Solange Knowles Speaks Out About Cultural Appropriation of Black Culture

I see that Solange Knowles is also tired of the exploitative, eat, pray, love syndrome, “everybody wanna be a nigga but don’t nobody wanna be a nigga,” fuck feelings or context, you can’t call them out for racism for they’ll claim you’re slut shaming them (if they’re women), Whites and their cultural appropriation of Black culture.

They genuinely make me ill with this. Genuinely. And apparently Solange has had enough as well. 

Sadly, and as expected actually, some Black people attacked her online in defense of people like Miley Cyrus. Eh…Zzzzz. I already explained why they do this: Pop Culture, Social Justice and Race: When Black People Love Whiteness More Than Fellow Black People

This isn’t Solange’s first time critiquing ignorance or White supremacy. She did so in regards to music writers who don’t know the music they write about and in response to a White woman who made racist remarks about her natural hair. 

And yeah yeah, I know plenty of spoiled White supremacist, “coming of age,” ignorant, annoying, privileged, entitled irritant of a human being type of Whites have their long, boring, dry, inaccurate, decontextualized, fuckshit ass arguments as to why they should be entitled to exploit Black people and Black culture and that we should be “flattered” and any Black person who isn’t is “jealous” or “making a big deal” or whatever excuse they tell themselves instead of examining why they have this desire in the first place. And yeah I know geniuses of colour such as bell hooks, James Baldwin and Paulo Freire already explained why they do but since White supremacy fosters individualism, “isolated incident” perspectives (versus institutions/systems frame of thinking) and anti-introspection, they aren’t going to examine this. And yeah, some do this because they enjoy the harm it causes Black people, especially Black women. I know what’s up. 

I like when Solange speaks out. :)

My inaugural year on Grey’s Anatomy was defined by two points: my character’s boyfriend and the episode when said relationship began. For the audience, the episode is noteworthy because it features a classic spectacles-to-contacts, curly-to-straight transformation. For myself it’s noteworthy because, even after Carol’s Daughter in Sephora, I Am Not My Hair on Billboard’s Hot 100 and decades of mop-headed kids in GAP commercials, the public still goes batshit over bone-straight hair on a black woman.

After the episode aired, the praise I received from strangers, friends and even my own family was staggering. I suddenly had mass-appeal and the undertone was clear: with a single blow-dry, I had arrived.

What was intended as flattery was profoundly insulting and it hurt me deeply to realize my natural form wasn’t considered feminine or desirable.

The response ignited that same young rebellion I had all those years ago. My hair had graduated from the purview of my parents to become of direct concern to the masses and, in both cases, no one considered the effect on the person at the center.


Jerrika Hinton in Creating A Center Part

She plays Stephanie Edwards (the Black female intern) on Grey’s Anatomy. I follow her on here and twitter and remember when this episode aired, she posted something along the lines of funny how a little hair straightening changes everything (paraphrasing). I knew then that she was one of my faves…so glad she went through with writing this up.

anonymous asked:

Alright I'm gonna ask you this and be frank. I'm a black girl and I find white men more attractive than any other ethnicity. I didn't ask for it. I also like the idea of being in an interracial relationship. And I think biracial children are beautiful. Which makes me want to be a man from a different race even more. Is this racist?

You need to love yourself.. -e


Azealia Banks’ Inaccuracies About Cultural Appropriation

Azealia is a beautiful and talented woman, musically. Obviously has skills. But…these tweets. They’re daggers in my brain and soul. And this after I just finished throwing confetti around for Solange critiquing cultural appropriation, not rewriting history to align with White supremacy, Azealia does this. Azealia keeps breaking my heart over and over. 

Anyway, the link that I tweeted her is: Whites’ Exploitation of Black Culture (Cultural Appropriation) 101, which I alluded to in a previous post and in the post on Solange (which includes MULTIPLE links explaining cultural appropriation and examples).

Her false equalization here and completely erroneous expression of history is just…dangerous. It is not an “opinion.” An opinion is whether you think burgers are better than wings. This is completely false, ahistorical, dangerous and affirms hegemonic lies about history. She is not “entitled” to an opinion that is a falsehood and misinterpretation of Black experiences and history. 

And I know the very boring response from those terrified to challenge hegemony will be “just ignore her” and “ignore” every manifestation oppression, including Black people believing lies. Um…nope. Most people who tell me to “ignore” really mean “silence you, I must protect the status quo and victim blame, not challenge oppressive thinking anywhere I see it!”  

