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Juana the Mad: A woman ahead of her time

Venerable Vixens

In 1509 the Queen of Spain found herself imprisoned within a room in a castle by her own father. Forty-six years later she died alone and abandon. The unmemorable death of Juana of Castile was the result of a family full of greed, power, hate, love and mental illnesses.  Very few people know much about Juana of Castile. Though her tale is one of interest, love and betrayal, it appears history, like her own family, has forgotten her chilling life.

The mad beauty whose only crime was wanting a dedicated husband.

The Perfect Princess

Juana of Castile was the third child of the infamous rulers Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. Born on November 6, 1479, Juana was immediately betrothed to Philip of Flanders, the Duke of Burgundy, as a political move. Juana’s ambitious parents planned to marry her off in order to build more allies in Europe and strengthen their…

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My Dear White & Black Folks who believe that the Poor Blacks are the Scum of the Universe

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While confined in my lower-middle class existence, I cannot help but think about the words I see daily on the Internet about Black people who receive unemployment compensation, food stamps and other government benefits, people whose lives have been touched by the mean specter of poverty. Although I have a decent job, paying a living wage, I am still broke as hell, trying to find ways to earn more money, so I normally would not have time to think about your condescending self-serving words but I had to speak to you people about this. The current discourse on the lives of poor Blacks in this country has been taken over by well-dressed, well-fed career White politicians and Black folks one generation themselves off welfare and one foot in the unemployment line and I thought you needed some enlightenment.

First of all, no one wants to be poor. I know that you believe that little Black children spend their time discussing ways to be indigent and homeless by the time they are eighteen but the children I know have big plans for their future. My now fifteen-year-old daughter’s plans for the future change on a daily basis: One day she wants to be a fashion designer, the next a mad scientist who is going to take over the world. The one thing she has made clear is that she does not see motherhood in her future because in her words, “Being a mother takes too much work.”

I know that you like to believe that the children of poor Blacks are a drain on society but you are so wrong. I was a teenage mother at the age of sixteen and had two children by the age of twenty-one. According to statistics on teen mothers, by now my daughter should have had a slew of kids by different men and my son should have dropped out of high school and be currently imprisoned for numerous drug offenses. Not! My daughter graduated from college last year with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and my son is college studying Communications. My children watched me work for various corporations who paid me very little money and proudly watched when I walked across the stage at the age of thirty-five to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with honors.

But I realize that you people probably do not know too many Black people personally so when you chose to discuss them amongst your constituents, you like to use tired, worn-out stereotypes about them. According to you, Blacks have no work ethic and like taking baths in the piles of food stamps they receive on a monthly basis. Blacks have been in this country since 1619 and still have not made any progress although White people have given them everything! What is wrong with these trifling Black people?

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And the Black folks who espouse this same rhetoric really need to be ashamed of themselves. Do you really believe that taking on the customs of your oppressor against your own people is really going to benefit you at all? Do you really believe that downing poor Black people is going to get you a seat at that fabled table of white supremacy along with a steak and lobster dinner? Nope because you are  traitor and all you are going to get is crumbs because that is what these people look at you as: a filthy crumb. No matter how white your neighborhood is, how well you speak, how well you “blend” in, you are still considered a Negro and you cannot run from blackness.

It is very easy for you and your kind to sprout these words, snugly enveloped in your cloak of White privilege and Black Self-Hatred but what you do not realize is that although Blacks were freed from chains of slavery, they were never made equal, financially or mentally. Throughout the years, American society had every opportunity to make amends to African-Americans by giving them same economic advantages as Whites, but it never happened because that would mean Blacks would be on the same economic playing field as Whites and that is a no-no.

It is funny how you people like to blame the media for everything wrong in your world but the media in all actuality is your best friend. The media, owned by the ruling class, has played a major role in distorting views about social economics by pretending the ruling class does not exist and poor Blacks are the dregs of society. The media with its ‘magic’ can make the historical legacy of slavery and subsequent Jim Crow laws vanish by pretending it is their fault that they are poor. By doing this, upper and middle-classed Americans learn to fear and loathe poor Blacks and refuse to make the connection between systematic racism and high poverty levels amongst African-Americans.

The dominant culture has succeeded in making African Americans subhuman to other groups, who passively accept these bigoted views. In your speeches, in the media, and on the Internet, the message that you and others have given is to degenerate Black people at all costs and to keep poor working-class Whites in a constant tizzy about the advantages given to them.

