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The Construction of Whiteness

Gerald Horne is the John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston. He is a prolific author whose most recent book is The Counter-Revolution of 1776: : Slave Resistance & the Origins of the United States of America (published by NYU Press; available on Google Books). From the publisher's description:
The so-called Revolutionary War, Horne writes, was in large part a counter-revolution, a conservative movement that the founding fathers fought in order to preserve their liberty to enslave others—and which today takes the form of a racialized conservatism and a persistent racism targeting the descendants of the enslaved.
Early in the book, Horne writes:
The construction of 'whiteness' or the forging of bonds between and among European settlers across class, gender, ethnic, and religious lines was a concrete response to the real dangers faced by all of these migrants in the face of often violent rebellions from enslaved Africans and their indigenous comrades.
He recently sat down with Paul Jay of the Real News Network for the show Reality Asserts Itself. The result is a far-ranging discussion that covers his youth growing up in Jim Crow era St. Louis, his personal and intellectual development, pre-revolutionary America and the lucrative business of slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the Civil rights movement. The interview concludes by bringing us back to recent events, including the recent chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York, and the protests in Ferguson, Missouri. [more inside]
posted by mondo dentro on Aug 25, 2014 - 14 comments

"A Subtlety" & We Are Here

Why I Yelled at the Kara Walker Exhibit: "Anger shot up my body like a hot thermometer. Face flushed, I walked to the Mammy sphinx. Couples posed in front of it, smiling as others took their photos. So here it was, an artwork about how Black people’s pain was transformed into money was a tourist attraction for them... Something snapped... I yelled that this was our history and that many of us were angry and sad that it was a site of pornographic jokes." [more inside]
posted by flex on Jul 2, 2014 - 170 comments

The Marvelous Sugar Baby

An NPR interview with the creator of a 75 foot long Mammy-Sphinx sculpture made entirely of sugar. Award-winning artist Kara Walker's latest work challenges viewers to confront the relationships between American history, racism, slavery, and industrialization. Her exhibition is held in the soon-to-be-demolished, historic Domino Sugar Factory. (New Yorker article) [more inside]
posted by warm_planet on May 16, 2014 - 34 comments

12 Years a Slave

"I'm here because my family went through slavery" - Steve McQueen on 12 Years A Slave, the story of Solomon Northup. ‘12 Years a Slave,’ ‘Mother of George,’ and the aesthetic politics of filming black skin. Before Solomon Northup: Fighting Slave Catchers in New York. The final fate of Solpmon Northup remains unknown. (Previously)
posted by Artw on Oct 20, 2013 - 56 comments

"Misplaced Honor"

NYT Editorial Filter -- "Now African-Americans make up about a fifth of the military. The idea that today we ask any of these soldiers to serve at a place named for a defender of a racist slavocracy is deplorable; the thought that today we ask any American soldier to serve at a base named for someone who killed United States Army troops is beyond absurd. Would we have a Fort Rommel? A Camp Cornwallis?" [more inside]
posted by bardic on May 27, 2013 - 767 comments

Interesting aspects of the American Civil War

Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic, recently touched on a couple of interesting aspects of the American Civil War. First, Racism Against White People briefly looked at how Southern intellectuals argued that Northern whites were of a different race. Then a subthread in the comments on that post spawned an investigation of American Exceptionalism in History and the notion of preserving democracy in the context of the American Civil War. After all, "if a government can be sundered simply because the minority doesn't like the results of an election, can it even call itself a government?" Definitely check out the comments of both posts.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jul 8, 2012 - 49 comments

Slavery's Last Stronghold

Although officially abolished in 1981, slavery still exists in Mauritania. CNN Special Report includes a twenty-two minute video and offers a look inside a country where an estimated 10 - 20% are still enslaved.
posted by gman on Mar 19, 2012 - 59 comments

"The Civil War isn't tragic"

The Atlantic's Ta-nehisi Coates sparks months of debate with his contention that The Civil War Isn't Tragic. "The Civil War is our revolution. It ended slavery, and birthed both modern America, and modern black America. That can never be tragic to me." [more inside]
posted by Danila on Aug 25, 2011 - 116 comments

The New Jim Crow

“More African American men are in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, before the Civil War began.” [more inside]
posted by TheGoodBlood on Mar 28, 2011 - 143 comments

A Runaway Slave

Freedom Works, a non-profit conservative organization lead by Dick Armey, is producing a documentary entitled A Runaway Slave, aimed at exposing "the economic slavery of the Black community to the Progressive policies of the US government and how Black Conservatives are leading the fight so all Americans can be 'free at last.'" This is on the heels of their last documentary, Tea Party: The Documentary Film. [more inside]
posted by mccarty.tim on Nov 9, 2010 - 140 comments

Minority Death Match

Minority Death Match: Jews, Blacks, And The "Post-Racial" Presidency by By Naomi Klein. An interesting look at the failure of the two United Nations Durban conferences on racism — and a whole lot of other stuff. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Nov 19, 2009 - 32 comments

Stranger than fiction.