I just…want better for Azealia. Cause…um…

I'd Like to Ban Everyone from Having Children...

“Parental favoritism of children based on phenotype, as evidenced above with Juliana can be the source of life-long, strained sibling relationships. Using the family systems paradigm, differential affective responses of a mother to racialized features can be learned by other family members and impact sibling sub-systems, as it “predicts the quality of sibling interactions, relationships and adjustment” (Volling 1997: 228; c.f. Volling & Belsky 1992; Stocker 1995; Larson and Almeida 1999). While these studies have typically related differential treatment to age and birth order, phenotypic differences may also be the basis of differential treatment.

For Regane (self-classified as morena and hesitantly as negra), a precocious 9-year old girl, hearing her mother’s dreams of having a white baby with straight hair leads to a series of behavioral changes. Regane begins to neglect her hygiene, refusing to comb or wash her hair at all. Her mother punishes her by roughly combing her hair outside on the porch while loudly exclaiming, “I hope the baby’s hair isn’t like this!” For Regane who is already teased by neighborhood kids for having nappy hair, she is deeply embarrassed.

The importance of hair-combing interactions between daughters and mothers as a source of racial socialization has been well documented (Lewis 1999). Her mother’s constant comments about the hair of the white women who appear on television makes Regane even more self-conscious about her hair and this exacerbates her negative feelings. In an act of defiance and self-affirmation, Regane ties a tattered piece of long orange cloth around her head and pretends to have long straight hair, but she must run from neighborhood kids who eventually manage to snatch it off.

Damiana chuckles as she informs me that upon seeing the newborn baby for the first time, “Regane cried all day.” This is potentially a quite natural response to the uncertainty of how a younger sister might impact family dynamics, particularly in light of studies that emphasize differential treatment based on age (Stocker 1995). However, Regane’s interview clarifies that her concerns are rooted in a specific issue:

Elizabeth: “What happened yesterday? How does it feel to have a sister? Regane: (pause, looks down) … “I ran in the house and cried all day.” Elizabeth: Why did you cry?
Regane: Because I am afraid of losing the love of my parents. (whimpers) Elizabeth: Why do you think this will happen?

Regane: (looks at me incredulously) Because of the baby! You saw her didn’t you?! She was born limpinha [clean] and with straight hair. I’m afraid they will love her more … her hair won’t give them as much trouble… Everybody is saying it. She will get everything and I’ll have nothing.” (She then covers her face with her hands and sobs)

Even as a young girl, Regane understands the value of racialized features and how readings of her skin color and hair texture may lead to differential affective treatment in her family. Her reference to the baby’s light skin as “limpinha,” or clean illustrates that she has also internalized the conflation of whiteness with cleanliness. Her fears that she will be compared to the baby are substantiated when she hears her mother agree with a family friend that, “at least the baby’s hair didn’t turn out like hers.” Regane refuses to talk and is inconsolable for days. Weeks after the birth, she resents the baby and monitors any changes in her baby’s sister skin color and hair texture based on her mother’s peculiar assurances, “Don’t worry, she’ll get darker.” But, Regane does worry and these anxieties begin to shape how she interacts with her sister. Her mother’s assurances implicitly suggest that if the baby does not become darker then there will be reason for her to worry. The echoes of several influences including her mother’s racialized desires for the new baby, her mother’s emphasis on her own beautiful straight hair, taunts by the neighborhood kids, and the images of gente bonita plastered on the streets, magazines, and television are all powerful forces against which Regane attempts to construct her sense of self. The idea that her younger sister might approximate the idealized white somatic appearance is both scary and anxiety-inducing for Regane. ”


In the foreword for the book “Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness,” Henry Louis Gates, Jr. writes: “There are 40 million black people in this country, and there are 40 million ways to be black … I do not mean to suggest that we are all of us in our own separate boxes, that one black life bears no relation to another. Of course not. We are not a monolith, but we are a community.”

It’s taken some time, but now I’m aware that there is no “black test” and that, even though I’m more Carlton than Fresh Prince, my blackness is still valid. My hair stylist doesn’t see me as some racial imposter. To her, I’m just some weirdo who doesn’t know how to do a proper handshake. Resisting the temptation to police my own blackness and the blackness of others has been a gradual process, but a necessary one.

And who knows what I’ve missed out on? How many friends I could’ve made, how many organizations I didn’t join out of fear. For years I isolated myself from the community that Henry Louis Gates, Jr. talks about, keeping potential sources of emotional support at arm’s length. And with new hashtags popping up every day, strong emotional support systems are needed more than ever.

