To be Black, and to be sane and lucid, and to be paying attention to the current climate in America right now, is to be confused, concerned and cantankerous all at once.
Lately, not one day passes where I don’t say to myself “What the fuck is going on?” It is a valid question. It seems as of late that lines are being crossed, boundaries tested. Trust me, when you’re from Bed-Stuy you know damn well when someone is testing you.
The first point I need to make, the point that lays the foundation for everything else that I’m going to write, is that the conventional American Ideal has always been one of acute white supremacy. More acute than your run-of-the-mill imperialist manifest-destiny white supremacy the rest of the world is used to, America deals with a doubling-down of actually conquering one land, totally eradicating its people (shout out to my Indigenous folk that were here before Columbus) and then using imperialism to manipulate another land, shipping those people over here to literally build an entire nation, and then maintaining the marginalization and subordination of the second group for centuries as a symbolic feather in the cap of white supremacy. America’s white supremacy is the most supreme white supremacy in existence. The shit is acute. And, it has seriously affected not only African Americans but White Americans too.
It is my personal contention that there is a connection between the fact that 64% of mass murders are committed by White men and the corruptive manifestations of White entitlement. Entitlement is the belief that one is inherently deserving of special privilege or special treatment. Try controlling a child who thinks they are entitled to a certain thing. Even if you are their parent, what you will certainly get from your attempt is an all out tantrum from the child. Can you dig it?
Try controlling a child who thinks they are entitled to a certain thing.
These White folk are really bugging the fuck out lately. I get it, though. Symbols are very important to humanity. They relay ideas and concepts that communicate literal or figurative meanings. Over the last eight years, Whites have witnessed symbols that have dealt enormous challenges to their American ideal. You had a Black man elected to the office of President. You had the LGBT community make significant strides with regards to their inalienable right of equality. The world has become more worldly, the power of social media has made people more communicable. Smart phones have cameras, and those cameras record incidents that can be posted and reviewed. Popular culture has become more and more Black. The percentage of Black men who marry women of other races has almost doubled from 2001. All of this could make your regular white man concerned. The American ideal was changing, shifting to represent a more diverse and inclusive palette, putting at odds the antiquated ideals that your most prejudiced citizens hold so dear.
Popular culture has become more and more Black.
If you’re a Black man or woman that works in corporate America, you work around Whites that voted for Trump. My sister works in corporate America. She works with a group of women, that group includes just one White woman. Leading up to the election my sister and her group would discuss the campaigns. They all agreed that they would be voting for Hillary. All of them. After the election, the White woman confided to my sister that she voted for Trump. When my sister asked her why she would act like she was voting for Hillary if at the end she really wanted to vote for Trump, the woman told my sister that she was only agreeing with the rest of the group because she didn’t want to be judged for her viewpoint. Truthfully, she just wanted to make America great again. 53% of White women voted for Trump over another White woman, because they believed in his message. They voted for an America that their White sons could reclaim.
I’m a Jets fan. The Jets don’t win much, but on those occasions when they win and the Giants lose in the same weekend, I start that new week with my chest puffed out just a little bit more. I talk a little slicker to Giants fans. Yeah whatever, y’all lost this weekend, your team is bums. I think it’s natural to be boastful in victory. But the Jets don’t win all of the time. We haven’t won a title since ‘69. So I don’t feel any entitlement. The feeling of entitlement comes as soon as the Giants are back to winning and the Jets are back to losing. That’s when I have to deal with my friends’ entitlement issues, them constantly reminding me that they are in charge in New York. They have won four chips in the last 30 years. It is the Giants, not the Jets that run the city, and I need to remember my place as the junior varsity team.
Trump winning the election, and the GOP controlling both the Senate and the House is like the Giants winning and the Jets losing. White men have taken it as a chance to remind us that they run America, not us. Trump has built a team of White men that all know what it feels like to wear a sheet over their heads with holes for eyes. From Steve Bannon, a propagandist and proponent of the alt-right, to Jeff Sessions, a man that the late Coretta Scott King wrote a letter to Congress about way back in 1986, expressing her concerns about a man who has “intimidated and frightened elderly Black voters” this is a rogues gallery of covert and overt racists. And, this is their moment to restore the classic American ideal.
Can a White man be a White man again?
