I’ll start by quoting my Facebook status update from just last May:
“Dear decent white people on the interwebs,
Get your cousins.
Get your cousins, get your friends, get your fo’ folk, your aunties, your great grand uncles, your sister’s cousin baby momma’s auntie friend Sally, Jessie AND Raphael. Get your neighbor. Get your neighbor’s neighbor. Get your whoooooole neighborhood watch. Shit, get the whole damn white delegation.
GET YO PEOPLE!!!!!!
Thanks with love,
Of course the post gave a bunch of my followers a good chuckle, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize and examine the fact that it came much more from a place of frustration than levity.
I was tired…
I was tired from sacrificing a few million once perfectly healthy brain cells reading through the comment sections of race-based web articles – thread after thread, chock full of black folks trying to navigate oblivious whiteness. At some point we really need to ask ourselves why we even bother. Why are we losing solid hours out of our day, wearing our fingertips numb on keyboards and touch screens in attempt to explain to some dense ass dude-bro why “All lives matter” is a fucked up and functionally redundant response to “Black lives matter”?
My people, please trust me when I tell you, we’ve spelled it out for white America a hundred different ways that their beloved police forces, all over this nation, are abounding with officers who are simply more volatile, fearful and prone to harassment and abuse of power when dealing with us – and it’s costing us our lives. We’ve laid out all the statistics and all of our millions of personal testimonies and we have made it amply clear that, while the subject of police brutality, as a sensationalized national discussion covered by mainstream media, is a relatively new phenomenon, it is an issue as old our involuntary occupation of this country. With all of this information readily available and reiterated ad nauseam, it’s beyond ridiculous that the simple words “black lives matter” require any added explanation at all. And yet, here we are coming up with a dozen analogies trying to, even further, simplify it.
We out here like…
“Uh… uh, hey man,
You wouldn’t go to a cancer rally shouting ‘All diseases matter’ would ya?”
“Uhh hey Scottie,
‘Save the rain forest’ doesn’t mean ‘fuck all the other forests'”
“Hey…hey, wait a minute Kip… Greg… Jon… Connor… Pattie… Mayonnaise…
When a house is burning you don’t turn the fire hose on some non burning house because #AllHousesMatter”
Y’all, can we please STOP THIS SHIT?!
Never mind the fact that we are now juxtaposing the fate of inanimate objects with the fate of black lives in hopes that it’ll aid us in garnering empathy – We need to stop acting like white people don’t take the same reading comprehension portions of standardized tests all through middle and high school that we do – they know how the fuck analogies work. They got it the first time – they just didn’t care.
If they really considered the affirmation of one life mattering to be a denial of the same for all others, then they would consider “Blue Lives Matter” to be just as offensive as “Black Lives Matter” – but they don’t.
Not only are they unoffended by #BlueLivesMatter, but – while they consider any concession or policy change aimed at countering black vulnerability to be unearned special treatment (oh, the irony) – they actively advocate giving police officers protected class status, completely oblivious of the fact that they already have it.
Only, I’m not sure they’re legitimately oblivious. I mean, these mother fuckers live here too, right?
They know damn well there isn’t a state, city or county in this country where the penalties for crimes committed against cops aren’t a hell of a lot steeper than they are for civilians. They know they don’t need a protest, riot or hash tag to ensure that thorough investigations will be done to bring cop killers to justice. They’re not worried about dead cops being put on trial for their own murders. They’re not worried about a not guilty verdict for the murderers of police officers or even a reluctance to bring charges. No one’s looking into a dead cops record fishing for reasons to justify his/her demise. They know good and well that cops have the federal and local governments, the “blue wall” and the delusional admiration of the vast majority of (white) America in their corner.
So how could anyone possibly believe that we, as a society and as a system, don’t already do everything in our collective powers to ensure that value be placed on police lives?
Could it be that white people actually aren’t as concerned with supporting the police as they are in maintaining a counter narrative to black complaints about racist police misconduct? Could it be that their counter narratives to race issues in general are largely disingenuous and, often, just fucking spiteful?
Could it be… and I’m just spit-balling here…
But, could white folks just be… like… completely full of shit?
