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Katherine Johnson: The Girl Who Loved to Count

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I have always been ridiculously proud of being black. My parents filled me with the stories of those who fought for Caribbean independence like Julian Fedon, Queen Nanny and Toussaint L’Ouverture. For the few years my family lived in Canada, my dad owned a black book store and I loved nothing better than to sit in a corner reading a book and listening to grown folk talk about history and politics. I learned about the ongoing struggle in America and the rest of the black diaspora an to reverse centuries of racism and imperialism at a very early age.Spending my formative years in London and Toronto I got read and hear about so many heroes that bucked the restrictions of antebellum and Jim Crow America without the malignant dynamics that serve to minimize and disregard the acts of these heroes in this country.I was deeply impressed by the fighting spirit of black people of all walks of life.  By the time I was nine I was recite more facts about black accomplishments than a J. A. Rodgers book!

Since I was surrounded by this knowledge I never got the idea that math and science was for white men. I competed and won borough and city wide science fairs. I went to natural science camp and I am proud alumni of the Bronx High School of Science. It wasn’t until my tenure as a doctoral student I got the message that black excellence was not to be seen or heard. I was asked by several professors indirectly and directly to tone down my rhetoric when it came to issues of race because I was making white students uncomfortable. One vile little weasel of a professor actually told me I had to learn “how to talk to white people!” In my doctoral program the feelings of whites were more important than my education, a lesson that was a far more bitter pill to swallow than when illness stopped me completing my degree.

This is why women like Katherine Johnson (portrayed by Tajari P. Henson in the film Hidden Figures) has my undying admiration. She served this country when she didn’t have the right to vote. She helped this country garner the prestige of winning the space race when she couldn’t buy a home next to her white colleagues. She had to temper her brilliance, yet excel at her work in era where the toxic brew of racism and sexism was the norm. I doubt my pride would have let me reach the heights of technical brilliance that she and her colleagues did. Ms. Johnson performed her duties with quiet dignity and we are now able to bask in the glow of her accomplishments  and show the next generation able to how fantastic black female mathematicians and scientists can be.

Johnson was born in 1918 in the little town of White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, Johnson was a research mathematician, who by her own admission, was simply fascinated by numbers. Fascinated by numbers and smart to boot, for by the time she was 10 years old, she was a high school freshman–a truly amazing feat in an era when school for African-Americans normally stopped at eighth grade for those could indulge in that luxury.Her father, Joshua, was determined that his bright little girl would have a chance to meet her potential. He drove his family 120 miles to Institute, West Virginia, where she could continue her education through high school. Johnson’s academic performance proved her father’s decision was the right one: Katherine skipped though grades to graduate from high school at 14, from college at 18.

Continued at: Katherine Johnson: The Girl Who Loved to Count | NASA

ABWW Hater of the Day: Steve Harvey

steveharvey-sorrysign-1Long before Steve Harvey gained mainstream fame I was not feeling his brand of humor. I thought he was the least talented of the Kings of Comedy and was constantly distracted by high top fade toupee. I thought his sit com was bland remix of every school sit com from Welcome Back Cotter to Saved by the Bell to Hanging with Mr. Cooper. I tried to give it a chance but I began seeing the disturbing mysogynoir patterns in the Steve Harvey Show. While sweet, but dim witted Lovita easily settled into a traditional romance and wedded bliss with Cedric, Steve Hightower chaffed at being supervised by and in love with an obviously more qualified Regina Greer. The time honored trope of “will they, won’t they” is marred by what would become Harvey’s signature black woman hating schtick on stage. Calling the gorgeous and svelte Wendy Raquel Robinson “piggy” changes from affectionate adolescent snapping to ugly mysognoir power plays if one is paying attention to the growth of Harvey’s comedy career.

