A groundbreaking Canadian initiative to promote safe, inclusive and healthy communities for LGBT and Two-Spirit youth. 

My opinion piece on injustice in the Dominican Republic

My Letter on Blacks, Latinos and Baseball published in the New York Times!

My Letter on Blacks, Latinos and Baseball published in the New York Times!

Memorizing my Notes

Memorizing my Notes

Tweet Quoted by Al Jazeera English's The Stream TV show during its program on human rights in Russia!

RIP MARTIN BERNAL
Today, I mourn the passing of a man who exerted a major intellectual influence on my life: Dr. Martin Bernal. An acclaimed Sinologist, who later ventured into the world of classics and ancient history, Bernal was subjected to the most vitriolic attacks for having the audacity to expose entrenched racism and antisemitism permeating Western historical scholarship, in his groundbreaking triology, Black Athena. Branded a “revisionist,” an “afrocentrist” and even an extremist, during the cultural wars of the 90s, Bernal used his position in academia to reveal the extent to which much of Western thought has its roots in the intercivilizational encounter between Ancient Greece and much older South Western Asian and Northeastern African civilizations. Through his bold scholarship, Bernal has inspired countless and radically transformed our understanding of contemporary historiography. He will be missed by many.
Peter Frederick Flegel

RIP MARTIN BERNAL

Today, I mourn the passing of a man who exerted a major intellectual influence on my life: Dr. Martin Bernal. An acclaimed Sinologist, who later ventured into the world of classics and ancient history, Bernal was subjected to the most vitriolic attacks for having the audacity to expose entrenched racism and antisemitism permeating Western historical scholarship, in his groundbreaking triology, Black Athena. Branded a “revisionist,” an “afrocentrist” and even an extremist, during the cultural wars of the 90s, Bernal used his position in academia to reveal the extent to which much of Western thought has its roots in the intercivilizational encounter between Ancient Greece and much older South Western Asian and Northeastern African civilizations. Through his bold scholarship, Bernal has inspired countless and radically transformed our understanding of contemporary historiography. He will be missed by many.

Peter Frederick Flegel

guardian:

Their genes are exactly the same, so why don’t identical siblings’ lives follow more similar patterns? The scientist behind a pioneering 21-year study believes he has the answer.
Photograph: Some of the twins studied by the department of twin research at King’s College, London. Credit: King’s College, London

guardian:

Their genes are exactly the same, so why don’t identical siblings’ lives follow more similar patterns? The scientist behind a pioneering 21-year study believes he has the answer.

Photograph: Some of the twins studied by the department of twin research at King’s College, London. Credit: King’s College, London

MY JUSTIN TRUDEAU MOMENT (this is not an endorsement)
It was December 28, 2012, and I was at Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, awaiting my delayed flight to Havana.To prepare for what would be 12 days of cultural immersion in Cuba’s capital, I decided to read up on Canada’s bilateral relations with Cuba. And of course, I had to start by reading an online book about one of Canada’s most prolific Prime Ministers, the late Pierre Elliot Trudeau, and his relationship with Latin America.
After reading, a fascinating chapter, which challenged everything I thought I knew about the late Trudeau’s relationship with Cuba’s Fidel Castro, I decided to look above my laptop.
And low and behold… guess who was sitting plonk, right in front of me?! The recently elected leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Mr. Justin Trudeau! What a crazy coincidence!
I went to introduce myself to him. He was gracious and chatted with me for a moment, before he went off with his wife and kids!That was my Justin Trudeau Moment (again this is not a political endorsement).

MY JUSTIN TRUDEAU MOMENT (this is not an endorsement)

It was December 28, 2012, and I was at Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, awaiting my delayed flight to Havana.To prepare for what would be 12 days of cultural immersion in Cuba’s capital, I decided to read up on Canada’s bilateral relations with Cuba. And of course, I had to start by reading an online book about one of Canada’s most prolific Prime Ministers, the late Pierre Elliot Trudeau, and his relationship with Latin America.

After reading, a fascinating chapter, which challenged everything I thought I knew about the late Trudeau’s relationship with Cuba’s Fidel Castro, I decided to look above my laptop.

And low and behold… guess who was sitting plonk, right in front of me?! The recently elected leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Mr. Justin Trudeau! What a crazy coincidence!

I went to introduce myself to him. He was gracious and chatted with me for a moment, before he went off with his wife and kids!That was my Justin Trudeau Moment (again this is not a political endorsement).

