Tag Archives: black culture

Seven Things You Didn’t Know About Hotep Twitter

Tristan Samuels is a MA student in Egyptology via the Near East Studies progam at the University of Toronto. His major research centers on race in antiquity and the relationship between Kemet (ancient Egypt) & Nubi‎a. This post is the first essay for Tristan’s new column for us, With Malcolm, a space to discuss Africana studies and cultural engagement, which you can follow also on Twitter @WithMalcolm.

 

I’ve noticed, frequently, on my twitter timeline a series of tweets in a hashtag #ThingsIHateAboutHoteps which was rather ironic because I was venting my thoughts about the latest anti-Black erasure of Kemet (ancient Egypt) in Hollywood in Spike TV’s TV special Tut in the #BoycottTut hashtag. More recently, there was a Huffington post discussion that was decent, but had limited diversity in perspective. From my understanding (based on the tweets that I’ve observed), ‘Hoteps’ refers to black pseudo-intellectualism and pseudo-Black nationalism. I’m down for all the criticisms (some of which were especially funny), but to call these people ‘Hoteps’ in a matter of slur is anti-Black. I will provide this list illustrating why the naming of this group as “Hotep” is problematic and anti-Black. This list by no means is exhaustive, but should be seen as an introduction to the idea of “Hotep” within Africana studies.

 

Fact #1. “Hotep” is a classical African word, specifically from Medu Neter (ancient Egyptian Language) meaning ‘peace’. E.g. famous Kemetic intellectual ‘Im-hotep’ can be rendered as ‘in peace’. The problem remains two-fold: people who do not care to do rigorous study of Kemet are hi-jacking the term; also, those who criticize them as Hoteps perpetuate anti-Blackness by dissing an ancient African language and concept which is remains misunderstood.

 

Fact #2. There are alternative terms to describe pseudo-intellectualism & pseudo-Black Nationalists. For example, Fake-Deep & Fake-Conscious (I prefer the former because it’s shorter). These posers are fake in that they co-opt academic language and use pseudo-intellectual scholarship in order to prove how much blacker they are than the next person. I’m also open to other ideas that do not disparage any Black cultural traditions (ancient or modern), maybe even as these interviewees at the Huffington Post referred Fake Deep as No-Tep or other have called it, Faux-Tep.

 

Fact #3. Disagreement with Twitter’s version of intersectionality is not inherently bigoted. The fake-deep community cites youtube videos as ‘evidence’ for their faux academic Black nationalism, but many people misabuse ‘intersectionality’ to look ‘progressive’ with limited knowledge of the discourse itself. Twitter Intersectionalists refuse read/acknowledge serious criticisms of intersectionality from post-intersectionalists or multidimensionality theorist perspectives.  Part of the problem that Rod and I have noticed is that intersectionality in online discourse is understood in primarily individualist, private, experiential terms. Any criticism of a person using intersectionality in an online context will be seen as a personal attack.

 

Fact #4. The bigotries associated with ‘Hoteps’ can be found anywhere on Black Twitter. As heterogeneous as Black Twitter is, not all Black women and men are AntiRacists or Womanist thinkers. Black Twitter is a reflection of Black Life in the African diaspora and its diversity should be recognized as such.

 

Fact #5. The concept of Black male privilege has no support from empirical evidence. For good arguments to back up this criticism, please see Dr. Tommy J Curry  ‘The Myth of Black Male Privilege and ’“‘Black Male Feminism’: a debate between Dr. Tommy Curry and Dr. David Ikard”  Perhaps this is my most controversial statement, but it must be said.  Fake-deep people certainly are sexist, homophobic, etc., but this is not only Black men & gendered discrimination is not one way.  It is impossible for Black men to be patriarchs in a society where Black men wield little institutional power as well as demonizes Black masculinity, e.g. observe the rate of police brutality against Black men.

 

Fact #6. It is a patronizing argument to continue to say: ‘why focus on Ancient Egypt, what about other African cultures’?’ Unfortunately,  Mainstream discussions of ‘Black/African History’ do not include Kemet.  Kemet’s Blackness is constantly contested in comparison to other African cultures, e.g. I don’t have to argue that medieval Mali is a Black culture. Kemet is the oldest attested Black culture & yields a vast range of primary sources that are more accessible and more diverse than most pre-modern Black cultures (e.g. ancient Nubia, Medieval West African Kingdoms, etc.). Black LGBTQIA scholars have asserted Kemet’s African context based on their understanding of ‘other African cultures’ as well as , via African-centered thought, Kemet scholarship offers us unique ways to think about the contemporary Black world. It would be best for critics to say that they personally are not interested on Kemet – and they shouldn’t disparage others who are.

