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By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
In Colombia, the month of May is African Heritage month. All over the country you can see and experience events which celebrate the rich history of the community, as well as dialogues on the current state of affairs.
The 21st of May, in particular, marks an important moment in the sojourn of the population; known as “Dia de la Afrocolombianidad,” it’s the day slavery was abolished in the South American nation in 1851. Yet, even with these holidays in place, the reality is that the Latin-American nation is rife with systemic and cultural racism–and the over weekend, thousands marched in cities across the country to call out the prevalence of racial discrimination and to demand for the social recognition of these issues.
A group known as Marcha de la Comunion Afrocolombiana spearheaded the nationwide demonstrations. Taking inspiration from the Black Panther Party and movements such as the Million Man March and Black Lives Matter, they put together a 10-point list of demands and called for millions to come out and march in cities including Cali, Buenaventura, Pareira and Quibdo. The organizers also used the hashtag #PorEsoMarchamos (this is why we march) to encourage unity, spread awareness, and give examples of how racism pervades Colombian society.
I went to downtown Bogota on Sunday to cover the local demonstration. I saw many women in attendance wearing braids and headscarves in celebration of their roots. Out of the estimated 1400 people, it was inspiring to see that the majority of the crowd were teenagers and young adults. Shouting a variety of call-and-response chants and holding up signs of their demands, what struck me most was the sight of the gathering in the capital. Unlike the coastal cities where the majority of the Afro-Colombian population resides, Bogota often seems very whitewashed and frequenting certain areas as a black person you can blatantly be profiled or made to feel uncomfortable. While there was a large turnout in each participating city, ending the series of demonstrations with the march in the capital seemed to be the perfect way to cap-off the weekend.
The most recent census records report that around 12% of the Colombian population identifies as black or of African descent, yet some estimate that it is actually up to 30% with a large percentage of the ethnic group not being documented or choosing to identity as mixed-race/other. The local media adds to the erasure by promoting a euro-centric beauty standards and stereotypical images of black people, and to this day blackface is a widely accepted form of entertainment.
In the hope to live up to a self-perception as a multi-cultural racial utopia, many shun recognition or discussion of race, leaving those whose experience discrimination and colorism regularly to be silenced or outcaste. Still, the reality is undeniable. A recent study conducted by the Anti-Discrimination Observatory of Cartagena found that employers are more likely to hire white or light-skinned Colombians for high-ranking jobs. It´s also be found that those with light skin earn twice as much as those with darker skin, and this is reflected in the fact that most impoverished areas of the country are home to mostly African descendants.
As leaders and organizers rise up in the Afro-Colombian community to have their needs and rights met, it’s amazing to see the interconnectedness of the respective struggles throughout the diaspora. From the U.S. to the Caribbean to South America, since Africans were brought to the shores of the Americas, we’ve been in a constant fight for freedom, justice and equal rights. Living in Colombia for over a year now, I can see there is much to be done in respect to racial injustice. But, as this past weekend has showed me, the fighting spirit for change that has helped African descendants all over to push forward, is undoubtedly here within the Afro-Colombian community.
SHAHIDA MUHAMMADPost Views: 44
By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
One thing that greatly bothers me as brother living in The Belly Of The Beast known as America is the constant perpetuation and glorification of of a lot of African-American men as toxically masculine by the mainstream American media.
African-American men in this country for the most part have never been portrayed as well by the mainstream American media. Fast forward to today, the images of African-American men that are common in mainstream media are alcoholics, druggies, trappers, drag queens, gangsters, thugs, super predators, criminals, athletes, entertainers, and rappers.
African-American men in America are some of the most educated because there are about 60% more African-American men in college than in prison despite what mainstream media wants you to believe. They have also been on the forefront of our liberation since it began which produced some of the greatest African-American revolutionaries and innovators in American history that you never hear about in the American public school history books from Malcolm X, Huey Newton, to George Washington Carver.
The one image of African-American that is often portrayed by the mainstream American media is the toxically masculine one and this image is often used to our detriment because mainstream society holds African-American men to a very low and dangerous standard of being too toxically masculine to the point that they can’t express themselves, live life, or do things without being challenged socially about their appearance, sexuality, or validity. As well as a lot of them being physically abusive and sexist towards African-American women.
Here are the types of toxic masculine African-American men in America.
1. Sexism Towards African-American Women – One of the most destructive elements coming from not only sexist minded guys, but also a lot of the pseudo-conscious guys that I’ve seen last year is the extreme sexism and the intense pushback that they show when someone says that intellectual sisters should also be able to lead the community and maybe that will help quell all these egotistical pseudo-conscious guys that are saying things that are counterproductive to our advancement as a people. And besides there have been many melanated queens who have been strong warriors and rulers throughout history.
2. Violence Towards African-American Women – A lot of African men that have very sexist attitudes towards African-America women come from very dysfunctional households where their mothers were often victims of physical and verbal abuse at the hands of their boyfriends and it creates everlasting psychological trauma for a lot of them and causes them to develop a very negative view of African-American women in general to the point of utilizing their masculinity in a very harmful and destructive way towards African-American women
3. Allowing The Colonial Power Structure To Use Them To Inflict Self-Destruction Towards Our Community – Lil Wayne is an example of the mindset of a colonized minded man whose brain has been corroded and hijacked by the colonial power structure to use his platform as evil rather than good by promoting messages that amounts to various forms of self-destruction towards our people, especially our young men in particular.
4. Horizontal Violence Amongst Young African-American Men – One of the biggest examples of toxic masculinity in our community is the horizontal violence amongst young African-American men that happens on a daily basis and the main catalyst behind horizontal violence in our community is colonialism.
The Conclusion – We must teach our young men how to be a strong, proud, and masculine without allowing their masculinity to become toxically destructive to themselves and their community.
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By Elliot Booker — 2 years ago
“In this video clip are brief examples of two mentalities, integrationist and nationalist. In the points raised for both, one has caused a sense of apathy among our people and stunted our growth, the other the door is still open and it’s not too late. Your opinion is welcome.”Post Views: 60