“‘I had never been at home in the world’: A Case for Black Indigenism,” in Curriculum Inquiry 49, no. 1. (2019): 44-64.
In this article, I argued that the Black experience in the United States settler colony is one primarily based on this colony’s attempt to strip the enslaved African of his/her Indigeneity. Understanding the Black condition as another result of White America’s historical response to Indigeneity provides further cause for those involved in mainstream decolonization discussions to look to marginalized Indigenous and Black decolonization work that has pushed and continues to push back against the centuries-long history of settler colonialism in the region known as North America. This privileging of both Indigenous and Black decolonizing history and practice is part of what I call Black-Indigenism, which, inspired by the work of Sylvia Wynter and others, recognizes the aims of Indigenist and Indigenous decolonization educative work, while also recognizing Blackness as an integral factor in the argument for Indigenism.
“‘Contingent Beings’: On White Supremacy and an Islamic Framework,” in Thresholds 41, no. 2 (Summer, 2018): 101-117.
“Though U.S. American academic discussions of White supremacy abound, many of us in education consider White supremacy and its effects as phenomena that represent some aberrant departure from Western rationality, or an offense minor enough to be corrected, while generally keeping our current sociopolitical systems intact. As an institution that supports and is supported by a White supremacist state, U.S. schooling perpetuates these patterns of discourse, both in K-12 schools and at the university level. These types of discussions reinscribe the very White supremacy they purport to challenge: when we discuss White supremacy as the ideological exception rather than rule, or as one building block of our society rather than its foundation, we prevent ourselves from considering the truth of White supremacy and what it may take to change it. Though not often seen as related, the truth about White supremacy and a key to changing it may be found in Islamic teachings.”
Written with Jennifer Esposito, “Using Others in the Nicest Way Possible: On Colonial and Academic Practice(s), and an Ethic of Humility” in Qualitative Inquiry. (First published: Dec. 4, 2017).
In this article, we drew from two independent, completed projects that forced us to struggle with our ethics and how we understood the nature of the researcher-participant relationship. We moved past the presumption that we social justice-minded qualitative researchers are “needed” in order to discuss how we understood ourselves to be meeting that need. Here, our intent was to trouble qualitative researchers’ underlying assumptions about help and harm when we are working against oppression and inequity and/or toward justice and equity, both for our subjects/participants and for society.
“The Story of One Hundred and Sixteenth, Part 1: On Mothers and Daughters” in Unity: An Anthology. Edited by Cat Pleska. Scott Depot, WV: Mountain State Press, 2017.
“I echoed the laughter on the other end of the phone line. I looked down at my notes. Behind me, the wind played in the trees, and birds called to each other from their branches. Though definitely not state-of-the-art, the low whir of the cassette player in front of me indicated that the phone interview was being recorded as planned. My interviewee, who was also my uncle, did most of the talking, with only an occasional clarifying question from me. It was the perfect interviewing experience. Then, while ending a sentence, he offhandedly said, ‘… ‘cause your mom’s crazy, you know.’”
“On Academic Repression, Blackness, and Storytelling as Resistance” in Fighting Academic Repression and Neoliberal Education: Resistance, Reclaiming, Organizing, and Black Lives Matter in Education. Edited by Anthony J. Nocella II and Erik Juergensmeyer. New York: Peter Lang, 2017.
“There is something about a student’s sitting in a classroom and seeing all of her classmates’ experiences and histories reflected in both text and visual media, but never seeing her own culture and knowledge reflected there. It’s possible to take this even further: how would a student feel if he shared skin tome, vernacular, socioeconomic status, or any other social identifier with an entire school population, but was still subjected to curriculum and pedagogical practices that labeled him as ‘other,’ ‘minority,’ and ‘deficient,’ despite even the best of intentions?”
Written with Jodi Kaufmann. “An Autoethnography in Four Acts or a Bright Humiliation” in Qualitative Inquiry 20, no. 5 (June, 2014): 551 – 559.
In this autoethnography, we tried to reconcile knowledge of theory, prose, and poetry with the understandings of my role as a domestic worker. While focusing on four events in my tenure as a maid, we presented literature that mirrored, predicted, and provided an analysis of my experiences and my reactions to/thoughts about them. If all the world truly is a stage, this autoethnography aimed to trouble the entire production—from the actors to the audience, from the script to the setting. Above all else, of course, the narrator is to be questioned. Never objective, never omniscient, literature and theory insist on an interrogation of the narrator, who always has a motive for revealing some parts of the story and not others.
“Study of a Semester: A Book of Poems” in Qualitative Inquiry 20, no. 5 (June, 2014): 628-634.
While a growing body of work focuses on research in the form of poetry, I instead used poetry to examine not only my research topic and academia but also my own motives for research. Based on an exploration of narrative in my historiographical study of the Georgia Writer’s Project Drums and Shadows: Survival Studies Among the Georgia Coastal Negroes, my poetic interrogation began with my personal connection to the Flying African tales, then moved into the ways my own life informed my self-identification as a researcher and scholar. Finally, I turned my gaze on the ultimate gazer—academia.
The presentation of this work in an academic journal sought to trouble rather than soothe, agitate rather than comfort. It called for an unwavering, unabashed accountability: if we academicians truly want to explore, truly want to find the answers to our questions, we must first examine ourselves.
“Footnotes to Injustice” in HipMama 55 (Summer, 2014): 26-27.
“A love, a reverence, a constant-mindedness of history has been in my blood, before I could ever name it. When a white woman approached me 20 years ago, telling me that I ‘spoke so well,’ I knew that something was wrong. She meant it as a compliment, of course.
“And it was true, to be sure. However, the tinge of surprised that mixed with the pleasantry was off-putting, though my 10-year-old mind couldn’t explain exactly why her compliment felt like a thinly-veiled insult. I now understand that her compliment was infused with a history of racist assumptions about what Black people know and do not know, how we can and cannot speak.”