 

Fact #7. There is a very lazy argument that is quite popular these days: “This ‘we were kings and queens’ shit is ahistorical and celebrates oppressive systems” Okay, first of all, it’s just a popular way of saying African societies had complex socio-political systems – Duh! Chiekh Anta Diop demonstrated this over & over. I’d recommend looking at PreColonial Black Africa . These Black rhetorics of royalty are, in fact, subversive to Western notions of ‘democracy’ as Pan-Africanist scholar Greg Thomas argues  in “Queens of Consciousness & Sex-Radicalism in Hip-Hop: On Erykah Badu & The Notorious K.I.M.” JPAS 1.7 (2007), pp. 31-32. In contrast, Classical Athens, the idealized democracy, included only Athenian males as citizens (with situational exceptions). Some “democracy!”The slave class was racialized (but not only Blacks) and ethnicized (non-Athenian Greeks). The U.S. prides itself on being the a descendent of ancient Athens, and I presume readers know all about American democracy & white supremacy. So democracy – read historically – can be shown to be inherently tied to exclusion. I’d prefer critics read the work of actual African-centered scholars – like Chiekh Anta Diop, Jacob Carruthers, Theophile Obenga, Mario Beatty [1] – to critique fake-deep twitter, not personal assumptions, and come to their own conclusions concerning the complexities of pre-colonial African political life.

Notes

[1] Recommended sources:

(a) Mario Beatty has a great discussion which makes a great overview: Part 1 –  ; Part 2 –  

 

(b) The Journal of Pan African studies has some articles that discuss Kemet itself and/or in context of other African cultures: (click ‘archives’ tab)

c) there is also ANKH: (NOTE: some articles are written in French)

(d) great overview of the meaning of Africana studies in general:  “What Black Studies Is Not Moving From Crisis To Liberation In Africana Intellectual Work

if twitter is so toxic

The advent of social media comes with its ups and downs, just like with anything in life in general. I think that the idea that anywhere on the Internet is a safe space, let alone twitter, is an opinion born out of immense privilege. People are online for all kinds of reasons, and just a few years ago, as of August 2009, I refused to join Twitter.com. My microblogging (what are called Tweets) have remained fairly consistent. It’s always been about fandoms, politics, and theology. Essentially, what I write about here on PJ, except in 140 character blurbs.

Twitter has definitely changed things for me. It has made it easier for me to network with persons with my general interests, I have learned new ideas, such as with the emergence of Black Nerdity and Blerd Chats. I still feel that the religious meanings of things like Social Justice and Black Twiitter have yet to be explored. Sure, Twitter has its darkside, like the numbers of parody accounts and reactionary racist hashtags like #SpeakAmerican.

Yet, the overwhelming majority of Trends on Twitter are good, positive messages, support for fallen persons, or just plain ole snarky criticisms of liberals and conservatives. As I noted in a recent Tumblr post:

“As a black man who regularly uses Twitter for discussing theology, racial justice, and geeky fandom talk, I have found Twitter to be more or less pretty safe.  This is what it is to have male privilege online.  Men are allowed to have opinions, even men of colors sometimes.  There have been a few times, however, that I have been the victim of white supremacist trolls. When I wrote a blogpost on the New Apartheid and the Renisha McBride murder, immediately three or four white supremacists trolls jumped into my timeline. Total strangers who had never once glanced at my TL or Bio for that matter.

What I experienced is nothing compared to the harassment that renowned Women of Color on Twitter get on a daily basis.  When a racist hashtag trends on Twitter ( #TT ), it does matter because it means there are groups of people who are intending to make Twitter an unsafe space for People of Color.  As I have written before, white liberals for some reason refuse to take cyber-white supremacy seriously.”

Last week, Michelle Goldberg wrote a piece, Feminism’s Toxic Twitter Wars [linked is the Do Not Link Version] about the Toxic Twitter Wars perpetuated by savage Maoist Women of Color.  It was declared to be “fair and balanced,” sort of the way Fox News claims for itself.  In reality, it was very much lopsided in its criticism of women of color, but not only that, Goldberg relied on negative stereotypes of Black and Latin@ women to make her case.  My first question is, in what type of world are common tropes levied against WOC acceptable?  The suffering of WOC is deemed as something that is not worthy of empathy.  Is this not the very essence of White Supremacy?

“Going back to the Michelle Goldberg piece, her “Toxic Twitter Wars” post works in the exact same fashion, only with negative stereotypes of Women Of Color added in as well. The anti-racist response to #FemFuture was compared to, oh look another Communist China/tyrannical POC political figure reference as a “Maoist hazing.” As Goldberg reminisces about back in the day, “Just a few years ago, the feminist blogosphere seemed an insouciant, freewheeling place, revivifying women’s liberation for a new generation. “It felt like there was fun and possibility…a momentum or excitement that was building,” says Anna Holmes, who founded Jezebel, Gawker Media’s influential women’s website, in 2007. In 2011, critic Emily Nussbaum celebrated the feminist blogosphere in New York magazine: “Freed from the boundaries of print, writers could blur the lines between formal and casual writing; between a call to arms, a confession, and a stand-up routine—and this new looseness of form in turn emboldened readers to join in, to take risks in the safety of the shared spotlight.” ” Yes, it was a feminist blogopshere prior to the existence of Twitter, and therefore before Black Twitter, and before Social Justice Twitter. Goldberg problem is not with the Women of Color challenging Lean In/Respectability Politics feminism; its the nature of twitter itself she should be taking into consideration. But alas! Women of Color are the scapegoats, and mean ones at that!

