2017 Negro Motorist Green-Book Needed: Black Anti-Racist Mama Traveling through Trump’s Americ
Someone wrote 5 long and separate comments on a blog article I wrote in 2013 in response to how I’m defining systemic racism vs. racial prejudice (I didn’t approve it, it was too vile); how I am explaining power + white racial privilege + discrimination = systemic racism in the US and explaining how it’s “nuanced” in understanding why there is the collective sentiment that non-whites can generally be ‘racially prejudice’ but not ‘racist’ (in drawing from the canon of critical race legal and critical race feminist studies. I do not condone either but have written how it ‘differs’ in terms of systems of power and privilege (institutions, structures, etc).
The person who contacted me went on a long vitriolic diatribe against Black identified and/or Muslim identified people and then said they would be reporting my blog to hate-watch group organizations because I clearly am anti-white an and implied here is ‘white genocide’. It must have taken them 45 minutes to write continuous comment rants with such vitriol and contempt for Muslims and Black people with their sick and twisted narratives ranging from Black and/or Muslims committing horrible sex acts to other sick twisted nonsense. So much rage and hate.
In 2017-18, As I travel to give my talks and workshops this year focused on “Black feminism, food ethics, and motherhood in ‘Trump’s America’”, with baby in tow, I wonder when or if one of these people will figure out when/where I’m talking , show up, and try to kill me. Seriously, I get some really sick and troubling comments that I don’t publish all the time. I am hoping that their bark is bigger than their bite and it’s just psychological terror and that they won’t take that next step of finding a weapon and my next speaking engagement. And looks like you don’t even need a gun or a knife or bomb these days, a car to hit people seems to do the trick “just fine” …
My dad still tells me how worried he is that I go around the country with my baby because of this reality. That’s what his parents were worried about when he was a younger man in their house, and what his grandparents worried about.
…Is this 1917 or 2017?
And the there are my white friends who keep on commenting why I focus ‘so much on racism’ or even tell me race/racism isn’t really a problem outside of the kkk/neo-nazis and how is it I can ‘find’ racism and white supremacy in veganism, animal rights, and buddhist sanghas in the USA. I “must” be mistaken or hallucinating.
When I wrote about animal rights/vegan mainstream groups silence around white supremacy (and their stance against it) it was white friends who privately or publicly asked me how their possibly could be concern or connection and why should I expect these groups to make their positions clear as anti-racist committed entities? (DOES NOT COMPUTE)
I am preparing to travel to the midwest and Trump territories (or shall I Say “terror-tories”) with my infant to continue talking about how racism and white supremacy operate at the systemic level and that it’s a spectrum/continuum this upcoming week. I will talk about the more subversive ways these operate and how it is ‘missed’ by those mainstream media outlets that are only focused on the ‘true’ racists and bigots as Nazis and KKK.
But don’t worry, after reading the up-teenth disgusting threatening, hateful, angry, enraged comment from someone who believes that researching and writing about systemic racism in the USA is equivalent to “white genocide”, I’ll just rest assure that it’s all in my head and I’ll default to the fantastical “white-splainer” world of letting a Black woman know she has nothing to worry about. (Now, let me bust out that Negro Motorist Green Book from 1940 that my grandparents used to use to figure out how I’ll navigate from Chicago O’Hare to Normal, IL– through the pinker and red counties which indicated they voted for Trump. )
Below is my latest project and what I’ll be talking about during my lecture circuit this year (if I can survive my travels through some parts of this country…)
Despite having brown skin and being a “melanated peoples”, I burn in the sun in approximately 5 minutes. It can be as ‘cool’ as 69 degrees Fahrenheit and I will burn…My mother used to always joke, “You would have made a horrible field slave”, which kind of makes perfect sense. She has always enjoyed calling me an Oreo since I was a tween. Oreo was then promoted to the affectionate label of Oreo Double Stuff by the time I had graduated from high school in 1994 and I had been accepted into a gazillion PWIs like Smith College, Tufts University, Bryn Mawr, and Dartmouth College. I vividly remember when I first discovered the Four Seasons when I was 14 years old. I asked my mother if she could buy it for me on CD. Boy was she elated that I was inquiring about the Four Seasons…. Except she thought that I misspoke and that I must have meant the Black Motown group The Four Tops (Yes, I meant some music composed by a dead white Italian man). #blackcardrejected #notauthenticallyblack
How did I get from being a white cream filled dark sandwich cookie with two left feet and an unhealthy obsession with Anton Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to being told I’m uber ‘articulate’ and ‘non-threatening’ in post-racial vegan venues? I could tell this story from so many vantage points. I thought long and hard about it, writing draft after draft, dropping some heavy critical theory sh$t from Angela Davis, to Frantz Fanon, to Charles Mills. But every time I tried to do this, it just wouldn’t work out. Critical theory takes deep concentration, plenty of sleep, and mental acuity….
…which is hella blown out of the water when you’ve got 4 damn kids– a 6 month old, a 3 year old, a 5 year old (the middle one with a damn freaking attitude and a propensity for sticking her hand in the monkey jar) and an 8 year old who continuously interrupt your prophetic destiny to be a scholar with such greatness and [can’t think of an intelligent word because my 5 year old just came outside screaming and running towards me, naked, holding a bowl of Cheerios] that would make Sara Ahmed’s rumination on phenomenology and post-colonialism look like simple nursery school rhymes. #badphenomenologyjokes
-Dr. A. Breeze Harper. Draft from her upcoming book Black. Mama. Scholar: On Black Feminism, Food Ethics, and Toddler Tantrums in a ‘Post-Racial’ Era (2018).
In a delightful and humorous, yet deeply critical talk, Dr. A. Breeze Harper will ruminate on the past 12 years of her activism and scholarship as well as read excerpts from her upcoming book Black. Mama. Scholar: On Black Feminism, Food Ethics, and Toddler Tantrums in a ‘Post-Racial’ Era (formerly titled Recipes for Racial Tension Headaches).
This is a fundraising event for the Sistah Vegan Project. Register for the Live Lecture with Q&A below.Ticket OptionsGold (Receive Signed Sistah Vegan Book) $70.00 USDRegular $30.00 USDStudent/Discount $15.00 USD
Dr. Harper is the creator and editor of the first of its kind book about veganism and race: Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health, and Society(Lantern Books 2010).
Dr. Harper holds a PhD in social science from University of California Davis (with an emphasis in Black Feminisms, Critical Theories of Race, and Ethical Consumption). She has a Masters degree in Educational Technologies from Harvard University, with emphasis on Black Feminisms. Her thesis earned her the prestigious Dean’s award.
Dr. Harper’s most recently published book, A Black Lesbian Experience in Rural White New England (Sense Publishers 2014) interrogates how systems of oppression and power impact being a Black teenager living in an all white and working class rural New England town. She has taught university staff and students how to use the book as a tool to develop literacy around unconscious bias and understand how deeply impactful systemic racial and socio-economic inequities are.
After observing numerous white vegans making the claim that race doesn’t matter (i.e. the passive-aggressive responses to Black Lives Matter with “All Lives Matter”) , Dr. Harper organized the highly successful professional conference The Praxis of Black Lives Matter. The conference taught participants how to operationalize racial equity during an era of Black Lives Matter with a focus on plant-based foodie culture like veganism and raw foodism.
In 2016, Dr. Harper collaborated with Oakland’s FoodFirst’s Executive Director Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez to write the report Dismantling Racism in the Food System, which kicked off FoodFirst’s series on systemic racism within the food system. Dr. Harper is well-known for her talks and workshops about “Operationalizing Racial Equity” and “Intersectional Anti-Racism” in ethical consumption, which were given at top universities this past year (University of Chicago, Stanford University, and Penn State to name a few).
You can check out Dr. Harper’s 2016 talk at Whidbey Institute below about Uprooting White Fragility in the Ethical Foodscape as well as the University of Oregon-Eugene talk Reading Food Objects: A Black Feminist Materialist Reading of Scars in Oregon.