Bill O’Reilly’s comment about another iconic Black woman, the honorable Maxine Waters is another example of these froggy white men trying to jump across those lines. Can a White man be a White man again? Can he speak with entitlement and demand deference to his wishes? Can he go back to telling the Blacks and the Mexicans and the gays and the women how things are going to go? These are the boundaries being tested in this bizarro administration where immigrants and Muslims are criminalized publicly in every tweet Trump sends, but when a White man says he came to NYC specifically to kill Black men our so-called President and his administration have absolutely no comment on it. Tom Brady’s missing jersey gets more FBI agents assigned to it then the young Black girls missing in D.C., and I won’t even remind you that White cops are murdering young Black boys every week.
White women voted for an America that their sons could reclaim.
Just a Long-Ass Thought About Spirituality, Forgiveness, and Black America
Walk with me on this Amber Guyger and Botham Jean family story…
We all see life as the longest thing that we will ever do… so we should get the most out of it and we should damn sure not settle for suffering while we’re here. I agree. Do not settle for suffering. But try as we might, we will all suffer at some point. Pain is inevitable. Such is life. The only difference between people of faith, and people who are just grinding, is perspective. If you’re a Christian, like the huggy brother, you believe in your soul being eternal. Whatever hardships we face in life, no matter how unfathomably difficult or negative, you believe that if you live righteously -and that means not living in revenge and resentment — your soul will live eternally in paradise. People can’t comprehend that. Life is the longest thing we’ll ever do, but if you have real faith, (not that every Sunday faith) life is short compared to eternity.
Now some of your eyes just glazed over when you read that last part and you made the face. It sounds silly and Pollyannaish when you look at the history of America. Black folks have been killed, massacred and overlooked everyday since we got here and it continues to happen. Forgiveness sounds helpless. It sounds foolish. How can you be weak enough to be forgiving of those who hurt you -especially when it’s is systemic and woven into everyday life? And there’s the part about the same people that enslaved us introducing us to a God that will save us? How do those things go together?
Perfectly reasonable questions. If you don’t believe in God or Jesus or an afterlife then forgiveness sounds like bullshit. Hard to believe in what you can’t see, especially when you CAN see oppression everyday. I get it. I truly do.
Some of my closest friends mute me on here because I’m always on political shit. 🤣 I share a lot of it. I am frustrated by inequality and oppression and I fight it in my own life in every way that I can -with my wallet and my time and my purchasing. I speak out on it in uncomfortable personal conversations with friends or acquaintances when I feel people are bullshitting or are blind to -isms. I hate inequality and I don’t avoid it. I wade into it and stress myself out everyday. I’m not for punting on life and settling for what happens after we die. That’s weak. Fight for your joy and your prosperity. Period.
Forgiveness isn’t my mantra here. It’s just part of the story because the story isn’t one dimensional.
None of us are just one thing or one way. Just for a moment stop and try to release your bias against the idea of forgiveness and ponder this blip in time that we call life, versus the reality of eternity. Physics says energy doesn’t stop, it just changes. Think of your life and your soul scientifically. When we die our energy and essence does *something.* Why can’t that something be what people of faith believe? If the Jean family truly has that kind of faith many people will mock it beacause most can’t comprehend it. But if you really have faith and can imagine the notion of eternity then you get it. Meditate on that. You know that that young man getting murdered in his own apartment was horrific and unforgivable and the trial was a signifier of white power vis-a-vis black bodies in America and that’s why the verdict meant so much to us. She was found guilty. And not just of manslaughter or negligence. But murder. That meant something.
However, the sentence was light. That meant something too. But the family’s forgiveness means something too.
Don’t @ me. @ your therapist.
The unfortunate part is that that image of the hugs and the tears is what will be tied to the administration of justice here. Was it necessary for the family? Absolutely. Was it good for America when we so rarely see justice in the killing of black people at the hands of white cops. Hell no! The image that we should have walked away with from that trial was her walking away in shackles. We don’t want to see oppressors feel comforted when it should be our moment to feel some measure of justice. But would an image of the family celebrating have nourished us yesterday? That wasn’t the answer either. I hate that the image of that killer cop being comforted after she murdered a black man in his own home was what represented the story in the news. The angry me gets it and I was pissed yesterday. But so does the person inside who believes that there is an unbelievable strength to that kind of faith and a reason for our resilence in this country is the strength of our collective souls.
But what do I know?
WILL THE NEXT BE THE LAST?
Mass shootings in America was the first line I began to write on Sunday November 18th. Before I was able to complete additional research on the subject, Monday November 19th arrived and two more mass shootings occurred. That time a hospital in Chicago and the streets of downtown Denver got their turns in the game of American roulette.
