Amoeblog

South(ern) Africa's Indigenous People and their Culture Presented in Music and Film

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 19, 2010 12:16pm | Post a Comment


Dusty Bushmen toddlers

I'm not a big spectator of sports (or player of them, for that matter) but it seems that events like The World Cup and The Olympics are often used to spotlight various aspects of the host country's culture. I did read one such article about South Africa in National Geographic but I haven't seen anything during the current cup about the indigenous population. OK, so maybe there aren't any bushmen on the pitch or in the stands but... well, I don't care... I started the blog entry a while ago and I'm just trying to make it relevant whilst South Africa's on our collective minds -- especially since Bafana Bafana appear to be on their way out of the cup (except as hosts) unless something miraculous happens.

 

A BIT ABOUT TERMINOLOGY

Many object to the use of the term "Bushmen," which I understand. Saying Bushmen women certainly seems odd. It's imperfect but widely accepted and used among the people it describes, just like black, white, Asian or Indian (for Native Americans). The ancient common culture of all Bushmen groups is retroactively known as Sangoan, although we have no idea what they called themselves. Capoid is a term used by some... chiefly people who throw around words like Negroid, Caucasoid and Mongoloid in polite conversation. Khoisan is often used but "san" means "outsider" in the Khoi language and is therefore considered offensive by the very people it's meant to describe. Khoi Khoi is literally, "People People." The Dutch called the Khoi "Hottentots," meaning "stutterer" or "stammerer" -- a reference to the array of clicks in their language. The so-called San were generally distinguished by whites as bushmen, although now "Bushmen" is the most commonly used generic term for the entire group, so for lack of a better word, Bushmen it is.          

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May Is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 28, 2008 04:19pm | Post a Comment
ASIAN PACIFIC AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH

Even in a multicultural, polyglot city like Los Angeles (which has the largest population of Asian-Americans (1.4 million) in the country and where the percentage of the population which is Asian-American is roughly twice that which is black) most discussions of race appear continue to be framed in the outmoded, bipolar terms of  black and white.  For example, whereas a lot of people and many organizations honor Black History Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is by comparison almost completely unrecognized except by some Asian-American organization and individuals.

The centuries-long struggle and strife of blacks in America is well-documented and worth honoring -- many have suggested that Black Americans invented the Civil Rights Movement (some Native Americans might take issue with that). Asians, like other non-whites, have also been subjected to legal segregation, racist violence, widespread discrimination and harassment. So why is it that the Asian-American experience is so... obscure? I hadn't even heard of its existence until I was hipped to it by reknowned Asian-American rights activist, Ngoc-thu Thi Nguyen.


CONTINUED PREJUDICE AGAINST ASIAN-AMERICANS

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