Darryl Pinckney

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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images Aretha Franklin, circa 1971

Aretha Franklin was not among my mother’s Sarah Vaughan albums, or my father’s Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Washington albums. Soul was something else, just then taking shape. “Think” and “Respect” were Sixties anthems of an edgy new blackness, and I remember one of my sisters playing “Baby Baby Baby” behind closed doors in tearful darkness after an argument with my mother about why she was not allowed to get an afro. In 1970, Aretha Franklin offered to pay Angela Davis’s bail, saying she understood how you have to disturb the peace when you can’t get any peace.

Gay liberation was new, too, and at my first gay party ever, in Bloomington, Indiana, a white kid with thick brown hair lip-synched in my direction the intro to one of the slower songs from Aretha Live at Filmore West: “If you came, and didn’t come with anybody, perhaps you might want to turn around and say to the next person, Hey!”…  Seguir leyendo »

Enri Canaj/Magnum Photos. African migrants, Sicily, July 17, 2017

“I don’t know anything about immigration.”

“You live with an immigrant,” my boyfriend said.

“But I think of you as an Englishman in New York. Just passing through.”

“Yes, I’m an immigrant just passing through.”

The exchange showed me how much about race immigration is.

Is there a distinction between xenophobia and racism? If there is, then it would be that in the case of xenophobia, people who have never seen these other people before may be frightened or whatever, but they wouldn’t be proceeding from a theory of superiority.

In 1598, Elizabeth Tudor ordered her council to promulgate an order to expel “blackamores” from her kingdom because they had become too numerous.…  Seguir leyendo »