Historian Dr Vashna Jaganarth joined me to explain why Juneteenth matters. We inevitably hear her brilliant narration of many complex aspects to the historical (formal) end to slavery in 1865. Along the way, she talks about the gaps between legal declarations of freedom, and forms of enslavement that continue thereafter. Unsurprisingly, who can access legal justice becomes a matter of class politics.
Vashna spends a lot of delicious time on food, and what the lives of enslaved peoples have gifted us, and hence why we have certain typical foods on the Juneteenth table. This begins a discussion about the importance of humanising slaves. They did not merely endure, suffer and survive slavery. They also had humanity within the enslaved conditions (itself a form of resistance) - dance, music, food, love, etcetera. Vashna explains why, historically, white supremacy wanted the full humanity for slaves to be suppresed in the descprtions of 'slaves'. This, in turn, means that when emancipatory politics sets out to achieve full justice for the oppressed, it is important to not perpetuate the brittle view of enslaved persons. Vashan explains in this episode what this means and requires.
We ended the episode by discussing what the modern project of justice for slavery entails, beyond breaking bread.
Do you also, wittingly or otherwise, change languages or accents or vocabulary between different spaces (for all sorts of reasons)? [Many of us do so at school, in lecture rooms or at work]
In a country like ours, with so much diversity, and skewed cultural and economic power distributions,...
Based on an essay I recently wrote ( https://www.timeslive.co.za/sunday-times-daily/opinion-and-analysis/2022-08-02-eusebius-mckaiser-outrage-about-rape-must-be-accompanied-by-action-heres-what-we-might-do/?device=feature_phone ) about rape culture, in response to the gang-rapes that had...