White supremacy takes on many forms. It’s most visible as the daily physical assault on black lives. But we shouldn’t underestimate the psychological effects of something as seemingly simple as how we define what it means to be black.

—  Danielle Small in an essay for Salon (please look beyond the clickbait title)

Black Twitter always gets tripped up on respectability politics. The discussion of Rachel today makes me very sad. As PoC, we must mentally divest from white supremacy. Today’s discussion on Black Twitter is the reason why I love Zora Neale Hurston’s writing. Black vernacular is nothing to be ashamed of. We all can’t be ‘exceptional’ Northern negroes. Some of us are just 'regular’ and we had the 'misfortune’ of being born in the South. Can we live?

White supremacy says that PoC must be perfect–perfect meaning acceptable and presentable to whites. Good diction, proper grammar and strong command of English aren’t things that make people of colour more white, but we do judge PoC harshly when they don’t speak English or perform Blackness in a very specific way. The very stereotypes that we are placing upon Rachel are the ones that killed Trayvon Martin. Fictive kinship is killing us.

I still have to check myself when my respectability creeps up on me. Being human in the U.S. is an automatic for white people, but for others, we must audition for our citizenship and humanity. What does it say about us that we spent months hashtagging #IamTrayvonMartin but we think it is kosher to drag Rachel? What does it say about our activism? For all of you who took pics in hoodies showing your solidarity for Trayvon Martin but you’re belittling the person who spoke to him last–a 19 year-old baby who has probably had to bury other loved ones and families.

Because we’ve been socialized in a certain way, it is impossible to rid ourselves of the knee-jerk reaction to not engage in respectability politics, but when the feeling crops up honor and place to the side and press forward with doing the right thing.

The fact of the matter PoC, we will never make the cut. POTUS and FLOTUS can’t make the cut as PoC, so I know Rachel from Miami-Dade county can’t make the cut.

If it wasn’t for the white gaze, we wouldn’t be so harsh towards Rachel. Rachel isn’t just Rachel Jeantel; she now represents ALL 40 million Black folk in the U.S. So again fictive kinship says, 'if she doesn’t present well, we are all fucked.’ That is what white supremacy wants you to think.

Your social media activism ain’t real if you haven’t integrated your politics into your life, world and affairs. Praxis. I am flabbergasted by the amount of people who are considered leaders in Black Twitter pandering to white supremacy.

And this rhetoric of policing language started very early in this Trayvon Martin case; it started when we were policing Attorney Crump. Many well-meaning Black folk weren’t impressed with Attorney Crump. He wasn’t a slick talking/sounding Northern Negro.

We can’t be so busy policing others that we forget to police ourselves.

Black women who look and sound like Rachel aren’t meant to survive in this white supremacist capitalist hetero-patriarchal society. Black women are only allowed to be Jezebel, Sapphire or Mammy. Renounce that thinking. Undue burden is placed on the Black female body to represent ALL of Blackness.

I read Sister Citizen last year and it saved my life. It help me let go of fictive kinship. We all must check our fictive kinship and tell it to have a seat. No one Black person can 'bring down the race’ or set us back. Let go of that white supremacist thinking.

I hope that I have given you something to chew on. I know for many of us, the talented tenth is still a real thing for us, but again…have a long talk with your fictive kinship and then bury it.

You ain’t radical, revolutionary or love Black people if dragging Rachel J. was an acceptable sport for you today. Rise above the BS. We all must do better. We all must ask ourselves 'where in my life do I support and uphold white supremacy?’

I stand with Rachel J.




BOOM! This quote is from her tweets last night.

I was also disgusted with what I saw yesterday. I recall the people who slammed Attorney Crump last year after Angela Corey (the same one responsible for the prosecution AGAINST Marissa Alexander) announced that Zimmerman would be charged with 2nd degree murder. Many Black progressives insulted Crump’s accent (and questioned his intelligence) and the South in general. They couldn’t see how that insult connects to the same line of White supremacist thinking that makes people believe Trayvon deserved to be murdered for simply existing as a young Black teen wearing a hoodie, though hoodies aren’t required for murder while Black. Oscar Grant, Aiyana Jones and Rekia Boyd weren’t wearing hoodies.

Like she mentioned above, socialization is why the urge to jump into respectability politics framing and the fear of the White Gaze exists for Black people. We have to be vigilant in rejecting this type of thinking every time it surfaces.

