25 Matching Annotations
  1. Feb 2022
    1. Typography and Identity John Eligon's New York Times article, “A Debate Over Identity and Race Asks, Are African-Americans ‘Black’ or ‘black’?” outlines the ongoing conversation among journalists and academics regarding conventions for writing about race—specifically, whether or not to capitalize the “b” in “black” when referring to African-Americans (itself a term that is going out of style). (Note: The opening sentence introduces the text this essay will respond to and gives a brief summary of the text's content.) Eligon argues that, while it might seem like a minor typographical issue, this small difference speaks to the question of how we think about race in the United States. Are words like “black” or “white” mere adjectives, descriptors of skin color? Or are they proper nouns, indicative of group or ethnic identity? Eligon observes that until recently, with the prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement, many journalistic and scholarly publications tended to use a lowercase “black,” while Black media outlets  typically capitalized “Black.”  He suggests that the balance is now tipping in favor of "Black," but given past changes, usage will probably change again as the rich discussion about naming, identity, and power continues. (Note: The thesis statement includes two related ideas explored by Eligon: the current trend toward using "Black" and the value of the ongoing discussion that leads to changing terms.) Eligon points to a range of evidence that "Black" is becoming the norm, including a recent change by "hundreds of news organizations" including the Associated Press. This comes in the wake of the George Floyd killing, but it also follows a longtime Black press tradition exemplified by newspapers like The New York Amsterdam News. Eligon cites several prominent academics who are also starting to capitalize Black.  However, he also quotes prominent naysayers and describes a variety of counterarguments, like the idea that capitalization gives too much dignity to a category that was made up to oppress people.  (Note: Summary of a counterargument.) Capitalizing Black raises another tricky question: Shouldn't White be likewise capitalized? Eligon points out that the groups most enthusiastic to capitalize White seem to be white supremacists, and news organizations want to avoid this association.    (Note: The choice of "points out" signals that everyone would agree that mostly white supremacist groups capitalize White.)  Eligon's brief history of the debate over racial labels, from “Negro” and “colored” to “African-American” and “person of color,” gives the question of to-capitalize-or-not-to-capitalize a broader context, investing what might seem like a minor quibble for editors with the greater weight of racial identity and its evolution over time. (Note: This paragraph shifts focus from present to past trends and debates.) He outlines similar disagreements over word-choice and racial labels by scholars and activists like Fannie Barrier Williams and W.E.B. Du Bois surrounding now-antiquated terms like “Negro” and “colored.” These leaders debated whether labels with negative connotations should be replaced, or embraced and given a new, positive connotation. (Note: This paragraph summarizes the historical examples Eligon gives. Phrases like "He cites" point out that certain ideas are being used to support a claim.) Eligon observes that today's "black" was once used as a pejorative but was promoted by the Black Power movement starting in the late sixties, much as the word "Negro" was reclaimed as a positive word. (Note: Summary of a historical trend that parallels today's trend.) However, the Reverend Jesse Jackson also had some success in calling for a more neutral term, "African American," in the late eighties.  He thought it more appropriate to emphasize a shared ethnic heritage over color.   (Note: Summary of a historical countertrend based on a counterargument to the idea of reclaiming negative terms.) Eligon suggests that this argument continues to appeal to some today, but that such terms have been found to be inadequate given the diversity of ethnic heritage. “African-American” and the more generalized “people/person of color” do not give accurate or specific enough information.  (Note: Describes a response to the counterargument, a justification of today's trend toward Black.)  Ultimately, Eligon points to personal intuition as an aid to individuals in the Black community grappling with these questions. He describes the experience of sociologist Crystal M. Fleming, whose use of lowercase “black” transformed to capitalized “Black” over the course of her career and years of research. Her transition from black to Black is, she says, as much a matter of personal choice as a reasoned conclusion—suggesting that it will be up to Black journalists and academics to determine the conventions of the future. (Note: This last sentence of this summary paragraph focuses on Eligon's conclusion, his implied argument about what should guide the choice of terms.

      Black and African-American are two different people. Black people have dark-skin and African ancestry, while African Americans are people who are born in the United States, but they have African ancestry.

  2. Jul 2020
    1. particularized modes of control-prisons, ghettos, minoritizing, schooling, policing-to ensure the ascendancy of a nation and its white3elite. These modes of control, imprisonment, and involuntary transport of the human beings across borders-ghettos, their policing, their economic divestiture, and their dislocatability-are at work to authorize the metropole and conscribe her periphery.Strategies of internal colonialism, such as segregation, divestment, surveillance, and criminalization,are both structural and interpersonal.

      Wow this 2012 article sure is feeling current reading through the lens of 2020 Black Lives Matter protests.

  3. Jun 2020
    1. learning from a place of dislocation, anxiety, anger, and trauma

      We assigned this post as a reading in a faculty learning community before the Floyd/Taylor murders and the eruption of BLM protests. It would be hard to exaggerate the degree to which the ideas here seem even more salient now.