Black men have created a cottage industry of books about why black women’s marital rates have plummeted. Mainstream media jumped on this trend for a while too. They made a pretty penny with this twaddle by conflating sexist black religiosity, pseudo Africana mythology (also know as Ashy Hotepology) with that special brand of respectability politics born out of a need control black women with a Jim Crow level of ferocity. No of these “writers” examined why black men are marrying less on whole but those who do are out marrying more. Harvey is the king of this movement.  Even though his book was simply another ashy tome, it went mainstream and his deeply ignorant view of black women mutated into Dear Abby style advice for everyone color and crees. This twice divorced, thrice married adulterer was suddenly an expert on relationships!!!

On smart women:

Well, I mean, you know if a guy is out for one thing, it’s best to go for shallow, unintelligent women. You don’t want to break this news to really bright women. “Hey, I just want to do something to you this evening”…You want to find somebody shallow, really simple unintelligent, that you can run this by and they’ll sit there and go, “Wow, that sounds great.

Men cheat because women are hotass hos

Women ask that question all the time: Why do men cheat? But it’s really because there are so many women out there willing to cheat with them.

I could go on and on but someone was kind enough to compile  a youtube video of the ignorant sexist, mysogynoir, homophobic, religious intolerance swill that has seeped from the open sewer that is Harvey’s mug. Harvey has ridden this trash train to a syndicated radio show, a daily talk show, two movies, hosting a daily game show and the Miss Universe pageant (insert schedufreude here). Last week, Harvey decided to expand his poison beyond his twisted version of gender and include race. This time he wasn’t just attacking black women he decided to go after Asian men.

Last week, Steve Harvey aired a segment on his his eponymous syndicated talk show about obscure, absurdly specific advice books. These were niche interest titles like Dating for Under a Dollar: 301 Ideas and How to Date a White Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men.

The audience laughed at the latter book in anticipation as Harvey took 15 seconds to gather himself. “That’s one page,” he finally gasped. “’Excuse me, do you like Asian men?’ ‘No.’ ‘Thank you.’”

The comedian then offered a sequel, How to Date a Black Woman: A Practical Guide for Asian Men — “Same thing. ‘You like Asian men?’ ‘I don’t even like Chinese food. It don’t stay with you no time. I don’t eat what I can’t pronounce.’” – The Hollywood Reporter

In order for you to appreciate my ire at this clown on this issue, I have let you know about my ancestry I was born in The London Borough of Haringey, UK of Jamaican and Grenadian ancestry. My maternal grandmother was half Indian and half Welsh. My parents also had friends of mixed Asian ancestry and so do I. When I moved to the Bronx, I had no idea about the sociosexual stereotypes that are imposed on Asian Americans and had crushes on many an ethnicity hue including Asian dudes. Since I was the immigrant, I saw my Asian friends as more American that I was. It really wasn’t until I moved to the midwest that I noticed the fetishization of Asian women and the emasculation of Asian men. Although black female and Asian male intermarriage occurs in the Caribbean and South American, it is rare in this country. There have been brief periods of when black women and Asian men married both in the  Jim Crow South and the North before the Chinese Exclusion Act was lifted in 1943.

Harvey’s typical hotep arrogance managed to bring the ugly trope Asian male emasculation together with the oft-promoted fantasies of black male sexual prowess and his own presumptions of the unattractiveness and hypersexuality of black women with his usual mysoginoir flair. Of course black women are too stupid to pronounce a Chinese food menu how could they possibly desire the miniscule charms of Asian men? Harvey knows that all we desire is BBC. Luckily, millennials are not in Harvey’s target demographic and some young black women and Asian men are slowly shrugging off what Harvey and many black & white fuckbois with OK Cupid profiles want them believe and are figuring out inventive ways to meet, hook up and start relationships.

Oooops…. I forgot to mention Harvey met with Orange Shitgibbon on Friday on housing issues. He wants to work with to Sleepy Uncle Ben in some capacity at Department of Housing and Urban Development. Now if that isn’t the Kingfish leading Amos and Andy into another con (Google it, young’ens,) I don’t what is. Here are some pics of sexy, hotass Asian men to momentarily take your mind off the upcoming Orange Apocalypse.

