The Google Doodle for January 15th 2018, for Martin Luther King Day in the US.

#MLKalsoSaid (2015- ) is a hashtag on Twitter where people quote Martin Luther King, Jr to show that he said more than just that one thing that White people love to quote:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Some of what has been tweeted under #MLKalsoSaid:

“But it is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society.”

“A riot is the language of the unheard,”

“A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.”

“All of us are on trial in this troubled hour.”

“America is going to hell if we don’t use her vast resources to end poverty and make it possible for all God’s children to have the basic necessities of life.”

“I am sorry to have to say that the vast majority of white Americans are racists, either consciously or unconsciously.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

“It is cruel jest to tell a bootless man that he ought to lift himself up by his own bootstraps”

“No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”

“One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

“Our Summers of riots are caused by winters of delay.”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“Poverty is one of the most urgent items on the agenda of modern life.”

“The curse of poverty has no justification in our age. It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism.”

“The evils of capitalism are as real as the evils of militarism and evils of racism.”

“The white man does not abide by the law… His police forces are the ultimate mockery of law.”

“There aren’t enough white persons in our country who are willing to cherish democratic principles over privilege.”

“Three hundred years of humiliation, abuse and deprivation cannot be expected to find voice in a whisper.”

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar.”

“We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality.”

“We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together.”

For more, see #MLKalsoSaid on Twitter.

– Abagond, 2018.

See also:


Toni Braxton: Deadwood


Not her best song, but it is what is ringing in my head of late. Must be the cello 😉 In 2017 it reached #34 on the US R&B chart.

See also:


Cant believe that I’m home all alone
Doesn’t stop me from wanting to see you
Why the hell won’t you pick up the phone?
Don’t know which way is up anymore
No excuses and nothing to cling to
Oh you’re shaking me right to the core

Just wanna let you know
I won’t let this one go
You got me down, but I ain’t out
Think you got me good
Left me like some deadwood
I may be down, but I’ll turn it round

All my friends say that “I told you so”
They ain’t making me feel any better
Buttons up and it’s on with the show
Got me aching inside of my skin
No excuses and nothing to cling to
You will pay for the state that I’m in

Just wanna let you know
I won’t let this one go
You got me down, but I ain’t out
Think you got me good
Left me like some deadwood
I may be down, but I’ll turn it round

But you gon’ see wiser me
And I won’t break down easily

Just wanna let you know
I won’t let this one go
You got me down, but I ain’t out
Think you got me good
Left me like some deadwood
I may be down, but I’ll turn it round

Just wanna let you know
I won’t let this one go
You got me down, but I ain’t out
Think you got me good
Left me like some deadwood
I may be down, but I’ll turn it round

Don’t you go
Don’t you go

Source: A-Z Lyrics.

“shithole countries”

New York Daily News, January 12th 2018.

“Shithole countries” is what the US president calls countries of Black and Brown people.

On January 11th 2018 President Trump said:

“Why do we want all these people from Africa here? They’re shithole countries … We should have more people from Norway.”


“Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.”

“Shithole” is a vulgar term for anus.

Trump reportedly believes all Haitians have AIDS and that most if not all Nigerians live in huts.

Nigerians returning to their huts.

The New York Times said Trump’s remarks were:

“the latest example of his penchant for racially tinged remarks denigrating immigrants”

The Daily Stormer, a racially-tinged neo-Nazi website:

“This is encouraging and refreshing, as it indicates Trump is more or less on the same page as us with regards to race and immigration.”

Twitter user Educating Liberals (@Education4Libs) said:

“Trump just has the balls to verbalize what all of us think.”

Mia Love was the only elected Republican, so far as I know, who immediately condemned Trump:

“This behavior is unacceptable from the leader of our nation … The president must apologize to both the American people and the nations he so wantonly maligned.”

She noted that his remarks were:

“unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values.”

Her parents come from Haiti.

Stephen Colbert on late-night television:

“Sir, they’re not [bleep] countries. For one, Donald Trump isn’t their president.”

(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

The United Nations called Trump’s words “racist”. But they do not seem to be well-informed: they also called them “shocking”.

Trump, 2015.

Memory lane: Donald Trump, on the very first day of his campaign for president, said:

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

White people in the US voted for Trump by a landslide. Not just the working class, not just rednecks who frequent bars, not just racist uncles, but across the board: rich and poor, well-educated and ill-educated, aunts, uncles and cousin Joeys. They chose him as their leader with their eyes wide open. The same goes for Republicans in Congress who continue to kiss up to him, and for Fox News which continues to lie for him.