…You are contributing to the ongoing invisibility of women who can not remove their deep brown complexions, broad noses, and kinky hair every day after work. This project is a testament to the unconscionable arrogance of white supremacy. By taking part, you’ve condoned that arrogance.

anonymous asked:

my friend said that mackelmore is better artist than all the other rappers like kanye, jayz, and kendrick lamar because he talks about real issues and all they rap about is getting bitches killing and smoking weed. We got into an argument and i really want to slap the shit out of her and i cant. I'm not sure i want to befriends with her because she has a a lot of internalized racism in her and she kind of brings my spirit down but she is one of the few friends i have. I don't know what to do

Really, if she saps your spirit, I would either try to talk out your concerns or just slowly start to distance yourself from her. Even if she’s one of your few friends, if she is not a good friend, then her negative energy will (and seems to already have started) drag you down with her. Some people you can try to enlighten, but some just don’t wanna be enlightened. That’s when it’s best to back away for your own good.

Also; who said you can’t slap the shit out of her?

I Do Not Give A Fuck About Your Anti-Black Opinions...At All.

No. All “opinions” are not valuable. No “opinions” are neutral or accurate solely because they’re wrapped in clichés, benevolence, affirmations, platitudes or theism. 

Regardless of your own identity, if it is your “opinion” that racism and anti-Blackness “go both ways” then you are historically, structurally, statistically, and socially INACCURATE. Period. If it is your “opinion” that people simply need to believe that good things will happen and structural oppression will collapse, then you are historically, structurally, statistically, and socially INACCURATE. Period. If it is your “opinion” that anti-Blackness, racism and misogyny do not have a specific impact on Black women–misogynoir–and being transgender and dealing with transmisogyny as well does not specifically impact Black trans women–transmisogynoir–then you are historically, structurally, statistically, and socially INACCURATE. Period. If it is your “opinion” that Blackness does not impact specific experiences for Black LGBTQIA people and all Black people are heterosexual via compulsory application, then you are historically, structurally, statistically, and socially INACCURATE. Period. If it is your “opinion” that the dehumanization of Black bodies and execution of Black people are isolated incidents or is ok when conducted extrajudicially or via the State since Black people (like every other race) also have civilian intraracial crime, YOU ARE WRONG. FULL STOP.

That anyone White or non-Black–and even including some fellow Black people who are unfortunately either directly or indirectly affirming White supremacy–think their “debates” on Black humanity are valid is the epitome of anti-Blackness. Do you get it? Your “opinion” is not valuable when it stands juxtaposed to the survival of Black people. I do not have to “factor in” any “opinion” whatsoever if it stands in direct juxtaposition to the truth or obscures nuanced realities of Black life. I owe such “opinions” and people who have them literally nothing. I don’t have to have an “open mind” about whether or not my humanity exists as fact. It is not debatable in reality even as anti-Blackness means dehumanization as the price. I don’t have to have an “open mind” about whether or not I as a Black woman “benefit” from the “oppression” of Whites and whether anti-Blackness discourse should center non-Black people (or remove Blackness specificity for “people of colour” when at times that is inaccurate), because one doesn’t fucking exist and the other is wrong. Imaginary and wrong. 

I do not care about the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality people were raised with when anti-Black/bigoted/harmful and factually inaccurate things can be said but since anyone with the ability to speak can speak, all “opinions” are deemed “equally valuable.” They are not equally valuable. Lives are equally valuable (or should be; we see that Black life is not deemed valuable); “opinions” are not. Me respecting their “right” to an “opinion” is not the same as throwing confetti if their actual “opinion” creates false equalization between the oppressors and the oppressed, obscures history, denies the impact of structural oppression on Black people’s lives (and all of the self-esteem/“respectability” in the world will not protect us from extrajudicial or State violence), and involve theist platitudes. “Free speech” does not mean what people said is then automatically true and history and lived experiences can then be ignored. 

And rights to “opinions”…that’s very cute that people want to argue this when their “opinions” are harmful and I am concerned about the rights to Black people’s lives, the rights to grieve–which includes anger–and, the rights to humanity. Harmful “opinions” do not become less harmful just because people add a suit, a degree, some Bible verses, money, a media platform, fame, tons of online followers, pleas for respectability, or non-Blackness/Whiteness themselves. I don’t have to respect any “opinion” that obscures the truth about Black people or facilitates harm of Black people. I will not tolerate it regarding the extrajudicial execution of Michael Brown or literally any other topic involving Black lives. Simply because people choose to lie or happen to be ignorant does not make their “opinion” equal to those discussing the proven truths of Black life. 

