"i don’t watch tv" proudly says a person who spends 8 hours a day on the internet
so taking off from this ask i’ve been thinking about issues/concerns of authenticity.
authenticity for iaopoc is one of those really slippery notions with ever changing goal posts… b/c white ppl never want us to believe that our lives, cultures, families, genders, ideas, spirituality, etc and so on are ever truly ‘authentic.’ for most white ppl, the only authentic iaopoc cultures are likely to be the few uncontacted tribes. and even this is a claim that can be contested, as many of these tribes are constantly under threat from colonial/capitalist/state interference and are on the defensive. perhaps this awareness of the outside world renders them inauthentic… maybe it doesn’t matter so much if they are ‘contacted’…
when we look at what white ppl are willing to consider authentic, it becomes clear that authenticity is a relic of the past. and i mean this very literally: relics, art, other physical manifestations of iaopoc cultures are routinely judged for authenticity. the older something is, the more ‘ancient’, the more likely white ppl will consider it ‘authentic.’ it means that authenticity is something we’ve lost. something that exists only in the past and that we shall never able to be or become.
but this is sort of the point… one of the fundamental goals of colonialism is to eradicate our cultures and assimilate us into white supremacist society. to steal our lands and labour and creativity to profit white ppl. perhaps (as in many things) one of the most obvious examples of this is Black americans (and their culture). since absolutely nothing about them as a modern iaopoc socio-cultural group or their culture is considered authentic in any meaningful sense. it is one reason why so much of their cultural activity is considered open game for theft, appropriation, and so on. why AAVE is pretty much never (outside of their community) considered a ‘real’ language/dialect. why, in many ways, they are rarely conceived of even having a culture that is distinct from the white settlers.
because how can a ppl with no clear history (before their enslavement) and no clear language have a culture? how can this non-culture manifest in music, art, writing, etc. in ways that allow Black americans any claims to primacy, ownership, creators? they are no one, and so they have nothing. right?
it is the clearest example of the ideal role that iaopoc are supposed to have in the modern, white supremacist world. cut off from our lands. our history stolen and/or erased. our mother tongues forgotten via violent coercive processes. and all effort, labour, etc. feeding into the machine that oppresses. and doing it in such a way that resistance to this largely presents itself as incoherent. from this angle, in a lot of ways, Black americans are really the only truly ‘modern’ non-white ethnic group (because they lack any coherent claim to authenticity within white supremacy).1
and, of course, these standards of authenticity force us to remain frozen in the past. if our cultures are vibrant and alive, this means that they are changing and adapting to the way the world currently is. and this is a good thing. because it means survival. and survival is resistance2.
so when it comes to a question like ‘well, i’m a dfab person and my culture doesn’t seem to have any historical word/ID for ppl like me, what do i do?’. the thing is. if you’re a person from that culture. and you have a gender. your gender is necessarily iaopoc and not white. despite the force and violence involved in making us concieve of and frame our genders within a white supremacist/colonial framework, that doens’t actually mean our selves/genders are coherent within that framework.
that i’m bakla, which has historical roots, doesn’t make my gender any more authentic than a tomboy — which is clearly using an english loan word. does some filipin@ dishes using new world foods (like tomatoes) mean that these dishes are less authentic than what an Indigenous group cooks with (if they only use local stuff)?
authenticity doesn’t lie in our past, but in our present and our future. it exists because we exist. because we survive. and because well will overcome and dismantle white supremacy and decolonize one day.
I’m suddenly realizing, that non-Black moves and claims of authenticity that rest mainly on notions of history, language, and ties to land are inherently anti-Black because of this. saying that you can really only be ‘part of x culture/community’ if you speak x language when there is a group of ppl who have their own language, but one that is rarely considered ‘authentic’ enough to actually count, but may not be able to ever actually even know what their mother tongue once was, fundamentally excludes Black americans from ever being authentic. so too with much indigenous comments i see about ties to the land. being enslaved has created a total severing of Black american’s ties to their home lands. they are truly a ppl with no land. again, they are prima facie prevented from any coherent claims of authenticity along the lines of reasoning most commonly used. ↩
and, of course, the inability for Black americans to lay claim to authenticity while still clearly surviving is very likely one of the major reasons they are almost always at the forefront of resisting white supremacy/colonialism/etc. that they continue to exist as a vibrant, living culture despite being denied most traditional avenues towards claiming authenticity (and thus a kind of legitimacy), is everything. ↩
it is funny, i totally wanted to make this post more about modernity and white teleological historical narratives about ‘progress’ and ‘development’ but my brain got majorly sidetracked by the notion of Black americans as the only truly modern non-white cultural group.
