This practice was fairly common in the war in Eastern Congo some years ago. Consuming human flesh became a means to consume an enemy’s power. When I was reporting on this, I became concerned that by writing about contemporary cannibalism, I would be contributing to stupid old stereotypes about Africa as some kind of cannibal land. In researching the history, I found a couple of interesting facts. First, Christopher Columbus coined the term “cannibal” when he was writing about a certain ethnic group, probably the Caribes, who, a rival group told him, ate their enemies. Columbus used this tale as an argument for converting the rest of the world to Christianity. Also, during the colonial period, many Africans believed that the white colonists were cannibals because so many Africans never returned from working for them in the copper and gold mines. Because the colonists ate canned food, the one common African understanding was that the whites were chopping up the Africans into little pieces and sending them home in cans.
This year will take from me
the hardened person
who I longed to be.
I am healing by mistake.
Rome is also built on ruins.
Eliza Griswold, from “Ruins”
I’m embarrassed I didn’t know Eliza Griswold wrote poems. Of course she does. Baby Amina was obsessed with her magazine writing when we were both at the New America Foundation. Also this poem is perfect
Rapes, plural. It is on record. Rapes in the dozen. So stop hedging your words and when you tell me what a brilliant ode to pussy Black Panties is, then realize that the next sentence should say: “This, from a man who has committed numerous rapes.” The guy was a monster! Just say it!
I have never found myself sexually attracted to men, but I’ve definitely been in love with some men in my life. I didn’t want to fuck them and didn’t want them to fuck me, but I cared so much for them and they cared for me. And though we didn’t touch sexually, we really appreciated touch. We were always hugging each other, giving each other knowing looks on the court or when motherfuckers started acting crazy in public. This is love. But we don’t call it love enough. Men can have those kind of relationships without a reliance on dissing women. I think a lot of men and a lot of emcees add the dissing of women to their care for men because they’re afraid of being seen as queer. But that’s bullshit. If you don’t wanna fuck men, you don’t wanna fuck men. It doesn’t mean that you can’t fall in love with men. I don’t know why but I never wanted to kiss my best friend, Ray Gunn. I don’t know why but curvy bodies excite parts of me. I don’t know why. But I know that I’ve been in love with some men and some women and while I’ve had sex with some of the women I was in love with, I’ve also not had sexual contact at all with other women I’ve fallen in love with. You see what I’m saying. So yeah, dissing women doesn’t need to be a part of loving men.
The Confederate Flag should not die because black people have come to feel a certain way about their country, it should die when white people come to feel a certain way about themselves.
But though we were born in violence, we did not die there. That such a seemingly hateful word should return as a marker of nationhood and community confounds our very notions of power. “Nigger” is different because it is attached to one of the most vibrant cultures in the Western world. And yet the culture is inextricably linked to the violence that birthed us. “Nigger” is the border, the signpost that reminds us that the old crimes don’t disappear. It tells white people that, for all their guns and all their gold, there will always be places they can never go.
I would say that my mother is the single biggest role model in my life, but that term doesn’t seem to encompass enough when I use it about her. She was the love of my life.
[O]ne of my dearest friends, a Negro writer now living in Spain, circled around me and I around him for months before we spoke. One Negro meeting another at an all-white cocktail party… cannot but wonder how the other got there. The question is: Is he for real? or is he kissing ass?… Negroes know about each other what can here be called family secrets, and this means that one Negro, if he wishes, can “knock” the other’s “hustle”—can give his game away… Therefore, one “exceptional” Negro watches another “exceptional” Negro in order to find out if he knows how vastly successful and bitterly funny the hoax has been. Alliances, in the great cocktail party of the white man’s world, are formed, almost purely, on this basis, for if both of you can laugh, you have a lot to laugh about. On the other hand, if only one of you can laugh, one of you, inevitably, is laughing at the other.