The plight of a posthuman black and brown body nullifies possibilities of the black and brown body ever becoming respected. Today, black and brown bodies could possibly be viewed as posthuman. This is to say, that black and brown people are not respected as a human in the eyes of some folks, especially those that are supposed to uphold the law. Thus, we may have always been posthuman in an opposing sense of the word. Since slavery, black people and indigenous people have walked the fields and pavements of America as invisible or posthuman. Once a black and brown body is enslaved, beaten, raped, tortured and dehumanized, then, posthuman must be the last resort to find some peace, right? NO…a person should never give up deny themselves an identity. All one has is their history, her-story, one’s culture, one’s family.
Even today, black and brown children are invisible while they are denied their history from as early as kindergarten all the way through the academy. Decolonization should start early, though the settlers mind trap is pushing forward their decolonial refusal ways.
In recognizing Black Feminist Thought (BFT) and Black Feminist Methodology (BFM), we observe that what should be valued, conclusive and regarded as evident, remains distracted. Harnessed are the views and opinions of Black women, scholarly or not. This is especially seen in today’s corporate America, where women of color must invent, then reinvent the wheel just to get a pat on the back. Not only are our Black female scholars muffled, there are countless numbers of Black women in the fields of finance, film, writing, publishing, medicine, technology, planning & development and sales who, at a minimum, do not receive an honorable mention for their merit and achievements. By way of Black Feminist Methodology, Black women have found an outlet for voicing scholarly arguments, sentiment, joy, and anger—emotions which are tied to hundreds of years of posthumanist journeys. In fact, to paraphrase Patterson et al, “according to BFT scholars, black women’s knowledge is acquired through various experiences living, surviving, and thriving within multiple forms of oppression.” Approaches and/or methodologies developed by black women oftentimes go by the waist side, where men, black and white take their shine away. Again, one would implement the posthumanization effect, whereas black women, who have always been at the forefront of feminist thought, are forced to create a biracial stance against injustices to all women. Without doubt, one can see this occurring in today’s public opinion with regard to the Trump administration.
Trump’s pre-election approval ratings and his greenlight to the presidency were very much supported and mended by white women. These are the same white women that listened to Trump’s foul 70 year-old language involving a sexually fueled conversation about what he would do to a woman. He chuckles as he describes his predatory ways to another male. While Trump’s opposing white women march to protect THEIR rights. Black women march, too, and have been marching for THEIR rights for hundreds of years. In fact, our current #MeToo movement was started by a black woman, Tarana Burke, 10 years ago. And as Trump is watched today, stumbling through a presidency, where he is allowed to trample over black peoples causes, Obama’s quasi reparations, we forget to march for Korryn.
Korryn Gaines, a black woman, a mother, a human…killed by police who shot and killed her using automatic weapons while she remained inside her home refusing to come outside to receive a warrant. They shot through the exterior walls of her home, not only killing her, but also shooting her five year old son who did survive. Korryn was 23 years old. This is not the first black woman to die by the hands of police. Numerous black women have died from police brutality and senseless acts of what should be determined as racist decisions by OUR police force. It is a fact that more black women are killed by police than white women. Perhaps black women have reached a posthuman phase. As Andrea J. Ritchie describes in her essay, “police view African American women as masculine and animalistic.” A case and point is the conversational nastiness of some media and fans when tennis player Serena Williams enters onto the tennis court. Furthermore, Ritchie argues that “police view African American women as violent, predatory, or noncompliant regardless of their actual conduct and circumstances, no matter how old, young, disabled, small, or ill.” Ritchie’s observations conclude that gender violence against black women is real.
And therefore, black women need a gathering place to have their voices of shared experiences heard. Being coined as masculine and animalistic should bring black women together so that collectively and consciously, they openly discuss and recognize that they are not indivisible, and that it is OK to be who they are in their skin. In the Black Women’s Gathering Place, women were able to break their silence and cut down barriers with one another which allows them to breathe easier knowing that their not alone.
A Black Women’s Collective was started in our home 23 years ago. The impact that it had on all participants was amazing to watch, even as a participant on some occasions. Friends in this group came from different walks of life, some having an easier lifestyle than others. Despite their differences in education, income and lifestyle, they seem to enjoy the fact that they could rely on each other for one day of the month. The mission of the group was to initiate fun reunions for young black moms who rarely had time to leave their house due to raising children. Organized by my wife, she created a book and film club similar to the Black Women’s Gathering Place. They met every month at a different location to cultivate their friendship, to converse and discuss the latest film or book, and to breathe; all while dropping their armor so to become human once more. Their discussions also gave each of them a chance to talk about work related issues which left them vulnerable at other times. The relationships from this gathering place are still intact and still meeting regularly.
Douglass, Patrice D. “Black Feminist Theory for the Dead and Dying.” Theory & Event.” Hopkins University Press Vol. 21 (2018): 106-123
King, Tiffany Lethabo. “Humans Involved: Lurking in the Lines of Posthumanist Flight.”
King, Tiffany Lethabo. “Post-Identitarian and Post-Intersectional Anxiety in the Neoliberal Corporate University.” Feminist Formations Vol. 27 (2015): 114-138. Print.
Palmer, Tyrone S. “What Feels More Than feeling?” Theorizing the Unthinkability of Black Affect.” Journal of the Critical Ethnic Studies Association Vol. 3.2 (2017): 31+
Patterson, Ashley, Valerie Kinloch, Tanja Burkhard, Ryann Randall, and Arianna Howard. “Black Feminist Thought as Methodology: Examining Intergenerational Lived experiences of Black Women.” Departures in Critical Qualitative Research Vol. 5 (2016): 55-76
Written while in the mood, circa 2009.
Hold on to the last breath,
As in water the fish crew
As in air the birds glide
As in clouds the moisture weeps
As in earth’s core nature burns
As in stars while they glisten
As in planets revolving the sun
As in a fragrance passing your nose
As in kids having fun
As in Ella scatting the blues
As in rain producing food
As in Grandma’s apple pie
As in tears in our eyes
As in rainbows filling the sky
Now let go with a sigh…
This poem was written at work in 2008 (during lunch). Two of my colleagues were sitting with me discussing each others writing styles. I mentioned that I write poetry. So, the challenge was for me to write a poem within the hour. I wrote about my colleagues son-to-be, Evan.
From a dreary hangar, perched high in the air,
a butterfly sits with a lonely stare.
Soothing is the silence, from which it came,
to a dull existence, it’s contained.
In time it will fly, as the cocoon will erupt,
in the meantime it matures, as its season shapes up.
From a dreary hangar, perched high in the tree,
soon our butterfly will be esprit.
Turn winter, turn spring, warm breezes in the air,
off comes the wrapping of its gentle snare.
Churning, churning, and churning with glee,
the cocoon is open, our butterfly is free.
Perched gently atop a flower’s flare,
for Evan to watch with a gentle stare.
Poem written for my grandmother and mother. Circa 2003.
Crocuses, tulips and daffodils bloom,
They whisper to each other throughout the noon,
The Rhodies, the trees, the holly’s listen,
As time passes by, their leaves too glisten,
The air is fragrant with scents so sweet,
As sun and moon smile upon their feat,
From dawn to dusk and dusk to night,
Their blooms arrive at morning light,
This beauty continues again and again,
‘Cause nature speaks amongst its friends