Immigration: Trump’s comments make crystal clear that his concern for immigration has little to do with “making America safe” or anything like that, and has everything to do with racism. It is a dog-whistle issue just like “law and order” and “terrorism”. It dresses itself up as some Serious National Issue but it is just raw racial bigotry.

People from those “shithole countries” built the US for little or nothing – and gave their lives to defend it. How many soldiers buried at Arlington came from “shithole countries”? Colin Powell’s parents came from a “shithole country” – and while he was fighting in Vietnam, Trump was where? Fighting chlamydia.

– Abagond, 2018.

See also:


Egypt: a brief history

Egypt, circa -1400.

Here is my quick overview of the history of Egypt. It is very much a work in progress.

Note that the farther back you go in time, the more uncertain dates become.

Roman numerals show when the ancient dynasties of Egypt started. I follow the dates in “The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Egypt” (1996).

  • -4000s: Nagada I culture, rivets
  • -3900s:
  • -3800s:
  • -3700s:
  • -3600s:
  • -3500s: Nagada II culture, plywood, sail
  • -3400s:
  • -3300s:
  • -3200s: hieroglyphics
  • -3100s:
  • -3000s: paper (papyrus), oven, flail, candle wick
  • -2900s: Dynasty I, Narmer, Memphis is the capital, Horus
  • -2800s: dam, chair, book, page numbers, 365-day calendar
  • -2700s: II
  • -2600s: Old Kingdom, III, Imhotep, Step Pyramid, Re-Horus, divine kingship
  • -2500s: IV, Great Pyramid of Giza, Sphinx, clear glass
  • -2400s: V, obelisks
  • -2300s: VI
  • -2200s:
  • -2100s: First Intermediate Period, VII, VIII, IX-X
  • -2000s: Middle Kingdom, XI, Thebes is the capital, bronze, alphabet, mechanical lock, saw
  • -1900s: XII, Amun, Sinuhe, Nubia colonized
  • -1800s: Sesostris, Kahun
  • -1700s: Second Intermediate Period, XIII
  • -1600s: XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, Hyksos rule, chariots, bronze weapons, composite bow
  • -1500s: New Kingdom, XVIII, Amen-Re, helmet, armour,  clock (water, sun), scissors
  • -1400s: Thebes the world’s largest city, Hatshepsut, Tiye, Karnak, Cleopatra’s Needles, Valley of the Kings, Deir el-Medina, rudder
  • -1300s: Akhenaton, Nefertiti, Amarna, King Tut, Aten, Yahweh
  • -1200s: XIX, Ramses II, Jews, Jewish Exodus?
  • -1100s: XX, Sea Peoples, Pi-Ramses the world’s largest city, papyrus exports
  • -1000s: Third Intermediate Period, XXI, Smendes, Tanis
  • -900s: Libyan rule, XXII
  • -800s: XXIII
  • -700s: XXIV, XXV (Nubian rule)
  • -600s: XXVI, Assyrian invasion, Psamtek I, Red Sea canal
  • -500s: Late Period (Persian rule), Cambyses, AramaicXXVII
  • -400s: XXVIII, Herodotus
  • -300s: XXIX, XXX, XXXI, Ptolemaic (Greek) rule, Alexandria, Greek
  • -200s: Serapis, Euclid, Manetho, Library of Alexandria, Lighthouse of Alexandria, Eratosthenes.
  • -100s: Rosetta Stone, Alexandria the world’s largest city, Sosigenes
  • -000s: Roman rule, Roman Egypt, Cleopatra, Diodorus, Strabo, Philo
  • +000s: Coptic Christianity
  • +100s: Ptolemy, latitude and longitudeGospel of Peter
  • +200s: Origen, Plotinus
  • +300s: St Antony, St Catherine, Arianism, Athanasius, the New Testament as we know it, Egeria, Serapeum closed, the last hieroglyphics written
  • +400s: Hypatia dragged from her carriage by Christians, Council of Chalcedon declares Coptic Christianity heretical
  • +500s: Justinian, last temple of Isis closed
  • +600s: Arab rule, Islam, Arabic
  • +700s:
  • +800s: Bernard the Wise
  • +900s: Fatimid Caliphate, Chinese paper arrives
  • +1000s:
  • +1100s: Ayyubids, Ben Jonah of Tudela
  • +1200s: Mamluks, Abd el-Latif
  • +1300s: Ibn Batuta
  • +1400s:
  • +1500s: Ottoman rule
  • +1600s:
  • +1700s: Napoleon invades. Rosetta Stone is found.
  • +1800s: cotton exports, Suez Canal, British rule.
  • +1900s: King Tut’s tomb found, Aswan Dam (end of annual flooding), Nasser, US vassal state, Sadat, Mubarak
  • +2000s: Arab Spring, Sisi

