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White power secures its dominance by seeming not to be anything in particular.

Richard Dyer

"Homeplace," Black Women, and Black Children by Melanie "CoCo" McCoy

Author’s Notes: The following essay is a response to a question posed by Professor Ifetayo Flannery, M.A. in a course entitled the Black Child at Temple University.

In bell hooks’ reading “Homeplace: a site of resistance”, she addresses and argues what are the main tenants of a “Homeplace” for people of African descent.

“Oh! That feeling of safety, of arrival, of homecoming when we finally reached the edges of her yard [bell hooks’ grandmother’s yard], when we could see the soot black face of our grandfather,” states bell hooks after describing the journey from the “segregated blackness” of her community into a poor white neighborhood (p. 41).  

hooks places extreme emphasis on the feeling of her arrival to her grandmother’s house, because the journey gave her “sweetness and the bitterness.” It was still an ongoing reminder of “white power and control.”

She discusses the life of the Black woman, which was a life that she emphasizes was not easy. Many Black women took positions of servitude to whites as a source of income. She also states that this Black woman’s role distinguishes her from the Black man. “Contemporary black struggle must honor this history of service just as it must critique the sexist definition of service as women’s “natural” role,” states hooks (p. 42). “Since sexism delegates to females the task of creating and sustaining a home environment, it has been primarily the responsible of Black women to construct domestic households as spaces of care and nurturance in the face of the brutal harsh reality of racist oppression, of sexist domination.”

            Historically, homeplace had a “radical political dimension,” which is an extremely revolutionary concept. Homeplace, which is traditionally led by Black women serves as a tenant and site of liberation and resistance, safety and a release from white oppression, an intentional construction of own home, and a place of healing.

hooks states (p. 42):

Black women resisted by making homes where all black people could strive to be subjects, not objects, where we could be affirmed in our minds and hearts despite poverty, hardship, and deprivation, where we could restore to ourselves the dignity denied us on the outside in the public world.

An example, of a homeplace is a safe place. Hooks does not particularly put emphasis on the quarters in which an African person lives, although it could take place in a living space, but states “throughout our history, African-Americans have recognized the subversive value of homeplace, of having access to private space where we do not directly encounter white racist aggression (p. 47).”

            For the Black child, having a homeplace will positively contribute to their wellbeing because this will help in affirming them as “beings”, their “blackness”, and this will allow for them to love not only just others but themselves (p.46). Having a “self-sacrificing Black mother” will be crucial and essential to the life of a Black child if she is present. A homeplace is vital to the success and wellbeing of the Black child.


“Ebonics is not Black English,” Language and the Black Child by Melanie “CoCo” McCoy

Author’s Notes: The following essay is a response to a question posed by Professor Ifetayo Flannery, M.A. in a course entitled the Black Child at Temple University.

  In an article written by Dr. Ernie Smith and Karen Crozier, entitled “Ebonics is not Black English” as the  title suggests made arguments that not only is Ebonics not “Black English” but it is a second language.
            Smith and Crozier within the article first address the meaning Black, which in the late 1950’s became more of an acceptable terminology for people of African descent to identify.

Smith and Crozier states (p. 109):

Throughout the 1960’s and on into the 1990’s although the appellations “Vernacular Black English”, “Black Vernacular English”, “Black English Vernacular”, and more recently  ”African American Vernacular English” have gained some popularity, the most prevalent phrases used is “Black English”.

        According, to Smith and Crozier “those who our forth the speech is a dialect of “English” have not documented the existence of a single Black dialect in the African diaspora that has been formed on an English phonetic, phonological, morphological, syntactical and semantic bass (i.e., grammar) (p.110).” Grammatically, there has been no finding of English words based from African words. This means that there is no proof of “Black English” ever existing, because English is a Germanic language. Smith and Crozier also argue that it would be more correct based on the “etymology of the dominant lexicon of “Black English” being, Latin and French” that “”Black English” be called “Black Latin” or “Black French” (p. 111).
“Black English” cannot exist as a language for a Black person or person of African descent, because their “models where themselves English speakers (p. 111.”
                 It would only be correct for Black people who have successfully “mastered” the usage of English vocabulary and grammar to consider their language as “Standard Black English.”
The vital difference between “Black English” and Ebonics are the meanings of each. Because Smith and Crozier recognize “Black English” as something that does not only exist and as something that is paradoxical, they clarify and try to explain to the reader why “Black English” is not Ebonics.
                  Smith and Crozier state that “Ebonics is a compound of two words: “Ebony” which means Black and “phonics” which means, “sounds.” This is not a hard concept and meaning to understand, because when the compound words are placed together it means “literally, “Black Sounds”. It “refers to the “linguistic and para-linguistic features, which on a concentric continuum, represent the language and communicative competence of West and Niger-Congo African, Caribbean, and United Slave descendants of Niger-Congo African Origin (p. 112).” Ebonics goes beyond verbal communication or speech, but also recognizes “non-verbal sounds, cues, and gestures” as a form of Ebonic communication between African American people.
For the Black Child, they will understand English words, but it becomes difficult to understand the grammatical construct of English. Therefore, when “Ebonics is used as a synonym for Black English, the deliberate intent of those who do so is to appropriate the term Ebonics and use it to further propagate the caucasio-centric [Eurocentric] discourse that African Americans are sub-human and should not be viewed otherwise (p. 113),” which is a white supremacist tactic.
               While Eurocentric scholars state and believe that within the Ebonic language that certain words are “”deleted”, “dropped”, or omitted”,” Africologists do not share the same belief or sentiment. The Ebonics language is complete and not a “weakened” form of English because these grammatical clusters “do not exist or tend not to occur, in the Niger-Congo’s speech today (p. 113).”
                Smith and Crozier conclude that it is crucial “to recognize that all pupils are equal and hence, all pupils should be treated equally (p. 114).” By recognizing Ebonics as a language form, it begins to negate inferiority and the notion of being sub-human. This is particular crucial to the lives and education of the Black Child. This also knocks down the notion that English must be the standard for all because of white supremacist constructs, thinking and notions.

