What kind of relationship do you have with the Ancestors?

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Dismantling Racism for Non-PoC/Non-Indigenous People


  1. Know that feeling helpless as a person of privilege is a privilege.  Sharing that with People of Color and indigenous people does nothing to help the situation and is extremely frustrating to PoC/indigenous people who have no choice but to deal with racism and colonialism all day, every day no matter how they feel about it.  How you feel about racism and colonialism is not more important or more primary than the lived experiences of people who are targeted constantly by racism and colonialism.
  2. Study readily accepted definitions of racism and colonialism as used by People of Color and indigenous people
  3. Know the difference between racism and prejudice.  Don't confuse the two.
  4. Understand what European/white supremacy and privilege is, how it affects you and how your private and public behaviors reflect those pathologies
  5. Don't center your own stories and feelings in conversations about racism and intersectional oppressions.  Learn to be quiet and make space for marginalized voices.  If you cannot do that, you are adding insult and often more injury to already present and historical injury.
  6. Call other European/white people out/in when you hear them speaking in racist/colonial ways. Educate those closest to you. Share helpful posts and information/writing in your social media networks by People of Color and indigenous people.
  7. Don't participate in "tone policing", telling People of Color and indigenous people how they should feel or to stop being angry when you are in conversation or discussion, in their digital or real life spaces.  How people share about their experiences of you or the systems of racism and colonialism is important information for you, no matter how you are feeling in the moment about it.  Learn from their human experience and be humble in conversation and action.
  8. Acknowledge and deal with your discomfort around talking openly about racism, white privilege and oppression.  Do your inner and external community work.  It isn't about you, but you are responsible for dismantling racism and oppressive social and political systems and structures because humanity and justice are important to you.

