The current socio-political climate in the United States sheds a critical, glaring light on the racism and white supremacy which has been part of the fabric of this country since the seventeenth century. Barack Obama’s tenure as president resulted in a major increase in white hate groups, hate crimes, and unrelenting violence against innocent Black men and women by police. In response, people of different races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, religions, ages and classes have taken to the streets in protest, and increased decades long efforts to organize against racism and for a more empathetic, just, democratic society. Social change about racism must begin with acknowledgement followed by open, focused, critical dialogue.
Still Hanging: Using Performance Texts to Deconstruct Racism, referencing both the resilience of Black people in the face of institutionalized racism and systemic oppression, and the fact that Black people continue to be literally and metaphorically lynched in 2020, is designed to use the power of lived experience specific performance texts as frames for engaging faculty, students and others interested in beginning to deconstruct racism and construct an anti-racist way of being.
Bryant Keith Alexander, Ph.D. (1998), is Professor and Dean, College of Communication and Fine Arts, Loyola Marymount University. He is author of Performing Black Masculinity (Alta Mira, 2006), and The Performative Sustainability of Race (Peter Lang, 2012).
Mary E. Weems, M.A., Ph.D. (2001), is an Independent Scholar, imagination-intellect theorist, poet and author. Recent books include Blackeyed: Plays and Monologues (Sense, 2015) and Writings of Healing and Resistance: Empathy and the Imagination-Intellect (Peter Lang, 2013).
Message about Cover Art
List of Figures
About the Authors
PART 1: Sounds of Blackness
1 Still Hanging/On: ‘Strange Fruit’ and ‘Glory’ — Songs of/as/in Protest: Or, from Stage to Page: Documenting Ideological Performance Bryant Keith Alexander
Interlude 1: On Blackouts and Black Notes Bryant Keith Alexander
2 Black Notes Mary E. Weems
Interlude 2: Confluences of Pain Bryant Keith Alexander
3 Let the People See What They Did to My Child Mary E. Weems
4 George Floyd’s Mama Mary E. Weems
5 Wendy’s, Me, and Rayshard Brooks: Another Black Man Killed (June 12, 2020) Bryant Keith Alexander
6 Where’s the Beef? Mary E. Weems
Interlude 3: A Moment of Prayer Bryant Keith Alexander
7 Three Meditations on Prayer and Particularity: Or: On Black Mothers, Social Justice, and Queering Catholicism Bryant Keith Alexander
Interlude 4: Courageous Conversations Bryant Keith Alexander
8 Three Conversations Mary E. Weems
Interlude 5: Trigger Warnings Bryant Keith Alexander
Interlude 6: Bamboozled Mary E. Weems
9 Eat Fresh Mary E. Weems
10 Not a Fan Letter: Or, Trigger Warning: An Autoethnographic Rant on Jussie Smollett Bryant Keith Alexander
Interlude 7: Hanging Chads? Bryant Keith Alexander
PART 2: Bodies on the Line
11 Attached? Mary E. Weems
12 Still Hanging? Bryant Keith Alexander
Interlude 8: A Crack in My Heart Bryant Keith Alexander
13 Crack the Door for Some Air Mary E. Weems
PART 3: Black/White Double Consciousness
14 Is There a White Double Consciousness? A Short Dialogue Mary E. Weems and Bryant Keith Alexander
Study Questions, Prompts, and Probes Bryant Keith Alexander
Notes for Teachers, Faculty, and Facilitators on Establishing a Learning Community Mary E. Weems
Bibliography and Further Reading
This book may be used as a primary and/or secondary text in Critical Race Studies, Theatre and Performance Studies, LGBTQ+ Studies, Communication Studies, Cultural Studies courses as well as community-based environments dedicated to grassroots activism.