Still Hanging

Using Performance Texts to Deconstruct Racism

Series: 

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.

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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).
Acknowledgements
Message about Cover Art
List of Figures
About the Authors

Introduction

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.