  9. Know that you don't have all the answers and the people who are suffering from being targeted by racism and colonialism are the experts on how to dismantle it and what needs to be done.
  10. Send financial and in-kind donation support to organizations and people in the indigenous and People of Color communities and spaces.  It is important to repurpose the funds and access that you have reaped due to historical privilege and oppression of marginalized communities and populations.  Reparations is also an expression of this level of justice work.
  11. Support protest and direct action by financial, material and technical support if neededShow up if you are welcome and be respectful and informed in your presence.  Embodied protest and resistance, whether they lead to arrests or not, are serious and often put People of Color and indigenous peoples at physical, social and economic risk.  Be prepared to stand behind or side by side (or in front if asked) with indigenous peoples and People of Color in these spaces.  Make sure that your actions and messaging is in keeping with the leadership of the action and those communities.  Do not go to other communities' protests and actions for the selfie opportunities.  If that is your motivation, you are better off staying home and continuing to study what is daily and historically at stake for indigenous peoples and People of Color.
  12. Constantly learn about the systemic nature of racism, intersectional oppression and colonialism.  Become clearly informed on how and where racism and oppression show up in the social, economic and political structures of your local, state and federal governments and around the world.  Know that the dominant (anti-)culture resists learning about how to identify these systems and patterns and there are people who will directly and incorrectly criticize you for seeking clarity. 
  13. Do an informal and/or formal cultural assessment of your place of work/school/ organization to define
    1. if there is a diversity policy/statement/program
    2. if the diversity policy is being funded, supported
    3. if the diversity policy is being implemented
    4. what the goals are for this program, are they adequate and are they being substantively influenced, controlled by indigenous people or People of Color
    5. who or what department is responsible for seeing the diversity program implemented
    6. if People of Color, indigenous people, women are being paid equally for equal levels and responsibilities of work
    7. what the patterns of work are across the organization.  Are more PoC, indigenous people and women contract, part-time, temporary as opposed to salaried or tenured?  Are there more in custodial services than in management?  What are the demographics of the board or administration?  Are marginalized peoples in token or window-dressing roles?
    8. if People of Color, indigenous people, women are holding similar levels of control and responsibility as their European/white counterparts
    9. what the hiring and firing practices/history has been around marginalized populations
    10. what the effects of racism within the organization has been within the organization and how it is best to move forward to hold the organization accountable for systemic change/transformation. How will you share this information with the PoC there?  Have they done this work already?  When and how do the PoC need to move forward to hold the organization to their policies or to better, yet unwritten policies/demands?  What strategies and tactics will be used for change?  Will you need support of unions/departments/particular people or the external community?  Be honest and open about whether you are willing to jeopardize your job/position in the interest of justice and anti-oppression.  Keep in mind that many more PoC, indigenous people and women have paid a higher price for longer than you may be considering.
  14. Raise the issues of race and oppression at work/school/social organizations.  Open the conversations and create allies and learning processes in the interest of making substantive change in your organization.  Get answers that help chart paths of change and transformation. Persist in that work.  It is part of the justice process.
  15. Join or organize groups of your peers and others to meet regularly to educate yourselves and others and mobilize people for actions to support Communities of Color and indigenous people.
  16. Bring groups of informed and motivated activists to demand answers and accountability at police stations, courthouses, city halls/statehouses, housing authorities, etc,... when government officials/police are complicit and guilty of racist and oppressive activity or messaging/policy.  Seek out and confirm leadership of indigenous people and People of Color when you begin organizing or mobilizing actions.  Make sure those organizers/speakers are informed early in the process.  Be willing to accept their leadership and direction if they so choose to give it.
  17. Bring groups of informed and motivated activists to demand answers and accountability at insurance companies, banks, businesses, transportation companies, retail outlets, restaurants, etc,… when employees, staff and/or management are complicit and guilty of racist and oppressive activity or messaging. Seek out and confirm leadership of indigenous people and People of Color when you begin organizing or mobilizing actions.  Make sure those organizers/speakers are informed early in the process.  Be willing to accept their leadership and direction if they so choose to give it.
  18. Occupy places of racist activity and resist the presence of racist and oppressive organizations or groups of people everywhere, whether they are a school, group of neighbors, suit-wearing business people or members of a country club. Demand change with the presence of your body.
  19. Call your government/civil servants to support anti-racist and anti-oppression legislation and policyHold them accountable with your emails, letters petitions, phone calls, texts and physical presence when they step out of line with what PoC and indigenous peoples need.  Know that due to European/white/class privilege, your direct interests may not be reflected in that work.  Those sacrifices are often necessary to create greater justice for everyone.  If you are not ready to make sacrifices, you should possibly continue to educate yourself on the nature of racism and oppression and what it means in the daily and historical lives of oppressed populations.
  20. Hold local and national TV/radio/media stations and outlets accountable when they disseminate racist and oppressive or appropriative media.  Agitate and protest for stories and narratives, images of PoC/indigenous peoples made by PoC/indigenous people.  This could mean resisting colonial narratives in westerns, "classic" films, boycotting theaters that show racist movies, organizing call-in campaigns against racist DJs/radio personalities, un-joining journalism or other websites that hire racist writers.
  21. Boycott all racist companies and corporations, even when it is not convenient for you.  There is a cost to creating cultures of justice. Avoiding your inconvenience is not worth the on-going oppression of even one person.  Clearly, too many people are affected by the continuity of many corporations and businesses and they must be put in check and change their practices as soon as possible. Support and buy from PoC/indigenous owned/controlled companies and businesses.
  22. Study and learn about environmental racism.  Dismantle the privileges that you are afforded by certain public "services" like incinerators, landfills or waste dumps being located in or near Communities of Color/indigenous people.  Understand that environmental groups and non-profits can be just as racist as any profit-hungry corporation.  How much you like a particular organization may have nothing or everything to do with how it supports and facilitates structures and practice of racism and oppression.
  23. Consider the inevitability sweeping future changes in national and regional governance, economics and land and resource allocation when you manifest the correct political and cultural changes into anti-racism and decolonization.  be willing to step up powerfully into that process of positive change.
  24. Learn empathy and compassion beyond your own narrow, limited and particular needs and those of privileged populations that benefit from the oppression of others.