I put “opinions” in quotes throughout this essay because for some reason, people seem to think “opinions” and facts exist on the same plane and their “opinion” can erase others’ lived experiences or noted histories. There is no “both sides” of an issue when one side is dehumanization–or facilities the dehumanization of Black people through the obscuring of history, the misapplication of structural power, the false equalization of oppressed and oppressor–and the other side is survival. 


Auf meinem Facebook-Feed bin ich heute auf dieses Video gestoßen. Es ist für Amnesty International produziert worden und zwar aus dem Jahr 2012, aber thematisch nach wie vor leider hochaktuell: es geht um Asylmigration. Ich habe es mir angesehen und kam aus dem Kopfschütteln nicht mehr raus. Das Video will die Menschen auf emotionaler Ebene für das Thema sensibilisieren - ein edles Unterfangen - und greift dabei auf ein völlig falsches Mittel: die Flüchtlinge in dem Video sind w e i ß .

Ich verstehe schon, welche Intention Amnesty International dabei hatte: Wenn wir den wohlhabenden weißen Menschen aus Deutschland mal zeigen, wie es wäre, wenn sie arm dran wären und flüchten müssten, weil ihr Land politisch und ökonomisch instabil wäre, und sie müssten nach Afrika, weil das der letzte sichere Ort für sie wäre, und auf dem Weg dahin säßen sie in einem staubigen Bus mit Decken überm Kopf, damit nicht gleich erkannt wird, dass es sich um weiße Deutsche handelt, und das ganze würde von einem kleinen weißen Jungen erzählt werden, DANN fällt bestimmt auch bei der letzten “Asylkritiker*in” der Groschen, denn wer will schon, dass es anderen so ergeht, wenn mensch weiß, dass es jeder genauso passieren könnte?

Alles schön und gut. Ich habe nur einige Anmerkungen: Diese scheinheilige Moralschiene ist super problematisch.

1. Müssen weiße sich immer in den Mittelpunkt stellen? Nein, wirklich. Müssen weiße mal alles gewesen sein, damit sie es für sich nachvollziehen können?

Sind weiße nicht eh schon überall vertreten und stehen repräsentativ für eh alles (was positiv ist)? Vielleicht ist das das Problem: Weil sie sich einfach nicht im Kopf vorstellen können, wie es tatsächlich wäre, unter solchen persönlichen und gesellschaftlich-bedingten Problemen zu leiden, dass sie ihr Land verlassen müssten, müssen sie sich selbst in dieser Rolle sehen. Weil das sonst einfach zu unvorstellbar wäre. 

An sich hätte ich voll kein Problem mit diesem Video, wenn es normal wäre, dass auch mal asiatische und schwarze Frauen, ohne dass weiter auf die Hautfarbe eingegangen wird, auf einem Werbeplakat für eine Versicherungsfirma oder so gezeigt werden. Ist es aber nicht. Und in einem Land, wo eh überall in den Medien nur weiße zu sehen sind, find ich es eine absolute Zumutung, weiße als Flüchtlinge zu casten. Jetzt habt ihr weißen echt jeden Platz besetzt. Schön, dass es euch virtuell mal auch schlecht gehen darf.

2. Suspension of disbelief. Soll ja wichtig sein für einen unbeschwerten fiktiven Filmgenuss. Und die willentliche Aussetzung der Ungläubigkeit in dem Fall sollte auf jeden super-ultra-hart gewollt sein. Weil sonst ist es einfach gequirlte, gefährliche Kackscheiße. Ich will ja nur sagen, dass man, um bei diesem Clip emotional voooll dabei zu sein, mal eben willentlich Ignorieren sollte, dass z.B.
- Kolonialisierung
- westlich gesteuerte Polit-Attentate / Putsche
- wirtschaftliche Gängelung durch Industriestaaten
- ehm Rassismus
jemals stattfand, oder immernoch stattfindet.

Und wenn mensch in Kauf nimmt, das alles mal für einen kurzen Moment außer Acht zu lassen, nur damit mensch sich ganz ganz kurz in die Haut der Flüchtlinge versetzen kann - dann ist das kurzsichtig, scheinheilig und eigentlich auch ziemlich widerwärtig. Weil dann offensichtlich nicht verstanden wurde, warum es Flüchtlinge gibt, warum sie gerade nach Europa wollen und warum Europa am liebsten die Pforten verriegeln möchte. Dieses Gedankenspiel, die Situation 1:1 umzukehren, ist höchstprivilegiert und die Message ist eigentlich: Es macht keinen Unterschied, ob jemand schwarz, weiß, blau, grün ist… es könnte jede treffen!