Clueless white folks and brainwashed black folks, I feel sorry for you and wonder what you would do if Blacks did not exist in this country. Race and class was socially constructed for the advancement of Whites and the making up of a social class of poverty-stricken African-Americans who could be blamed for everything wrong in society. Take away the pretensions, the feelings of superiority that comes with having the “right” skin color and people like you in this society would be lost. No more scapegoats to blame and you would have to face up to the fact that you have no plans for making the economic system in America more equal. But it is easier to blame Blacks who, unlike your ancestors, had no choice when they were brought to this country as chattel and broodmares to make the lives of the ruling class easier.

Sincerely,

Kathy M. Henry

 

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Respectability Politics and Misogynoir in Education

Cold Brewed Coffee and Curricula

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My social media timelines have been on fire with the news of Patrice Brown, also know as “#TeacherBae”. Patrice Brown is a paraprofessional in Atlanta whose photos went viral and caused a debate on whether or not her attire is appropriate for her field.

But, in actuality, the true statement should read: “Her body does not fall in line with Euro-centric body standards, therefore it is automatically sexual and wrong.”

Once again, we have stooped to spewing sexism and misogynoir in order to demonize a Black woman for her existence.

Many supporters, including myself, were worried that #TeacherBae would lose her job. We waited patiently for the school system to respond to the social media bonfire.

Yesterday, Atlanta Public Schools released this statement:

“The Atlanta Public Schools shared their employee dress code with 11Alive. It list sexamples of appropriate and inappropriate attire but leaves the determination of violations…

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Shit White Feminists Need To Stop Doing

The Belle Jar

I’m a white feminist, and let me tell you something: white feminism* is pretty bullshit. It’s exclusive, oppressive, and serves to further marginalize the people who are most impacted by misogyny. Unfortunately, white feminism is also the western status quo of feminism, meaning that white feminists have the biggest platforms, have increased access to resources and media, and are generally considered to be The Voice of Feminism. In theory, someone truly interested in equality would use these assets to amplify the voices of women of colour. In practice, white supremacy is a real thing and white feminists often seem to forget that their white privilege makes it easy as hell to trample over women of colour as they work to dismantle the patriarchy.

So, in honour of International Women’s Day, here is a non-exhaustive list of Shit White Feminists Need to Stop Doing:

1. Believing Their Experiences of Marginalization Are…

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MOTD: The Hotep-Ankh-Wearing-Sexist

We Maraud For Ears

Black Man this Morning from 125th stop: “Sister, you know that you are a queen?”

Me: “Um, thanks. Have a good day sir.”

Black man: “That’s the problem with you sisters!!! You don’t uplift the black man back! You should have acknowledged my presence as a king!”

Me: “The problem is that YOU think I am obligated to acknowledge you, simply because you’re a black man. And by the way, women ruled in Egypt as pharaohs. So I am a king too.”

Black man: “That’s why you will never be fit for a king! Y’all think you’re a man!”

Me: “If you’re a king then I would never want one. Stop harassing me and get your ego boost elsewhere.”

This is what happens when we talk about only racism and never patriarchy in our community. We get men who still stand by sexist notions that black women are obligated to…

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Elliot Rodger And Men Who Hate Women

The Belle Jar

TW for violence against women, misogynistic language, violent language

Last night, a 22 year old man named Elliot Rodger killed six people and injured seven more in what most news outlets are describing as a “shooting rampage.” Rodger died later that night from a gunshot wound to his head, though it’s still unclear as to whether or not it was self-inflicted or from responding deputies shooting back after he opened fire on them.

Almost everything I’ve read about him has referred to him as a “madman” or “mentally ill.”

No. We have no evidence yet that he suffered from any kind of mental illness or was under any sort of treatment. Immediately claiming that with no proof to back that fact up leads to the further stigmatization of the mentally ill, and contributes to the (incorrect) assumption that mental illness equals violence, and vice versa.

We don’t know whether Elliot Rodger was…

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Black Women and the Savior Complex

TheSnob

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I can rebuild him. I can make him stronger.” — whispers the soft heart of some black woman somewhere.

Black people have problems. That’s a bit of an understatement, but while some better off than we used to me, so many of us are worse since the Civil Rights actions of the 1960s. So it’s only natural that we want to help each other out. That we want to give back. That we want to be there for each other. And when it comes to black women, that is specifically about black men — any black man really — who we have determined is in need of saving and fiercely protecting.

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