After reading a chapter titled “African American Family” in my Africana Studies: A Survey of Africa and the African Diaspora textbook, I was left with some questions regarding the relationship between black men and women. “In accordance with the official 2000 census count, black men are 2.82 times more likely to marry outside of their race, predominately to white women, than black women are to marry outside of their race” (392). This statistic resonated with me because previously noted in this chapter was that black families were dominantly matriarchal. After reading this, I came to the conclusion that since during slavery “woman assumed authority over the children while the father, fear and relegated to the fields…” (386). Given the fact that black women were responsible for raising children and served as concubines to their slave masters, they in a sense acquired more power and privilege than the black men during this era in regards to having more access to resources and having the privilege to reside within the residence with the master. Given this history, I wonder if this is one of the prominent reasons why black men have a preference for white women opposed to black women. Do they think that black women are too strong? Do some black men subconsciously resent the independence and resilience of black women, for it forces them to question their masculinity?
In the chapter titled “Legitimate Trade, Democracy, and the Slave Trade”, author M. Alpha Bah informs readers on the political and social factors of Africa which in some ways aided internal slavery, which later aided the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.
After reading this section, I’ve been left with a few questions. If Portuguese natives, lancados, found the beauty in African culture, enough to settle along its’ coast, marry its women and adopt its customs, why couldn’t all Europeans acknowledge and respect the beauty of Africa? I am also curious as to the baptism of the African slaves upon their entrance into the New World. Why would the Catholic Church demand that European slave traders baptize them? If Africans were deemed ‘inhumane’ enough to be forced into bondage, why should the ‘guarantee of their salvations’ even matter? Did this signify European guilt of their exploitation of human beings?
Immigrating to a new country can be terrifying, but continuously migrating back to where you’ve originated from during this journey can be even more frightening as both adapting and assimilating can prove even more difficult. In “The Ostrich”, written by Sudanese-born writer, Leila Aboulela, she informs readers of the difficulty of migrating given the cultural difference. “The Ostrich” tells of Sumra, a young, female, Sudanese-born student that studies abroad in London. The young woman migrates back and forth between her family who continues to reside in Khartoum with her Sudanese husband, Majdy, who resides in London.
I found this short story to be interesting because it emphasizes just how complex migrating into a new country can be for a person of color. This story highlights the complexity of one’s culture and identity and the struggle to maintain or abandon it given new societal norms.
Here is the link to the text, I think you guys will enjoy it.
After reading Vijay Prashad’s “Third World Quarterly row: Why some western intellectuals are trying to debrutalise colonialism”, I could not have agreed more. All throughout my history of learning here in the United States, I’ve been unaware as to the effects of colonialism. In fact, I didn’t even know what European colonialism was. Even in tenth grade World History, the effects of European colonialism weren’t dwelled on, let alone even mentioned. Throughout my high school history courses, European colonialism was simplified into European expansion, which failed to convey the brutalities of European colonialism. It just frustrates me that I wasn’t properly educated on the effects that European colonialism has caused to third world countries such as African and Latin American nations. The fact that to this day, most historians fail to convey the severity of European colonialism, goes to show that the white supremacist ideology is still rooted in our society, for the history of European colonizers invading, and ‘bleeding nations dry’ of their resources for the benefit of their own nation, goes to show that a bias amongst history exists and is still prevalent until this day.
For another course this past week, I was assigned to both read and analyze Emma Lazarus’ poem, “The New Colossus”. For those who aren’t are, this poem by Lazarus is embedded into a plaque in front of the Statue of Liberty in NY to emphasize on America’s presumed acceptance of all immigrants here in ‘the land of the free’.
The part of the poem that stuck with me the most was when Lazarus wrote: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” (lines 10-14). Originally, these lines were interpreted to be accepting of immigrants from all specs of life – varying in cultures, ethnicities, race and socioeconomic levels. America was portrayed as a nation that indiscriminately welcomed every hard working being into this ‘glorious’ place. Lazarus symbolized the entrance into the U.S as a ‘golden door’, as if life in America for ALL is anywhere close to being heaven-like. Completely ignoring the fatal relationships between Europeans and ‘others’ in America. This sonnet depicting hope for all immigrants in America has caused controversy in today’s time, given the presidency of Donald Trump and his blatant disapproval and disregard of immigrants.
The contemporary recontextualization of this piece is that America is indeed not a place for ALL immigrants. Since the beginning of America as a nation, European colonists have exploited people with cultural and ethnic differences which were deemed inferior for they didn’t coincide with theirs. From the slaughtering of America natives to the enslavement of Africans off of Africa’s Western Coast, America has a history of abusing the people they’ve viewed as “different”. The realization that America is indeed not a place welcoming of immigrants as the Statue of Liberty represents can be seen in Donald Trump’s recent comments on immigrants, in addition to his congressional proposal to construct an $18 billion dollar border wall to keep all Mexicans from obtaining illegal entrance into the U.S.
I just found this poem to be intriguing given the recontextualization of it. Published in 1883, this piece still causes controversy today as people use this poem to reiterate the ideologies of America versus its actual reality. America presumes itself as a nation accepting of all, but it is evident that race is a major factor in one’s place here in America’s racial hierarchy.
Lazarus, Emma. “The New Colossus.” Historic American Documents. Lit2Go Edition. 1883. Web. <http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/133/historic-american-documents/4959/the-new-colossus/>. February 18, 2018.