Precha - Yutes To Follow
— Mark Christian - Why do we go abroad?
Yesterday, the following question was asked on twitter: Would You Take Relationship Advice From Tyrese and Rev Run?
I don’t usually get involved in these types of conversations because they usually end up dragging you into an abyss that you can’t escape. Anyway, my answer was to say that, if women are not developing leadership roles in these areas, then certain men will fill the vacuum and make their money. It’s fairly simple. If grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, cousins and friends are not passing on lessons, wisdom and guidance to the women/girls within their family and peer circles, then they have failed miserably. Women are half of civilisation, so they have thousands of years of collective wisdom and shouldn’t run away from the duty and responsibility of passing it on. It’s in their collective interest after all. Men have their role to play, but I’m more concerned with women’s agency in this instance.
As a consequence, you have predatory capitalists like Tyrese and Rev Run peddling basic common sense (as well as a bunch of foolishness) and infantilising those single women who have self-doubt and low self-esteem issues. It’s a joke. What can Paul Brunson teach you about the man dem? If you want to know and understand men, engage them, listen to them and observe their actions (critically). If women want to crack this egg, their best bet would be to get together in their little peer groups, study, research and develop their own ‘mating strategies’ based on tried-and-tested principles that work. That would be a more effective/efficient use of time and energy.
I’ve been meaning to write up a melanin reading list for a while. The thing that kicked me into action was something that I saw over the holiday season. I was reading a copy of Black Beauty and Hair magazine (don’t ask!) and came across an advert for a skin lightening product. I found the juxtaposition of black beauty and skin lightening to be an obvious contradiction. After conducting a little research, I found two contrasting explanations given by the editor (Irene Shelley) for why these types of adverts are given prominence in a magazine that is supposedly dedicated to promoting black beauty aesthetics. This is her second explanation/excuse:
“Black Beauty and Hair magazine advertises skin lightening products because there is a call for them. Black skin suffers from hyper-pigmentation; over production of melanin, therefore any trauma; like a spot or pimple leaves a black mark”
[side note: Black people don’t have uniform complexions, even people within the same family will show some variety. One of the primary reasons for this non-uniformity is that there are a variety of things that determine skin colour, and it’s not just about melanin. It can affected by blood circulation, collagen, lycopene, carotene as well as absorbed or reflected light.]
Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on black bourgeoisie magazine editors to get to the root of this issue. We have enough scholars who have done the necessary research. The Journal of Pan-African Studies dedicated a whole issue to this subject in 2011 (click here). The most important article in that collection is Dr. Yaba Blay’s “Skin Bleaching and Global White Supremacy: By Way of Introduction”.
I have compiled a short list of reading materials for those who want to get some insight into their own bio-chemistry and learn about the functional role of certain things.
Pookrum, Jewel (1999) Vitamins and Minerals From A to Z (New York: A & B Publishers Group)
Moore, T. Owens (1995) The Science of Melanin: Dispelling The Myths (Silver Spring: Beckham House Publishers. Inc)
Borovansky, Jan and Patrick A. Riley, eds. (2011) Melanins and Melanosomes: Biosynthesis, Structure, Physiological and Pathological Function (Weinheim: Wiley-Blackwell)
Note:These articles should be available for free on the Internet.
Bessou-Touya, Sandrine et al. (1998) Chimeric Human Epidermal Reconstructs to Study the Role of Melanocytes and Keratinocytes in Pigmentation and Photoprotection Journal of Investigative Dermatology 111(6): 1103 - 1108
Bjorn, L. O (2010) Vitamin D Synthesis May Be Independent of Skin Pigmentation Only With UV of Short Wavelength Journal of Investigative Dermatology 130: 2848 - 2850
Bogh, Morten K. B. et al. (2010) Vitamin D Production after UVB Exposure Depends on Baseline Vitamin D and Total Cholesterol but not on Skin Pigmentation Journal of Investigative Dermatology 130: 546 - 553
Escames, Germaine et al. (2012) Exercise and Melatonin in Humans: Reciprocal Benefits Journal of Pineal Research 52(1): 1 - 11
Korystowski, Witold and Tadeusz Sarna (1990) Bleaching of Melanin Pigments: Role of Copper Ions and Hydrogen Peroxide in Autooxidization and Photooxidation of Synthetic Dopa-Melanin The Journal of Biological Chemistry 265(21): 12410 - 12416
Fischer, Tobias et al.(2008) Melatonin as a major skin protectant: from free radical scavenging to DNA damage repair Experimental Dermatology 17: 713 - 730
Galano, Annia et al. (2011) Melatonin as a natural ally against oxidative stress: a physicochemical examination. Journal of Pineal Research 51(1): 1 - 16
Jablonski, Nina (2004) The Evolution of Human Skin and Skin Color Annual Review of Anthropology 33: 585 - 623
Miyamura, Yoshinori et al. (2006) Regulation of Human Skin Pigmentation And Responses to Ultraviolet Radiation Pigment Cell Research 20: 2 - 13
Naysmith, Lisa et al. (2004) Quantitative Measures of the Effect of the Melanocortin 1 Receptor on Human Pigmentary Status Journal of Investigative Dermatology 122: 423 - 428
Ou-Yang, Hao et al. (2004) Spectral Responses of Melanin to Ultraviolet A Irradiation Journal of Investigative Dermatology 122: 492 - 496
Smit, Nico et al. (1997) Melanogenesis in Cultured Melanocytes can be Substantially Influenced by L-Tyrosine and L-Cysteine Journal of Investigative Dermatology 109(6): 796 - 800
Thomas, Aaron and Carol Erickson (2008) The Making of a Melanocyte: The Specification of Melanoblasts from the Neural Crest Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research 21: 598 - 610
Dr. William ‘Lez’ Henry on Representation, Statistics and Research.