Vielleicht kommt das Video aber deswegen so gut an:
Weil im Grunde alle weißen Deutschen wissen, dass sie sich kollektiv nie in dieser Rolle befinden werden, dass sie nach Afrika flüchten müssten.

Achso und 3.
Ein wütender schwarzer bewaffneter Soldat als Feindbild von heulenden weißen Müttern und ihren Kindern? Diese Darstellung ist nun wirklich nicht hilfreich für die Sache …

Black Activism, “Divisiveness” and The White Gaze

It happens. Two or more hypervisible Black people using social media disagree in a major way. It could be on interpersonal issues. It could be on a specific aspect of protesting, organizing, or engaging solidarity. It could be on intraracial intersectional issues or privilege, power, and access. These Black people could self-identify as activists, womanists, Black feminists, protestors, organizers or these identifications could be forced/projected on them. These Black people could self-identify as media, academics, journalists etc. or these identifications could be forced on them as well. They could be theist or not. Old or young. New to activism or seasoned and experienced. The same reaction happens each time. Opportunistic White people–often ones who self-label as “progressive,” “leftist,” “radical” or “allies” in general–start rabid hyperconsumption, behavior policing, and social cacophony. But they are White. They are in the position to harm, regardless. They are not automatically “safe” people simply because they are not “conservative.” For many Black people and I, this has been obvious for years; for other Black people, perhaps it just became obvious upon viewing some Whites’ recent responses to any Black people who rightfully critique Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders as autonomous people who are voters. However, I am interested in a different response. The one from some fellow Black people. The one tied into centering the White Gaze into how we view ourselves. The one where the burden of fictive kinship becomes too great and in fact quite unsafe as well: the desire to perform “unity” as a reaction to the fear of the White Gaze, versus actually being accountable, diverse, nuanced and flawed human beings who agree or disagree, and experience actual emotions.

The desire to perform “unity” for the White Gaze is rooted in respectability politics. Black people were “unified” and peaceful and still were beaten on the Edmund Pettus bridge on Bloody Sunday in 1965, for example. This idea that Black activists have to perform “perfect humanity,” or racist Whites will get “satisfaction,” hides the fact that racism is much worse. It is so much more worse than what gives Whites pleasure, although I have critiqued that particular violent pleasure before. People who defend the extrajudicial executions of Aiyana Jones and Tamir Rice–killed at ages 7 and 12–have no concept of humanity for Black people. People who immediately demand forgiveness for Black death via the State or Whites protected by the State, have no concept of the vulnerability of Black people; to them, we are not humans who actual feel. No performance of “unity”–especially in social media space–would alter this. Thus, hiding disagreements, nuances and flaws really does nothing. They hate that we exist and who we are; this goes much past disliking our personalities or actions as activists (if such a label is taken on) or as Black people, in general. And they don’t even have to individually hate anyone Black to oppress us either. The kind of people who hyperconsumed video/images of and defended Eric Garner’s death are going to change their opinions of Black activists if those same activists hide every humanly disagreement and disconnect themselves from their own individual humanity? They’re not. Some Black people do still think that there’s a certain way to perform humanity that we simply haven’t accessed yet and once we enact it, Black death will stop. The problem is 523 years of history–starting in what we know as the Caribbean now, through South America and the United States–say there’s no way to “perform” properly, to avoid Black death. We can only confirm that Black bodies have been treated as disposable for centuries–since exploitation in Africa–and that even while human, and flawed, we have fought against this, and in many ways even beyond “pounding the pavement.”

