Misty Copeland to Dance Swan Lake at DC’s Kennedy Center on April 9, 2015
You know what? America worries waaay too much about what’s going on with Black people and Dylan Roof is proof of that. He said that Black men rape his women, and that we are taking over even though he killed mostly women. His manifesto mentioned Trayvon Martin, Black on Black crime and Black on White crime not being reported (even though the cases mentioned have been resolved and the aggressors have been tried and sentenced accordingly).
That sentiment is as old as this country, and it still gets passed down to several generations.
Has anybody ever figured how America is invested in making sure that White people are viewed in the best light possible? Could that be why they pretend crime doesn’t happen in their neck of the woods to the point where less than favorable statistics get hidden and couched in “soft language” if the media grabs hold of the information? Have they figured that America really needs a “bad guy” so after they were done making sure the Native Americans were thoroughly portrayed as the bad guys, they turned their focus to Blacks?
Could it be they kept that legacy going by distributing propaganda about Blacks in America to the point where people in other countries ate it up? Could that be the result of why people from other countries come to The States and cape so hard to the point of compromising their integrity by any means necessary? I’m not just looking at Bobby Jindal, and Brown border patrol members. I’m looking at Don Lemon, Rachael Dolezal’s husband, Mia Love, Ben Carson, and Raven Symone, etc I’m looking at YOU too.
Could it be that White America is so obsessed with Black people to the point of trolling their spaces in person or online, or by disguising themselves as Black in order to make any and all issues about them because they felt left out (Rachael Dolezal, John Howard Griffin cough cough) instead of creating their own UNIQUE lane that gives White people flavor without stealing the seasoning from other people’s cabinets? And when something along the lines of that gets brought to their attention, they show up in droves just to make disparaging comments or throw racial slurs at said Black person even if their messages are positive, or change the subject by derailing the conversation, or by presenting loaded questions they really don’t want an answer to.
Could “feeling left out” be the reason why they enter all of our genres of music under the guise of “making it better”? Could this be why when they enter our genres, they win all of the awards, and become the “standard” even when their songs really aren’t that great? Could it be that whenever a Black person speaks about issues in this country, somebody comes from out of nowhere to say #NotAllWhitePeople or #AllLivesMatter even though that’s a given? Could “feeling left out” be the real reason why White people feel the need to say “Hey! We’re oppressed too because freedom of speech and political correctness is ruining us!” every time they’re faced with consequences for doing or saying something really messed up?” Could this be why whenever they get caught doing or saying racist things, they find a non White person to cosign the foolishness as if they can never stand on their own two feet and be accountable for anything?
The whole thing looks like a metaphor for The Spice Trade to me because they steal from those they feel are lesser in order to make money. It’s like they said, “Fuck substance, get money.” and actually lived by it.
Google “The Spice Trade” to see what I’m talking about.
Anyway, Any time some racially motivated crime happens where Black people are the victims, it’s always about fear. Fear of Black people. It’s why Black people have to “be approachable” It’s why respectability politics exist. If you look at respectability politics and examine the definition, it really means “What does a person have to do in order to be ‘respectable’ to the people or person in power?”.
But they fail to recognize that when Black people did for themselves, were respectable and pulled themselves up by the bootstraps, it wasn’t enough so they had to burn down Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma out of rumor based fear and jealousy.
(Google “Black Wall Street, Little Africa”) to see what I’m talking about.
Respectability politics are designed to keep Black people begging to be respected. That’s it. Respectability politics are why victim blaming exists. It’s why older people don’t respect younger people. It’s why some Black people choose to talk mess about those they feel are “not respectable” to the point of Black shaming. It’s also why each time something racial happens, some Black people choose to engage in shaming their own. I can’t do that because I can see what’s going on. Each time a Black person shames their own, it continues the cycle of supremacy. They can say something along the lines of “See? They don’t even like themselves! Haha!”
Respectability politics are a trap. It’s a deep long, winding trap that has corners and pits that people don’t really look that far into. That being said:
I have faith in the young people. I see what they’re doing. BUT sucking up to the mainstream media and big orgs is NOT the business. It’s a form of respectability politics. They want to be liked SO bad that they clique up with people that don’t have their best interests in mind.
Those orgs, and mainstream media look like the creepy person with the rape van talking about “candy” or a “free puppy” to me. They are designed to kidnap people and do what Ralph Ellison mentioned in his book titled “Invisible Man”:
“Keep This Nigger-Boy Running”.
