In this poem Watershed Voice columnist Aundrea Sayrie answers the age old question, when is it OK for white folks to use the “N-word?”
Disclaimer: This poem features strong language, and subject matter that may make some uncomfortable. Reader discretion advised.
Watershed Voice columnist Aundrea Sayrie says it’s time to “throw the entire rolodex of excuses away” when it comes to not talking about racism, and have the conversation already.
“I do not understand these reactions to non-accusatory statements. How is initiating a conversation about racism deduced to divisive rhetoric? Is it willful ignorance? Banning books and Critical Race Theory from the classroom doesn’t mean The Devil’s Punchbowl doesn’t exist. That’s not how that works.”
Watershed Voice columnist Aundrea Sayrie writes, “I have wasted so much of my time and talent centering the ‘White gaze.’ A term coined by Toni Morrison to explain the concept of catering to and living under the constant scrutiny of white supremacy. It is the ethnocentric lens through which all behaviors pass. A tool used to measure anything to its proximity to Whiteness. The gold standard. Including behaviors, languages, bodies, literally everything. A close-minded approach, and standard we have been forced to uphold for survival’s sake.”
Watershed Voice columnist Aundrea Sayrie writes, “There is disappointment in finding oneself in a discriminatory situation. The event itself can leave you reeling, but what gets me every time, are the nice White people. The witnesses who do nothing. The ones that just stand there with all that privilege and watch. Complicit.”
Alek and Doug welcome poet, community activist, voice actor, author, and Watershed Voice columnist and board member Aundrea Sayrie. The long awaited interview with one of Watershed’s founding members doesn’t disappoint as Aundrea talks the origin story of Three Rivers Open Mic, her Black History Month series on WSV and why she decided to change the format this year, her ongoing health concerns and how they have changed her outlook on life, and an upcoming book she’s written about professional voice acting.
Watershed Voice columnist Aundrea Sayrie writes, “Although there has been much recognition of the historical trauma experienced by people of color in this country, there has never been a time that these racist institutions have been tossed out and rebuilt. They have only been reimagined and enforced in ways that continue to oppress people of color. Racial inequalities exist in financial, educational, judicial, medical and social constructs.”
Watershed Voice columnist Aundrea Sayrie writes, “Never one to fold and knowing I am not the only one holding mixed emotions about what it means to be proud and Black, this year my focus is on highlighting sources of racial based traumatic stress, and their negative impact on the mental health of the Black community.”
WSV’s Aundrea Sayrie writes, “Worthy causes have always required allies. Thankfully the work of past generations has not been in vain because inhumane and cruel social constructs have been eradicated but the fact remains there is still need for progress on many fronts. There is still a need for advocacy and activism. This is because although the month of February is coming to a close, Black history, Black joy, Black exploitation, Black pain, and racism isn’t over.”
Content Warning: The following contains unsettling and graphic details concerning the life of Sarah Baartman. Baartman was sold into slavery, and put on exhibit as a “freakshow attraction” due to her naturally curvaceous body. She endured unimaginable cruelty as she was sexually exploited for others’ profit. This piece is intended to educate and bring a broader awareness of racist colonial exploitation, and the dehumanization of Black people. Reader discretion is advised.
Zora Neale Hurston is most famous as a fiction writer associated with the Harlem Renaissance. Her most famous book became the 2005 movie of the same name: Their Eyes Were Watching God. Yet this remarkable, and controversial woman was also a notable cultural anthropologist — and a student of the “father of American anthropology” Franz Boas — whose contributions have only recently begun to be appreciated.
Charlotta Bass is believed to be the first African-American woman to own and operate a newspaper in the United States, and was the first African-American woman nominated for vice president.
Fred Hampton was an American civil rights leader, deputy chairman of the Black Panther Party Illinois chapter, and founder of the City of Chicago’s first Rainbow Coalition.
Garrett Morgan was an African-American inventor, businessman, and community leader who is credited with inventing an improved sewing machine and traffic signal, a hair-straightening product, and a respiratory device that would later provide the blueprint for World War I gas masks.
Gloria Richardson Dandridge was the first woman in the United States to lead a civil rights movement outside of the Deep South as co-founder of the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee (CNAC).
Benjamin Banneker was a mathematician, astronomer, landowner, and author of a commercially successful series of almanacs.
Mary Bowser operated as a Union spy in the White House of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Aside from being the only place in town with an espresso machine, Magic Capital Grille is doing something else that no other restaurant in Colon is doing. They are celebrating Black History Month.
Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller was the first African American psychiatrist and a pioneer in the study of Alzheimer’s disease.