MENTUHOTEP, RACE AND ARCHAEOLOGY
Did Black Africans ever rule over Ancient Egypt? The answer is a nuanced and polemical yes.
The standard answer goes as follows: Black Africans did rule over Ancient Egypt but only at the tail end of its three-thousand year-old civilization.
In its highly acclaimed “The Black Pharaohs,” for example, National Geographic painstakingly retold the story of King Piye, who, in the 8th century BCE, led a Sudanese army deep into the heart of Egypt to found one of the civilization’s most prolific dynasties.
While the feature article provided a rich and accessible portrait of Egypt’s “Nubian Dynasty,” one is left with the distinct impression that Piye actually made history by becoming Egypt’s first Black African ruler. The perspective also suggests that before 700 BCE, non-Black Pharaohs governed a civilization, in which Blacks were either foreigners, captives, slaves, or, if lucky, foot soldiers.
Reminiscent of the modern-day confusion over the existence of people who are both Black and Latino, the notion that Ancient Egypt knew pharaohs who were ethnically Egyptian and phenotypically Black African, apparently defies imagination (so much so that some Classicists have expressed confusion at the Ancient Greek tendency to portray the Ancient Egyptians as both Black and “yellow-skinned”).
This viewpoint is puzzling since, at least one other historical figure stands out as a dark-skinned, fleshy-lipped king of Egypt. He is Mentuhotep II who, in approximately 2055 BCE, united a divided kingdom and established a golden age of military, literary, religious, scientific and architectural achievements.
Ancient iconography depicts him with black skin and sub-Saharan features. For example, on his most famous statue, currently lodged at the Egyptian National Museum in Cairo, Mentuhotep is painted with dark-skin and sculpted with “negroid” features.
Many scholars have tried at length to dismiss the statue’s “racial” connotations by alleging that the skin color is merely “symbolic.” Yet other, lesser-known statues, such as the one on display at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, present the ruler with distinctly Black African features.
Moreover, paintings of the Pharaoh’s favorite wife and one of his daughters defy the ancient Egyptian convention of painting the civilization’s women with light skin. The Queen and Princess are portrayed with unabashedly black skin and with what appear to be short Afros. The women are also shown to be attended upon by yellow-skinned female servants with straight hair.
As a result, some scholars have gone so far as to conclude that Mentuhotep II was Nubian (i.e. Sudanese) in origin. That may very well have been the case. Or he could have simply been an Egyptian who happened to be Black. Regardless, Mentuhotep II’s reign suggests that Black Africans held the reins of power in Egypt at least two-thousand years earlier than many scholars would like us to believe.
Peter Frederick Flegel

MENTUHOTEP, RACE AND ARCHAEOLOGY

Did Black Africans ever rule over Ancient Egypt? The answer is a nuanced and polemical yes.

The standard answer goes as follows: Black Africans did rule over Ancient Egypt but only at the tail end of its three-thousand year-old civilization.

In its highly acclaimed “The Black Pharaohs,” for example, National Geographic painstakingly retold the story of King Piye, who, in the 8th century BCE, led a Sudanese army deep into the heart of Egypt to found one of the civilization’s most prolific dynasties.

While the feature article provided a rich and accessible portrait of Egypt’s “Nubian Dynasty,” one is left with the distinct impression that Piye actually made history by becoming Egypt’s first Black African ruler. The perspective also suggests that before 700 BCE, non-Black Pharaohs governed a civilization, in which Blacks were either foreigners, captives, slaves, or, if lucky, foot soldiers.

Reminiscent of the modern-day confusion over the existence of people who are both Black and Latino, the notion that Ancient Egypt knew pharaohs who were ethnically Egyptian and phenotypically Black African, apparently defies imagination (so much so that some Classicists have expressed confusion at the Ancient Greek tendency to portray the Ancient Egyptians as both Black and “yellow-skinned”).

This viewpoint is puzzling since, at least one other historical figure stands out as a dark-skinned, fleshy-lipped king of Egypt. He is Mentuhotep II who, in approximately 2055 BCE, united a divided kingdom and established a golden age of military, literary, religious, scientific and architectural achievements.

Ancient iconography depicts him with black skin and sub-Saharan features. For example, on his most famous statue, currently lodged at the Egyptian National Museum in Cairo, Mentuhotep is painted with dark-skin and sculpted with “negroid” features.

Many scholars have tried at length to dismiss the statue’s “racial” connotations by alleging that the skin color is merely “symbolic.” Yet other, lesser-known statues, such as the one on display at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, present the ruler with distinctly Black African features.

Moreover, paintings of the Pharaoh’s favorite wife and one of his daughters defy the ancient Egyptian convention of painting the civilization’s women with light skin. The Queen and Princess are portrayed with unabashedly black skin and with what appear to be short Afros. The women are also shown to be attended upon by yellow-skinned female servants with straight hair.

As a result, some scholars have gone so far as to conclude that Mentuhotep II was Nubian (i.e. Sudanese) in origin. That may very well have been the case. Or he could have simply been an Egyptian who happened to be Black. Regardless, Mentuhotep II’s reign suggests that Black Africans held the reins of power in Egypt at least two-thousand years earlier than many scholars would like us to believe.

