Where Hands Touch is Causing a lot of Controversy

Amma Asante created the movie Where Hands Touch with the purpose of portraying the struggles of black Germans during World War Two and the Nazi Rule. No one disagrees that the struggles blacks endured during this time is a conversation that should be repeatedly discussed, but the movie is facing a lot of backlash from many people in the black community.

The main character, Amandla Stenberg (also in the movie The Hate U Give), struggles as a biracial girl born to a German mother and an African father. The movie shows her trouble navigating through Nazi Germany, her identity crisis, and her horrible experience as a pregnant black woman in a concentration camp- however, none of these seem to really be the main storyline.The center of the movie is her forbidden romance with Lutz, a member of the Nazi Youth. Lutz is very much so supportive of Hitler’s ideals and is willing to die to protect those beliefs. They spend a large part of the movie sneaking around until Lutz is sent away to war. Leyna eventually gets sent to a concentration camp and after some time has passed, Lutz is assigned to be a guard at the same camp. He eventually “sees the light” once he sees what Leyna has endured everyday.

I watched the movie recently because I had heard so much about it on social media. It was disturbing to say the least. In my opinion, it was (whether intentional or unintentional) humanizing Nazis (Lutz especially). I saw a tweet that said this specific problem is really troubling considering the political climate of today and the continued rise of NeoNazi ideals. The tweet helped put into words what I was thinking. I found it disheartening that Lutz was only able to truly see how despicable the Nazis were when he saw Leyna being impacted physically and mentally. I do, however think it is worth watching so that you can form your own opinion. I would love to talk to anyone else who has seen the movie!


Healthcare Struggles While Black

After giving birth to her daughter via C-Section, Serena Williams, a world-famous tennis player, suffered several complications and had to endure two other surgeries to help correct her blood flow. Williams has said that she has a history of struggling with blood clots, and after giving birth she developed an embolism. Two surgeries and one restitching later, Serena has fully recovered and returned to her passion of playing tennis. But the experience opened her eyes.

According to the CDC, black women are three to four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications in the United States. The CDC even suggests that the reasons for these deaths are often preventable (about 50%). In the United States, women’s health issues are often not taken seriously because women are often seen as dramatic or said to be overreacting to their symptoms. Williams was able to receive excellent healthcare in the face of her after pregnancy issues, but she is a black woman with fame and enough money to cover those costs. Most black women are not that fortunate. If the pregnancy doesn’t go smoothly for other black women, women that are not as well off, there is a good chance that the doctors will leave them to their own devices. And that is just a nice way of saying “let them die.”



“Bronx Slave Market”

The article “Bronx Slave Market” by Ella Baker and Marvel Cooke in The Crisis, the NAACP’s magazine has played a critical role in mobilizing black workers, civil rights leaders, and radical activists. This afternoon, we’ve been discussing the experiences and labor organizing of black women domestics as represented in a variety of organizations, including National Domestics Workers of America led by Dorothy Bolden, Geraldine Roberts’s Domestic Workers of America, the National Committee on Household Employment, and the Household Technicians of America.


Primary Sources/Second Sources

Making Sense of Primary and Secondary Sources

Primary sources–sources that are contemporary with a particular time period can come in any form.  These sources might be film, text, archival material–organization documents, personal papers, governmental documents, as well as newspapers, magazines etc . . .

Secondary sources, on the other hand, are books, articles, essays that stem from some kind of evidentiary base, often primary sources.

The main difference, however, is that primary sources are produced during that period under study, so that if you’re writing about the 1950s then your primary sources (excepting oral histories) derive from the 1950s. This also means that books, articles, etc . . .  might be used as primary sources.


“What Did Cedric Robinson Mean by Racialism Capitalism”

Robin D. G. Kelley, “What Did Cedric Robinson Mean by Racialism Capitalism”

“So what did Robinson mean by “racial capitalism”? Building on the work of another forgotten black radical intellectual, sociologist Oliver Cox, Robinson challenged the Marxist idea that capitalism was a revolutionary negation of feudalism. Instead capitalism emerged within the feudal order and flowered in the cultural soil of a Western civilization already thoroughly infused with racialism. Capitalism and racism, in other words, did not break from the old order but rather evolved from it to produce a modern world system of “racial capitalism” dependent on slavery, violence, imperialism, and genocide. Capitalism was “racial” not because of some conspiracy to divide workers or justify slavery and dispossession, but because racialism had already permeated Western feudal society.”

Are black women essential to victory?