They do it by derailing people and controlling how they move. They appoint a “leader” and that leader may report to someone else. That someone else could have a paycheck (candy or free puppy) in store for those following them, or they might simply deny access to things or issues that need to be addressed. And the media sucks it up so people could bask in it (asking Black people for forgiveness).
If there are any young people out there, all I could say is this:
Don’t be gullible and watch what people say and do. Move accordingly. Stay focused on what matters and don’t let anybody derail the issue. Watch for snakes and wolves. Don’t sell your$elf out in order to gain friends. Those friends may not be who they say they are. “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” is more than just a facebook meme or rap lyric. The real trick is knowing exactly WHO your enemies are. Keep moving forward. And remember there is no one singular direction. Choosing singular directions is a good way to allow yourselves to get derailed. Stay focused. Be safe. Be prepared. Be brave. Be brazen. Just BE.
Activist and filmmaker Bree Newsome garnered national attention when she climbed a flagpole and took down the Confederate Flag flying above the South Carolina statehouse. Newsome made the daring feat the morning of June 27, 2015. Two days later, she has made the first statement about her iconic act and subsequent arrest.
I removed the flag not only in defiance of those who enslaved my ancestors in the southern United States, but also in defiance of the oppression that continues against black people globally in 2015, including the ongoing ethnic cleansing in the Dominican Republic. I did it in solidarity with the South African students who toppled a statue of the white supremacist, colonialist Cecil Rhodes. I did it for all the fierce black women on the front lines of the movement and for all the little black girls who are watching us. I did it because I am free.
To all those who might label me an “outside agitator,” I say to you that humanitarianism has no borders. I am a global citizen. My prayers are with the poor, the afflicted and the oppressed everywhere in the world, as Christ instructs. If this act of disobedience can also serve as a symbol to other peoples’ struggles against oppression or as a symbol of victory over fear and hate, then I know all the more that I did the right thing.
Read her full statement on Blue Nation Review.
Joneka Percentie is a junior studying Communications, Africana Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies. When she is not working as an editorial assistant with For Harriet, she enjoys blogging for SPARK, singing, dancing, tweeting @jpercentie, eating, and sleeping. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Thea Monyeé
Racism is not about blackness. It is about whiteness.
The question two weeks ago should not have been, “Is Rachel Dolezal black?” or a question of “What is blackness?” The question should have been, “Why doesn’t Rachel Dolezal want to be white?”
The Charleston 9—Reverend Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Tywanza Sanders, Reverend DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Reverend Daniel Simmons Sr., Myra Thompson, and Reverend Sharonda Singleton—were not murdered because of their blackness. They were murdered because of Dylann Roof’s whiteness.
Whiteness is described by Marilyn Frye, as “a socially and politically structured ideology that results in the unequal distribution of power and privilege based on skin color.” bell hooks adds that it is “a state of unconsciousness, often invisible to white people, which perpetuates a lack of knowledge or understanding of difference, which is a root cause of oppression.”
We continuously examine racism by its effects on black people, instead of its roots in whiteness. As convenient as this is for white people, especially those who pride themselves on being “color-blind,” it continuously lays the burden of resolving racial issues at the foot of the very people it devastates. The result is a conversation where both black and white never create a solution to the root cause of systemic racism: Whiteness.
But isn’t this the conversation we claim we want to have? The conversation that is long overdo even after Barack Obama has been elected…twice?
Yes. It is the honest, straightforward conversation sidestepped by mainstream media, avoided by white people, and mumbled in the privacy of black homes. It is the conversation that challenges white people to evaluate, “Do I benefit from being white? Why am I resistant to owning the history of my ancestors and how it has impacted people of color all over the world? Is it possible that I unconsciously harbor racial bias?”
The choice to avoid discussing whiteness is a matter of life and death. The reasons we avoid conversations about whiteness are: One, conversations about whiteness makes white people feel uncomfortable; and two, most black people are not comfortable with making white people feel uncomfortable.
Historically, giving up our space to ensure the comfort of white people has been a necessity to ensure self-preservation. Today, not much has changed. Black people still allow and even support shifting from significant conversations about white violence and privilege to headlines about black on black crime and whether hip hop is to blame for white kids saying the N word. Trayvon Martin’s murder became a story about how black youth dress. McKinney became a story about why black people don’t know how to swim. The story about the Charleston 9 became a story about mental illness and gun control. We, black people, actually spent an entire week arguing over whether a pathological liar and clearly white woman should be entitled to define herself as a black woman because she picked up a brown crayon, at age five. Really?
