Monthly Archives: September 2013

Here is a poem I recently wrote and performed at the Air Lounge last night. Stay tuned to when I perform at Air Lounge again:


Why do you throw stones in your own reflection?
Trying to straighten out naps.
Squeeze noses down to size.
Use cake soap to lighten skin complexion
between Vybz Kartel and the late MJ.
While those with pale skin lay on the beach for a tan.

You who memorize the lies
coming from bobbing heads
from CNN or Fox, 
that you are a violent criminal,
welfare cheat,
deadbeat dad,
unfit mother.
Their images become ingrained in your psyche
you make their stereotypes of you come true.

Every time you see a labelled criminal on television
You cringe and hope you don’t have the same complexion.
You wear their shame as goosebumps on your arms.

As if their actions says something about your character.

You think if only they act more respectable
and spoke with good grammar.
Then they could make something of themselves as you have.
You who went to the good schools and obtained the good education.
You who have a good job and a good home.
You who think you obtained a piece of the American Dream.
They just need to work harder
and they can be just like you.

Well sorry to burst your bubble,
but they probably do not want to be you anyway.
Cuz you have not lift a finger to help them.
You hardly spend money in their businesses
so we can have money in our local economy.
So eager you are to be Eurocentric,
you forget the Afrocentric.

Our history chalk full
with pharaohs building the pyramids of Kemit,
the stories from the 15th century catholic kingdom of the Kongo,
or the glory of the Akan and Oyo empires’ kings.

Why do you want to identify with a culture who
beats you,
rapes you,
sell you as commodities,
steal your names, language, and history
and then ravages and pillages the very place
where you are from?

Think it may be time to wipe the lightening make-up from your face,
let the kink come back in your hair,
and spend more time in the community
among people that will be willing to support you.
Love the coco skin you are in
Because it is the only one you got.

After reading American Eugenics by Nancy Ordover I begin to have a greater appreciation of the ideology behind the different forms of oppression that we as minorities in this country face. In the book Ordover eloquently explains the pseudo American science that the American elite used as justification for their elevated status and the marginalized position of oppressed populations. As a result the justification behind racism and social exclusion of communities like the African American population had what was appeared to be a scientific underpinning. The basis of eugenic theory was that marginalized communities had something that was genetic or biologically dysfunctional that prevented them from succeeding in the supposed “free society” of America. So in a sense they were deemed to have a disabling body that excluded them from acting like normal citizens in this country. Although Ordover explains the ludicrousness of this philosophy she doesn’t adequately challenge the inherit philosophy that having a disabled body is always to be avoided and thus cannot fully criticize the ableism that underpins all eugenics.


The one major critique that I have of the book is that she dedicated only one chapter on how eugenics affected the disability community. This was disappointing giving the topic and given the fact that ableism is the basis of the eugenics analysis of all other populations. It is basis behind twentieth century scientists’ desire to discover “the Gay gene” or nineteenth century scientists’ interest in the debunk science of phrenology that tried to determine if people with different ethnicity had different brain sizes. The commonality between these dubious science the targeted populations had something innate in their bodies that made them inferior. The reason why eugenics scientists did not have to explain how people with disabilities were inferior was because it was self-evident to them. The disability community was then stigmatized as the ultimate marginalized society that everyone avoids belonging to. This philosophy reverberates in all parts of society and most certainly affected Ordover’s analysis in dealing with the disability community and eugenics.


What I Ordover would have touched on in her analysis is that people with disabilities having lives that our just as worthy of living as any other. She did explain this society’s tendency to sterilize  people with disabilities because there is a common consensus that people with disabilities are child-like and therefore cannot care for children themselves. What I wanted was a critique of the common consensus regarding people with disabilities. I wanted her to say flatly that there was no human life that was unworthy of regulating their own reproduction. Because if people with disabilities can have their right to parenthood protected then it will be easier for other marginalized populations to protect their reproduction capabilities. It is the primal fear people have of people with disabilities that gives fuel to the eugenics movements’ philosophy of the imperfect body that needs to fixed. As a result any analysis of eugenics and its affect on society should have the social construction of the disabled body as one of the argument’s main focus.