Africana WomaNINJA

Anonymous asked: How do you feel about black love?

I feel that it’s the most revolutionary thing that a Black person can do. It’s beautiful.



One of these days, we will be having AFRICANA WOMANISM 101

(via firecannotburnadragon)

An Open Letter to Black Brothers and Sisters on Leaning on Each Other by Melanie “CoCo” McCoy

Brothers and Sisters,

This is a revolutionary love story.

It’s time to open our eyes.

Times are continuously moving backward.

When will the day come that we recognize our greatness?

When will the day come that you embrace the little light that you carry inside of you ; inside of your heart?

When will you recognize just how beautiful black is?

Colors of molasses, colors of honey, colors of cornbread and colors of toffee.

Despite your delectable coloring, don’t let this world eat you.

You are beautiful. Wear your aesthetic like a crown on your head.

Black sisters embrace your black brothers.

Black brothers embrace your black sisters.

Let us not close our eyes to the pain and suffering that we face.

Let us be communal.

And through community let us stand out as individuals.

Let our chains be broken by the hammers of truth.

May our love be everlasting for one another.

May our adversaries choke on truth

And our lost brothers and sisters find their way back home.

We are the ones that we have been waiting for.

Those distorted images of black bodies must go. It is time to lift the veil. We must see ourselves as who we truly are and stop looking with the eyes of those who oppress us, because those eyes tell lies.

Assata Shakur once said, “I have been locked down by the lawless. Handcuffed by the haters. Gagged by the greedy. And if I know anything at all is that a wall is just the wall and nothing more at all if you be broken down.”

Lastly Shakur said:

I believe in living
I believe in birth
I believe in the sweat of love
And in the fire of truth.

Let us not forget this. I love you.

Peace! Ase!

Your sister,

Melanie “CoCo” McCoy

I am NOT Ruined.

- The Black Woman

I am NOT Ruined.

- The Black Woman

Africana Womanist

Africana Womanist

Open Letter to Black Men and Women

Black Brothers and Sisters,

In the tradition of Assata Shakur, and many others, I have written a letter to you. Growth is part of liberation. I had to look within myself and ask myself a few questions. What is growth? And what is liberation? One can not be liberated without experiencing growth. So if my message like the rest of my brothers and sisters is that Black people need to start getting free, I must start with the Black person who is inside of me.

So often as Black women we have experienced so much trauma and so much pain that it has become so normative to the extent that it feels almost as if life should be this way. With that said somehow, this doesn’t negate that we do not feel comfortable. As Black women sometimes we are so afraid to be associated with a stereotype that we begin to become that stereotype.

I say to death to the notion that Black women are not allowed to feel enraged. I say death to the notion that Black woman are not allowed to have human reactions.

This is the time that I’m finally noticing what Black men are also experiencing internally. Like Black women, they are also feeling the effects of trauma which has translated into pain.

So what do we do brothers and sisters? We look to one another. We need to look at our naked truths in all of it’s ugliness search for that element of beauty; that element of goodness. When we finally see that, we must accept it and never accept it as an illusion. The truth will never come to us as mirages and illusions, only lies will.

I said to someone, “Actions speak louder than words.” They told me that I was right but they also said, “Watch me. Watch my actions. Are they not speaking for their self?”

So I urge you Black brothers and sisters. Do not be afraid. Lean on each other, embrace one another and seek truth. That is what being African is all about.

Brothers accept the embrace of your sisters. Sisters, allow for your brothers to wipe those tears from your eyes. We are not very different. Africa has been born inside of us.

This is the only way that we will become liberated as people, and that is through growth. Growth comes to is in many forms. Growth comes to us as love, affirmation, beauty, understanding, agency and truth. God be with us all. Ase.

Your sister,

Melanie “CoCo” McCoy

bell hooks, Homeplace: A Site of Resistance

"P" (2014) by Melanie "CoCo" McCoy, 12" x 16", Acrylic on Cotton Canvas