White people being uncomfortable is apart of the healing process, and it is the pathway to developing authentic alliances. Many self-proclaimed white allies are perfectly comfortable pitying blackness and interjecting their opinions into conversations about the black experience, until you mention whiteness. Mentioning whiteness unearths the infected parts of their identity, and the unexamined narrative that is edited out of every single story about race. It often reveals a well intentioned, yet privileged human being with no framework for how to use their whiteness to address and attack systemic racism.
So long as issues of race are centered on blackness, whiteness will show its dangerous face in our organizations, our churches, in uniforms, and in our untested allies. It is our responsibility to make whiteness the focal point of race centered conversations, to allow white people to learn from their discomfort, and to remember that our blackness is not the reason that racism exists.
Thea Monyeé is a wife, a mother, and an HBO Def Poet. She is the owner of Canvas Center for Creative Wellness in Los Angeles, and a board member of Manhood Camp for At-Risk males. She is the author of Murmurs of a MadWoman: An Unconventional Memoir. Currently she is the Coordinator for the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center at Cal State Los Angeles.
For those who say that “we’re all human” and “we’re all equal” rhetoric:
If we’re so “equal” and “human” why do we get killed because of racist people? Why do we have to deal with racist tendencies just for existing? Why do you think WE (Black people) are the ones who have to “confront racism” when we aren’t the ones acting like damn fools whenever Black people dare to fuck up their lily White atmospheres at any given moment in time? Why do you tell Black people to practice love, throw out some bible verse, or start talking about praying in order to quell or scare, or silence our grievances?
Confronting racism is White people’s work. Not Black people’s.
Black people: Stop trying to side with these liberal fools. They’ll turn on you and smile as they do it. Pay attention and watch how they move.
White people (and any folks who fit) : Stop asking Black people about how to confront racism. After all, we aren’t the ones dishing it out.
PSA: to all White people who feel slighted by what I just said:
Racists are using you as a target to hide behind. Are you willing to let them do that to you in order to hold on to your job, your money, your friends, your family, your so called livelihood? Because that’s what you’re doing.
Let this be known. I have had a lot of practice in losing. I lost family when I was very small. I lost family just because I was born.
I know what it’s like to be truly alone in this world. I’m not talking about being around friends/family, etc and feeling lonely.
I’m talking being completely solitary. I’m talking about not talking to people I lived with for years at a time. I’m talking about not talking to people even though we shared a room, clothes and a bed.
I’m talking about going to school and not saying shit the entire day. For weeks at a time. I’m talking about walking the halls while muting out all sounds just to fight back tears. And then going home and not saying shit to anybody unless they say something to me first. And doing the same thing while working. I did that for eleven years back to back, starting from aged 6.
So if I could face the world while dealing with all of what I dealt with (without going into too much detail) , then you could stand to walk using your own two feet without standing on the backs of other people. You can be accountable without throwing other people under the bus and coming up with elaborate excuses to justify shitty behavior by people who look like you.
But I’m wasting time writing this because whenever Black people talk, we’re just talking niggers to these people. That’s why if we speak “proper” (which really translates to above fifth grade American English), it’s noted that we “speak so well”, but nothing actually sinks into the mind of the person we’re “speaking at”. If we’re eloquent, THEN we’re “articulate and smart” but still, nothing sinks in. If we offer suggestions or ask questions while at work, we’re contrarians and we aren’t team players because nothing sinks in.
White people, fix your shit. It isn’t up to Black people to do that. That’s YOUR fucking house. This ain’t “The Help” nor is it “The Butler”. I’m not here for making you feel all warm and fuzzy. Seek that out in your partner. I’m not here to mentally jack you off, nor do I seek that in you.
This will be the only post I will make regarding this sort of thing in regards to White people and their peculiarities when it comes to dealing with Black people.
And American media needs to stop asking Black people to speak on what to do about racism. They’re the spin doctors of this shit. How about stop spreading the fuckery?! That’s a basic ass solution. Stop asking Black people to play Blues Clues with your grown ig’nant asses.
America goes full retard all day, every day.
And anybody who wants to focus on feeling hurt after reading this can GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE WITH THAT BULLSHIT.
Ole cowardly, non executive decision making asses.[/rant]