Genealogists: Thurmond's family owned Sharpton's kin It seems like a poor joke or a REALLY bad idea for a TV movie but apparently it's quite real. Truth sometimes IS stranger than fiction.
posted by orbis23 on Feb 25, 2007 - 52 comments

SAMMY: "That's democracy?"

"I am an American, so that is why I make films about America. America is sitting on our world, I am making films that have to do with America (because) 60% of my life is America. So I am in fact an American, but I can't go there to vote, I can't change anything. We are a nation under influence and under a very bad influence… because Mr. Bush is an asshole and doing very idiotic things."
Lars Von Trier introduces his new film at the Cannes Film Festival: «Manderlay» picks up where «Dogville» left off, with the character originated by Nicole Kidman -- now played by Bryce Dallas Howard -- stumbling onto a plantation that time forgot, where slavery still operates in the 1930s. The film (5 MB .pdf file, official pressbook) ends, as Dogville did, with David Bowie’s Young Americans played over a photomontage of images that range from a Ku Klux Klan meeting to the Rodney King beating, George Bush at prayer and Martin Luther King at his final rest, American soldiers in Vietnam and the Gulf, the Twin Towers. More inside.
posted by matteo on May 16, 2005 - 69 comments

Rebecca Protten and the origins of African American Christianity.

Rebecca's Revival. Rebecca Protten, born a slave in 1718, gained her freedom and joined a group of proselytizers from the Moravian Church. She embarked on an itinerant mission, preaching to hundreds of the enslaved Africans of St. Thomas, West Indies. Weathering persecution from hostile planters, Protten and other black preachers created the earliest African Protestant congregation in the Americas. University of Florida historian Jon Sensbach has written a book about Protten's life -- the interracial marriage, the trial on charges of blasphemy and inciting of slaves, the travels to Germany and West Africa. Later in her life, after she moved to Germany, Rebecca was ordained as a deaconess: "a former slave now administered Communion and practiced other claims to spiritual authority over white women, including European aristocrats." More inside.
posted by matteo on May 15, 2005 - 4 comments

Sarah Robert's long walk

Sarah Roberts vs. Boston In 1848, five-year-old Sarah Roberts was barred from the local primary school because she was black. Her father sued the City (.pdf file). The lawsuit was part of an organized effort by the African-American community to end racially segregated schools. The book "Sarah's Long Walk: The Free Blacks of Boston and How Their Struggle for Equality Changed America" tells the story of the case of Roberts v. City of Boston, that remains a little-known landmark in the civil rights movement.
posted by matteo on Feb 24, 2005 - 4 comments

Vodou

Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou. 'Vodou is Haiti's mirror. Its arts and rituals reflect the difficult, brilliant history of seven million people, whose ancestors were brought from Africa to the Caribbean in bondage. In 1791 these Africans began the only successful national slave revolt in history. In 1804 they succeeded in creating the world's first Black republic: the only one in this hemisphere where all the citizens were free. Their success inspired admiration, fear and scorn in the wider world. Cut off from Euro-American support, Haitians managed to created their own dynamic "Creole" society-one rooted in Africa but responsive to all that was encountered in their new island home.' History, theology and religious art.
Related :- an essay on the Vodou concept of soul, Voodoos and Obeahs on sacred-texts ('required reading if you want to understand the background of Haitian and Jamaican Vodun, and the profound influence of imperialism, slavery and racism on its development').
posted by plep on Jan 2, 2004 - 10 comments

Non-blacks expelled from anti-racism conference.

Non-blacks expelled from anti-racism conference. Delegates at an anti-racism conference voted last Wednesday to expel non-blacks from the meeting, saying it was too traumatic to discuss slavery in front of them. Ironic? Hypocritical? Justified?
posted by swank6 on Oct 7, 2002 - 39 comments

Mark Twain: A Film Directed by Ken Burns

Mark Twain: A Film Directed by Ken Burns started on PBS tonite, on my local station. I know we have discussed Mark Twain's writting before, but I found this as I was looking for other sources about Twain. What do you think? Was he racist or was he trying to expose racist thinking? Or just weaving a good story?
posted by bjgeiger on Jan 14, 2002 - 15 comments

"We apologize for any involvement in the terrible practice of buying and selling human beings."

"We apologize for any involvement in the terrible practice of buying and selling human beings." The Hartford Courant, the oldest newspaper in continuous publication in the United States, ran a front page apology for slavery on the 4th of July. What will it take for the U.S. Congress to do the same?
posted by sudama on Jul 6, 2000 - 20 comments

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