Now, do I despise opportunistic racist Whites slithering around salivating to Black people–especially hypervisible Black activists–disagreeing? Yes. I am tired of opportunistic anti-Black sentiments; White people who think racism is somehow “right” if Black people critique Black art or disagree on certain aspects of activism. Some White progressive trolls wait like predators for any 2 hypervisible Black people to disagree to start their attacks. I mean, this is old. White surveillance is old. White opportunism and exploitation is old. It’s only playing out in some new ways because social media is a fairly new medium. But if your primary concern–as a Black person–is performing “unity” because of worry about White opinions versus being honest about real emotion/disagreement? Then you don’t get it yet. You still think that Black people aren’t performing humanity well enough to deserve to live. You just don’t know it. You don’t know that’s what’s framing your retreat to respectability politics and silencing, but it is. I didn’t see any posts or videos of Sandra Bland arguing with other Black activists. Most of us agree with her powerful videos and quotes. As far as I know, she was not involved in any hypervisible disagreements online prior to her death in the hands of the State. She’s still dead though. She’s gone. Explain how performing “unity” to the point that you’re denying your own emotions and safety will keep you safe from the State? I…need to know. Earlier this week when I mentioned that we all need to study past movements, this was not about studying a “script” to “perform” humanity for Whites. A summary of what I mentioned: 

You have to study movements. Study study study. See what the errors were. Deconstruct them. Share that info. Don’t repeat. Difficult; true. Common movement problems over history: Demagoguery by choice and by force. Replicating oppressive organizational structure. Not centering the margin; aligning resources via the same oppressive hierarchies that are being fought. Not understanding that though revolution is always the goal, sometimes sheer survival requires reform. This sucks; it is an aspect of a complex existence, however. Thinking grassroots but acting AstroTurf; not spreading tasks and power across board for efficacy. Not engaging legitimate critique and not offering legitimate critique. Hero/villain critique styles.

When I said this, the White Gaze was not my concern at all. I was concerned about seeing repeating patterns that I have read about in previous generations and experienced in my own as well. What it was about is learning what causes similar generational errors and mistakes in activist spaces and organizing. I’m not interested in a movement where self-care, joy, honest critique, intersectionality, and humanly flaws, disagreements, and nuance cannot exist or have to be hidden to the individual detriment of activists. I cannot imagine a freedom built on intraracial lies and performance for the White Gaze. The space to be human means the right to occupy and engage in public space, at times. This doesn’t mean that “everything” is someone else’s business, but it certainly does not mean things that occur in public must be immediately silenced to look like good little Negroes. Mantras such as “don’t air your dirty laundry,” and “don’t let them see you sweat,” almost never work to the advantage of oppressed people. As for Black people who experience oppression not just via race/class but also via gender, sexual orientation, disability and more, the risk of having to perform “for the race” means the risk of silencing and abuse intraracially. Performing what the most violent immoral oppressors–at that–think is “humanity” so I "look good” in public is not freedom. It’s not even strategy. When State and White violence is predicated upon our existences and not even our behavior–to the point that the State/media/public response is completely different based on the same behaviors between White and Black people, something that I discuss when I discuss post-mortem media violence–then performing for the White Gaze becomes not a strategy but a show; one that is never graced with applause at the end. In fact, when Black people are rewarded for respectability and shaming Black humanity, the reward requires they up the ante each time; they have to literally step on Black humanity, not embrace it with nuance. The politics of respectability and silencing will not save us

Too often, some fellow Black people feel that other Black people who reject such a performance of “unity” are being “divisive.” In a collection of tweets of mine from last year, “Divide and Conquer,” I explained how Black women who critique intraracial issues among Black male activists, or speak out on intraracial gender violence itself, as an issue worth discussion itself, or on its connection to State violence are called “divisive.” Black trans women face high amounts of violence. They’re not “divisive” by speaking of Blackness and gender as women and gender as trans. Disabled Black people face high amounts of violence. They’re not “divisive” by speaking of Blackness and ableism. Queer Black people do a huge portion of protesting and organizing. They’re not “divisive” by speaking of Blackness and queerness; they’re at risk of violence as well. Black women don’t just worry about becoming Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Marlene Pinnock, or Daniel Holtzclaw’s targets, but also having the same risks that Mary Spears did. Saying this is not being divisive. It is lived reality that should not have to be erased to protect cisgender, able-bodied, heterosexual and male privilege. This is not the same as some morally/intellectually bankrupt Whites yelling out “what about ‘Black on Black’ crime?” since their framing is derailment, racist, anti-Black, out of context, false equalization, a misnomer, and not their lived experience. Their investment is in our silencing, not our survival. They do not care. They are not us.