 

 

Source: The Disturbing History Behind Steve Harvey’s “Asian Men” Jokes | Hollywood Reporter

88 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Islamic extremists still missing

Twenty-four more Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Islamic extremists have escaped but 85 are still missing, an education official said on Friday.

Some of the 129 young women who were abducted jumped off the back of a truck when they were kidnapped before dawn on Tuesday from a high school in the extreme north-east of Nigeria.

Others escaped into the Sambisa Forest, which bordered their school in Chibok town and was a known hideout of militants of the Boko Haram terrorist network.

Militant Muslim Leader Abubakar Shekau made the comments in a video posted online on Saturday, saying the group attacked a bus station in retaliation for the what he described as the government’s collusion with the United States in the killing of Muslims, but reamained mum on the fate of the schoolgirls.

Read more at theguardian.com.

ABWW Signal Boost: Tennessee’s Pregnancy Criminalization Law Will Hit Black Women the Hardest

I have been following Imani Gandy’s tireless work for reproductive rights for a few years. She is passionate, knowledgeable & incredibly funny as the co-host of the This Week in Blackness podcast. Read more of her work of her work  at  RH| Reality Check, The Grio.com, AlterNet,

In Tennessee, pregnant Black women have much to fear as a bill that would subject them to disproportionately higher rates of incarceration and detention sits on Gov. Bill Haslam’s desk, awaiting his signature. The bill, SB 1391, would impose criminal penalties on mothers of newborns who have been exposed to addictive illegal or prescription drugs in utero. While the bill appears race-neutral, prosecutors and judges will wield the law against Black women more so than white women, based on a long tradition of deeply embedded racial stereotypes about Black motherhood. Should Gov. Haslam ignore the growing outcry against SB 1391 from pro-choice and anti-choice advocates alike, the law would likely lead to Black women being thrown in jail for up to 15 years for aggravated assault should they choose to carry a pregnancy to term while struggling with an addiction to illegal narcotics

Read More at Tennessee’s Pregnancy Criminalization Law Will Hit Black Women the Hardest.

Tales of White Feminist Fainting Couch: An Opinionated History of the Racial Conflagrations in American Feminisms Part 1

olympia

In past Black History Months, I have posted profiles of black women heroes, and figured my obligation to Carter G. Woodson was done. But the recent white feminist attacks on the growing online activism of Women of Color, has made me feisty. During this month I will demonstrate that recent white feminist claims that disruptive black women are destroying the delicate fabric of feminism with our recalcitrant demands and are also really, really hurting their feelings is a deeply, historically embedded trope in the history of white feminism.

This January has been a banner month for white feminist #FAIL. It began with Ani Di Franco’s painfully slow realization that as a feminist, having a retreat in a place where black women were systematically raped, tortured & worked to death for centuries probably wasn’t a good move. Di Franco accused black women critics & their allies of “high velocity bitterness.” After three apologies she was still whining “that it was an upside down world when your sisters cut you down and Fox News defends you.” Note to Ms. DiFranco: I am not your “sister.”

DiFranco’s caterwauling is really par for the course, but it was her defense of having her retreat at a plantation that really made me stabby. She declared that she:

know (s) that pain is stored in places where great social ills have occurred. i believe that people must go to those places with awareness and with compassionate energy and meditate on what has happened and absorb some of the reverberating pain with their attention and their awareness. i believe that compassionate energy is transformative and necessary for healing the wounds of history.

This statement is deeply problematic. The Nottingway Plantation is not a memorial to inhumanity of slavery, it is a resort hotel that white washes the brutality of slavery, so that whites can relive the romance of the antebellum South.  No one goes to this plantation with a desire to meditate on the pain of the men & women who were enslaved there and who the hell told this woman that my ancestors should be used for her pseudo enlightenment? Di Franco’s new age platitudes would have not changed a damn thing and she was deeply self-centered to think that strumming a guitar and composing a few ditties would do anything to diminish the vicissitudes of slavery.

To and insult to injury her white male defender Buddy Wakefield declared that we “venomously” insulted Ani in an effort “to eternally ‘shackle’ her to this oversight.” Shackle, yeah, I see what you did there. Not funny. He labeled our concerns as hateful approaches/vitriolic statements/narrow understanding even before Di Franco issued her first petulant apology.

