Author: freeignace

Bio: W. Yusef Doucet has been a member of the Santa Monica College English department since 1999. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Black Studies, Humanities Emphasis, from San Francisco State University. His senior thesis examined DuBoisian Pan-Africanism. Professor Doucet received his Master of Arts in English Composition from California State University, San Bernardino. His master’s thesis is Flippin’ the Script: Metaphor and Inversion in Ebonics. Professor Doucet is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from Claremont Graduate University. His research interests include Fanonian textual analysis, the policing effect of integrationist/post-racialist ideologies, Afro-pessimism, and anti-blackness in the modern symbolic order. Professor Doucet has published poems and essays in several literary and poetry journals including The Pacific Review, The Fold, The Purple Heart Journal, Lavanderia, and The Ethiop’s Ear, and posted commentaries at www.voxunion.com and www.blackfood.org. He co-founded and facilitated the Dyamsay (pronounced jahm-say) Writers’ Workshop in Santa Monica with DJ Watson, the Third Root Writers’ Workshop and Artist Showcase in the Pomona Arts Colony with Lisa Rollins, and a Poetry Series at Velocity Café in Santa Monica with Edgar Montgomery. He produces poetry and spoken word showcases seasonally at The City Market Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles. Professor Doucet also co-programs and co-hosts Liberation Cinema! with Carl DeJan, monthly film screenings at the AFIBA Center in South Los Angeles, a project of BABA (Brotherhood Alliance Bridging Africans), and is a member of the Joko Collective grassroots think tank. Brother Yusef is a native Angeleno.

Echoes of Vincent Chen

Janice Mirikitani and Cecil Williams at Third World Liberation Front action

Echoes of Vincent Chin – W. Yusef Doucet

A massacre in Atlanta, and the United States turns its media eyes on the harassment and violence visited  upon Asian communities. The scope of murder in Atlanta made it impossible to continue to keep this particular expression of white nationalist violence muted in the public consciousness. Folks have organized demonstrations in cities around the country with minimal media coverage, in contrast to the coverage of the 2020 uprisings. Instead, we hear performances of anti-hate postures and statements, and I have seen a noticeable increase in Asian performers in commercial advertisements and public service media. It feels like a rather ghoulish disaster capitalism.  The danger is real for Asian communities and individuals, and it is an old danger, and a danger as pervasive and long-lasting as all the other peculiarly U.S. racisms against people who are non-white.

The city and state in which I live had several eruptions of anti-Asian violence throughout their history. In Downtown Los Angeles, in a place on Los Angeles Street not far from site of the Pueblo’s founding, at a place that was called Calle de los Negros, Negro Alley, nineteen Chinese workers were murdered by a mob. This was in 1871, a period in which anti-African violence intensified throughout the country, the U.S. government waged a war of extermination against the First Nations of the West, and the epidemic of lynching spread through every region of the U.S. These routine deployments of violence and terror, as well as antagonistic actions from state agents and civil society formations, have always been about the same thing, the assertion that the United States is a white country, and the Asian body is a foreign body, a body that threatens contamination. This applies to every region of Asia.  

I think about this, and I think about all the Asian people that have been part of my life. I remember Milky. I don’t remember her real name. We called her Milky, a Japanese girl, one of several in our kindergarten classroom at Thirty-Ninth Street School, now Tom Bradley Science Magnet, in Leimert Park, mostly African children, many Japanese children, and a few Mexican children, in 1967-1968. I think of William, a Chinese boy who I grew up with in our neighborhood, the neighborhood now called King Estates, on Van Ness Ave. William was just another homey in the ‘hood. As we got older, went to different high schools, we spent less time together, but we remained friendly for as long as we continued to cross paths, and until my family moved out of the neighborhood for the Athens neighborhood halfway through high school and those encounters became even more rare.  I think of Bob’s Market and the Filipino family that lived across the street from my grandparents on Bonnie Brae Avenue, one of the families closest to my mother’s family on the block, the camaraderie of my mother, my aunt and my uncles with the daughters and the son, my grandparents and the parents, and the welcome and the treats that my cousin I received when we visited Bob’s Market on the corner of Bonnie Brae and Temple, Bob, the father in the family. In think of Evelyn, their youngest daughter and our first babysitter, and of how much we loved her, and when she disappeared as a babysitter from our lives while adults spoke in hushed tones about her and left our questions unanswered, and of how much my family cried at her funeral after a battle with something they called leukemia.

I think of these dear ones fondly, and so many others really, relationships that we formed before I was ten years old. This continued through junior high school and high school.  Asian folks lived, schooled, and worked next to us. Asian folks shared an experience of white violence and racism, exploitation, and alienation. We identified around those experiences, those histories. Sometimes some Black kids, bullies and bangers, picked on the Asian kids. Sometimes some Asian kids, bullies and bangers, picked on Black kids. Yet mostly and every day, we all got along. We all identified with Bruce Lee. We all idolized Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. We loved that Bruce and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were friends.  Some of us even knew about Asian members of the Black Panther Party. Plus we all knew Black folks with an Asian parent. 

