You Can't Run Away From Trouble

 

I spent the last 16 years working on this. Actually, that's not true, I started  even before that. When I was in grade school, I knew I wanted this as my Masters' thesis. I spent the entirety of my college career developing this. I had my entire thesis written by the time I finished my Bachelor's degree. Unfortunately, I was unable to pursue it for personal and financial reasons.

Then 2020 happened. My friends who are teachers reached out to me for help on this topic because they knew I was the go-to person. I developed an educational packet to be used by them and others in a way to teach this respectfully, responsibly, and compassionately. It was very important for me to do this The Right Way, instead of the monetized clickbait disingenuous way we so often see. A conversation about Black and Native people is grossly disproportionately monopolized by non-Black and non-Native voices. While these conversations are difficult and needed, we are not having them in the way they need to be had.

Some of these are dense, and some of these are long-winded. They're converted Masters' thesis chapters into  Google docs, some of which are designed as guest lectures.  Some of these were started as early as 2009, and I know a lot has changed in terms of terminology and things like that, so I wanted to make sure that this was a series of Google docs which can be living documents and updated as needed when new information comes in.

I care about this an awful lot because this is something that, as an Indigenous person, actually effects me. I do not pretend to be the Ambassador of All Injuns, and I, like many before me, only relay things the way they were told to me. If you know something different, that's alright. I am sure the Blood Quantum and Injun Police Tomahawk will come down on me.

There is something about using other people's pain for clout and the elevation of one's own platform (and the expense of the people whom it effects) that deeply and profoundly triggers me in the most clinical sense of the expression. It literally sets off a trauma response in my brain. If it doesn't concern you, sit it out and listen. I cannot stress to you enough that this is more complicated and more important that monetized clickbait and Twitter "takes" that no one asked for.  This is also not an argument for or against any theme park or film anything, I have nothing to do with that, and I want nothing to do with that. Inserting yourself in conversations that you don't belong doesn't make you a hero.

I have said this before, and I will say it again: Brer Rabbit is a bigger and more important conversation than Song of the South or Splash Mountain. His identity and his role in this world exceeds far beyond his appropriation, exploitation, misappropriation,  false misalignment and misuse. 

I am always nervous to say or share anything. People go to The Wren's Nest in Atlanta and  'but actually' Black and Native elders, so clearly, they do not have the self-awareness to just sit down and STFU. People cannot be told that something is none of their non-Black and non-Native business. 

And if I get 'canceled' or in 'Internet trouble'  over Brer Rabbit, because I stood up for my culture, because I told people to stop using Black and Indigenous pain for their own personal gain, clout and to elevate their own platform, you know, there are worst things. It's the kind of trouble I don't mind being in. 

Introduction

Part 1: Brer Rabbit's Origins

Part 1.5: African-Native American Shared History and Scholarship  

Part 2: Joel Chandler Harris 

Part 2.5:  Contextualizing The Joel Chandler Harris Era

Part 3: Disney's Three Brers 

Part 4: Splash Mountain as the Hero's Journey

Part 5: Consider the Source (Part 5.5 on Paternalism available upon request)

Part 6: The Song of the South that was and wasn't

Part 7: Baskett, Lee, and Stewart Legacies

Part 8: The Dumbo connection 

Part 9: The End of the Finish

Citations Master List (not academically formatted, maybe SOMEDAY)


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