In this chapter, the Elsa Barkley Brown Barkley begins by claiming that the issue of discrimination based on Gender is not new, with the discourse regarding it dating as far back as the early decades of the 20th century. Although the debate had died down a bit, it has resurfaced and is in a way being redressed through contemporary literary writings, which are recognizing the efforts of African American Women who have made significant contributions to history such as Maggie Lena Walker. Barkley claims that the African Diaspora is essentially a creation of the West through forces such as colonialism, imperialism and capitalism. Further, he proceeds to claim that internal developments in the Americas and Africa have also played a key role in shaping the African Diaspora as it has come to be known. In essence, the author attempts to illuminate through his article aspects of the European New World encounter, through a study of the African diaspora. One of the ways through which one can learn about other movements or groups, based on Barkley’s claims, is basically through an in depth look at the cultural developments and mechanisms through which these developments take place. Such lessons can then be applied to other movements and groups. For instance, Barkley claims that by studying the question of gender within the New World African community, researchers would be able to understand the undercurrents shaping the global gender debate. Another highlight Barkley uses as proof of how studies of the African diaspora can be used to inform debate and studies of other communities, is the fact that Americans even learnt rice growing from Africans. Studying African culture can therefore it would seem inform studies of other cultures, mainly due to the advent of globalization and the interactions that came about due to the slave trade.
In the article, the author also highlights how some scholars are usually misguided in their approach to the study of “Africanity,” as well as other aspects of culture, highlighting how this misdirection leads to flawed findings, as it leads to unitary narratives that only focus on domination, displacement, inadvertently shifting focus to the rise of racial capitalism and European expansion. The chapter conveys the need for scholars to keep an open mind when exploring topics regarding culture, as this would allow for the scholar to gain a wider understanding of the factors that have served to shape contemporary culture as we know it, including the contributions of the different cultures and communities.
Chapter 15: Chasing Fae
The chapter is based on the film “The Watermelon Woman and black Lesbian Possibility” by Laura Sullivan. The film is set during the year 1996 and involves daily activities of the United States culture. It assists to confirm that identity in the contemporary culture is made up of multiple forces. The most common of these forces are race, gender and sexual orientation. Through this understanding of how culture identity the author explores the rise and character of a major culture in the United States culture, the Black Lesbians. While exploring the topic, the author builds a politically engaging and humorous paper that focus on the works of Cheryl, a black lesbian woman who is a prominent filmmaker. In her film she develops Fae as the protagonist “The water melon woman” who has a sexual relationship with her white director. The films plot builds up mainly around Cheryl’s relationship with a white woman Diana and how it contradicts with the subject matter and her research. The films assist to show the convention highlighted by the aspects of race, gender and sexual orientation. In African American culture difference exists to build an identity but this is defined by the identity described by all aspects of an individual. lesbian romance for instance between different races like that of Cheryl and Diana who are of different races depict that our identity is not only defined by social dynamics or by racist fetishization but by aspects in the social norms.
Chapter 18: What Is This “Black” In Black Popular Culture?
The author focus on the key moment of the Black Popular culture, he does this by explaining the major historical moment of understanding the rise and expansion of the black community in the United States. Though there are multiple occasions when people question the activities and social norms of the black popular culture, all these moments are well related to the early stages of the community which has three main historical moments. The initial stage is the changes in the European popular culture which is marked by the old Arnoldian reading where refugees became common and accepted. The second stage in the black moment culture is the emergence of the United Sates as the world power which mean that the world global cultures had to be in circulation since everybody felt the need to be involved with the affairs of the world power. The black moment or the begging of black Americans was not only important for the black people but for the entire country because it brought about ethnological forms, mass culture and image media. Finally, the chapter discusses the third stage of the black moment as the decolonization period. Decolonization of the third world encouraged coordination hence introduced civil rights and black struggles of the people of black diasporas.
Chapter 20: African Signs and Spirit Writing
Harryette Mullen explores African American literature, highlighting the contributions of may of the prominent African American writers of our times and times gone by. Mullen not only provides an overview of an article by Davis and Gates The Slaves Narrative, but also goes yet further in her article to criticize scholars such as Gates who attempt to paint a picture depicting African culture as devoid of literary history. This can be seen in her statement that she finds Gate’s acceptance of the Eurocentric assumption that African culture did not have any forms of indigenous writing particularly concerning. This she argues if a shallow judgment of African Americans, more so when one considers that for a time, it was illegal to teach African Americans to read and write, mainly condemning them to not just illiteracy, but also condemning their culture to oblivion, as a majority of it could not be preserved. The author therefore, attempts in the article, to explore the relationship between African signs and African American spirit writing, in order to discover the existence of connections between old African traditions and current African American literature. Although Mullen admits that the loss of language represented a significant setback to the preservation of African literary culture, contemporary African American literature still shows signs of the preservation of the African culture through extraliterary forms of visual expression. In essence, the author argues that the persistence of certain extraliterary traditions such as spirit possession, well into the beliefs of the contemporary church, are a strong suggestion that certain aspects of contemporary literature were definitely influenced by traditional African literary culture.
Chapter 21: Black (w) Holes and The Geometry of Black female Sexuality
The chapter focuses on the works of Evelynn Hammonds who uses the woman’s body as a symbol of how racialization can not be separated from the society structure. The woman body is depicted to consist of different systems and outlook sides but either way a woman has to learn to cope with the multiple ways of how people view her. The two main sides are similar to what how the society is today as it has been forced to be by racialization. Though racialization when discussed in public is viewed to be an issue of a specific group, the truth is that it affects people from all walks of life since it influences dominance and subordination in the society. Race in the United States forms the basis of several stereotypes which further equate to dominance or subordination. The Black Americans are already viewed as the inferior group or the subordinate, which being a black female even sets the standard of dominance slightly lower. Racism works hand in hand with discrimination and gender inferiority to the extent that the author is said to be lower the image of the black woman to ”just a hole” mainly because rather than being of a lower social status of the black woman she is also homosexual. In other words the chapter combines the three main pointers to identity which are race, gender and sexual orientation.