I didn’t know any of the victims in Atlanta. I don’t know who among my Asian friends, colleagues, and students have faced recent harassment. I assume all of them have because I don’t know of a time when anti-Asian racism hasn’t been a routine aspect of life in the U.S. So militant white nationalism has muscled up in the last year, fueled by a blustering demagogue of blistering effect.  Last year, these folks drove trucks into demonstrators. Deeply frightened and deeply entitled people have begun to unleash pent-up resentments that have stewed since the last quarter of the Twentieth Century, cultivated by cynical politicians and by a profitable and quite mainstream propaganda industry with religious conviction, and handed down to the generations that were to be end of racism. Still it lingers. Still it poisons. Still it kills. Still, it fills bank accounts.

I could not help but think of Vincent Chin. I didn’t know him either. But He remains a touchstone for me, this Chinese American man who two white men decided deserved execution because they would not be replaced, would not have their jobs replaced by the Japanese.  In that moment, any Asian would do. They were all Japanese, and this was just another American atrocity. Vincent Chin received nothing like justice. His killers received three-years-probation and a fine for $3000 each, and eventual acquittal from federal charges.     Within two years of his homicide, Ronald Reagan’s re-election campaign declared that it was “morning in America again.”  It’s still morning in America, a red, hellscape morning. Black lives matter. Asian lives matter. The people remain in the street. Today, once again, people say his name, Vincent Chin.  We know our departed loved ones hear us. This is something Africans and Asians share. I hear Vincent Chin, crying, and bitterly laughing, mourning in America.

Liberation Cinema! Tonight

Frontieres

The Brothers’ Quarterly Presents:

Frontières/Borders
A film by Mostefa Djadjam

Friday, January 3, 2020
AFIBA Center
Doors Open at 6:30 PM; Program Begins at 7:00 PM
Free: donations accepted
5730 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles
Off-street parking available

Liberation Cinema!

The Brothers’ Quarterly Presents:

PapaMontero

“Octavio Cortazar’s docu-drama La Ultima Rumba de Papa Montero (The Last Rumba of Papa Montero) uses rumba beats and Afro-Cuban lore to tell the story of one of Cuba’s great rumberos. As with any nation obsessed with dance, Cuba comes alive here with every stomp of the foot. Even in death, Papa Montero is resilient—buried in a local cemetery he’s now become “a dead man who won’t go to heaven.”” – Ed Gonzalez
Friday, July 5, 2019
AFIBA Center
Doors Open at 6:30 PM; program begins at 7:00 PM
Free: donations accepted
5730 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles
Off-street parking available

 

Liberation Cinema!

The Brothers’ Quarterly presents:

The Original Afro-Futurist, Sun Ra who brought the reality of Diop’s and Ben Jochannan’s Ancient Black Egypt to the performance stage in the form of what we ordinarily call jazz and dance embodied by the Arkestra, with a vision of the future in which Black people can flourish, even if that means finding a new planet

SunRa2

Space is the Place

A Film by John Coney

Friday, July 6, 2018

AFIBA Center

Doors Open at 6:30 PM; program begins at 7:00 PM

Free: donations accepted

5730 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles

Off-street parking available

brothersquartely@gmail.com www.brothersquarterly.wordpress.com

The Brothers’Quarterly Presents: Liberation Cinema!

PiecesD'identitesJoin us for a free screening of Mweze Ngangura’s film Pièces D’identitès (Pieces of Identity) in its twentieth anniversary year.  The film explores the costs the colonial legacy continues to exact from Africans in terms of the uses of African bodies, African mentalities, and African cultural artifacts:

“Mani Kongo, the venerable king of the Bakongo, sets out alone on a quest for his long-lost daughter, Mwana, whom he sent to Belgium to study medicine many years before. As soon as he leaves his village and enters the Westernized world he finds his identity challenged. At the travel agency in Kinshasa, young urban trend-setters mistake the king’s royal fetishes as the latest fashion statement while customs officials try to confiscate them as imported art objects. Eventually, robbed, homeless and penniless, Mani Kongo is tricked into pawning his royal regalia, literally his “pieces of identity,” to an unscrupulous art dealer…While Mani Kongo has only temporarily lost his ID [also a meaning of the phrase ‘pieces of identity,’ one’s state-issued identification, one’s papers], the younger generation in the film finds itself adrift in Europe without ever having had one. Mwana (aka Amanda) has just been released from jail for drug-running and is forced to take a job in a strip club where Africans act out Europeans’ lurid fantasies of the other. She was seduced and is still pursued by a small-time, designer-clad hustler or sapeur, Viva wa Viva, whose motto is “the brand makes the man.”…Chaka-Jo is a mulatto [sic] cabdriver, trapped between white and black, the son of an unknown Belgian father abducted from his Congolese mother and placed in a Belgian orphanage. In his frustration, he holds up white bars like a Robin Hood dressed as a Congolese warrior proclaiming himself the ‘Savior of Humanity,’ ” California Newsreel.

PiecesD'identites3

A comedy, Ngangura weaves the fibers of these characters’ lives into a poignant portrait of contemporary African conditions in the diaspora, still so fundamentally relevant in the face of contemporary African migration to Europe in search jobs, peace and security only to find continued super exploitation

Pièces D’Identités (Pieces of Identity)

A Film by Mweze Ngangura

PiecesD'identites2

Friday, February 2, 2018

AFIBA Center

Doors Open at 6:30 PM; program begins at 7:00 PM

Free: donations accepted

5730 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles

Off-street parking available.

liberation-cinema-lfist n film yellow