This is why I submit that black people should simply disengage with white America in discussions about race all together. Let them have their little Klan-esque circle-jerks in the Yahoo and USA Today comment sections. We need to stop arguing with them because, in the end, they aren’t invested like we are. They aren’t paying attention to these stories out of fear for their lives and the lives of their children and spouses, they are only tuned in out of black and brown contempt. This shit is trivial to them. It’s all a pissing contest to see who can be the most smug and condescending – and ultimately dismissive. When we debate these issues, we do so passionately – albeit, not always very articulate and often without a whole lot of depth to our arguments – but we always come from a place of genuine frustration, outrage and fear. When most white people debate the very same issues from an opposing stance, they do so from a place of perpetual obtuseness and indifference and their arguments always pretty much boil down to “If it isn’t my experience it couldn’t possibly be yours.” Even “well meaning” white folks tend to center them-fragile ass-selves in the discussion (#NotAllWhitePeopleOnFleek #IDontSeeColor #IveAlwaysBeenGoodToYouPeople #KumbayaMyLordKumbayaBitches). The fact is, they, both figuratively and literally, have no skin in the game.
Don’t get me wrong, white people are mad. They’ve gone their whole lives being the default for social and cultural normalcy and never really had to think critically about race at all. Now, social media comes along and suddenly their micro-aggressions are constantly being identified and challenged and their privilege is being shoved back down their unsuspecting throats. They’re getting the tint snatched off of their rose color glasses and that “Shiny City on the Hill” they know as America is starting to lose some of it’s gloss. And they ain’t here for that shit – but we are.
So we need to let them cry. Let them gripe about how white is the new black and they are now the true victims of racism because their black coworkers don’t invite them to lunch or some black guy on the train called them a cracker or, of course, because black people on the interwebs hurt…their…little…irrelevant ass… feelings. How nice it must be to have the option of simply loging off of your oppression.
We need to let them cry because, let’s face it people, white tears are delicious. They’re the most perfect blend of sweet and salty since fuckin’ Sour Patch Kids. But we need to learn how to just sit our intellectual selves back and enjoy them.
When Rachel Dolezal got her counterfeit ass black card snatched along with her counterfeit ass edges, we struck comedy gold for black meme makers all over the web. The “Ask Rachel” hashtag was born and scrolling through your Black Twitter feed became something like running a marathon. Only, the people on the sidelines were handing out little paper cups full of white tears instead of regular ol’ drinking water. But instead of enjoying ourselves, far too many of us were arguing with smug fucking white people about why this is completely different from Caitlyn Jenner and why this doesn’t, in any way, make “black privilege” a thing.
When Beyoncé released the video for Formation, featuring a black kid in a hoodie, a “Hands up, don’t shoot” banner and a sinking police car – then performed the song while paying homage to the Black Panther Party during the Super Bowl halftime show (and thus right smack in the face of white America) – she provided us with a bottomless open bar of white tears. But, instead of getting good and damn drunk like we should’ve been, too many of us were arguing with white folks about why nothing she did was racist, “reverse racist” or anti cop. We should’ve just took the win and let their asses cry.
Just a few weeks ago during the RNC, Melania Trump plagiarized a chunk of Michelle Obama’s DNC speech. And a lot of y’all were out here arguing with Trump supporters and other assorted delusional white folks who had the audacity to claim there was never any plagiarism at all. What you should’ve been doing was joining me, Jesse Williams and our beloved Black Twitter in intentionally misattributing black quotes to her dumbass… because… duh… it was fun.
Shit, I had a field day:
“Until you do right by me, everything you even think about gonna crumble” – Melania Trump
“When he fuck me good I take his ass to Red Lobster, cuz I slay” – Melania Trump
“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.” – Melania Trump
Right now we have George Zimmerman getting knocked the fuck out in the street, Dylan Roof getting the dog shit beat out of him in prison, viral video of a black woman stomping the hell out of a white man for calling her a “nigger bitch” and black girl magic oozing all over the 2016 Olympics – And we have a sea of white spectators watching us celebrate ourselves and getting aggravated. And to all of this, I say “cheers”.
The fact is, we can fight systemic racism without white validation. We can continue shutting down bridges and highways every time there’s a new Alton Sterling, Philando Castile or Korryn Gaines in the news and let white folks complain about the intrusion on there lives. We can continue moving our black dollars into black banks and take steps towards removing ourselves from the mainstream economy altogether and keeping our money in our businesses and communities. We don’t need them to “get it” for us to keep fighting.
And likewise, white people who truly want to be allies can find their path to ally-ship without black validation and without us having to take time out of our days to educate them. They can find their own curriculum and figure out for themselves how they can do their part in fighting the good fight. And, again, they can do so without the promise of black praise. I’m no longer asking decent white people to “get their cousins”, I’m only expecting them to “get” themselves. And, I’m not even about to keep checking to see if they’re doing that much. Because it’s not my goddamn job – and it’s not yours either.
Black people, it is long past time for us to start practicing in self care. And if that means completely disengaging with white America altogether, then so be it.