We do not suggest that these are the only things or all the best things to be done in the interest of dismantling racism and colonialism, but that this is our offering to the work already going on all over the world, our offering to motivate and activate new workers for justice across the Global Village and create support for those who have made such serious and effective steps in this interest to date. 

We thank all those that came before us that showed us the way to reawaken us to what it means to live in a world of justice, balance, validation and peace.

#Ancestors  #womenwaterpeace #nowisthetime  #thetimeisnow

© 2017 Ukumbwa Sauti, M.Ed., moja mediaworks llc

Thursday, February 8, 2018

"Black Panther" - Because Just Short of Vibranium, Africa Just About Had All The Rest of That Covered

Long-awaited Marvel Studios film, "Black Panther", comes out of the gate (equine metaphor, spiritual portal or otherwise) on February 16th in the USAmerica.  In a world where Africa and Africans have fought colonialism, racism, misogynoir, economic exploitation and cultural genocide, relevant, supportive and inspirational cultural media representation can take on mythic dynamics. Especially when something like "Black Panther" comes along in an age of powerful cinematic, visual, sound and effects ascendancy, the possibilities for even small, but profound shifts and awakenings become very, very real. 

Though the storyline is fictitious, its scaffolding follows many historical and political benchmarks of the African experience.  The World Ancestor Concert Team wanted to present a few resources to help people ground themselves in that historical context, to look more deeply at the Ancestral gifts that are rich and ubiquitous in Africa, far beyond the abyss of predominant negativity and devastation that the mainstream and colonial media would have you, African or not, believe and respond to.

Black Panther, womenwaterpeace, African women, womanism
image from imdb.com

The first resource, an article by The Root, is an extremely helpful and timely look at the connection of what looks like it will be an amazing film to the realities of African history.  We at WAC and moja mediaworks invite you to look more deeply into the historical beauty and genius that is Africa, along with its struggles.  We look forward to conversations with you about this film and Africa, the gifts of the Ancestors and more.

  1. Black Panther: An Allegory of the World Wanting Blackness but Not Black People, Carolyn Hinds, The Root 
    "But like the Portuguese, Ross and Klaue will learn that black people—particularly black women—will fight tooth and nail to protect what’s theirs. In Wakanda, there is a resisting force of warriors known as the Dora Milaje, and like Queen Nzinga of Ndongo (now known as Angola) and the legendary female Dahomean army, the Dora Milaje, led by their general, Okoye, and aided by Shuri’s technology, will do what they must to protect their king and kingdom against all invaders because they have no other choice."
  2. "Introduction to African Civilizations", John G. Jackson
  3. "The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality" - Cheikh Anta Diop
  4. "Let The Circle Be Unbroken: The Implications of African Spirituality in the Diaspora" - Marimba Ani
  5. "Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D.", Chancellor Williams
  6. "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa" - Walter Rodney
    "This year marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Every now and then in history a scholarly enterprise emerges that breaks new ground and provokes an impact that exceeds the confines of narrow academia. Walter Rodney’s seminal work in combination with his other projects performed precisely this function for Africa and beyond. Its publication and reception exemplified the strains and fissures in the scholarship focused on the continent at the time. It would go on to become one of the most influential books in the ‘Third World’.

    When it emerged in 1972 the book was hailed in Dar-es-Salaam as ‘probably the greatest book event in Africa since Frantz Fanon’. Wole Soyinka, the African novelist went further. He suggested that Rodney was one of the first ‘solidly ideologically situated intellectuals ever to look colonialism and exploitation in the eye and where necessary, spit in it’." - Forty Years of 'How Europe Underdeveloped Africa' - Pambazuka News, 2012, Nigel Westmaas
  7.  Dr. John Henrik Clarke - Africa: Empires of Ghana & Mali - YouTube

Please take some time to look into any or all of the above resources on African history and culture.  Any and all of these will enrich your experience of "Black Panther" whether you get to them before you see it or soon (!) after. We look forward to hearing from you around these important issues of culture, tradition and, of course, the Ancestors.

Enjoy the film!

#culture #tradition #Africa #Ancestors #worldancestorconcert #womenwaterpeace