Beckles, Hilary. (1990) A History of Barbados: From Amerindian Settlement to Nation-State (New York; Cambridge University Press)
Beckles, Hilary and Venere Shepherd (1999) Caribbean Slavery in the Atlantic World: A Student Reader (Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers)
Bryan, Patrick. (1991) The Jamaican People 1800 - 1902: Race, Class and Social Control (London: MacMillan)
Carew, Jan (1994) Rape of Paradise: Columbus and the birth of Racism in the Americas (New York: A & B Publishers)
Desch-Obi, T. J. (2008) Fighting for Honor: The History of African Martial Art Traditions in the Atlantic World (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press)
Devaux, Robert (1997) They Call Us Brigands: The Saga of St. Lucia’s Freedom Fighters (Castries: Optimum Press Ltd)
Fanon, Frantz (2008) Black Skin, White Masks (London: Pluto Press)
Fick, Carolyn (1990) The Making of Haiti: The Saint Domingue Revolution from Below (Knoxville: University of Tennesse)
Figueroa, Luis (2005) Sugar, Slavery and Freedom in Nineteenth Century Puerto Rico (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press)
Frazier, E. F. (1957) Black Bourgeoisie (Glencoe, IL: Free Press)
Gasper, David Barry and David Patrick Geggus, eds. (1997) Turbulent Time: The French Revolution and the Greater Caribbean (Bloomington: Indiana University Press)
Hart, Richard (2002) Slaves Who Abolished Slavery: Blacks In Rebellion (Kingston: University of the West Indies Press)
Haynes, Aaron (1983) The State of Black Britain (London: Root Publishing Co)
Henry, Paget (2000) Caliban’s Reason: Introducing African-Caribbean Philosophy (London: Routledge)
Henry, William (2006) What the Deejay Said: A Critique From The Street (London: Learning By Choice Publications)
Honychurch, Lennox (1984) The Dominica Story: A History of the Island (Oxford; MacMillan)
Irereton, Bridget, ed. (2004) General History of the Caribbean: The Caribbean in the Twentieth Century (London: Unesco Publishing)
James, Winston (1999) Holding Aloft the Banner of Ethiopia: Caribbean Radicalism in Early Twentieth Century America (London; Verso)
James, Winston and Clive Harris, eds. (1993) Inside Babylon: The Caribbean Diaspora in Britain (London: Verso)
Jimenez Romain, Miriam and Juan Flores (2010) The Afro-Latin@ Reader: History and Culture in the United States (Durham, NC: Duke University Press)
John, Gus (2006) Taking A Stand: Gus John on Education, Race, Social Action and Civil Unrest (Manchester; Gus John Partnership Ltd)
Keita, Maghan (2000) Race and the Writing of History: Riddling the Sphinx (New York: Oxford University Press)
Knight, Franklin (2011) The Caribbean: The Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism (New York: Oxford University Press)
Murrell, Nathaniel Samuel (2009) Afro-Caribbean Religions: An Introduction to their Historical, Cultural, and Sacred Traditions (Philadelphia: Temple University Press)
Owuso, Kwesi, ed. (2000) Black British Culture and Society: A Text Reader (London: Routledge)
Rogers, Joel (1996) World’s Great Men of Color: Volume 2 (London: Simon & Schuster)
Ruck, Rob (1999) The Tropic of Baseball: Baseball in the Dominican Republic (Lincoln, NE: First Bison Books)
Perez Sardy, Pedro and Jean Stubbs, eds. (2000) Afro-Cuban Voices: On Race and Identity in Contemporary Cuba (Florida: University Press of Florida)
Richards, Yvette (2004) Conversations with Maida Springer: A Personal History of Labor, Race, and International Relations (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press)
Sloat, Susanna, ed. (2005) Caribbean Dance From Abakua to Zouk: How Movement Shapes Identity (Gainesville: University Press of Florida)
Smith, Richard (2004) Jamaican Volunteers In The First World War: Race, Masculinity and the Development of National Consciousness (Manchester: Manchester University Press)
Smith, Keith and Fernando Carol Smith (1989) To Shoot Hard Labour: The Life And Times of Samuel Smith, an Antiguan Working Man, 1877 - 1982 (London: Karia Press)
Trouillot, Michel-Rolph (1995) Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (Boston: Beacon Press)
Wade, Tony (2001) How They Made a Million: The Dyke and Dryden Story (London: Hansib Publications)
Wade, Tony (2007) The Adventures of an Economic Migrant (Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers)
Warner-Lewis, Maureen (2003) Central Africa in the Caribbean: Transcending Time, Transforming Cultures (Kingston: University of the West Indies Press)