Peter Frederick Flegel

Sporting the Spring Look

Sporting the Spring Look

dynamicafrica:

This past weekend the small town of KwaDukuza, in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal, was set abuzz as a young couple said “I do” in what has been marked as the area’s ‘First Traditional African Gay Wedding’, taking place between a Zulu and Setswana man.

Both men’s families were actively involved in the ceremony, and the couple plans on having a ‘white wedding’ later this year.

(via emmetttrill)

Sporting the Spring Look!

BAYARD RUSTIN, GAYS AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT  
As the US Supreme Courts mulls striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the life of a largely unsung hero of the US civil rights movement merits our attention. Born into a Quaker family, on September 17, 1912, the late Bayard Rustin—an openly gay African America—became a key figure in the struggle for the rights of Black Americans.
Rustin is largely credited for introducing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence. In fact, it is largely thanks to his close ties with the American pastor that nonviolence became a mainstay of the nationwide campaign to tear down the walls of racial segregation. So influential was Rustin, and prized by Dr. King, that he was appointed lead organizer of The Great March on Washington, which saw tens of thousands of Americans mobilized in the national capitol to demand an end to racial injustice.
Yet, his numerous achievements often failed to shield him from the sting of racism and homophobia. In 1960, for example, he succumbed to pressure from conservative voices in the civil rights movement by resigning his position in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which he had helped to found. He also had to confront key opponents of the civil rights movement wielding false accusations of sexual impropriety against Dr. King and himself.  
Nevertheless, Rustin refused to be fazed by bigotry and ignorance. Instead, he displayed an astonishingly courageous willingness to affirm his sexual orientation publicly. And he inspired thousands, through the transformational leadership he exerted in one of the most important freedom struggles of the 20th century.
A man ahead of his time, Rustin articulated, in the clearest terms, the inextricable link between the struggles for African American and LGBT rights. For example, a year before he passed away, the civil rights leader delivered a speech in favor of New York State’s Gay Rights Bill, in which he famously declared, “The new “niggers” are gays (…) gay people are the new barometer for social change. The question of social change should be framed with the most vulnerable group in mind: gay people.”
His story of struggle and triumph points to the need for and power inherent in more efforts to build bridges of solidarity among disparate movements for change. In fact, many could not help hearing Rustin’s voice echoed in US President Barack Hussein Obama’s 2013 explicitly “pro-gay” inaugural address, when the President declared:
“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall.” 
One can only hope that Rustin’s clarion call also provides much needed guidance to the Supreme Court justices, as they deliberate on the very future of equality and freedom in America.    
Peter Frederick Flegel

BAYARD RUSTIN, GAYS AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT 

As the US Supreme Courts mulls striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the life of a largely unsung hero of the US civil rights movement merits our attention. Born into a Quaker family, on September 17, 1912, the late Bayard Rustin—an openly gay African America—became a key figure in the struggle for the rights of Black Americans.

Rustin is largely credited for introducing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence. In fact, it is largely thanks to his close ties with the American pastor that nonviolence became a mainstay of the nationwide campaign to tear down the walls of racial segregation. So influential was Rustin, and prized by Dr. King, that he was appointed lead organizer of The Great March on Washington, which saw tens of thousands of Americans mobilized in the national capitol to demand an end to racial injustice.

Yet, his numerous achievements often failed to shield him from the sting of racism and homophobia. In 1960, for example, he succumbed to pressure from conservative voices in the civil rights movement by resigning his position in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which he had helped to found. He also had to confront key opponents of the civil rights movement wielding false accusations of sexual impropriety against Dr. King and himself. 

Nevertheless, Rustin refused to be fazed by bigotry and ignorance. Instead, he displayed an astonishingly courageous willingness to affirm his sexual orientation publicly. And he inspired thousands, through the transformational leadership he exerted in one of the most important freedom struggles of the 20th century.

A man ahead of his time, Rustin articulated, in the clearest terms, the inextricable link between the struggles for African American and LGBT rights. For example, a year before he passed away, the civil rights leader delivered a speech in favor of New York State’s Gay Rights Bill, in which he famously declared, “The new “niggers” are gays (…) gay people are the new barometer for social change. The question of social change should be framed with the most vulnerable group in mind: gay people.”

His story of struggle and triumph points to the need for and power inherent in more efforts to build bridges of solidarity among disparate movements for change. In fact, many could not help hearing Rustin’s voice echoed in US President Barack Hussein Obama’s 2013 explicitly “pro-gay” inaugural address, when the President declared:

“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall.”

One can only hope that Rustin’s clarion call also provides much needed guidance to the Supreme Court justices, as they deliberate on the very future of equality and freedom in America.    

Peter Frederick Flegel