I know I’m not the only one carrying absolute exhaustion toward all of white America for their overwhelming performance re: this year’s Black Lives Matter Movement. I’m so tired of receiving emails from corporate America’s CEOs claiming to support the Black Lives Matter Movement–to being culturally sensitive & aware & intolerant of the racism (& classism & sexism & homophobia) that have been cornerstones maintaining white capitalist patriarchy since–. I don’t want to receive another emailed memorandum from white corporate America claiming solidarity w/its Black employees, offering counseling services, & committing to change <– whatever that means. I don’t want it, & I’d rather white corporate America keep it as real as Starbucks did when it initially & wholeheartedly professed that Black lives didn’t matter that much to them at all. All of this advertised pomp & circumstance feels unauthentic. It feels obligatory. It feels trendy. & light weight, it feels like a desperate attempt at ensuring the circulation of Black dollars.
I’m also tired of white people wanting to dialogue about race, of their professing speechlessness, of their asking for explications re: race matters. I’m so tired of their admitting to their new profound realization of their white privilege & sudden awareness of the dehumanization of Black people–all of which devalues & erases the Black activists, theorists, musicians, poets, & teachers who have composed works about white America’s brutality toward Black people since Black folks were “allowed to” write, sing, dance, & teach.
What do you think Phyllis Wheatley was really talking about in her “From Being Brought to America” poem? Are you not familiar w/Langston Hughes’ “I, Too, Sing America” & “A Raisin in the Sun” from whose title inspired Lorraine Hansberry’s play? Surely, you’ve skimmed some Cornel West, bell hooks, Angela Davis, Henry Louis Gates, or Michael Eric Dyson? At the very least, you’ve read an essay or two by Toni Morrison? Maybe read a Nikki Giovanni poem? Really looked at Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise?” You’ve had to have heard a verse or two by Nina Simone, Marvin Gaye, or Aretha Franklin? You’ve definitely listened to Michael Jackson (before you criminalized him), & since you stay appropriating Black popular culture, you had to have gotten some NWA, Ice-T, Public Enemy, Kendrick Lamar, & late 20th/early 21st century Kanye West. I mean, have you for real not read King’s “I Have a Dream” speech? Are you really unaware of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense? of the NAACP, SCLC, SNCC, Operation PUSH? Have you not seen a Spike Lee, Ava DuVernay, or John Singleton film? Are you not alive in the world?
WTF is this a-ha moment about?
Folks ranging from Michelle Obama to Oprah Winfrey, Viola Davis to Jesse Williams, Colin Kaepernick to Lebron James have been long time using their celebrity platforms to speak up & out against the subjugation & disenfranchisement of Black lives. So, y’all ain’t been tuned into Oprah either? You missed Kaepernick’s nation wide non-violent “take the knee” protest? GTFOH. While there’s no doubt y’all are pale faced zombies existing inside an unrhythmic beat of your own, your ignorance, & speechlessness, & cries for help reek of white girl tears decentering Black folks’ life-long commitment to humanitarian efforts, which includes Black visibility. Shame on you, but it would be unlike you to not decenter Black people in order to be the center of attention yet again. Yes, your professed ignorance, shame, sadness, & even your overwhelming support to the cause have decentered Black activists & protestors, theorists & writers, & the small Black owned business that has been printing & selling “Black Lives Matter,” “No Justice, No Peace,” & “Keep Hope Alive” tee shirts & paraphernalia before it was trending. I’m so tired of imaging a revolution thru white people’s receptions.
I’m also tired of witnessing white folks tryin to clean up their shit by censoring film & other mediums that reveal & archive white America’s monstrosities. No HBO, pulling Gone with the Wind doesn’t appease Black people; & neither does cancelling Cops impress on Black people a sense of safety &/or reconciliation. Just like the 2011 debate re: whether to omit the 219 times “nigger” is mentioned in Mark Twain’s 1885 Huckleberry Finn novel–considered an American classic–this current effort to reshape American culture is actually an erasure of white people’s hatred & barbaric behaviors toward Black people who remained humane under the inhumane conditions white people created for them. Nooooo. Don’t throw stones then hide your hands.
Generations after us have the right to know what America is, & generations after us, especially its people of color, must know what America overcame. Generations after us need to know the strength & the genius & the will of their American ancestors who survived the Middle Passage, Jim Crow, & now the 21st Century. & Generations after us need to know that not only did Black people insist on BEing but that white people finally had–& Lord knows I hope they really get there–the courage to stand w/Black people when it was unfashionable to do so. So got damn it! Leave the arts alone (& finally give Steven Spielberg’s rendition of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple every Oscar for which it received nominations).
Finally–& among much more that I’m tired of–I’m also tired of the phrase “black & brown” people. I fucking hate that phrase–despite my appreciation for the Hispanic culture whose members are most associated w/the phrase. Black folks from Miami know my rage.
I was born in Miami 20 years after the Cuban Revolution, which caused the wealthier Cuban population to seek economic refuge in Miami. Since then, Cubans have built economic, political, & academic capital that mimic America’s white patriarchy, thus further disenfranchising & marginalizing Black Miamians. Miami’s Cubans identify as white; they will step on the necks of Black folks to maintain a superiority that Castro’s revolution endeavored to squelch. Most of Miami’s Cubans are not in solidarity w/Black folks; they are not allies. They are not our comrades. They are, instead, a very detached community of colored folks who believe MAGA includes their empowerment.
& I understand since President — has taken office & declared his own war against Hispanic migrants, Black folks have more vocally made clear that brown people have always been part of the revolution. I get it. But my getting it doesn’t eliminate the cringe that rises in me when I hear Black people who are clearly advocating for a particular injustice against a Black person, include “black and brown” people in their declarations. I reckon I’m tired of us pulling up other folks when we still fightin for the come up. But united we stand, divided we fall, right? & if that is right–
Attention Miami’s Cubans:
Eres una persona de color. You’re a person of color. You’re a person of color. You’re a person of color. & Black America needs you to wake the hell up & join us. ¡La lucha continua!