In order to understand why this oft repeated of claim that white feminists suffer at the hands of bitter Women on Color, one must look at the deeply conflicted history of white women and black women in the United States. When black women were first imported to these shores they were chattel. When white women migrated to America, the nascent cult of white womanhood protected them from the rigors of the “new world.” White women were seen as delicate fonts of civility & domesticity that needed protection from the harsh world outside their doorsteps. Although white women had diminished legal and ownership rights, the one item they could possess was slaves. Enslaved black women were not only a source of income but also their reproductive capabilities offered the potential for even greater wealth. The myths concocted by the earliest European traders around the hypersexuality of African women became the rationalization utilized by western powers to create a system that depended on the rape, forced breeding and involuntary concubinage of black women.

White women also believed in the ‘hot constitution’d” African women, and voiced their concerns about the power of Negress to lead white men down the path of immorality.  While the narratives of enslaved women were replete with the stories of the sexual demands made by white men and the murder trial Celia, illustrated what happened to slaves who defended themselves against rape, the diaries of slave mistresses put the blame of their husband’s and sons blatant sexual exploitation squarely on the shoulders of black women.

Mary Boykin Chestnut, the wife of a wealthy South Carolina planter who kept a diary during the Civil War declared:

Under slavery, we live surrounded by prostitutes, yet an abandoned woman is sent out of any decent house. Who thinks any worse of a Negro or mulatto woman for being a thing we can’t name?…… Any lady is ready to tell you who is the father of all mulatto children in everybody’s household but her own. Those, she seems to think, drop from the clouds. My disgust sometimes is boiling over.

Harriet Jacobs detailed how her slave mistress ignored her pleas for protection from her husband.

Mrs. Flint possessed the key to her husband’s character before I was born. She might have used this knowledge to counsel and to screen the young and the innocent among her slaves; but for them she had no sympathy. They were the objects of her constant suspicion and malevolence.

Widowed plantation mistress Kesiah Goodwyn Hopkins Brevard wrote at the beginning of the Civil War that “I own many slaves & many of the females are of the lowest caste – making miserable their own fellow servants by meddling with the husbands of others. I am not excusing the males, but in the world they are not so degraded by such conduct as the females.”

After reading a sample of the denial & contempt slave mistresses had for enslaved black women, I find it especially ironic that a so-called activist who lives in what was once one of the nation’s major slave trading hubs can state that she is “..not unaware of the mechanism of white privilege or the fact that i need to listen more than talk when it comes to issues of race.” She is part of a long tradition of white women who cannot see beyond her own self-interest and narcissism, a practice I will continue to explore this Black History Month. My next piece will compare how a certain Upper East Side New York yogalini’s racism harkens back to the fact that the American suffrage movement kicked black women to the curb so the Southern white women didn’t get the vapors. Be on the lookout for my next tale from the white feminist fainting couch.

Russel Simmons Makes Harriet Tubman into a Video Ho

Harriet Tubman

Hi folks long time no write. It took a disgusting offense to black womanhood get back on my blog hustle. A few days ago I was defending Russell Simmons on twitter against the racist tatulogy of Don Lemon and sexual harassment king Bill O’Reilly. Both of whom sited lascivious single black mothers and their naturally criminal male spawn for Trayvon Martin’s death. Simmons wrote a piece calling out Lemon’s  sophistry.  I thought he words were powerful. While I was defending his good name, Simmons was preparing for the debut of his youtube channel called All Def Digital. The channel’s first video called Harriet Tubman Sextape” in which Harriet Tubman conspires with another enslaved person to blackmail their way into freedom by producing a sex tape. While the other slave hides in the closet with a video camera,  Tubman aggressively pursues sex with her master. But before doing so, she refers to being raped in the past by saying. “All these years, I’ve been actin’ like I didn’t love our special time together. But tonight that’s all gonna be different.” See Harriet didn’t mind being raped at all!

