In my opinion, La Fête Nationale tragedy shines light on the mindset of the organizers with regards to the intersecting issues of race and the environment. In particular, it unveils how white french Québec grapples with its changing climate and evolving identity. Within the limited boundaries of the pure-laine vision of a sustainable future, it is clear that the desired transition to a low-carbon economy will not object to the unabashed sequestration of energy from melanin bodies. This green vision binds these black bodies to low-status work on behalf of the environment. The “forever-immigrants”, many born on this land, in this environment, can never fully rid themselves of the brand of “Les Autres, là” burned onto their skin with white-hot iron. This blurry condemnation has been written in quebecois prose onto black bodies for centuries, to the point where ink and grit collude to usurp skin and culture. To what extent does the green imagination of the white Quebecois and the white Canadian couple greenhouse gas reduction with the subordination of black and brown peoples?
Black Internet is well versed in decoding the care-free gesturing of matantes but is it not their nieces and nephews, (the organizers) that whisper the racist rigaudon?
“On a mis le nègre au travail pour l’environnement,
Mais l’environnement du nègre,
On l’a négligé volontairement!
Vive la développement durable!”
This is organic racism clothed in eco-friendliness. This is white sustainability. A sustainability where what stands the test of time is not the well-being of the planet and the people who populate it, but the tense relation between those who benefit from unjust decisions and those who are forced to carry the weight of those same decisions.
Mon cher Quebec, you can paint di ting green…but the issue remains black and white. Ya nuh foolin’ we.
Duckey face yullower than ever. I know she born high-yulluh but cheez-on man, she face ain’t right at all. I don’t know how after all these decades you can still love her like so.
Cuz the way I does see it, she shoulda dead years ago. Her legacy crush wit she plastic bones in a toxic tomb in whatever left of old Emerson Town. Long gone.
But look she here now, Jesus be Christ. Fucking resurrection. Face swell-up, reeking of ass, eyes bulging and bloody. Disgusting. And you have the audacity and sheer nerve to bring this nasty piece a-ting in the hotel bath with we? Nasty is what it is.
Is like you don’t know what romantic is. You know how much hotel cost in Barbados? I here at Seacrest Hotel, paying exuberant tourist prices for towels and fucking strawberries from Miami, I must be di ass.
I said do not bring she in this bat ,woman!
Look, wunna fine as ass but I having regrets now. Hear me.
We promenading along New Orleans and you say you miss yuh old house. I watch you cry all typa ugly in front the new water plant, the ghost of your old village hissing, and I stand next to you like a proper gentleman. My lips seal when by some miracle you find Duckey mash-up body, wing broken and get all typa feels.
Valentine’s Day now and we in this bath, wunna sweet bubbies covered in soap and I can’t get buddy hard cuz Duckey there staring at me. And I can’t tell if it she or the hotel water that making my skin itch so.
“Barry Pulankoli’s boy is the one that stutters.” That’s the teachers’ go-to phrase. Many find solace in using the condition as the identifier. To some, the label provides a sense of hope that perhaps one day, Modern Science can cure the poor child and liberate his coiled tongue to exalt a system that he should be forever indebted to. Sure beats calling him the very black one. No, not that one the very black one…from Africa.
Barry Pulankoli’s boy’s first day of preschool was terrible. That is why Barry now sits in the waiting room, having to leave work early, on behalf of his son.
In front of the administration, Barry awkwardly smiles that safe new immigrant smile where lips retreat eagerly to expose black vulnerable gums pleading for mercy. He has perfected the smile, although he hates it so. But for his boy, he will smile till they feel smug and validated. Just keep cool and smile.
“Your son had a horrible episode in class, yesterday.”
“Surely, you can foresee the challenges Max will have in this fast-paced learning environment..don’t you?”
Yes. He is burning up again.
“Yes?” She retorts igniting the chain reaction.
As he jolts from his chair, his thin frame absorbs all light from the room. Darkness surrounds his now orange body.
“My boy Max, follows his Mother and is learning the Holawi. He is what you people call a time traveller. Call him that and do not call me back to this environment again for I can no longer channel the patience of his mother.”
The lights flicker back on as he exits. The fire alarm wails.
In Ayiti’s Cité Klere-Klere is where you and your sisters will find les Mango Nwa. Literally black-flesh mangoes growing downwards past the crumbling slabs of cement, past the shards of blood-stained glass, past what your father`s ancestors used to call soil (soul?) and blossoming by some dark miracle in the buried skulls of the Dessous-Nu. You will know them by their roots. At the surface, these same finger-like roots claw at the sediment heavy fog and rigidly gesture profanities to the sun-killers of past days.
When you reach Cité Klere-Klere or whatever is left of it, take a moment. Stand there in the debris and touch the cold skeleton army of lamp posts that once made the city the heart of the Caribbean. Taste the steel, press your tongue against its frame till your saliva is saturated by its grime. What does it taste like? Foreign aid? Innovation? Salvation? Old shit, perhaps.
Make sure, great-grandmother, that you cry deep astro black tears…and when the moment of mourning is fleeting and the surface still damp , you grab your sisters and start digging. Dig like you truly are the first and last line of defense for Rne La.
That night, I promise, you will understand why I sent you forward to the Cité. Why I asked that you bring your sisters. Why I asked that together you harvest every last mango nwa in Cité Klere-klere and throw them deep into the acrid cesspool that is zone C3 of the Sans-Poisson Sea. That would put the odds in our favour.
And, please, bring your rifle. After all these centuries, the piecekeepers still lurk amidst the rubble.
And what if I were to die here, in the belly of Lost Lake, my bloated black body made heavy by failed lungs and irony. All because of this fool. This fool that I sadly and desperately depend on. He knows it too, just like he intimately knows nautical knots and executive handshakes. He knows how to roll a reefer better than I do and casually swallows drawn out tokes, controlling the release of both fumes and joints from his stalky fingers. I accept and inhale..and cough.
‘ Northern Thunder, eh? Good shit right?
I nod, swallowing an earthy mix of swamp and pride. We grab our paddles again and venture even farther into the lake, waves from our canoe announcing our presence to the dark world below. A world of blues and greens and purples and blacks and life and sex and resistance and submission. I remove my paddle and watch eddies succumb to a liquid eventuality and I feel real fucking blessed. I see the clouds below full of droplets promising a safe return home. I see rivers and migration patterns, refined by rocks and blockades, some natural, some man-made. I watch ripples from the Baptist`s wet hands raising chance from defeat mixed with the everyday cleanin’ and bakin` after Sunday service. Church.
And then I see white death flash before me. My whole self turns around to see the man that is steering this spaceship put the full weight of his privilege onto the gunnels of the canoe, taut pink skin turning white around his knuckles. He stands up and yells `Fucking Beautiful right!` Black birds and black moments flee my mind.
Dear Ms. Shanice Collymore,
On behalf of The Holden Family Foundation, we would like to thank you for applying to the Communities on the Rise Funding Program. Your proposal for funding was reviewed by our board of directors and stood out as one of the more unique requests for community support amongst a slew of very impressive projects.
We do however regret to inform you that your ‘Community Garden Initiative’ was not selected as a funding recipient. Although well detailed in terms of objectives and budget, it did not align with our targeted demographics criteria.
For future reference, I stress the importance of abiding by the set parameters of our application protocol as to increase your chances. We do lay out specific population groups for selection. The ‘at-risk’ category may have been a more acceptable fit for your proposal. The ‘inner-city’ or ‘urban’ options should have been given more consideration. If applicants were to follow your lead and include their own demographic option on the application, our decision-making process becomes extremely difficult. We were not prepared for your amended demographics option of ‘Niggas In need of that white boy money’ as this did not fit with the culture that our Foundation wishes to instill in the Community.
We encourage you to better identify your targeted demographic given the recommendations of our pre-determined selections. This is how our foundation, will be in a better position to help you help yourself and provide the funding to necessary projects such as the one eloquently detailed in your recent proposal flourish.
We wish you the best of luck in all your endeavours,
Treasurer of Holden Family Foundation
Whenever Baby cries, mother would fetch a bottle of tobacco leaves, coffee grains and sugar water, shake it up and give it to baby. Delighted, baby would expose their black tongue and yellow gums. Baby goes to sleep and mother slave puts on her high heels and leaves for work.
Tobacco, sugar or coffee will never feed a community. Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade kidnapped Afrikans and forced them to grow tobacco, sugarcane and coffee; cash crops that did not value subsistence but prioritized profit. The expansion of such cash crops are one of the metrics that differentiate Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade from slavery within the Motherland. Close-minded scholars would compare these different types of slavery to diminish the ruthless and continual effects of imperialism. Look to agriculture as an indicator. African slave-owners had slaves, yes, to grow cassava and subsistence crops to maintain the health of a society. Agricultural techniques and culture were shared between captor and captive because despite differences, there is a respect for humanity and a reverence for the ground that provides food. Captives, in their lifetime, could have land and be leaders in their new community.
When tobacco and sugar were exported to Europe, it was not to sustain a population, it was to quench the bourgeoisie’s greedy addiction to luxury items. European aristocracy had no vested interest in the humanity and culture of slaves, nor did they value the soil that provided them with the commodities they desired. They worked both Afrikan and soil mercilessly. They were not feeding families, just potbellies and egos. Slavery sucks. But do not put slavery in the Americas and slavery within Afrika on the same level.
Composting is the managed biological process that optimizes the conditions for microbes to break down organic waste in the presence of oxygen, transforming the organic waste into a versatile soil amendment primarily used to improve soil quality.
Composting, a stream of organics recycling, is location-specific, which physically ties the process to a limited circumference. This differs from other recycling processes, where materials are shipped across oceans to be used or discarded. The enforced circumference of organics recycling has people at its center and calls for greater stewardship and communal responsibility over the management of food waste.
The result of this process is compost also known as Black Gold. As communities of colour work towards self-determination, I believe that Compost can be a useful aid in reclaiming agency over oppressive living situations. The discipline of composting and the product that it yields can serve as a testament for communities to acknowledge their potential involvement in the food cycle. Labelled as consumers, black communities if they so choose can identify themselves as producers, as agriculturalists and in so doing, access more decision-making power as to how their neighbourhoods flourish.
However, there is much work to be done to insure that organics recycling brings power to the people, and not get co-opted and green-washed by removed, capitalist interests. This is hard. Large-scale compost facilities tend to be built in struggling neighbourhoods often without consent from residents therein. Traffic increases, pollution skyrockets all at the expense of the peoples’ health.
I do believe that organics recycling can be an integral step towards Afrikan Self-determination, symbiotically balancing black gold and black power all while resisting climate change and environmental degradation.
A greater enlightenment of the environmental consciousness of Black peoples living within capitalist nations is the necessary harbinger for solid actions towards true environmental sustainability. White environmentalists cannot fully strategize for worldwide environmental stewardship without acknowledging the active role that white society continually plays in dehumanizing indigenous cultures by the fundamental reality of exploiting lands and waters. Once they have patted themselves on the back for humble declaration of their privilege, the white environmentalist should then take the extra step and stand the fuck down so that the victims of environmental racism can find solutions that work for them. Afrikans of the diaspora, like the rare metals of the earth and the biodiversity of the waters, have lived through and continue to be the victims of the most violent environmental atrocities, atrocities backed up by ill-thought out policies that prioritize profit. Many cultures across the world have been manipulated, indoctrinated, accosted and bamboozled by academics, missionaries and governments all of whom want nothing else than to secure their own social position and economic superiority. Displaced Blacks have suffered a particular offence by being ripped from their land and exploited through slavery. Today, it is the chains of waged labour, over-consumption and environmental indifference that keep us in bondage.
However, like Mother Nature, Blacks are resilient. We must resist following the allure of the thoughtless greed machine and understand how we are connected to land, air and water. We must understand that we cannot afford (nor should we seek) the false luxury of over-consumption that media titillates our senses with. It is bad for our health and our earth. We must act and find a different way.