Enter Goldberg, once more: “On the phone, Kendall isn’t mean. She seems warm and engaging, but also obsessed” Goldberg even took offense to HuffPo’s rare excellent piece “5 Ways White Feminists Can Address Our Own Racism. because Women of Color are the reason for “an environment of perpetual psychodrama.” In other words, Women of Color, besides the ones that agree with Massa Jezebel and Massa #FemFuture, are incapable of rationality. Of course, it was said in the most progressive, nicest way possible. After all, only whites are capable of being objective, right Dan Savage? The White Supremacist myth that People of Color are by nature intellectually inferior raises its ugly head once more. And once more, because the argument is an apology for the Politics of Respectability, Progressive Whites are okay with that.”

I think the real question about Twitter’s “toxicity” should be, if Twitter is sooooooo hostile a space, why do corporations use it to do product placement?  Why does the media use it as another outlet for news?  Why are so many celebrities willing to spend $11,000 to have verified accounts for a social media space you can have for free? The answer lies in a proper examination of the social location of those proclaiming the “dangers” of Twitter yet go without mentioning any other space online.

 

If you enjoyed this piece,

You may also like from around the web:

detox: {on twitter wars and who gets to write history]

White Supremacy’s Toxic Twitter Wars

In Defense Of Twitter Feminism

Breathe, Michelle Goldberg, It’ll Be Okay

 

 

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The Africana Bible: The Torah

Words have a power all their own

PHAROAH AND MOSES DON’T KNOW NOTHIN’ ‘BOUT BIRTHIN’ BABIES!

Previous posts on The Africana Bible:Reading Israel’s Scriptures From Africa And The African Diaspora

Intro: Not a Commentary but Folklore;

The Africana Bible: Women, Art, Responsibility;

The Africana Bible: Judges and Dethroning Bishop Eddie Long.

How would Christianity be different if Christians read the Torah/The First Five Books of the Bible, as Diasporic Bric-A-Brac? The the Avengers’ Assembled! in the House of Israel, the collection of writings that make up the TORAH come from a variety of literary genres. The Torah, therefore, should not be read as purely “The Law” for there is poetry in it, and historical accounts cannot neatly fit into what narrative interpreters call “metaphor” or “story” (page 65). Speaking of story, just exactly whose story is it? Does the Torah belong to any one exclusive community? Am I asking that question from a privileged position as a 21st Century Gentile Christian with access to as many Bibles as I want? As disparate as the voices are in the First Testament, dare we re-claim Israel’s Scripture as the Word(s) of God, as a gift for Israel to share with the Nations? Possession is a tricky tricky thing: if it’s Israel’s or Africana’s Word, will we take responsibility for the war, rape, and incest in the text? If these scrolls do indeed belong to God, are we willing to accept a Malevolent Creator? Or do we re-define what it means for a sacred possession (the Good Book) to be in the hands of dispossessed people groups all together?

Genesis 9 & 10 as a possession of European colonizers was a “Table of the Nations,” more like a racist theodicy of sorts telling us why Black people were on the bottom rung of society, why whites were at the top, and how God divided the human races into three identifiable racial groupings. All of which was a social construct to begin with, but hey, the imperialists had to start somewhere, am I right? No where in Scripture did the terms Hamites, Shemites, or Japethites ever show up curiously. I have posted on The Curse of Ham in Genesis before [linked here] in the past, and this point further advances my argument that the Curse of Ham/Cain hermeneutic is inherently racist and beyond any redemptive use. Rodney Sadler goes on to contend that the Joseph Novella in Genesis 37-50 is a potential source of hope for those in the African Diaspora (76-78). I beg to differ; if Joseph/Israel is God’s favorite son, and he gets sold into slavery and had his integrity questioned which lead to his imprisonment, how does that speak liberation to young men and women of color in prison due in some part to racist public policies? Blacks are God’s favorite, therefore, whites can call Three Strikes and You’re Out, and throw away the key? It doesn’t make any sense from a theodicy or Christology stand-point IMHO, Christ is God’s favorite, is the only innocent victim, and his suffering love is sufficient enough where no BODY else has to die to break a curse or ransom her people.

Is Exodus a Re-Mix, another version of a song re-told by a group of people? Does the re-mix culminate into a Tabernacle-House Party, a God on the move for a people on the move (87)? Leviticus may be a book whose center is love and justice, but where is the love for persons who break the law and are given the death penalty? Where is the love, as the Black Eyed Peas once sang? Love wasn’t there when the Five Daughters got their father’s land, and then it was taken away from them in Numbers (in chapters 27 & 36). If Deuteronomy is right, orphans, widows, and aliens are always gonna be the recipients of charity (104).

Perhaps these questions wouldn’t be so problematic if we started back at the beginning, with Genesis 1:26, how God made earthlings, both male and female, in God’s image. It’s hard for us to imagine why Miriam and Aaron were jealous of Moses for marrying a Black woman. Could it be that blackness was the standard for beauty in the Ancient Near East? Hard to imagine, isn’t?

Not if you truly believe everyone is made in the Imago Dei……..

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