Thoughts and prayers aren’t saving lives
Now on Monday August 5th 2019, we’re in the midst of recovering from three more mass shootings in the span of one week. One in Gilroy, CA that is suspected to be racially motivated. Another in Dayton, Ohio whose motives are still under investigation, and lastly in El Paso, Texas which was definitively motivated by white supremacist views. In total, over 30 innocent people were killed in these terrorist attacks on American soil by young White male American citizens within a matter of days.
Like it or not, we’re all playing this deadly game of chance whenever we decide to go shopping, catch a movie, show up for work, attend a concert, worship at church… I think you get the point. The bottom line is the leaders of this country have made it abundantly clear that they aren’t willing or capable of protecting us. The public safety of all of our citizens is not the primary concern of too many of our public officials. Their priority is re-election and the spoils (money) attached to it.
Thoughts and prayers aren’t saving lives. The time has come to expand our thought process to increase our odds of survival. Below are two possible solutions that we can enact to force changes expeditiously.
- Boycotts of areas of mass gatherings could significantly effect the economy which in turn would motivate the Government to act.
- Minorities under attack need to significantly increase their own arsenals which would motivate the Government to act.
Either of the two aforementioned solutions tend to be more alarming than the reality of white supremacist terrorism and the possibility of an economic downturn. The sooner we collectively stop waiting for change and force it through bold action, the more innocent lives will be saved.
Why You’re Racist and Don’t Even Know It
All of the people reading this currently were at some point, mindless, dribbling idiots who didn’t know their asses from their elbows. Some of you may disagree. Now if I said everyone reading this was at some point, a baby, no one would argue that point (except for those who believe their children were self-sufficient Einsteins right out of the womb). Behold! The power of labels! It’s easy to accept or disavow labels simply because of the generally perceived connotations they evoke, especially when that perception is negative. But if you study the parameters that define those labels and compare them to your own behaviors, can you rationally dispute that you are what they said you were? With that said and before you continue to espouse that you are all rainbow hugging flower children who loves everyone equally, have you ever truly defined what being racist is before you professed you weren’t?
- prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.
Based on the contextual definition of racism, I don’t even understand why there’s a contextual definition of racism. The definition may as well just say “Human” because quite frankly, I haven’t met one person who hasn’t discriminated or been prejudiced based on race. Just look at your spouse, friends, living environments, etc.. We have all knowingly (sadly) and unknowingly (best case scenario), made these types of decisions. Now does making decisions based on race make you a bad person? YES!!! It absolutely does!! And the only way you can be a good person is if you first accept that you are racist, then remain aware of that so it doesn’t affect your future decision making. Once you acknowledge that you have a preference, it becomes easier to entertain the ideal of equality and not succumb to personal preference.
Some people would agree that racism has benefited far too few in America and disenfranchised far too many. I am one of those people. The oddity of that is some unknowingly suggest racism as a solution to… racism. Can you truly level the playing field without being temporarily racist however? Can you justly deny anyone opportunities in 2019 to atone for denying a different race of people opportunities 200 years ago? As an example (and I’m sure an unpopular one), is it really fair to deny any Caucasian any opportunity in the name of correction when A) that specific Caucasian did not cause the issue and B) What the hell does “equal” mean in the first place? Physics clearly state that 2 objects can’t occupy the same space at the same time. So if there is only space for one thing at one TIME (extreme emphasis on TIME), can the concept of equality even exists if we have to remove one for the other to catch up? If you practice deliberate discrimination in the name of aggregate equality, contextually speaking, how are you not a racist?
We were all raised by someone with less refined social ideas of and experiences with other races. This means our baselines for interactions with other races were predefined by those who were also unknowingly racist. It’s OK. It’s not your fault or theirs. You didn’t choose the world you were born into and neither did they. You do have a say in the world you leave behind however. If you don’t acknowledge that you do have a say, you probably won’t say anything and leave the next generation to repeating the same hate speech.
We can never get to a point of resolution if we haven’t accepted and can’t publicly admit that we are ALL susceptible to stereotypes and prejudiced. Seeing as how no one except for the KKK is admittedly racist, yet racism is still prevalent, I don’t believe anyone should be excluding their personal behaviors and choices from racial evaluation.
Sidebar; For those who say African Americans can’t be racist because we are the marginalized population, even the contextual definition states “typically” but not solely. So sorry to burst your reverse racist bubbles but although you may not be as savage, you may be just as prejudiced as those who weren’t marginalized. Sidebar Complete.