These things–disagreements and/or intersecting oppressions–should not have to be hidden because “what will White people think!” I don’t care what they think. They benefit from White privilege because of White supremacy. Their concept of their very own humanity relies on anti-Blackness. They rationalize the use, abuse, and exploitation of our bodies. They use the fact that we experience the same intraracial problems as other races as a good reason for the State to kill us with impunity. These things should not have to be hidden because “what about unity!” Unity is not centering cishet Black men and performing like good little Negroes for the White Gaze or the State when they kill us regardless. Regardless of whether or not every Black activist is the best of pals with another, it is statistically guaranteed that another Black person will be killed by the State, with impunity, by tomorrow. Tomorrow. I didn’t put a date because it really does not matter when you read this. The answer will still most likely be tomorrow. Even if every single Black activist is someone that is hated or “bad” person, the State still needs to stop executing Black people. Stop running to every Black person who disagrees with another Black person with the suggestion that they play nice since Whites are watching. They’re always watching. Always consuming. Always harming. Always blaming. No performance by us will ever be enough because of anti-Blackness. I am interested in partnerships not demagoguery-styled leaderships; in the grassroots, not the hierarchical; in self-evaluation, not self-aggrandizement; in honest critique, not hero/villain binaries; in accountability, not character assassinations; in callouts, not takedowns; in centering Black humanity, not in centering the White Gaze. 

In many ways, I do think that there is a greater stigma among African American culture than among white cultures. I live in southern California, and many white people will freely reference ‘seeing a therapist’ in normal conversation. Black people don’t do that. Seeing a therapist is generally seen as a sign of weakness or a lack of faith. There is still an active mythos of “the strong black woman,” who is supposed to be strong and present and capable for everyone in her family–and neglects her own needs. In the midst of a depressive episode, I had a friend say to me, 'We are the descendants of those who survived the Middle Passage and slavery. Whatever you’re going through cannot be that bad.’ I was so hurt and angry by that statement. No, depression isn’t human trafficking, genocide or slavery, but it is real death-threatening pain to me. And of course, there are those who did not survive those travesties. But that comment just made me feel small and selfish and far worse than before. It made me wish I had never said anything at all.

Dr. Monica A. Coleman

Quote is from Tips for Navigating Through the Mental Healthcare System: An Interview with Rev. Dr. Monica A. Coleman. It’s heartbreaking for me because I deal with mental health issues and I’m acutely aware of both the intraracial and interracial stigma. And when you get to the root of the stigma? Myths about our “strength” that are used to harm us while affirming White supremacy are the same myths that we’ve internalized and thereby at times are not supported/supportive in seeking care.

And sometimes professional mental health care is not ideal or nor accessible. So we seek support among each other. But when fellow Black people bring up “slavery was worse!” or yell out “pray about it!” as a silencing tactic because either belief in the infallible Black woman who can endure endless abuse (as created by White supremacy) or discomfort with addressing mental health head on, they ignore the fact that the impact of slavery is still felt today and mental health issues still exist today. There is no line in time where Black people were magically healed and slavery can be forgotten nor existing oppression today be silenced. 


Asian boys who date and marry white blondes are the worst. They have internalized white supremacy and put white women above Asian women.

The sickest ones are the ones who want white mixed children because they think they are superior and better because they are part white.

Look if you believe in any of the above, you have some self-hate going on and white people aren’t the solution to your problems.

In case anybody thinks white supremacy and racism isn’t real

My friend comes into my office and tells me he hates his blood. “Americans don’t like Japanese guys,” he says. “They think I’m a fucking J*p. A monkey. I came to America and thought everything was free here, but I was wrong. I can’t do anything because I’m a fucking Asian.”

I’m having lunch with a girl from Tokyo. “I went to Europe for a month and felt so uncomfortable,” she tells me. “A stranger came up to me and said ‘ni hao.’ I told him I was Japanese, and then he said ‘don’t commit seppuku!’ Many strangers also tried to kiss me.”

My conversation partner talks to me about make-up. “Japanese girls hate their eyes. They want eyes like yours,” he says. “That way they can wear eye make-up.”

My friend from China and I are wandering around campus. “Chinese babies aren’t cute at all,” he says. “White babies are chubby, and Asians are so skinny and ugly.” It reminds me of talking to my coworker. She told me, “White babies are like dolls. We all look the same in China. White babies have different colored hair and eyes so we think they’re so cute. People will even try to take pictures with tourist’s babies.”

My Japanese friend and I are on a trip together and she expresses her complaints about finding volunteer work. “I didn’t realize it until my teacher told me,” she says. “That all the organizations weren’t full, they just didn’t want me because my English is poor.” She’s been studying English since middle school.

My housemate from Ethiopia writes on Facebook, sharing another article of police brutality. “I can’t believe America treats African-Americans like this.”