Angela’s Story

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Ask three people about Angela Davis, and you’ll probably get four or five different descriptions.

Feminist? Communist? Criminal? Scholar? Vice Presidential Candidate?

If nothing else, she’s a #blaxit superstar. Her escape and the wisdom she brought back had a powerful impact on societal discourse in the United States.

Born black and female in Birmingham, Alabama in 1944, Angela’s life might have been brief and violent. She knew the four girls killed in the Birmingham Church bombing in 1963.

 

You’d have to ask Angela if she participated in a Junior Year Abroad in order to escape America, or to expand her own mind.

The experience certainly informed much of her life. According to Alice Kaplan, Angela’s time in France transformed herself, and “in turn transformed the cultural and political life of the United States”.

Kaplan’s book, Dreaming in French takes a look at the lives of three American women whose time outside of the United States influenced the rest of their lives.

Here’s an article featuring Angela that should be required reading for intelligent, empowered women considering an escape abroad.

Dreaming in French: On Angela Davis

 

 

 

 

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Black Girl

I don’t like talking about race.

I’ve always wanted to be seen for what I am: an individual, just a person. I have never wanted to be defined by my exterior.

But, for most of my life, the outside world has constantly and consistently reduced me to my exterior in just about every interaction.

I fought against that, and with time, proved other individuals wrong in their reductive assumptions.

I have always tried to move attention away from my exterior.

So why am I drawing attention to it now?

In part, there is something in the air. It’s a good time to be black, in terms of public discourse. A growing segment of the general population seems to be more amenable to discussions about race.

There also seems to be an increased solidarity among black folk from a multitude of backgrounds, discussing shared experiences and creating community.

That community and sense of belonging gives me the courage to consider trying to engage with a different group of people.

The “I have a black friend” folks.

The ones not quite sure how to feel about #blackgirlmagic. Or what seems to be a surge in “angry black people” all over the place.

The ones who would like to consider themselves allies, but aren’t sure how or what exactly that means.

The ones who might have accidentally “rented a negro” in the past, and want to distance themselves from that experience.

The ones who wanted to rock “boxer braids” and didn’t understand why black people got all wound up.

The #alllivesmatter crowd and the “slavery was a long time ago” crowd are not welcome.

This is not a space for debate.

This is not a space to get your “black card”.

I’m just going to do what I have done all my life: Be Me.

I have been the one black face in the group, and therefore the de facto authority on “blackness”. I don’t like that role, and I’m changing it.

I’m going to talk about issues that resonate with me, Gia, the individual human being. If I talk about race, if I post things where people are upset about racism, that does not make me “anti” white/majority.

If I try to dissect why some white folks get all bent out of shape, that does not make me “anti” black.

If I criticize anti-woman behavior, that does not make me a man-hater. (I quite like men, actually. Very much a fan!)

It all makes me human. Just like you.