Born 1863, daughter of former slaves. Part of the rising
black middle and upper class. Used her position to fight racial discrimination.
In 1892 a personal friend of hers was lynched and this sparked her activism.
Whilst she did join Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s anti-lynching campaigns, she focused
on ‘racial uplift’ that black people could end racial discrimination by
advancing through society in education, work, community activism. Focused on equal
opportunities. In 1896 founded NACW (National Association of Colored Women).
She believed she belong to the only group in the country that had two huge obstacles
to surmount – her sex and her race. At age 86 she protested segregated eating
facilities, and in 1953 the Supreme Court ruled that they were indeed
Ida B. Wells-Barnett:
Born into slavery in Mississippi in 1862. Her parents both
became politically active in the Reconstruction Era politics. She also highly valued
education like Mary Church Terrell. She enrolled in college but was expelled
after starting a dispute with the college president. She dedicated herself to
investigate mob violence and lynchings, and published findings in pamphlets and
newspaper columns. She started receiving threats that eventually drove her out
of the South and she moved to Chicago.
Although Ida B. Wells focused more on lynching, there are
similarities between these women. They were both devout Christians and
justified their ideas with their strong faith. Terrell seemed to focus more on
what they could do to better themselves within the system and fight it from the
inside, whereas Wells attacked the system and wanted results.
When I arrived at the Make Your Own Passport workshop I was instructed to pull out a paper slip, like a lottery draw, for my designated passport. I pulled Belarus and proceeded to make the passport. Whilst crafting my new passport, some ‘stateless’ classmates wondered around the tables and told us their stories. I felt a sense of pity towards my classmates for having pulled the unfortunate ‘stateless’ identity as they were not making a passport of their own. In reflection, this makes me think of the ‘lottery’ of your birth place, and how rights are just handed to individuals for being born in a certain geographic location. Furthermore, the complications that arise with the concept of Citizenship, by not being recognised by any state as a member. After feeling sorry for my classmates not knowing what to do in this workshop or where to go, I began to imagine the real stateless people in our world today. I cannot begin to imagine the difficulties they have leading their lives with no official identity. What can they do? Where do they go? I am keen to learn more about these people and what possibly could be done to help them.
I also had not heard of the Global passport power rank before, and it was interesting to do some more research on this in class and discuss the criteria. It seems to me that it is based on the travel freedom of the passport holders, ie number of countries they can visit visa-less, visa on arrival and visa before departure.
Sontag discusses the question Woolf received and the direction she took
regarding ‘we’. She explains that photographs from war can be interpreted in
different ways depending on the reader’s position, specifically gender and
their privilege in society. Furthermore, how pictures can be used during warfare.
They could be a ‘call for peace’ or a ‘cry for revenge’.
War photography can be used and interpreted in many ways, especially dependent
on the viewer’s position in society.
Chapter 6 summary:
Here Sontag raises the question of why we choose to look
at horrifying images, and why we choose not to (changing the channel for example).
She describes the human allure to the repulsive, and references Philosophers such
as Plato and Bataille that have written on this subject. A good example she
gave that illustrated the concept was traffic slowing down past a horrendous
car crash out of ‘curiosity’.
Human’s are attracted to horrifying images out of a ‘love
Chapter 8 summary:
Sontag mostly talks about the power of memory in
chapter 8. Furthermore the effects of reading the news and seeing the horrific
images on the viewers from far away. She claims that somebody who continues to feel
disillusioned at the atrocities that humans commit to one another has not
reached moral or psychological adulthood. A moral defectiveness. This chapter
really is evaluating the morality of turning away from the atrocities we read
on the news because we’re too far away for it to affect us.
Questioning the morality of turning away from
Adolph Eichmann – the Nazi operative responsible for organising the transportation of millions of Jews and others to various concentration camps in support of the Nazi’s Final Solution.
Arendt believed he performed evil deeds without evil intentions. He was neither perverted nor sadistic. ‘Terrifyingly normal’. He lacked a cognitive ability that would let him feel that he was doing wrong.
The banality of evil was the collection of characteristics of Eichmann, not inherently evil but shallow and clueless, ‘a joiner’.
Davis – Recognizing Racism in an Era of Neoliberalism
“This results in pressuring the poorest people in a society
to find solutions to their lack of health
care, education, and social security all by themselves – then blaming them
if they fail, as ‘lazy’”
This sentence particularly resonated with me as Davis was speaking more generally about the poor, rather than explicitly the link to racism. This caused me, as the reader, to think about the connection between poverty and race. The mention of public expenditures and government intervention in the private sphere, and ‘individual responsibility’ makes me question the involvement the state has in supposedly private matters, and further, the involvement they should have. The notion of blaming the poor for their own conditions reminded me of Marx’s ideas on indoctrination of the working classes to accept their exploitation. Therefore, I would like to place Marx on the panel with Davis, along with Locke for his ideas of ‘human freedom’ and its link to labour, and furthermore of private ownership.
The three questions I ask would be:
To what extent can we use history to explain
What are the effects of wage labour on different
groups in society?
Where is the line between the public and the private
sphere, and where does the state fit into this?
Q. To what extent can one determine their own identity despite the environment they live in? (political, social, geographical…)
Agree: All 3 authors agree that stories are told by those in
power, those who have the opportunity to speak. Identity is multi-faceted and
cannot be determined by one factor. Identity can be affected by the powerful particularly
with how stories are told. The generaralisation of immigrants is problematic
(eg Africa as a country, or the tokenisation of immigrant speakers)
Disagree: Maalouf discusses the hostility that immigrants can receive
for embracing their cultural roots, whereas Adichie was expected to fit in to her
national stereotype once arriving in the USA. They seem to have different
theories on why cultural identity is still an issue today, whether it be a lack
of education or an active choice.