Mixing It Up

Observations and ideas about race, ethnicity and mixing.

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Mediation in Uganda’s Court System

Local leaders in Gulu, Uganda are being asked to implement sensitizing measures into their judicial system. The need for this is dire, with the rise of violence over class and land struggles creating more cases that make their way into the court system. Our class reading by Mamdani illustrated just how important having land was for the economy, and how in order to stimulate the economy, resources must be cultivated and traded. In order for that to happen, people need access to land. One magistrate, Selsa Biwaga speaks to how overwhelmed the circuit court system is with the sheer number of land-related cases, “I have about 600 cases to hear and 90 percent are land related. But there are people who come to court when they are very negative about mediation.” Biwaga emphasizes how expensive it is to have a case heard in court, and how this could all be avoided through mediative means. The issue over land arises from the clash  between traditional and legal understanding of the Acholi people. Since they follow a “customary” land tenure system for ownership, different clans own certain parts of the land. Violence ensues when clans both want a piece of land. Can such a traditional system such as this really be solved through mediation? Or do laws need to be set in place for how the judicial system goes about designating land? This system was introduced in 2013 and it is now 2018 and there is still evidence of land disputes. What more needs to be done?

Embracing African Culture within History

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?

 

UK Immigration

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.

 

https://lms.dickinson.edu/pluginfile.php/1096335/mod_resource/content/0/Ostrich.pdf

“Who runs the world? In these six societies: Girls.”

I had such an amazing time reading this article, 6 Modern Societies Where Women Rule by Laura Garrison. I sought out this article on matriarchal societies because it sparked my interest very suddenly. I was on Facebook the other day and saw a link to a matrilineal society, Akan, located in Ghana, where roles in the society are passed down matrilineally, meaning through the man’s mother. Eager to learn more, I stumbled upon Garrison’s article. She outlines 6 different societies in the world that are all female-led and still thriving today. I encourage all to read this article, as it is incredibly eye opening, especially in this tumultuous time where we still are seeing women’s voices stifled. The Mosuo of China, the Minangkabau of Indonesia, the Akan of Ghana, the Bribri of Costa Rica, the Garo of Burma, and the Nagovisi of New Guinea are all examples of modern-day matrilineal societies. I do wonder, however, where the boys and men go, and does the absence of men ever prove to be troublesome when it comes to maintaining these societies? In class, we’ve covered the disparities still in place based on gender, so this was quite touching to know that these women are strong, self-sufficient, and truly independent. We could definitely use some of these in America.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/31274/6-modern-societies-where-women-literally-rule

The “mixed” problem

I found Aisha Khan’s, What is ‘a Spanish’?:  Ambiguity and ‘mixed’ ethnicity in Trinidad to be quite interesting. Khan asserted that there was a “middle ground” in discussing Trinidadian ethnic and racial identities. She mentioned two categories: racial and color. When I think of a race, I mostly think white or black, dark-skinned or light-skinned, but Khan argues that there is so much more than that. There is a compromise between black and white when assessing one’s appearance. I also found it interesting when she further broke down ‘appearance’ into internal and external facets. It made me think, “How do I see myself?”  versus “How do other people see me?” When I think about it, ‘mixed’ and ‘colored’ are used interchangeably around me, but this is incorrect. This brings me to my question; What does it truly mean to be of mixed heritage? and Is there a politico-cultural agenda behind procreating with a member of a different nationality, if so what?

What’s the point in color TV if…?

Credit: Boy/Hood by

It was another sad day when we learned about the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. When I first heard the news, it reminded me of what my mother went through not too long ago. It happened January 10th, during winter break. My mother was in her evening class at California State University, San Bernardino when a sniper in the mountains began firing shots at the campus. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the sniper was never caught. Immediately, speculation began to surface about the perceived characteristics of the shooter. Many people began to link it to the ISIS San Bernardino shooting in 2015.

I’ve appreciated my peers’ responses on my last post about school security measures. However, that discussion ignores the fact there is racism that manifests in the media everytime a shooting happens. Misrepresentations of people of color in the media have resulted in the recycling of stereotypes that suppress communities of color and uphold white superiority. This image is a reference to the media representation of Nikolas Cruz and Tamir Rice. 12-year-old Tamir Rice was playing with a toy gun. An officer fatally shot Tamir Rice less than 2 seconds after exiting his police car. I strongly suggest doing research on this case, and you will notice so many different opinions. However, when compared to Nikolas Cruz, there is no reason Tamir Rice should have been shot. Although one fact is that Tamir’s toy gun didn’t have the orange cap on the gun that would signify it being fake, it still doesn’t ignore the fact that he was treated differently because of the color of his skin.

Nikolas Cruz was instantly described as a broken child. Why wasn’t he described as a terrorist? Only Black and Brown people can be terrorist in this society.

The 2Cs (Creolization and Colorism)

My first introduction to the term Creole was when I discovered that Tina Knowles was Beyonce’s mother. In Rwanda the knowledge I had about people of African descent living in the diaspora was limited, to me the only introduction to blacks were the movie stars and artists I saw on TV. Hence, I was a big Beyonce fan, thus I knew almost every detail about her life that was out there. So I knew her father was a dark skin man from Alabama and her mom was of Creole descent (to me she looked white). In my mind Creole became associated with being mixed and looking almost white. Once I came to America and met people from different backgrounds that spoke creole I was intrigued not only were they not mixed some of them were as dark as me. Thus, this past week’s reading broke a lot of the previous misconceptions I had about the term and what it means. Going back to Tina Knowles, a while ago I read an article about how Matthew Knowles her ex husband had first thought she was white and was drawn to her in the beginning for that particular reason. He talked about how growing up it was encouraged to marry someone of a lighter skin complexion, he made points about how Beyonce’s light skin features have put her in much better position compared to her more dark skin counterparts. As a Beyonce fan I could not help but pause and really think about that, and to some degree I agree. There is really not that much representation of dark skin women in the music industry or Hollywood. But what baffled me most was the reaction the article received, a lot of people were in opposition and making statements such as “we are all black we go through the same struggle”. Colorism is real in black and communities of color everywhere in the world and it just sets us back as a people if we are in denial of the struggles that some of us still face on a daily basis.

How are we being represented?

The film we watched in class mentioned how some Trinidadians felt as if they were not represented in the particular shows women from the country participated in. The women chosen were always light-skinned, even though majority of the people living in the country had a much darker skin tone. Seeing the clip reminded me of other similar scenarios. For example, the thought some young colored-skin girls have when they’re looking to owning a Barbie. They won’t find a Barbie that resembles them. Lately, the company has been trying to diversify the looks of the Barbie, however to do so, it should take into consideration the particular characteristics that are often disregarded. Similarly, soap operas are very popular in the Mexican culture. For years, Mexican soap operas have been in the making. However, ever since, the protagonists have always been light-skinned. If you trace back on how many have aired, and out of those how many have casted dark-skinned people, especially women, as protagonists you’ll probably find two or three. Growing up I always wondered why that was, especially looking at my family and the people in my community and seeing mostly brown skin. Society all over the world has constructed the idea of light-skinned people being ideally beautiful. It is crazy to think that this occurs in countries where the majority of the people have colored skin.

Within Systematic Oppression

Through cross generational and bi-ethnic relationships, A Brighter Sun and The Dragon Can’t Dance reveal the intricacy of cultivating unity between the Africans and Indians in the Caribbean Islands. In almost all instances, Africans and Indians invalidate the parallel of their circumstances because of the colonially curated mistrust between them. This tactic ensures that Africans and Indians do not unite and resist or challenge the colonial hierarchy of race and class. The success of this manipulation of the African and Indian union was seen when most (Hindu) Indians would not support the African-made People’s National Movement.  It has been almost 70 years since the development of this movement and as America becomes increasingly racially and ethnically diverse, there is still the instinct for Latinx and African Americans to feel as though they are not fighting the same fight. That the fight is between them to be one leg up from the other.  It is a huge disservice to disenfranchised and marginalized people to believe that the different details of their existence divide them rather then strengthen them as a whole.

We Need More Security at Schools

Popular media platforms are trending with debates regarding gun-control. It seems like I can’t escape hearing about it. Don’t get me wrong, I feel that it’s important and relevant to the recent shootings. Demonstrated in the video is a man who tries to prove a point about the need for security by whipping out a knife at a parent-teacher association (PTA) meeting. The room is split with some people clapping in support of the man and others in shock arguing against the man. However, both groups are in consensus about more security at schools. What people fail to recognize is that there are some schools that have been implementing prison-like security practices within the past decade. This is not a new phenomenon. Many high schools in my area have metal detectors at the entrances and implement a no-backpack policy.

I come from a majority-minority community in Southern California. I was accustomed to on-campus police officers with guns roaming the school. It actually surprised me that some of my college peers had not experienced the level of security I had in school. I believe that racial constructions manifest in the way security measures are implemented in schools around the country. People of color are constantly labeled as potential criminals because of historical stereotypes set forth by colonizers.  I do believe security in schools is necessary but to make it the same for all schools.

 

 

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