When I became Pro Black/Pro Inclusion, I Began To See How People Work
So let’s assume you’ve never seen anything I’ve written. So, did you know I am very pro black/inclusion and for the causes of all marginalized people? Yes? Ok, excellent. This how I actively balance out our vert not fun reality. In the few years after becoming more of an activist and aware interesting things happened.
As, I walked out of the proverbial fog of “oh everything is better”, I began to see people for what they are — something I learned isn’t unique to myself.
I re-evaluated my life on multiple levels. I began to recall the times I ran into bigotry, racism, profiling, misogyny and so forth. This of course includes questioning past relationships, current “friends”, and mutuals. The following are just some of those interactions and questions I asked myself after the fact.
Seeing a white guy and a black woman in a relationship is kinda weird to me — a former girlfriend
The above quote (& photo) is quite the microagression isn’t it? Yet this was something an ex had no problem saying. See in her mind, these couples don’t “work” or make “sense”. Why did I let it slide? Why did I also let it slide when she continued to regularly express generalizations (mainly negative) of marginalized groups? Why didn’t I call her a bigot?
You know what did happen when I did push back once? As per her highly misguided views I was defending people I didn’t know. Her experiences justified her views. You can imagine why this was a former girlfriend.
Looking back, I believed the lies that being uneducated and culturally insensitive are qualities of a bigot. Surely, this well educated white woman (shocker) I was dating can’t be a bigot. Well…regardless of your social standing, education, career, and etc you can definitely be a bigot and or a racist.
*See Trump Presidency*
Needless to say, experiences like this have made me change my parameters, significantly. This brings me back to my point; I started to understand what people really meant by their actions and words.
On the subject of friends and so forth, these moments of clarity have been more frequent. With social media you can really gauge people in more ways than you can imagine.
You mean all women right? — A comment I received from a person of color
One day near the release of Black Panther, I expressed appreciation for the cast of black women. Shortly after posting that on Facebook, I got a response from someone. He, a man of color himself wrote something to the effect of “you mean all women”. — I didn’t, I meant what I said.
Examining this, I asked myself why did he feel it was necessary to write that? There was no logically answer. I took the opportunity to call him out and slightly shame him. The first step to unlearn biases is being aware of them.
Speaking of black women around that time…when most of my white male friends would speak on appreciation of black actresses; they only seemed to mention Tessa Thompson and or Logan Browning. Not so much Lupita Nyong’o or Ashley Blaine Featherson. Hmm…I wonder what’s going on there. — Don’t worry I’ll write about colorism one day.
I don’t talk about politics like everyone — from damn near all your “friends”
“I don’t talk about politics”. Let me be very clear, I find this logic/phrase and similar sentiment to be highly insulting. Now, the reason being is simple. Modern politics has taken civil rights and taken away their societal identities. They are now campaign promises/TV discourse/clickbait/etc about the lives of the marginalized.
When I hear someone doesn’t talk politics, what your saying to me is you’re bowing out of societal conversations. What you’re expressing is the following.
- “I’m just trying to live my life, I can’t handle the pressure of these societal issues”. Yes, life can/is highly difficult to navigate. Imagine dealing with a lot of handicaps? Yet marginalized folks still step to the plate. We are actively trying improve our lives and living them despite how soul crushing it maybe. However when your existence has never been politicized, it’s easy to dodge “politics”.
- “I really can’t do anything, why talk about it?” Falsee, everyone can do something to help improve the status quo. Imagine if millions of people shared a tweet? Visibility is power and that leads to action. On the same token, silence also speaks in fact it’s deafening. To remain silent when injustices are taking place is to be complicit.
- Talking about these issues is so “negative”, everyone should be more positive. Speaking about injustices is “negative”, an idea that’s a product of the times and a failure. For mental health reasons, people do need to disengage from time to time. However these are real issues that happen like clockwork. People become angry because that’s a natural response to grave injustices. Someone openly expressed to me that they saw this as a problem. Well, until I see the majority fight what’s wrong, I’ll stop being “negative”.
I don’t know you — A person whom never bothered to really know me
The last aspect of life I really re-evaluated was the subject of my friends and mutuals. I recall having a conversation with an activist about state of affairs.We spoke about the strange circumstances when it feels like someone is alone speaking about societal issues — online or off
You have to ask yourself the following: Do you have a lot of friends?
When you speak/share/or discuss series issues do they acknowledge any of it? If the answer is no, you ask yourself more questions. If you seemingly don’t care about the well being of my group, do you really care for my well-being? Are you really an ally? Do you know me?
The answer I and many may arrive at maybe no. Of course, the parameters of your friends are personal. However allyship, what we all really need, is a rare unicorn. You may lose many of these so called friends. Don’t worry you’ll find new ones that’ll stand with you.
As I told a friend whom was disenfranchised with a crime involving another black victim:
We may have many friends, but the truth is few(very few) barely register as allies for our causes/experiences.
Now, I could go on for another 1000+ words explaining how certain demographic should do better. However, I will not. I’ve been done with doing so for years. I’ve learned that burden isn’t my job. Nor is it the job of anyone that’s marginalized in anyway. There’s literally thousands of stories, reports, books, etc on all of this.
The most important revelation I’ve made? I won’t stop writing, protesting, challenging, and supporting what matters. If I end up becoming unpopular, so be it I’m already there. I owe to those whom have less from being the other. I owe to so many whom can’t voice their frustrations. Rather than internalize my anger, I’ll use it to fuel myself to make the world better.
From the laptop of an angry blackman that’s done with just being angry.