Western tropes I tried to avoid:

  • Spotlight History: Egypt pretty much disappears from Western accounts of history after the death of Cleopatra.
  • Non-Western cultures as timeless: Ancient Egypt is seen as all the same even though it went on for 3,000 years.
  • Archaeological lens: the history of Ancient Egypt, when it is told, is often told in terms of Westerners and their discoveries. Some of that seeps into the above timeline.

– Abagond, +2018.

See also:



Jodi Benson: Part of Your World


To round out Mermaid Appreciation Week, not appreciated by some, here is a song from the Disney film “The Little Mermaid” (1989), their sanitized version of the Hans Christian Andersen tale.

The song never charted: Disney did not release it as a single and was surprised by its success. In fact, they almost cut it from the film itself, but test audiences liked it.

It was sung by Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel, the lead character. Howard Ashman wrote the words and Alan Menken composed the music. Menken has appeared in this space before as the composer of “Colors of the Wind”, a song from another Disney film, “Pocahontas” (1995).

Benson, Ashman, and Menken all come from the world of Broadway musicals. In that world this sort of song is known as an “I Want” song, the song where the lead character tells the audience what is going through her head, why she is unhappy, what she wants to accomplish. Disney did not understand the need for such a song when they made “The Little Mermaid”, but now they are standard, especially in their princess films.

It seems that this song resonated more strongly with gay and transgender children than with others. Ashman, the songwriter, was himself openly gay. And it has been argued that Hans Christian Andersen was himself trans. Whether Andersen was or not, the story itself is structurally trans: the lead character wants to become a real girl!

See also:


Look at this stuff. Isn’t it neat?
Wouldn’t you think my collection’s complete?
Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl,
the girl who has everything?

Look at this trove, treasures untold
How many wonders can one cavern hold?
Looking around here, you’d think
Sure, she’s got everything

I’ve got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty
I’ve got whozits and whatzits galore
You want thing-a-mabobs? I’ve got twenty
But who cares? No big deal. I want more!

I wanna be where the people are
I wanna see, wanna see ’em dancin’
Walkin’ around on those…
What do you call ’em? Oh, feet

Flippin’ your fins you don’t get too far
Legs are required for jumpin’, dancin’
Strolling along down the…
What’s that word again? Street

Up where they walk
Up where they run
Up where they stay all day in the sun
Wanderin’ free,
wish I could be
part of that world

What would I give
if I could live
outta these waters?
What would I pay
to spend a day
warm on the sand?

Betcha on land
they understand
Bet they don’t reprimand their daughters
Bright young women,
sick of swimmin’
Ready to stand

And I’m ready to know what the people know
Ask ’em my questions and get some answers
What’s a fire and why does it…
What’s the word? Burn?

When’s it my turn?
Wouldn’t I love,
love to explore that shore up above?
Out of the sea,
wish I could be
part of that world

Source: FANDOM, Wikipedia.

My 2018 Book List

Inspired by Black Girl Wondering and Praying, here are the books I hope to read in 2018. This is just a bare minimum. As such it will default Black. I will do a post on each one, no matter how terrible it is, and link to it here. Posts on authors are linked here too. I have already read parts of some of these.

UNESCO: History of Africa, volume II (1990) – a history of Africa written by African scholars. Volume II goes from the rise of civilization in Egypt to the rise of Islam (-3100 to +622). The series is my main source on African history.

Chancellor WilliamsThe Destruction of Black Civilization (1974) – the history of Black civilizations from Ancient Egypt to the present. I need a good overview of African history. Recommended by Ta-Nehisi Coates and incessantly by Amazon.

Audrey and Brian D. Smedley: Race in North America (2012) – a history of North American racism from its roots in England and Spain in the 1400s and 1500s to its likely future in the 2000s. I have already done eight posts based on this book, but still need to read the part that covers 1700 to 2000.

C.L.R. James: The Black Jacobins (1938, 1963) – the classic account of the Haitian Revolution.


