ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
A critical aspect of reversing the mindset involves instilling a positive sense of self in the
very young. With that goal in mind, Jwajiku Korantema has written a timely book
entitled I’m African and Proud. Ms. Korantema . . . a graduate of Rutgers
By Jwajiku Korantema, illustrated by Kenya Lovelace
By Mirah Riben Foreword by Evelyn Robinson
Books Reviewed by Kam Williams
Jwajiku Korantema. I’m African and Proud. Illustrated by Kenya Lovelace
Brown Books Publishing Group Hardcover, $19.95 20 pages, illustrated
Ive taught in New Jersey schools for 32 years, 21 as a kindergarten teacher. Ive seen so many children of African descent who have low self-esteem and didnt like themselves: their hair, nose, lips and other features.
Many parents would be surprised to know that some children today still call each other derogatory names, refer to one another as nappy-headed, or say, You black this and you black that, equating black with an insult. Some even use the N-word. They still prefer dolls with long straight hair, because thats whats presented as the beauty standard on billboards and on television.
This book is written primarily with preschool through third grade in mind. However the messages is for all ages I want them to know that they are a beautiful people.
Jwajiku Korantema on her inspiration for the book
In the wake of Don Imus dismissal for his racist comments about the Rutgers Womens Basketball Team, it appears that some good has been coming out of the ugly incident. For many responsible leaders have pointed out that the sanctions shouldnt stop there and that the time has arrived for the black community to purge itself of certain self-destructive elements of African-American culture, beginning with gangsta rap lyrics.
A critical aspect of reversing the mindset involves instilling a positive sense of self in the very young. With that goal in mind, Jwajiku Korantema has written a timely book entitled I’m African and Proud. Ms. Korantema, ironically, happens to be a graduate of Rutgers herself which makes this contribution to childrens literature all the more significant.
As an educator with over thirty years experience, most with kindergarteners, she is well aware of the importance that the formative years play in shaping a child. So, her elementary picture book delivers positive messages about African ancestry, features, contributions and potential.
The texts lilting rhymes are accompanied by lush illustrations by a gifted artist named Kenya Lovelace whose soothing airbrushes were created from photos of the authors son, her former students, folks from the community and role models such as Dr. Martin Luther King. A joyous celebration of blackness which ought to make a great bedtime read for impressionable young minds.
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Foreword by Evelyn Robinson Advocate Publications Paperback 260 pages, illustrated
Adoption pits woman against woman, rich against poor, making it painfully difficult to look at and admit. Adoption is racist and classist and often exploits women and commodifies their babies.
Mothers who are resourceless and struggling to keep their family together can either be offered the help they need to stay together or be seen as a source of supply to meet a demand. Mothers and other family members in developing countries unable to feed their babies could be sent the funds they need to do so, or have their misfortune exploited for anothers advantage.
Excerpted from Chapter II (p.19): Motherhood, Myths and Metaphors
In the rush to anoint icons like Madonna and Angelina Jolie for sainthood following their adoptions of babies from Africa and Asia, no one seems to be stopping to ask how widespread this practice might be or whether its in the best interest of the children and their birth parents. But common sense ought to tell you that no mother really wants to surrender her offspring to a stranger from another culture or country, especially when the reason really has more to do with money than with maternal instincts.
Sadly, this readily identifiable and burgeoning phenomenon is not at all limited to celebrities, but a big business which is depleting the Third World in much the same way those regions have been drained of their natural resources. Fortunately, one intrepid reporter, Mirah Riben, has had the guts to investigate this shameful trafficking in infants, and she is now blowing the cover off the racist racket in The Stork Market: Americas Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry.
In fact, Ms. Riben has been speaking out about the need to reform, humanize, and de-commercialize American adoption practices for nearly three decades. She first started to shed some light on this complex issue back in 1988 with the publication of her previous book, The Dark Side of Adoption. With a slightly shifted focus, The Stork Market is a thoroughly-researched expose which zeroes-in on every aspect of the black market baby trade.
As a staunch family advocate, the author also takes aim here at the foster parenting system, pointing out that The same funds used to support foster care could be used to help preserve families and eliminate child removal. However, the bulk of this invaluable book covers the corruption in the adoption industry: the scams, coercion and exploitation rampant in a market based on supply and demand where prices are based such factors as age and skin color, and the cost of the merchandise is set as high as the often desperate consumers are willing to pay.
Highly-recommended for anyone touched by adoption in any way, whether considering it, working in the field, or if simply interested in child protection and family preservation.
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For July 1st through August 31st 2011
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis
Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as “the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field ‘cut their teeth’.”
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By Melissa V. Harris-Perry
According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless Mammys behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own familys needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.
As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 2 May 2007