The upcoming 2020 election is stirring up a lot of buzz and has everyone wondering whats next. In an article by Donna Edwards, she explains how black women have become the key to many statewide races for democrats. She acknowledges how the election came together for her during her time in the hair salon. Edwards states “My salon, and thousands like it across the country, is where the 2020 election will be decided”. Edwards expands on the idea that the votes casted by black women will be crucial to the 2020 election for democrats. Black women have also become increasingly more important in politics especially due to the amount of diverse women who are now in congress. Black women have always gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to issues like wage gap, health care, and economic prospects, which the article talks about. Edwards also mentions “democratic candidates entering the presidential race have acknowledged the importance of women, women of color, black women in their pathways to victory”. One might ask the question of why black women have become essential to victory? While black women are still oppressed there is power is numbers. Black women are creating the right channels through which they can effect some type of change in todays day and age. When reading this article I thought about the documentary we watched in class about Shirley Chisholm. She was a very strong candidate when she ran for president and spoke for the many voices that were silenced by her white opponents. This article speaks to the fact that black women are playing with identity politics and gaining political power, which is really important when it comes to speaking for voters who are in the minority. I also thought about Tiffany Gill’s Beauty Shop Politics: African American Women’s Activism in the Beauty Industry which we read in class. This article helps to validate beauty shop politics and how often times black beauty shops are a hub for social change. 

Link here

The Shirley Chisholm Project

In an interview with Isaac Fitzgerald of Buzzfeed News, Dr. Zinga Fraser discussed the the various moral, personal and political considerations that Shirley Chisholm faced during her first days as a Congresswoman in January 1969.

Dr. Fraser points out that after running an “Unbought and Unbossed” campaign—and as the only Black woman in Congress at the time— Chisholm found herself in a challenging position, both as an independent leader and as an individual confronting the racism and sexism of her day. Accordingly, Dr. Fraser observes, Chisholm could not be  “sure about her alliances and the connections to her colleagues.”

With the the nation watching her as the first Black woman in Congress, and a political system that expected freshman legislators to simply follow orders, Fraser adds that it was also an “important time” for Chisholm “to represent her district.”

Among other things, Fraser discussed Chisholm’s legendary fight against what she called “the senility system”—a system that dictated only the most senior and well-connected politicians dictated who sat on Congressional committees. She also discussed the way that Chisholm innovated new ways to effect change for the marginalized in a static, elitist political system, as well the upcoming biopic on the Congresswoman’s life that stars Viola Davis. When asked to give advice on how what the Amazon production (and similar forthcoming projects) can do justice to Chisholm’s legacy, Fraser offered this:

It requires a significant amount of historical background and analysis.  We really hope that people stay true to Chisholm’s advocacy, the issues that she spoke about, to infuse that into who she was. And also have a nuanced understanding. She wasn’t just a boring congressional member—she was on fire, she loved dance, she was full of life.

Dr. Fraser’s analysis of Chisholm’s entry into Washington also serves as a reminder of the many challenges faced by the women of the incoming 116th Congress. Many of these leaders, including Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, have acknowledged Chisholm as the inspiration for their own groundbreaking campaigns.

Potential Topics

Venus Williams and the fight for equal pay

Claudia Jones and Left Politics

Black Women’s response to the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill controversy

Barbara Smith and The Combahee River Collective

Black Women in Sports

Just a couple weeks ago, Nike put out this commercial specifically about how women are looked over in every aspect of the sports world. Now, this commercial covered all women of every ethnicity. However, the only problem I have with this commercial are the moments it emphasized where black women are specifically targeted. For instance, in one of the two scenes, they talk about how just because they’re good, they’re taking something or are on something and it showed a black women running in a track meet, Caster Semenya. It just shows how black women are given specific sports that they have to be dominant in. They never expect black women to be just as great in a sport such as swimming. However, there is still this narrative on Serena Williams about how she ‘attacked’ an official during one of her matches that cost her the victory. A lot of people called her emotional because of her reaction but if it was a guy, this story wouldn’t be as interesting as it is considering she’s a woman. All in all, women are overlooked and it’s about time the world appreciates women and their greatness.


here’s the link to the commercial:

Hughley Shows That Misogyny Still Plagues The Revolution

D.L. Hughley is  a comedian that has been an extremely prominent figure within the national black community. His material typically addressed the current state that black Americans live in the United States. I think it is ironic that someone that speaks often about the “revolution” struggles to respect women, especially black ones. In 2012 D.L. Hughley stated that he has, “never met an angrier group of people” than black women; his said this in an attempt to promote his book. His book was titled, “I Want You to Shut the F#ck Up.” Mr. Hughley obviously needed some help with his perceived image of black women.
This year Hughley is gearing up to release a TV show. When he was asked about his previous comments about black women and whether he truly believes they are angry he responded with feedback that ended in a James Baldwin quote, “to be Black and conscious is to be angry all the time.” He states, “It’s not wrong to be angry, it’s wrong to not know why.” I agree that there are a lot of reasons to be angry as a black American, though his comment does not help black women with their constant battle of sexism in American and black communities. I still am upset that know one has taken the time to teach D.L. Hughley how damaging his words are in the progress of the movement. The battle of sexism within the black community reinforces the stereotypes form in all other non-black american’s minds.