Yes, I actually read books. What? Did some of you only think I watched movies or anime series? Please slap yourself if you ever thought that about me. No, I’m not talking about manga or comics. I mean actual books. I haven’t read a fictional book in over a year. I’ve been reading a lot of history and non-fiction books. While I don’t consider myself a genius, I’m not an idiot, and I actually know things or, at the very least, am willing to learn something new.
Here are some books I read over the past several months or so.
Black and British and The Kaiser’s Holocaust by David Olusoga: I thought I would talk about two separate books by the same author. I was more familiar with David Olusoga’s documentary work, but I didn’t know he wrote books. Black and British was a fascinating history of Black British culture for centuries. It covered not only Windrush, but slavery, one of the first Black British communities in Liverpool (some families can trace their family back to the early 18th century), and notable people with various contributions. The Kaiser’s Holocaust is about the Namibian Genocide by the German government, which was the first genocide of the 20th century. David Olusoga directed the Namibian Genocide & The 2nd Reich BBC documentary, which I strongly recommend and is has a lot of the exact facts of German colonization, severed skulls being sent to Germany, the first usage of concentration camps in Shark Island, and the direct and indirect Nazi connections with both the 2nd and 3rd Reichs such as General Franz Ritter von Epp being the most damning example since he hired and inspired a then-unknown Adolf Hitler not long after his malicious tour of that part of Africa.
The Iceman Inheritance by Michael Bradley: This was a recent read that I found out about on a podcast. It was a shocking history book that goes back to prehistoric times about the roots of racism in Europe, whether it was the harsh climate they lived in during the ice ages or millennia after the fact. Also, this was written by a white guy from Canada, so don’t freak out at me about that. There were so many implications with cited sources how it permeated from a cultural and educational standpoint that led to racism, sexism, colonization, etc.
MFIT Magazines (Many Faces In Teaching) and Decolonizing the Curriculum by Dr. Marie Charles: These publications have been quite eye-opening. Dr. Charles is a very talented educator and historian from England, and she’s been doing a fantastic job with her research. The MFIT series is an ongoing history project that shows the African antecedence connecting that continent to ancient Europe from millennia ago using comparative linguistics, archaeology, and artifacts, to name a few, and it’s been peer-reviewed. After discovering about the Cheddar Man in Somerset, I became intrigued to learn more about this ancient history that doesn’t get talked about since you had Pangaea, for example. It has been absolutely mind-blowing such as seeing Black royalty on old coins or seeing comparisons between an Irish artifact with a white mask on the eyes with the Nzu mask in the Igbo culture. Decolonizing the Curriculum should be canon in the educational field as it uses strategies for teaching multi-ethnic populations while also bringing up so many good points about why it’s essential.
Caliban’s Reason by Paget Henry: This was the last complete book I read, and it was an excellent deconstruction of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Paget Henry is an Antiguan historian and professor who calls out the play’s pro-colonial and pro-slavery implications while making parallels to eurocentric education with how melanated voices are silenced or questioned at all times. Even the etymology of Caliban was disturbing because it’s an anagram of the Spanish word for the Indigenous Carib tribe: Canibal! Yes, that’s literally where the word “Cannibal” comes from, and it added to this imagery of thinking that Black and Native people are automatically “savages” in the European eyes, and they see them as beats that need to be killed or tamed at all costs. It’s also interesting how Shakespeare seems to get a pass for implications like that or how Othello had blackface even centuries after the bard existed, but that’s a story for another day…
How Music Dies (Or Lives) by Ian Brennan: I hate the music scene sometimes. Ian Brennan gave me more reasons to do so, but in a good way. This author is actually a music producer who has gone to several countries to record various bands and musicians authentically. He brings up how the term “world music” has problematic implications, how pop music has taken over the world, how people in the West (especially Americans) fear listening to music that isn’t in English, or how there’s audio colonization of sorts. It has exposed me to several musicians around the world, and he had good intentions instead of acting like some white savior since even he admits that he’s still learning and isn’t trying to be some hero. I was sick of all these first-world problem bands, not just in pop, but pop punk and metalcore, for example. A lot of the people Ian Brennan recorded come from poverty, war, genocide, and other atrocities, and it makes those bands look like the spoiled brats they are!
So what have you all read lately?