Hackney, London (1969)
“We took a lot of stick from other kids around here, but we were tough street kids and we gave as good as we got”
Dennis Morris Growing Up Black
1. Nobody … can dismiss that the fundamental cause at the base of this is the state and Government policy. It is not even an argument, just a basic fact.
The changes in the economy in the 1970’s were a product of macro policy and nothing to do with black people e.g. the IMF crisis, Oil crisis and the basic restructuring of the economy which wiped out millions of jobs. I remember in school there was a factory literally on every corner: hoffman presser, cabinet and joiner, machine and tool shops. You name it where people with little desire of further education could go and make a change and work their way into other jobs. This has nothing to do with us.
2. The creation of a service led industry which led a massive growth in female orientated jobs eg. banking, insurance and financial companies literally killed off massive sections of the black male community.
3. The introduction of social and housing policy which fundamentally weakened the family and created the basic incentive for single parent culture on a mass scale.
4. The introduction of anti man and anti family ideologies.
5. The political dissolution of the movement of the 80’s as a whole is a product of one factor and one factor alone: the deliberate management of dissent by the use of strategies of inclusion e.g. the spread of equal opportunities in a symbolic manner and the extension of grant funding.
What is so disgusting is that people like [Trevor] Phillips etc were at the fore front - leading to hungry black people fighting each other (attempting to outmanoeuvre each other) for those token jobs white people put out there. It was divisive and brother stab brother in the back for money and nuff sisters too, trust me. People flooded through the gates and here is the origins of the “black man ain’t shit” thing as women begun to get jobs in social work and related work, the BBC ad nauseum.
Grant funding which was part of the strategy of pacification killed black organisations like a virus and I know because that is one of the key things I studied in Phd field work in terms of the strategies of African-Caribbean leaders and organisations, and can tell you once that money was offered it changed political dynamics and the broader environment.
When Thatcher did her U turn three years later she cut the money and declared a war on public spending on irrelevant minority interests and nationally black organisations literally collapsed. I can list one hundred nationally and have a brilliant case study of a wicked organisation in NW London and what happened when they accepted that money, against their better judgement.
Who pressured them if not Boateng and these boys who told them that this is what black power is about, working together with newly elected MP’s, who turned around and stabbed all of them in the back.
When they were ready they created havoc internally by the use of grant funding and then they cut them loose, often claiming mismanagement when in fact it was all orchestrated and taking place up and down the country in exactly the same way. Offer us something we had never had and then use it to control us; which is why I would never touch that kind of money because we have seen how it has been used to destroy us.
The actual failing of individual organisations like my own through internal stuff is an absolute minority. Most were destroyed through the politics of funding and deliberately so. Because organisations fail like businesses all the time, but the difference is the movement was not one organisation but thousands which got wiped out never to return. Many of their leaders were forced to then join the system and once there were not going back.
Nobody can ever absolve the state and government or people like Phillips as they were at the forefront publicly selling these policies which divided black people and cripples us to this very day. But what is really contemptible is that people like Phillips and [Tony] Sewell who got fat off equal opportunities … The Voice Newspaper who sold out once they got those fat cheques and grants from local authorities etc and abandoned its lead role in educating and is a leader in promoting the very said agenda of the State. Now they have the neck to stand on the sidewalk and condemn the very thing they helped to create.