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Race equality in academia: time to establish black studies in the UK?

"According to Jones, full racial equality within academia will not be reached until we see studies that are relevant and pertinent to our lives, our histories and our communities within university prospectuses being offered as valid, credible degrees. Currently there are no accredited black studies programmes in the UK.

There is growing frustration over the absence of black studies across the UK higher education sector and concern that where courses do exist, the framing of discourses are somewhat problematic. As Adam Elliott-Cooper, a PhD student at the University of Oxford, explains: “There are few if any mainstream institutions which engage in black studies in any meaningful way. Slavery, civil rights and anti-racism is all the mainstream can generally stomach.”

Elliott-Cooper believes that black studies should not be confined to the context of racism but should extend to the contribution of ancient African histories to world civilisations including African cultures, literature and arts. His view is shared by Ornette Clennon, lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, who says that academia is still dominated by a Eurocentricity “that excludes other cultural presentations of knowledge while masquerading as being neutral, objective and unbiased”.

Challenging this paradigm, according to Sonia Davis, senior lecturer in education at De Montfort University, requires black scholars to “raise the presence and impact” of their academic output as a means of developing black cultural capital. Black academics must seek “to make a positive contribution to the lives and opportunity of black communities through research and academic inquiry,” says Josephine Kwali, senior lecturer in social work at the University of Coventry.”

'Black intellectual seems an oxymoron in England'

"Beyond this, black British academics in the US cite disaffection with UK higher education, institutional indifference to black experience, a research agenda that marginalises race or casts doubt on its legitimacy as a field, feelings of being isolated in overwhelmingly white faculties, limited career prospects and a mostly tacit but sometimes overt racism.

There is also the pull of a US academy where, as a legacy of the 1960s civil rights movement and, later, affirmative action, the study of race and race relations in dedicated black studies departments and diverse faculties are firmly established.”

Stuart Hall's message to those who want change: think, debate – and get off your backside

"When Stuart became the first editor of the New Left Review, with a strongly interventionist and activist approach, his message was clear. If you want change, get off your backsides and challenge the existing order, but also think, argue, debate as to best way forward. This remains an important legacy."

Travel, Privilege, and the Crush of the Tourist Gaze » Sociological Images

performance, spectacle, engagement.. how does a privileged presence help shape cultural production/consumption? reminds of "eating the other: desire and resistance"  and "Is Paris burning?" from bell hooks (reel to real) - in the latter article she cites Patricia Williams’ critique of “the white assumption of a ‘neutral’ gaze”. What’s your snapping like if/when you travel (locally or abroad)?

Btw, check out the rich, lively comments section after reading article.

Got my stickers from the Queer Division book store - - in NYS, but wanted to put the full text of the manifesto (?) here:








When the rainbow flag was first designed in 1979, each color represented a different aspect of queer life, including hot pink for sexuality and turquoise for magic and art. By the 1980s, those two colors were removed and quickly forgotten about. We oppose the erasure, corporatization. and commercialization of any radical aspects of queer culture, and so, we reclaim the colors that remain:

RED IS FOR LIFE: WHO THRIVES? WHO DIES? Of what value is queer success in a system fueled by capitalism, racism, and misogyny? Why must the ascent or those who already have money, power, and health come before the lives of those who persist with nothing? What is the meaning of power for some or us, when far more of us must struggle for the resources we need to live? Who do we become when we ignore this injustice?

ORANGE IS FOR HEALING: WHOSE BODY MATTERS? The man who leaves the gay bar, alone, week after week—not young enough, tall enough, thin enough, light—skinned enough, buff enough, to catch anyone’s eye. The young person who is harassed in school by classmates while administrators tum a blind eye The person who can’t attend activist events because the venues aren’t wheelchair accessible. The college student who is raped on campus and leaves school, but whose rapist goes unpunished. The trans person whose health insurance doesn’t cover the services they need to stay alive and healthy. The woman who finds that wealthy, white, male legislators have more say over her reproductive health than she does. The worker whose sweat produces the food we eat, but who is underpaid, jailed, deported. Each is being told the same thing: Your body is not welcome here. But we know that everybody matters.

Every body matters.

YELLOW IS FOR SUNLIGHT (ILLUMINATION): WHOSE HISTORY SURVIVES? We walk in the foot-steps of those who came before us: the unnamed, unknown, and forgotten. The drag queens, fairies, fags; bull-daggers, dykes, whores. The beaten, raped, and murdered. The homeless kids hanging out on the piers. It was a black lesbian who threw the flrst punch back at police during the Stonewall Uprising—and it was a rebellion, not a riot. Our histories are many. But our voices have been silenced. Our stories have been retold and twisted into narratives that no longer resemble our truths, but parrot the ideas of those in power.We live in a world where complexity is reduced to easily digestible sound bites, where new ideas are tossed aside for the more familiar. How can we claw our way into the future when we do not know our past?

GREEN IS FOR NATURE: WHO GETS POLICED? Today, in the same neighborhoods where white gay men live comfortably, trans women and people of color are routinely harassed by the police. When queer and trans youth age out of the foster system, there’s literally a prison waiting tor them. We oppose the prison industrial complex that disproportionately incarcerates trans, black, and Latino people. We oppose the policing of our bodies and gender identities—not only by the actual police, but also by family members. employers, doctors, teachers, friends, our communities, and strangers on the street. We oppose a world where we, or anyone, are the objects of harassment. judgment, ridicule, shunning, violence, imprisonment, and murder.

BLUE is FOR SERENITY: WHO IS SAFE? Safety is capital We are coerced into thinking that we need to be safe, and it’s that delusion that pits us against each other. Capitalism is based on our isolation from each other; power thrives when we are balkanized. For someone to be protected, someone else has to be put in a cage. And cages make money. Space is also capital, and it is only safe when policed. Do we desire violence upon our bodies in the streets by random idiots? Fuck no, but nor do we desire violence at the hands at the police, our landlords, real estate developers, politicians, or each other.

PURPLE IS FOR SPIRIT: WHO IS MISSING? The ubiquity of the rainbow flag has replaced actual political engagement, and has turned those with less privilege into ghosts. Those with resources and a birthright to normativity are satisfied with having their rights served to them like it’s a five-course dinner.  But who is missing? The erased are missing. The imprisoned are missing. The millions who have died of AIDS because of government neglect, or were murdered because they hate us, or committed suicide because they’ve made us hate ourselves, or perished from poverty because we lacked access to resources and medical treatment. Our ancestors are missing from our streets and our minds, as we forget our history.  We stand with the missing. In every story:

who is missing?  In every neighborhood: who is missing?  In every room: who is missing? In every bar: who is missing?  In every parade: who is missing?  In every dream: who is missing? In every rainbow: who is missing?

Will Ridley Scott’s EXODUS Be The Last Whitewashed Blockbuster?

"I have to go on another side journey here - there is some controversy over what color the ancient Egyptians were. I’m going to go out on a limb and say ‘Not the same color as Christian Bale, who is Welsh***," and the general consensus is two-fold: 1) the race of the Egyptians doesn’t actually matter in terms of their culture and history because skin tone wasn’t an issue in those days as it is now and 2) they were probably what we would call black or at the very least MIddle Eastern in appearance. They may have actually been a mixture of two peoples from different parts of Africa, even. 

While race didn’t matter at the time, it does now, and casting all white people as non-white people is problematic. Ridley Scott, a 76 year old man who grew up in a world where the historical epic tradition was actors with booming English accents wearing togas, probably never even thought about it. It likely never even crossed his mind that he might want to seek out people of color to play these people of color. He just stocked up on bronzer and cast Joel Edgerton in his movie instead.”

We are often told that the poor are grateful for charity. Some of them are, no doubt, but the best amongst the poor are never grateful. They are ungrateful, discontented, disobedient, and rebellious. They are quite right to be so. Charity they feel to be a ridiculously inadequate mode of partial restitution, or a sentimental dole, usually accompanied by some impertinent attempt on the part of the sentimentalist to tyrannise over their private lives

Oscar Wilde (via socialismartnature)

This quote is so relevant to my life right now.

Mutual aid, not charity!

(via thepeoplesrecord)

"Tyrannise over their private lives"… we won’t have it

In the seminal 1999 cultural manifesto “No Logo,” the writer Naomi Klein pronounced that corporations were now in the business of selling brands, rather than products. Whoever “produces the most powerful images, as opposed to products,” she wrote, “wins the race.” At the time, it was a shocking message; little did she realize that by 2014 it would not just be companies, but also people, who would be caught up in a branding race through social media, and one directed not just at customers, but relatives and friends.

The euphemism is “sharing,” but Klein would probably just call it selling a personal brand, whether you consider yourself the pretty young thing with literary tastes and a traditional side, the family man who brews his own beer or the tough lawyer with a sense of humor. It can be nice to share, but brand maintenance takes constant work and demands consistency. A serious self-brand should have some presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Foursquare, Google+ and Tumblr; keeping it all up can feel like working as an unpaid intern for a Z-list celebrity known as Oneself.
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