Russell Simmons prides him self on his Buddhist practice. He has called for compassion for Donald Trump, Roger Ailes and Mayor Michael Bloomberg despite their deeply racist stances. His Foundation for Ethnic Understanding aims “to promote understanding and cooperation between and among ethnic groups and to reduce the existing tensions among diverse racial and ethnic communities.” Yet on the 100th anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s death, Russell made her into an angry, aggressive, black whore who used her vagina for liberation.

Let’s just list some the facts of Tubman’s life to get the bitter taste of Simmon’s misogyny out of our mouths:

1. Harriet Tubman born Araminta Harriet Ross was born in Dorchester County, Maryland around 1820. She began working at the age of five. She was beaten by masters to whom she was hired out and suffered a severe head wound when she was hit by a heavy metal weight. The injury caused disabling seizures, narcoleptic attacks, headaches, and powerful visions and revelatory dreams.

2 – In 1849, Tubman escaped  to Philadelphia and immediately began risking her own life by making 19 trips to the south to recover hundreds of enslaved Blacks.

3 – At the height of her campaign $40,000 bounty was placed on her head. At one point, she overheard some men reading a wanted poster, which stated she was illiterate she read from a newspaper to fool the men into thinking she was not the fugitive they were looking foe. In case any of the slaves she was leading to freedom had second thoughts, she carried a gun which she threatened to use on anyone who wanted to return to the plantation.

4- When the American Civil War began, Tubman worked for the Union Army, first as a cook and nurse, and then as an armed scout and spy. She was first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, she guided the Combahee River Raid, which liberated more than 700 slaves in South Carolina.

5- After the war, she retired to the family home in Auburn, New York, and became active in the state’s women’s suffrage movement. Near the end of her life, she lived in a home for elderly African Americans that she had helped found years earlier.

Does this sound like a woman who would Kim Karsdashian her way to freedom? For the past few decades too many black men have taken over the mantle of defaming, evaluating and dehumanizing black men from white men.  After over 350 years of legalized sexual assault black women worked together to finally made the rape of black women a crime, yet many black men began calling us bitches and whores. Today we work to end the violence in our communities, stop and frisk and the school to prison pipeline that overwhelmingly effects black men, too many black rappers, athletes and actors praise non-black women and defame us. Simmons’ flippant apology  and tweets illustrate how little thought he gave to how this work would affect his mother, sister-in-law and nieces and the other black women in his life. Is this how he wants his daughters to learn about this great American hero or does their mixed race ancestry render them immune from this dehumanization of black womanhood? The video was taken off All Def Digital but not before it was posted all over the internet.  Google it if you want to see it, I will not link to it. If Russell had paid attention to other black internet content providers he would would know that a wonderful series of videos called Black Moses Barbie already exists. It is hilarious and celebrates her courage. Please check it out.

Condoleeza Rice Named First Black Female Masters Golf Club Member

Country clubs are still a bastion of white male power. Rand Paul, a senator from Kentucky who favors banning parts of the historic 1960’s Civil Rights legislation, celebrated of his electoral win at the private, all white Bowling Green Country Club. Although I am not a fan of most of Condoleeza’s policies, since she has left public office she has made some cogent commentary on racism She is also pro-choice, so right-wing nut jobs who say she should have been Vice President are just lip service to cover their psychotic Obama Derangement Syndrome. Congratulations to Ms. and her role as a reluctant pioneer. I hope she doesn’t get mistaken for the help too many times!

Condoleezza Rice, the first female African-American Secretary of State, made more history on Aug. 20 as she was named as one of the first two women members of the Masters Golf Club at Augusta National in Augusta, Ga.

According to the Associated Press, Rice, a 57-year-old Stanford University political science professor and former Secretary of State of the United States of America, and South Carolina financier Darla Moore, once considered the richest woman in the banking industry, were both named simultaneously as the Masters Golf Club’s newest members, breaking the club’s 80-year history of female discrimination.

via Condoleeza Rice Named First Black Female Masters Member | The Afro-American Newspapers | Your Community. Your History. Your News..

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