Ayana Mathis: The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (2012) – a novel about the Great Migration of Blacks in the US from the South to the North in the 1900s as told through the story of one family. An Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection – and a refugee from my ill-starred 2013 list!

Frantz Fanon: Wretched of the Earth (1961)  – his classic work on colonialism. Recommended to me back in my university days! Long overdue. I have already read his “Black Skin, White Masks” (1952), a hard read but worth it.

James Baldwin: Nobody Knows My Name (1961) – essays he wrote when he was in the US during the civil rights movement. One of my favourite authors.

Audre Lorde: Sister Outsider (1984) – essays. I have already read maybe 40% of this book and did a post on “Eye to Eye”, which I loved.


Kola Boof: Diary of a Lost Girl (2007) – growing up in Sudan, Egypt and the US in the 1900s.

Edwidge Danticat: Krik? Krak! (1996) – tales of Haitian life. I heard she was good but have yet to read any of her stuff.


Percival Everett: Erasure (2001) – a novel about Thelonius “Monk” Ellison who hates how books of stereotyped Black life succeed in the US, not serious ones. He writes a satire of Richard Wright’s “Native Son” (1940) and Sapphire’s “Push” (1996) and has a hit on his hands – but everyone misses the satire!

Janet Mock: Redefining Realness (2014) – growing up Black and transgender in the US in the 1990s and 2000s.

Octavia Butler: Parable of the Sower (1993) – a diary from the 2020s set in a US that is falling apart. I did a post on her book “Kindred” (1979): slavery meets the Grandfather Paradox!

If you want to recommend a book or warn me off from some of these, or just offer an opinion, please leave a comment below. Thanks!

– Abagond, 2018.

See also:


Of mermaids, boys, and trans girls

Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” (1989).

Some boys like mermaids. Some parents see it as no big deal, some see it as a “phase” they grow out of, while others are afraid it will make them gay.

In my experience, a boy can like mermaids and – brace yourself – trucks at the same time. It is parents, or at least some parents, who try to narrow their children’s interests along “gender typical” lines.

Mermaids at pool parties for children are a good example of that. Raina of Halifax Mermaids says misbehaviour towards mermaids mainly comes from boys who hear their parents say things like:

“Let the girls play with the mermaid.”

“No Billy, you’re a pirate.”

“No, don’t call yourself a mermaid.”

“Mermaids are for the girls.”

“Daddy’s not sure how he feels about that.”

Raina on the danger that mermaids present to boys:

“A boy will grow up to have a sexuality of some sort. It’s a very wide rainbow of possibility. But I assure you, when it comes to being gay, spending time with a mermaid just isn’t going to turn your kid one way or another. They either are, or they aren’t.”

In pirate times mermaids were said to lure men to their destruction.

Halifax Mermaids also has mermen – but they are viewed by parents with even greater suspicion.

The Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC put out the pamphlet “If You Are Concerned About Your Child’s Gender Behavior” (2003). It warned parents that boys identifying with Ariel of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” (1989) for more than a few weeks is “gender variant” behaviour. It says that “science has yet to pinpoint the causes.” Most boys with gender-variant histories become gay. On rare occasions they may be “transgendered”.

Its advice to parents: gender-variant children were probably born that way. They cannot help it. What they need most from their parents is unconditional love to weather society’s intolerance.

What transgender women say about mermaids:

Amiyah Scott:

“With mermaids, the bottom is kind of like an unknown and I like that. I love how beautiful and magical they are.”

Isis King:

“I feel like in a past unexplained life I was a mermaid swimming the waters in search of shiny things to make into breastplates and bras. Many are shocked and terrified by their presence and beauty yet they’re undeniable. They seem to live a lone life which I identify with. The individuality, freedom, strength and beauty of mermaids have always intrigued me.”

Janet Mock:

“Like Ariel, I was told I wasn’t a real girl because of my body, and this common struggle to be seen as normal, to just belong, tethered my trans girl self to Ariel’s mermaid girl self. Plus, it didn’t hurt that my childhood heroine was gorgeous — the epitome of femininity — despite struggling to exist in an untraditional form.

“In the end, against all odds and by way of problematic compromises (she trades her voice for a shot at normality with a man), Ariel lives her dream and receives her happily ever after.”

– Abagond, 2018.

Sources: mainly Google Images, Allure (2017), Halifax Mermaids (2014), “If You Are Concerned About Your Child’s Gender Behavior” (2003, PDF).

See also:


%d bloggers like this: