Thursday, January 31, 2013

Libertalia's "Women vs Today and the Everyday: February Friday Film Series"

Saw this film series and am really excited for it, figured I'd share with y'all.

From Libertalia's Facebook event:

A film series that looks at the struggles that contemporary women face, struggles that are often ignored, dismissed or accepted. Do the different forms of feminism and women's movements of the past help us deal with today's conditions, or can we find new ways to address and oppose new forms of both visible and invisible oppression?

Feb. 1 – Letters from the Other Side (2006)

A documentary focusing on the lives of women in Mexico whose lives are destroyed by the effects of NAFTA, immigration, and the violence of globalization.

For more information:

Feb. 8 – Killing Us Softly 4 (2010) / Slaying the Dragon: Reloaded (2011) / The Souls of Black Girls (2008)

These three short documentaries address various and constant forms of media control over women's bodies and self-image, from a critique of advertising to the even more toxic feedback presented to women of color.

For more information:

Feb. 15 – The Edge of Each Other's Battles: The Vision of Audre Lorde (2002)

A documentary film created after the I AM YOUR SISTER CONFERENCE in honor of black lesbian feminist poet Audre Lorde, in which 1200 activists from 23 countries came together to celebrate and support Lorde's vision of liberation.

For more information:

Feb. 22 – Women Without Men (2009)

Magical realism set against the backdrop of the 1953 CIA-led coup against Iran's democratically elected Prime Minister. Banned in Iran, this film centers on the lives of four women and the real ways in which human rights, civil rights and women's rights are often more mythical than fiction.

For more information:

"I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own." - Audre Lorde

Fridays in February at 7 pm.

The films will be followed by snacks, coffee, tea and discussion.

Suggested donation $3-5, but no one will be turned away.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

February Schedule for Providence Africana Reading Collective

If anyone is interested in coming then...well just pick a date (or all of the dates!) and show up. Or you can message me ( or and ask questions or whatever. I'm generally able to give rides if people need them, provided you live in Providence.

Whether you can come or not here is the reading in case you are interested. Amilcar Cabral is a revolutionary figure who deserves far more respect and attention than he is given in most schools/classrooms.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Media and Ideology: Reflection

            Croteau’s “Media and Ideology” was such a fitting piece for me to read at this point in my life. The work that I do with PARC, as well as the topics that I enjoy reading about, tend to have a foundation in criticizing the ideology of the dominant society. Croteau notes that “when scholars examine media products to uncover their ‘ideology’, they are interested in the underlying images of society they provide. In this context, an ideology is basically a system of meaning that helps to define and explain the world and that makes value judgments about that world” (159). I personally believe that the ideology of the dominant society is one that is patriarchal, White supremacist, and anti-Black. This ideology is often conveyed in various forms of media, although somewhat subtle to the unquestioning eye. To have the media act as a medium for the dominant ideology, given the prominence of media in our everyday life, is an incredibly powerful way to indoctrinate people. More often than not the media that we consume isn't obviously misogynistic or racist, instead the things being presented often seem “natural” or “normal”. Croteau touches upon this wonderfully in his section ‘Ideology as Normalization’. He states:
Media texts can be seen as key sites where basic social norms are articulated. The media gives us pictures of social interaction and social institutions that, by their sheer repetition on a daily basis, can play important roles in shaping broad social definitions…the accumulation of media images suggests what is ‘normal’ (163).
When we are constantly being faced with certain behaviors we begin to see them as “natural”. When in reality what has happened is that those behaviors have become naturalized in our minds because of how regularly we see these behaviors. This can be particularly harmful when we do not have many interactions with the communities whom we are watching or reading about. This was the thinking behind much of the protest about the Oxygen reality show All My Babies Mama’s (read more about the controversy here). Black folk in television are often presented as pimps, hos, minstrels, thugs, unstable, and various incarnations of the aforementioned tropes as well as others. When not looking critically it’d be easy for people to not realize the proliferation of those tropes and to not realize the ways in which they have begun to see every-day Black folk in similar ways, even subconsciously. This is the reason why when a ‘well-spoken’ Black person speaks they often get showered with compliments of how “articulate” and “eloquent” they are. Those delivering the compliments do not realize exactly where their surprise is coming from and instead thinks they are being complimentary when in reality they are behaving in a manner that shows a subscription to the dominant view of Black folks being under-educated and inherently inarticulate. At this point I’ve only focused on the way this type of representation of Black folk affect those outside of the Black community. To try and touch upon the ways it affects Blacks, particularly Black youth, would double the length of this post. To put it simply, the ways in which Blacks are often represented in media lends a direct hand in the internalization of racist and anti-Black beliefs within the Black community itself. This, however, is not a call for all representations of the Black community in media to be "positive", but rather a call for balance. As Langston Hughes said in "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" we, as Black folk, "know we are beautiful, and ugly too". Instead of representing the reality of the multifarious nature of the Black community the media tends to simply represent the image of the Black community that falls in line with society's dominant ideology. 

Another way in which we can see how the dominant society’s ideology is being dispersed through media would be to look at the treatment of Django Unchained. The film is being heralded as a great film about slave resistance when in reality it is simply a revenge film that takes place during slave times. A truly great film about slave resistance would be Haile Gerima’s Sankofa (which can be found in its entirety, although not the best quality, on Youtube). Our society has a focus on the individual, which is why a film where an individual takes out entire plantations can be beloved by all even when it does not truly represent what most resistance mobilizations look like. Sankofa, on the other hand, truly shows the collective nature of resistance and revolution. However, that theme (as well as many others), goes against the dominant ideology and therefore that film gets far less attention than the inferior Django UnChained.
The viewpoints I have expressed in this post can be seen as controversial to some but that is because they directly counter many dominant themes of our society, particularly the false notion that we are passed conversations about race because we are ‘color-blind’ or have ‘evolved’. Because of this dominant theme those who do decide to have conversations that counter the dominant ideology are accused of being purposefully controversial or playing the ‘race-card’ (which is an offensive accusation that highlights the fact that we have not yet ‘evolved’). Similar sentiments are had when people try to expose the ‘subtle’ misogyny in pop culture. Let us not fall for “common sense” and rather continue to operate with a critical eye, for if we do not look at everything critically then we may easily succumb to an ideology that seeks to repress us. This is one of the points I hope we touch upon in class: the importance of analyzing and questioning everything (see Croteau page 166).
Works Cited
Croteau, David, and William Hoynes. "Media and Ideology." Media Society: Industries, Images, and Audiences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge, 2003. 159-68. Print.

Hughes, Langston. ""The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" (1926)." "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" (1926). Web. 27 Jan. 2013.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Hi, I'm Andrea M. Sterling. I am the "Minister of Information" of a local community organization known as the Providence Africana Reading Collective. Providence Africana Reading Collective (PARC) is a learning community dedicated to advancing liberation through education. PARC takes as its core concern the critical engagement of emancipatory elements developed out of an Africana epistemology, and which structure African and African Diasporic theory, politics, and history. You can find out more about PARC by "liking" the Facebook page or checking out the website (and it's a tumblr so you can follow it as well!).  We meet most Sundays at Tea in Sahara on the East Side of Providence. I more than likely will post some of the events on this blog interspersed with my talking point class posts and whatnot.

During break I continued to work (Three Sisters on Hope Street) as well as organize and meet with PARC. Spent sometime with friends who came home from their schools in other states, hung out with the beau, basically just had a laid back few weeks.

I'm taking this class for fun. I am a Gender Studies major (with an Africana 2nd major) but I'm not taking this class to meet a Gender requirement. I heard amazing things about this class from a friend who took it over a year ago and I knew that I wanted to be a part of what sounded like a fantastic experience.

When I'm not in class I work, spend time with PARC, read, and for the next year I will be researching and putting together a substantial piece of work for my independent study project. Not the most exciting life but it satisfies me.

My blog name is fairly simplistic. My last name is Sterling, as noted earlier, and I do a lot of work and study around resistance mobilizations and revolutionary movements. Sterling, other than being my last name, has its wonderful list of meanings that I felt fit well as a descriptor of resistance and was an easy name to pick that wasn't already taken by the millions of people on the interwebz.

The title of this page is from a poem entitled "i had five nose rings' from  Ntozake Shange's Nappy Edges. Shange is a masterful poet/author who I adore. In general I love poetry and will also probably post a few of my favorite poems on this blog when I'm not posting for class.

i had five nose rings

i had five nose rings
a gold circle
a silver circle
a star
& a half moon
without these i am unarmed
not ready for arbitrary violence
paris winds in winter
my face chafed/seemingly rouged
a positive response
to poison
my decorations     emblems     fetishes
gleaming from my cheeks as the sun turns water to diamond
these beauties of mine crawled poison
to the base of my brain
like cocaine is apt to do
vitamin deficiency
a lack
of fresh air & music
the ring on my face/ like a brand
or an emerald
paris snarls her fog & chill thru my veins
throws me to
the outskirts of myself
i had five nose rings
a gold circle
a silver circles
a star
& a half moon
i am no longer suspected of being/ moslem
i am suspected of scarring myself
my one claim to shout abt
my era of myself
becomes a signal of depression
unadorned i march along these avenues
my head darting forward/ down
no one to see the mark
the absence of the jewel
my face betrays me
i frequent corners where men beat each other to death
in the name of
i know children who carry knives
to preserve the dignity of their innocence
guns to frighten anyone who comes
too close/ contact
is dangerous here
makes us susceptible to disease
the air in paris warped my visions/ gave
distance & psychosis clearance
sometimes there is too much poison
to attend to beauty
i had five nose rings
a gold circle
a silver circle
a star
& a half moon
they have fallen away
i breathe now
this lack of beauty
& caress the cheek of a child
who imagines no thing
no thing
paris     new york
linger in the blood
like malaria     scarlet fever     typhoid
herpes simplex     herpes complex    syphillis    gonorrhea
linger in the blood
like disease