all have tribal, Indigenous roots and practices. Many first Indians looked Black, so it might be once again that we are all just Black — ]
I don’t think anyone is the arbiter of Blackness or can decide who is in the community and who’s not
because even I have to deal with people telling me I’m not really “Black “Black”
You know, I do have to acknowledge I’ve sometimes had a privilege as not being easily read as Black. All of us people of color know in our communities the fairer skinned get better treatment. This shit is a symptom of colonialism. Of wanting and desiring accessiblity to whiteness, in terms of money or in terms of beauty. I feel at times, I get dark, and I feel a difference in treatment. And my whole life, I have felt that when I felt darker.
All of this is to say that our Blackness has been obscured and hidden from a lot of people, their Blackness has been skewed and hidden and obscured and people don’t want to acknowledge that slaves were brought everywhere and even before that Black people were linking up with other tribes, you know all this rich history we never know about and it has an effect on where we’re going because a lot of people don’t even know who they are. A lot of Latino people don’t know, you’re actually Indigenous and yeah you have fair skin but that’s because the colonisers raped someone in your family. [Additionally later on, there are those who chose to breed with white population but in the beginning it was rape — essentially forging a new identity, same situation with more northern Indigenous people, and other indigenous communities worldwide]
Are you acknowledging your Indigenous side? Some people are walking around Black and don’t even know it.
And you know, people want to say Race is just symbol and codes but also it’s our heritage its our guiding light on this planet. You have Black people who don’t even want to be Black, That’s how deep anti Blackness is.
And people always wanna tell me you know “I’m so and so, such this Native” Awesome, That’s beautiful, come fight with us. Come talk to the Spirit with me let’s not drink, let’s be sober, let’s honor the Spirit . And you know what? I feel like this is still relatively new for a lot of people. Actively and critically engaging with your race and these National ideologies that we subscribed to, these national identities, these imagined communities, that in turn shape our identity.
What is a Brazilian ? I know there are tribes peoples. I know that there are hundreds of thousands of tribes. I know that there are African people there as well. And I know there are colonisers there as well that decided to name everyone Brazilian. I just think its very important to question pretty much everything that we have been taught —
The tropes we have believe about ourselves and each other. I just, think we do have a long way to go. A lot of difficult conversations to have. I have to say I’m somebody who wont engage with everyone I don’t believe in wasting my emotional energy, or my intelligence on certain people. I think some of us will be the ones to talk to a certain segment of the population, Imma keep it moving and speak to the people who are on my level for the most part, you know I do want to teach people and be digestible, but if we are not on the same playing field. — If you still think the flag is OK, the national anthem is ok, Imma need you to do some reading, some research and some soul searching then come back to me.
But we are all beautiful Brown (as in Melanated) people. We all have Indigenous roots — Black Indigenous, Yellow Indigenous, Red Indigenous, We have Spirits that are watching and we have our ancestors and we need to listen to them. And Decolonize. The Coloniser’s influence has affected (or dictated) our perceptions of ourselves,of each other, of beauty, even money how we live our life, even you going to get a drink right now. Colonialism.We weren’t drinking before that.
Abiding by these rules that say you need to have this amount of money and you need to use this piece of plastic to determine your worth and determine if you can get food or not, if you deserve to eat. These are not Our Concepts. So I think once people realise, truly the root of evil is colonisation, we can begin to unpack all these toxic ideas we have. “