Andrea Smith on Colonialism and Anti-Black Racism

Since 2000, colonialism has been an important part of the Damascus Road Antiracism Analysis Training. Andrea Smith brings her insightful analysis in this fine piece on her Decolonization blog, “The Colonialism That is Settled and the Colonialism That Never Happened.” With a historical analysis, she points to the interconnections between settler colonialism and anti-Black racism:

[S]ettler colonialism does not merely operate by racializing Native peoples, positioning them as racial minorities rather than as colonized nations, but also through domesticating Black struggle within the framework of anti-racist rather than anti-colonial struggle. Anti-Blackness is effectuated through the disappearance of colonialism in order to render Black peoples as the internal property of the United States, such that anti-Black struggle must be contained within a domesticated anti-racist framework that cannot challenge the settler state itself. Why, for example, is Martin Luther King always described as a civil rights leader rather than an anti-colonial organizer, despite his clear anti-colonial organizing against the war in Vietnam? Through anti-Blackness, not only are Black peoples rendered the property of the settler state, but Black struggle itself remains its property – solely containable within the confines of the settler state.

Read Andrea Smith’s entire post here.

If you watch the superbowl…

If you are watching the Superbowl today, during one of the commercial breaks, watch this 2 minute spot instead. The creators didn’t have the funds to actually air it during the game. I’ll add that I’m a bit uncomfortable with some of the images (a brief scene from Dances With Wolves to illustrate “Sioux” – not even using the name “Lakota”; The controversial Crazy Horse monument to illustrate Crazy Horse), but I’m all about bringing greater attention to the need to do away with racial slurs as team mascots.

The Indigenous Nelson Mandela

ImageI just came across this fine post (on Racism Review), a month of so belatedly, about how Nelson Mandela’s indigenous culture is whitewashed in Western media. Here’s a quote:

Madiba’s indigenous identity and ideas have, as is always the case, been whitewashed to invisibility. His constant references to the beauty, importance and identity marker of the land in his famous speeches and quotes are not viewed as the universal perspective of indigenous peoples everywhere. They are seen as inspiring quotes of a singular nature from a unique iconic figure. Chief Seattle and many other indigenous leaders have talked of the land and the people in this way for centuries.

The other week while gathered in Dallas to work on the new Roots of Justice Intersectional Analysis training, the ROJ trainers took an evening to watch Mandela, a film about his activism. I’ll have to watch it again with an eye to how it brings out or ignores his indigenous roots.