Introducing BuzzFeed Ideas
"The category of writing broadly referred to as criticism was once just how a select few determined canon. It’s now a genre revitalized by a cultural shift toward conversation. And the angle with the most longevity on any topic is always the one that aims beyond the last word. That’s the difference between Ideas and the next cycle of think pieces: a valuation of inquiry that builds — not just reacts."
Here are white men poised to run big marijuana businesses, dreaming of cashing in big—big money, big businesses selling weed—after 40 years of impoverished black kids getting prison time for selling weed, and their families and futures destroyed. Now, white men are planning to get rich doing precisely the same thing? …
After waging a brutal war on poor communities of color, a drug war that has decimated families, spread despair and hopelessness through entire communities, and a war that has fanned the flames of the very violence it was supposedly intended to address and control; after pouring billions of dollars into prisons and allowing schools to fail; we’re gonna simply say, we’re done now? I think we have to be willing, as we’re talking about legalization, to also start talking about reparations for the war on drugs, how to repair the harm caused. …
At the end of apartheid in South Africa there was an understanding that there could be no healing, no progress, no reconciliation without truth. You can’t just destroy a people and then say ‘It’s over, we’re stopping now.’ You have to be willing to deal with the truth, deal with the history openly and honestly. Michelle Alexander, associate professor of law at Ohio State University and author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness quoted from White Men Get Rich from Legal Pot, Black Men Stay in Prison. Alexander’s thesis is that the USA is addicted to caste systems, regardless of what is deemed legal or illegal. (via nezua)
It’s easy to look at something like Monáe’s mythos and see only the obvious metaphors. Her android’s struggle for the freedom to love after all paralells the struggle of American slave women to marry legally, to keep their children, to control their very bodies, in a system that cruelly commodified these activities. But it’s wrong only to apply an historical, and racial, lens to the work of any modern black woman. We have spent generations sharing the struggles of other opressed groups, collaborating with and occasionally being betrayed by them, and progressing nonetheless. We’re the ones who (literally) wrote the book on intersectionality. And it’s clear that Janelle Monáe feels no sense of threat from the others with whom our future will be shared. She welcomes, after all, with love and dancing.
And yet. When I watch her videos and listen to her lyrics I’m SHOCKED to see so much of myself in this ultra-technological future - despite my own writings, despite my own knowledge that black history and myth abounds with techies and innovators, despite my LIFE and my long-held desire to see this very thing. It’s not Monáe’s ability to imagine an inclusive future that’s remarkable, but my subconcious resistance. What the hell is wrong with me, that her vision feels so strange?
Too many years of ‘The Jetsons’, maybe. Too many white-supremacist Medieval Europes. I’ve spent years swallowing these bizarro world versions of humanity, and they have become a toxin poisoning my imagination. But Janelle Monáe is a tiny, fast-footed, pompadour’d antidote to all of that. "How Long ‘Till Black Future Month?: The Toxins Of Speculative Fiction, and the Antidote that is Janelle Monáe", N.K. Jemisin, published in "Adventure Rocketship #1: Let’s All Go To The Science Fiction Disco" (via reifferschizzle)