The FIYAH This Time

Phenderson Djèlí Clark

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“So give us your Black elves, your Black space captains, your Black heretics standing against prophecies and insurmountable odds. Send us your Black wizards and Black gods, your Black sergeants fighting on alien planets. …Because the future of genre is now. And the future ain’t going to write itself.”- writer Justina Ireland

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Listen:

An eloquent defense of the Black Lives Matter movement has come from an unlikely source: the white CEO of a major American corporation. “Our communities are being destroyed by racial tension,” said Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T since 2007, in a speech to company employees last week. “And we’re too polite to talk about it.”…

via AT&T’s CEO urges employees to confront racial tensions, and explains the problem with “all lives matter” — Quartz

The Triple Nickels

In honor of Veteran’s Day, I would like to devote special attention to the original Black Panthers, who were also known as the Triple Nickels.  To learn more about these Classic Men, pay a visit to:  http://www.triplenickle.com/history.htm.

Inventory: On Being A Certain Age

James Baldwin inspires me. I only wish I could write as well, be as honest as he, maintain my integrity as he. When one attains a certain age – notice I said “attains” and not “becomes” – many little events occur that signal great changes, transformations are about to descend.

Physically, I learned of new limitations concerning activities I enjoy doing. I adored dancing ’til the break of dawn in my favorite Tango shoes. Now, I adore being able to sleep past dawn! My days begin so early – they have been commencing this way for many a year. I don’t need an alarm clock to awaken me, no matter if we’ve “Sprung forward or Fallen backward.” I, like, the rooster, greet the dawn before it has a chance to greet me!

I read a lot more nonfiction than the fiction of pulp. I adore a good scholarly paper way more than the “M” is for Murder genre. I read while riding the bus or subway. I enjoy in-depth conversations whether my fellow conversationalist is “cutting his or her first teeth” or whether he or she has just obtained a new second set of teeth ’cause they managed to leave the first pair in a glass on the bathroom sink at their son’s/daughter’s/grand-kids’ house!

I can sit still now. That is a skill I had to cultivate. Sitting still has revealed to me the wonders I missed while flitting about like a bee from flower to flower. I have learned Nature has a voice. It speaks slowly and softly.

Mostly, though, attaining a certain age permits me the opportunity to reflect, to look back and to look forward. Indeed, the best is yet to come!

An Open Letter of Love to Black Students: #BlackLivesMatter

I, too, sign this love letter . . . .

Black Space

IMG_5465 Black students and professors, Beaumont Tower, Michigan State University, December 6, 2014. photo by Darryl Quinton Evans

We are Black professors.

We are daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, godchildren, grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, and mothers.

We’re writing to tell you we see you and hear you.

We know the stories of dolls hanging by nooses, nigger written on dry erase boards and walls, stories of nigger said casually at parties by White students too drunk to know their own names but who know their place well enough to know nothing will happen if they call you out your name, stories of nigger said stone sober, stories of them calling you nigger using every other word except what they really mean to call you, stories of you having to explain your experience in classrooms—your language, your dress, your hair, your music, your skin—yourself, of you having to fight for all…

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Getting out alive

Finite Attention Span

No escape: decal of a struck-out person fleeing One Friday in May of 2011, I locked up my shared office, went to the pub with some colleagues and students, and said goodbye to my job as a senior lecturer in psychology.

On the following Tuesday (it was a bank holiday weekend) I started a three-month stint as an intern at a then-mid-sized software company. They were pretty clear that there wouldn’t be more work at the end of it; all I had going for me was that they were paying me — a lot less than my academic job paid, but hey, it was money. (Let’s not even start on the ridiculous exploitation of young people by companies looking for free labour, or how unpaid internships exclude those who can’t afford to work for free.)

Anyway, so … lunacy, right?

Maybe. But maybe it saved my life.

I cannot possibly supply a complete list of the things that drove…

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Devaluing Teachers in the Age of Value-Added

This topic warrants scrutiny . . .

radical eyes for equity

We teach the children of the middle class, the wealthy and the poor,” explains Anthony Cody, continuing:

We teach the damaged and disabled, the whole and the gifted. We teach the immigrants and the dispossessed natives, the transients and even the incarcerated.

In years past we formed unions and professional organizations to get fair pay, so women would get the same pay as men. We got due process so we could not be fired at an administrator’s whim. We got pensions so we could retire after many years of service.

But career teachers are not convenient or necessary any more. We cost too much. We expect our hard-won expertise to be recognized with respect and autonomy. We talk back at staff meetings, and object when we are told we must follow mindless scripts, and prepare for tests that have little value to our students.

During the 1980s and…

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