  4. Mar 2018
    1. Black people that Black lives (and Black life) are not complex

      This flattening of a complex narrative of identity is what leads to dehumanization. So important for teachers, (and thereby teacher educators) to emphasize the nuances inherent in any cultural group—intra-group diversity as well as inter-group diversity.

  5. Feb 2017
    1. Prior to the various emancipation actions, beginning in Massachusetts in 1783 and continuing into the nineteenth century, blacks - 187 - were chattels, property to be disposed of in any way their owners saw fit.

      This quote reminds me of the irony with "Black Lives Matter" In the article it tells of how the black lives matter movement started after George Zimmerman was acquitted of his murder of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin. It is interesting to see how our lives are valued more in these times compared to pre-emancipation times. It is interesting to see a change in a opinion in only a century. I feel like there is only one race and that is the human race. We just have different concentrations of melanin. It is pretty unfair to judge someone off their skin color alone. That irritates me a whole lot. I never asked to be this way, I was just reincarnated into the person I am now. Another thing I was told in class was that your environment affects your phenotype. If I was in the arctic area, my skin would probably be a few shades lighter so it is not really my fault that I am black. It is genetics and my environment around me.


      The problem I had with this quote is that the people were freed due to their service in the Revolutionary War. If they were freed, why are they still called negro slaves. They could have called them freed men or at least acknowledge that they are not slaves anymore. I feel as though this is more disrespectful than anything else because the people gained their freedom so they should not be called slaves anymore. To me this kind of relates to the whole black lives matter movement. It isn't fair that we get the minimal recognition for everything we have done for the country. If it were white indentured servants they'd probably be called heroes. The blacks deserve proper recognition. I would want proper recognition after I helped the country get its independence from Great Britain. Especially since I helping the people that stole me from my land and my family. I deserve some type of recognition. TIME Person of the Year 2015 Runner-Up: Black Lives Matter. (n.d.). Retrieved February 02, 2017

  6. Jul 2016
    1. To be even clearer, there is no way to read these continual killings as anything but racist.

      What is more, the killing is part of a larger picture of white supremacy that has been written as law in our country, evidenced by this excerpt from The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

    2. How do we move beyond the language of personal responsibility to supporting students to hold our officers accountable when, as a society, we are clearly failing at doing so?

      My first thought on this is to bring policy ideas to these conversations that usually start with thoughts and prayers. Ask each other, "Do we all agree these ideas would begin to get at the issue?"

    1. your view that some of those demographics matter more than others. That alienates and isolates all non-black groups.

      As the professor points out below, this "invisible 'more'" (or "only") is one of the fundamental misreadings of the #BlackLivesMatter slogan and movement.

    1. Don’t stay silent even if it feels like the same thing again and again—until every citizen is truly protected and served. 

    2. We hear people proclaim, “All lives matter,” and I agree that is true—but it’s black people who are being targeted. Until more people understand that, nothing will change.

  7. Jun 2016
  8. Jul 2015
    1. Back then all I could do was measure these freedom-lovers by what I knew. Which is to say, I measured them against children pulling out in the 7-Eleven parking lot, against parents wielding extension cords, and the threatening intonations of armed black gangs saying, “Yeah, nigger, what’s up now?” I judged them against the country I knew, which had acquired the land through murder and tamed it under slavery, against the country whose armies fanned out across the world to extend their dominion.

      I wonder if curriculum like this http://youthvoices.net/blacklivesmatter makes similar mistakes.

    2. Back then all I could do was measure these freedom-lovers by what I knew. Which is to say, I measured them against children pulling out in the 7-Eleven parking lot, against parents wielding extension cords, and the threatening intonations of armed black gangs saying, “Yeah, nigger, what’s up now?” I judged them against the country I knew, which had acquired the land through murder and tamed it under slavery, against the country whose armies fanned out across the world to extend their dominion.

      I wonder if our "BlackLivesMatter" curriculum sometimes makes the same mistakes. http://youthvoices.net/blacklivesmatter

    3. I write you in your 15th year. I am writing you because this was the year you saw Eric Garner choked to death for selling cigarettes; because you know now that Renisha McBride was shot for seeking help, that John Crawford was shot down for browsing in a department store. And you have seen men in uniform drive by and murder Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old child whom they were oath-bound to protect.

      This is what we need in our teaching with other 15 year olds. In our curriculum, do we have a strand... maybe a stance... a readiness... an ill-formed set of prompts... an inquiry at the ready... that also says: We are teaching http://youthvoices.net/blacklivesmatter (as one example -- thank you Renée Watson) because this was that year that you saw...

    1. Besides that the poetry in question is purposefully plagiarized, and that its materialism is pointing out this very tradition of white irresponsibility that Williams brings up, that this petition asks for a voice to be silenced in the name of free speech and then urges discussion of the very topics Place’s piece has dragged up should have perhaps red-flagged the committee members for an event celebrating the anniversary of, of all things, free speech.

      This is representative of a line of thinking I often see that goes something like "allies stay on the sidelines, please." A delightful linguistic reversal of this that I experienced came during #BlackLivesMatter protests in Oakland. As we approached a police line someone shouted, "White people to the front!"