Chanda Prescod-Weinstein Profile picture
Jul 19, 2018 22 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
While I was on vacation, I read this incredibly painful essay in @NewYorker and wondered: why is it that none of my Igbo American friends have ever mentioned the fucked up caste system they got going? #privilege…
Being the descendent of people enslaved in the Atlantic slave trade means forever being angry about slavery, but I found myself furious also about the dishonesty in the discussion about how Nigerian Americans treat other Black Americans
Lots of talk about colorism and Black American people appropriating Nigerian textiles, and here a major Nigerian ethnic group has a totally fucked up caste system that involves treating slave descendants as forever subhuman and no one discusses THAT
As a light skinned person who is always trying to talk to team light skint about abuses of privilege and not recognizing privilege, I really saw red here, because it's clear a bunch of Igbo folks have not been doing the same due diligence while also talking about colorism 👀
Literally people are walking around thinking that me, my mother, and my mother's whole family are permanently subhuman because their ancestors kidnapped our ancestors and forced them into one of the most disgusting abuses of people ever in all of human history. Excuse me?
So of course there is an important selection effect worth articulating: because of the Igbo caste system, the Igbo people who come to the US are most likely to be the ones who are both privileged by this system and therefore have to think the least about it
No wonder people are so outraged about "having to become Black" when they come to America. They're used to being part of the top caste, and they hate having to share a group with us subhuman chattel.
I will never be ashamed of being descended from some of the most incredible survivors that humanity has ever known.
If you’re Nigerian and your only response to this is “you don’t know enough to talk about the fact that people aren’t talking about this” rather than talking about it and tackling why the author said what she said, and also to be like “you’re not African” Honestly fuck off
Black Americans who are descended from slaves have a profound trauma around not knowing who are continental peoples are and people who have the privilege of knowing need to show some basic consideration for that
If you think the author of the article misrepresented things, explain why you think it is wrong and you can do that without being rude and inconsiderate. TALK ABOUT THE ISSUES.
Also the suggestion that it’s up to me to pro-actively bring up other people’s problematic cultural context with them rather than them pro-actively addressing it? That’s fucked y’all.
When you can’t be bothered to carefully read the thread but have multiple twitter accounts to say the same thing — about someone not reading. Ok. Amazing thing is no one actually thoughtfully analyzed the contents of the article, just got mad at me having a reaction to t.
What’s truly unclassy and grotesque about this is the suggestion that what’s more unfair here is that it oversimplifies a complex Nigerian society, not the whole selling my ancestors into slavery thing
And that tells you a whole lot about people’s respect for lives lived with the pain of slavery being part of your history and bloodline. The people wigging out and being rude don’t give a fuck about that.
Literally not one person has taken the time to say, “Here’s why you shouldn’t believe the article.” Just a bunch of people telling me to shut up.

Super informative, y’all.
Annnnnd the more people insult me without presenting any alternative reading of the facts on the ground, the more I’m convinced they’ve got something to hide 👀👀👀👀👀
Your insults have completely changed my perspective on the situation.
People’s responses remind me a lot of how many Filipinx people reacted when it came out that many Filipinx families had what in an American context would be called slaves and sometimes trafficked them to the US
People screamed bloody murder about how context matters. But sometimes slavery is just slavery.

People also forget that people my age grew up with the children of immigrants who came of age in the 60s (including my own parents)
So telling me “we had a war and now that’s not relevant” is ... ridiculous. It is of course always relevant if it happened but it is especially relevant to people my age and older.
As someone reminded me today, this stuff is literally chronicled in Things Fall Apart, which I was too young to fully understand when I read it at age 16. So people denying that this is historically a part of the culture are ... in denial.

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Oct 8, 2018
Students of color feeling marginalized in STEM are not always people in need of remedial programming and assuming they need remedial programming is really problematic/hella racist
Learn to talk about people of color like we're the same species as you
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Oct 6, 2018
There is seriously a thread of white women in my mentions very committed to denying white women's complicity in white supremacy, in response to a tweet from a Black Lives Matter organizer who has, you know, thought about this for longer than 5 minutes
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When I pointed out she had shown up in my mentions today, she deleted her tweet and didn't apologize for acting like I was the aggressor. Now every time I think the thread has died, another white woman steps in to wake it up again. Almost all of them are scientists.
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Oct 5, 2018
PARTICLES FOR JUSTICE IS LIVE! I am proud to be a co-author on this statement from high energy physicists:
"We write here first to state, in the strongest possible terms, that the humanity of any person, regardless of ascribed identities such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, religion, disability, gender presentation, or sexual identity is not up for debate."
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Oct 3, 2018
Thing I felt grateful for today: as a child of divorce and an international activist family, I spent a lot of time on planes and sometimes in passport offices alone, and along the way, many adults took an interest and talked to me and this meant I never felt alone or scared
Props to the woman at the passport office who enjoyed my diatribe about Jane Austen and later mailed me an old BBC adaptation that I hadn’t seen. Btw turns out a 13 yo needs a parent present to renew a passport, much to my dad’s chagrine lol
And to the many business travelers who, rather than wondering what the hell I was doing in business class (where the flight attendants often put unaccompanied minors back then), played cards with me and talked to me about my dolls.
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Oct 3, 2018
This tweet 👇🏽 is flat out wrong. Speaking as someone who does gender studies in addition to particle physics — gender studies is actually a notoriously difficult field to get published in, harder than physics actually, and only a few journals are really taken seriously.
It was actually easier for me to get a peer-reviewed paper on gender studies published in an astronomy journal than to get one published in a gender studies journal. I’ve now been successful in both. Let the critics say the same. ;-)
One piece of advice I got from a senior woman in science, technology and society studies who does race & gender in technology history was that gender studies is a very hard field and I should be careful. Her husband is a string theorist, so I think she knows what she’s saying. 😉
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