Stop trying to make Black happen! In this episode, Alyssa & Brendane return to the game Defund Reform Abolish to think discuss and clarify (no pun intended) light skin privilege, the one-drop rule, and white passing. Our What’s the (Unclear) Word segment covers the basics of Afropessimism, as well as the difference between economic Afro-pessimism vs Afro-optimism vs. Afrofuturism. In our What We’re Reading segment, we discuss the essay “Black Feminist Theory for the Dead and Dying” by Patrice D. Douglass to understand how Black feminist theory and Afropessimism can come together to undo the theorizing of violence against Black women into non-being. Finally, we bring on fellow Daughter of Zora, Chloé Samala Faux, 5th year Anthropology PhD candidate at Columbia University, to help us delve deeper into Afropessmism and its critiques and get to the bottom of ‘what is Black?” The conversation gets productive when we debate about whether Meghan Markle is Black, whether it’s useful to consider her a non-Black woman of African descent, and the way partus sequitur ventrem (the law of slavery that says “that which is brought forth follows the womb”) ultimately does and undoes her. Finally, we remember Breonna Taylor on the one year anniversary of her murder with a moment of silence.

It’s a long episode and we still didn’t get to everything we wanted to talk about!

By the time you’re listening, Alyssa will be in the thick of her PhD qualifying exams – send good vibes and gifTs (though she loves gifs too)!

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Discussed this week:

Black Feminist Theory for the Dead and Dying (Patrice D. Douglass, 2018)

Afro-Pessimism: The Unclear Word (Jared Sexton, 2016)

Brendane’s Feature on Savage x Fenty (2021)


Episode 2: Ain’t I a Woman

Episode 6: Deathcraft Country

Episode 11: Not My Latinidad

ZD Merch available here and the syllabus for ZD 102 is here!

Transcript will be available on our website here.

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