Wednesday, March 1, 2017

the last book I ever read (Ibram X. Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning, excerpt fifteen)

from the 2016 National Book Award winner for Nonfiction Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi:

In 1989, Public Enemy recorded one of the most popular songs in Hip Hop history, “Fight the Power.” The song headlined the soundtrack of Spike Lee’s critically acclaimed 1989 urban rebellion flick, Do the Right Thing. “Fight the Power” tied together the commencement of the socially conscious age of Hip Hop and Black filmmaking and scholarship. Do the Right Thing was Lee’s third feature film. His second, School Daze (1988), addressed assimilationist ideas related to skin tone and eye color (the lighter the better) and hair texture (the straighter the better), a theme suggest by the fact that Black Power’s Afros were being cut or permed down. Some Blacks were even bleaching their skins White. The most known or suspected skin bleacher in the late 1980s and early 1990s was arguably the nation’s most famous African American, singer Michael Jackson. It was rumored Jackson lightened his skin and thinned his nose and lips to boost his career. Indeed, light-skins still secured higher incomes and were preferred in adoptions, while dark-skins predominated in public housing and prisons and were more likely to report racial discrimination. Racists were blaming dark-skins for these disparities. Antiracists were blaming color discrimination. “The lighter the skin, the lighter the sentence,” was a popular antiracist saying.

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