The last of the more than 60,000 Confederate veterans who came home to Alabama after the Civil War died generations ago, yet residents are still paying a tax that supported the neediest among them.
Despite fire-and-brimstone opposition to taxes among many in a state that still has “Heart of Dixie” on its license plates, officials never stopped collecting a property tax that once funded the Alabama Confederate Soldiers’ Home, which closed 72 years ago. The tax now pays forConfederate Memorial Park, which sits on the same 102-acre tract where elderly veterans used to stroll.
The tax once brought in millions for Confederate pensions, but lawmakers sliced up the levy and sent money elsewhere as the men and their wives died. No one has seriously challenged the continued use of the money for a memorial to the “Lost Cause,” in part because few realize it exists; one long-serving black legislator who thought the tax had been done away with said he wants to eliminate state funding for the park.
These days, 150 years after the Civil War started, officials say the old tax typically brings in more than $400,000 annually for the park, where Confederate flags flapped on a recent steamy afternoon. That’s not much compared to Alabama’s total operating budget of $1.8 billion, but it’s sufficient to give the park plenty of money to operate and even enough for investments, all at a time when other historic sites are struggling just to keep the grass cut for lack of state funding.
"It’s a beautifully maintained park. It’s one of the best because of the funding source," said Clara Nobles of the Alabama Historical Commission, which oversees Confederate Memorial Park.
Longtime park director Bill Rambo is more succinct.
"Everyone is jealous of us," he said.
While the park flourishes quietly, other historic attractions around the state are fighting for survival.
Workers at Helen Keller’s privately run home in northwest Alabama fear losing letters written by the famed activist because of a lack of state funding for preservation of artifacts. On the Gulf Coast at Dauphin Island, preservationists say the state-owned Fort Gaines is in danger of being undermined by waves after nearly 160 years standing guard at the entry to Mobile Bay.
The old Confederate pension tax that funds the park has never been seriously threatened, Rambo said. Backers were upset this year when Gov. Robert Bentley’s budget plan eliminated state funding for historic sites because of tight revenues, he said, but the park’s earmarked funding survived.
"Once I informed the public what was going on the support just rose up," said Rambo, the director since 1989. Two heritage groups, the Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy, led the charge, but ordinary citizens complained too, he said.
"Some were people who don’t belong to those organizations who really like the park and come out here for picnics and all and were really upset," he said.
State Rep. Alvin Holmes, a black Democrat who’s been in the Legislature since 1974, said he thought funding for the park had been slashed.
"We should not be spending one nickel for that," said Holmes, of Montgomery. "I’m going to try to get rid of it."
Holmes may have a hard time gaining support with Republicans in control of Legislature and the governor’s office.
In the meantime, a contractor recently measured the museum for a new paint job, and plans calls for using invested money to construct replicas of some of the 22 buildings that stood on the site when it was home to hundreds of Confederate veterans and their wives.
That Outkast performance at Coachella was one of the most disappointing things I’ve ever seen.
What a disgracefully flat crowd that didn’t really understand what/who they were listening to.
I feel bad for 3000. He looked uncomfortable to begin the show. But by the end of the performance, he seemed annoyed and disinterested with the thought like, “oh yeah, this is why I stepped away from music.”
When he asked the crowd, “how many bitches and how many hoes are here?” I don’t think he was just messing around. I felt that he had already lost respect and interest in the audience. He had his back turned to them for “Hey Ya” singing the song with no real passion or energy; in a sense giving them no satisfaction in the only song they probably were expecting to hear.
Big Boi did his best to salvage the crowd and get 3000 to come along, but I just feel like songs like “Elevators” and “Gasoline Dreams” are beyond that audience. They didn’t understand the darkness, the ambiance, and mystique of those songs. There’s a commentary in the lyrics that just does not connect with that sort of “party” crowd.
The crickets when Janelle Monae came out? On and on and on. Garbage crowd.
The people that would have appreciated it couldn’t afford to come to that.
I’ve been at work this entire time
Hey Ya was never my fav song from them (in fact I don’t really like it at all). I woulda lost my mind for basically all of the Stankonia & Aquemini album songs tho. And crickets for Janelle? wow.
Visited the Hill Country yesterday