What is a Womanist?

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Photograph of Meigan Medina, "Vibration," courtesy of Brandon Hicks.
Photograph of Meigan Medina, “Vibration,” courtesy of Brandon Hicks.

“Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender” – Alice Walker.

 Alice Walker, a poet and activist, who is mostly known for her award-winning book The Color Purple, coined the term Womanist in her 1983 book In Search of Our Mothers’ Garden: Womanist Prose. Walker defined a womanist as “Womanish, the opposite of girlish…Being grown up…A Black Feminist or Feminist of Color…A woman who loves other women, sexually and/or non-sexually.  Appreciates and prefers women’s culture, women’s emotional flexibility (values tears as natural counterbalance of laughter), and women’s strength.  Sometimes loves individual men, sexually and/or non-sexually”. The complete text of the definition can be seen here.

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Still Getting Stares: The Modern Interracial Couple

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interracial-marriage
Photo courtesy of contemporaryfamilies.org

Walking the streets of Manhattan every day, I’m unfazed by interracial couples. It’s nothing new or exciting to me. So it puzzles me that there are people who think otherwise. Most areas in the country are not as progressive as New York. There are people all over that do not agree with interracial couples, claiming that people should date within their own race. It is extremely common to hear the people that say they do not accept interracial couples, while also protesting they are not racist. But how could this be? How could someone who is not racist want to keep people of different races apart? There is no way. Those who find a problem with interracial love have some issue with people who are of a different race then they are. Racism is not always so cut and dry. When most people think of racism, they think back to how people treated people of a different race before the Civil Rights movement. They think of separate water fountains and separate schools. But racism also includes thinking people of different races do not belong together. It proves that there are people that still don’t believe that all humans are humans no matter their race and that these humans can find love with any other human. They see a difference between people just because of their skin color. No more than ever, interracial couples are accepted around the country, but we have a long way to go before they are accepted by everyone.

by, Dylan Frand, Non Profit Management degree candidate at the New School for Public Engagement. 

Give Against Transphobia

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People gather at the vigil for Islan Nettles, pictured on poster. Photo by Teresa Guitierrez, via workers.org
People gather at the vigil for Islan Nettles, pictured on poster. Photo by Teresa Gutierrez, via workers.org

This holiday season, I ask that rather than giving gifts we give against. Specifically, I would ask that you give against homophobia and transphobia. This year, as in years past, homophobia and transphobia are alive and well. Many Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans* and Queer Americans saw the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) struck down this year and rejoiced in expanded marriage rights and growing federal protections. Important yes, but cold comfort to trans* people who live under threat of violence and murder every day. Most acts of homophobia are actually based on gender expression. Individuals who do not conform to socially accepted standards of masculinity and femininity or who intentionally subvert these norms are at increased risk of harm. Thus, homophobia is directly linked to transphobia.

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Lighter Skin a Fast-Track to Hip-Hop Success?

Posted 16 CommentsPosted in Allies, Artists, Black Resistance Reading List, Parents, Scholars, Students, Uncategorized
Rihanna-Drake-J-cole
Photo courtesy of drizzydrake.org

Is my black beautiful? This is the question that plagues Black people across the globe, young and old. Although J. Cole recently asserted that his success is attributed to his complexion, I disagree with this statement when studying the way the African American male is perceived and valued as successful within not only rap culture, but also in mainstream media as a whole.  There have been a plethora of artist, in particularly in the hip-hop community, that have failed the, “paper bag test”, and have still been able to obtain success .Diddy, the Notorious BIG, Jay-Z, Tupac, Outkast, and so on and so forth. Often times for African American males their dark skin helps to personify their image as thuggish and dangerous and acts as an affirmation that they are stronger and more powerful than the average man (an assumption that is not reserved solely for Black men) while their fairer counterparts often perceived as being “soft” or emotional.

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The Color of Crime

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George Zimmerman. Image Courtesy of The Washington Post
George Zimmerman. Image Courtesy of The Washington Post

One breezy evening last October, I celebrated my one month anniversary of living in New York City with a lovely dinner with friends and by getting mugged on my way home. I didn’t make it very hard for the perpetrator, practically handing my wallet and iPhone to him as I descended the steps into the subway entrance. All in all, it was a relatively painless mugging; I wasn’t hurt, everything he took could be replaced, I immediately canceled my credit and ATM cards and wasn’t held responsible for the $400 charged at Kennedy Pizza and Chicken. As I communicated with family and friends in the days following the attack, the second question they asked, after “Are you okay?!” was inevitably, “Was he Black?”

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