I promise that I have been paying attention to the world these last few weeks. Although I have been focusing on love, relationships, and Blackness, I know that the Broncos won the Superbowl, Jeb dropped out of the running, that Beyoncé shocked the miseducated pale world by coming out as a Southern Black Woman, that Red Lobster has apparently taken this opportunity to raise their prices, and that–as of today–Facebook added new “Reactions” to the “Like” option. However, this being the last week of February, I have an obligation to make sure we keep the focus on important happenings in Blackdom, so I’m going to have to finally address how people have been losing their minds about Bey, her Blackness, and her “tribute” to the Black Panthers.
First of all, I have to say that I really don’t see it. I didn’t watch the Superbowl, but I saw the performance after the fact, and personally, I think it would have been more tributary if she had also donned an Afro instead of her usual long blonde weave. I might have even accepted it if she kept it Blonde, as long as she also wore an Afro. Why? To me it still lacked the embrace of her own Blackness that everyone else seems to be giving her credit for. As if to say as long as she embraces other people’s blackness and not her own, it counts? Nah, sorry, not for me. If we move over to the video, and everyone praising her for including Blu Ivy with her baby fro, I still think she’s showing her daughter that longer, blonder, and straighter is still better. So, as far as I’m concerned, its only a partial parenting win. No, I’m not saying, like most people seem to be saying, that blackness can be neatly summed up into big fro and a fist in the air, because there was certainly more than that to be noted in both the video and the performance. Unfortunately, the few moments of negro consciousness in the video–very artistically well done moments–went by so quickly and were so (for me) overshadowed by her lyrical inferences to her Southern heritage, I barely saw them. Hot sauce in a purse and Red Lobster for a job well done are not intrinsic to Black culture. Afros are. The police’s widespread abuse of power and overreaction to unarmed Black people is. As a matter of fact, nothing about the song itself speaks to Black pride at all. It’s about her, her money, her man, and her experience and a rich country girl. For me, it actually stands in absolute opposition to the positive image people want to attribute to the video. But again, that’s just me.
Apparently, the miseducated masses have taken her Superbowl “tribute” and video in a completely different direction, having decided that because she chose costumes inspired by Michael Jackson in his Black Panther tribute she must be promoting violence and terrorism… because they learned that that’s what the Black Panthers were all about: killing cops, hating white people, and promoting violence and terrorism in the name of pro-blackness. Time for a history lesson.
History is written by the victors. I always thought it was funny how the Panthers are criminalized for physically standing up for regular Black folks at a time where Black people were being openly targeted by a police system that was allowed to assume that dark skin = criminal… kinda like now. Let me break it down: The Black Panthers made it their business to stand in the way of Black people being tried and sentenced by overzealous police officers. They advocated self defense, education, employment, land ownership, and an end to the unjust incarceration of Black people. Yes, they called for revolution, because they believed that the nonviolent path preached by Rev. Dr. King “… had failed and any promised changes to their lifestyle via the ‘traditional’ civil rights movement, would take too long to be implemented or simply not introduced.“
It’s super convenient for white people to feel assaulted by the mere suggestion that Black people might revolt against a white supremacist status quo. In a conversation I was having last week, one such White person expressed his sentiment that any movement that suggests the use of violence is automatically less valid and unacceptable to him. And when I asked about the American Revolution, he responded with understanding and excuses, explaining that the colonists didn’t really want to go to war at first… Which is the shit that really gets my gall. So hundreds of years of slavery, police brutality, the KKK, Jim Crow, segregation, lynch mobs… but the suggestion that Black people need to defend themselves is just too appalling? When it’s white people defending themselves against unfair taxes, its okay? When it’s white people killing people at random, it’s a sign of metal illness, but an organized group of Black people defending other Black people who are big victimized by white police officers, they’re a terrorist group? This trend of the media miseducating the masses by painting Black people with the villain brush and white criminals as regular people isn’t new. And I know I’m not alone when I say I’m tired of it. I had a recording for you, but instead, I’ll have to get back to writing you fucktards letters so you’ll get the point.
Dear Miseducated Masses,
I want to be understanding. I want to be forgiving. I want to be a Christ-like, cheek-turning, self-sacrificing, patient, listener who continues to have these conversations in hopes that you’ll one day see the error of ways, your thinking, your false logic, and your double standards. Unfortunately, I don’t have the promise of an eternity of being worshiped and praised while sitting next to the big guy in the sky and watching the Human-Earth show for fun to look forward to. I have to live here with you, and if there is an afterlife, I may have to share my throne room in hell with you. I am subject to the injustices that you seem comfortable watching me and people like me go through. I don’t need your pats on the back for being as tolerant as I have already been of your collective bull shit. You are no longer allowed to count me among your ‘this many black friends’ when you justify your racist stances by saying “I’m not racist, but…” first.
Here’s the thing, the entire world has been all about making and keeping White people, and often more specifically White Americans, comfortable. Those days are coming to an end. Even our performers starting to whisper “Stop Killing Us” through images of graffiti stained walls, sinking police cars, and lines of militarized police forces. After decades of being the only images of beauty in the media, you have the audacity to get upset now? After centuries of being able to ignore and often cause the suffering of people of color world wide, NOW you want to act like #AllLivesMatter… and get emotional over the collective “Fuck you” from your favorite colored entertainers? Miss me, Bey, and Blu Ivy with that. The kid gloves are off and we are requiring you to take wake up and smell you shit. It has NEVER smelled like the roses you claim your American Dream smells like. It’s shit. It stinks. And it’s time to get it together and start really cleaning. You’ve been “white washing” everything like the world is your personal white picket fence, and we’re not letting you do it anymore. You will see us as more than just thugs and criminals. You will stop forcing us into either/or roles that diminish the truth of our experiences. You will acknowledge your privilege, and really start adjusting your attitudes to this New World Order.
If you really want this to be a world where race doesn’t matter, start re-educating yourselves. Start really listening to your however-many-Black-friends/acquaintances when they tell you that you’re being racist. Stop making excuses, getting defensive, and making false equivalences to justify your ignorance. If you really believe that #AllLivesMatter, then stop acting like an all white jury can justly hear a case about a Black man being killed by any white man. Stop thinking that it’s normal for an armed white man to “fear for [his] life” just looking at a Black kid or group of Black kids. Stop treating Black children like miniature adults as soon as they’re old enough to walk and talk. You’ll ever be able to walk 1 foot in any of our shoes, but you could at least acknowledge that 1 foot in a Black person’s shoes is like 10 miles in yours, AND that it isn’t okay. If the picture to the right makes you uncomfortable, Good. It makes us uncomfortable too. We’re afraid that your ignorance is going to allow us to go ac to those days, and you’ll all just move on with your heads n the proverbial sands while we are stuck fighting for our lives because you were too busy “not seeing color.” Most of all, Do More & Require Better of yourselves. If not because I said so, then because several of your Black friend’s lives depend on it.