Last April, Baltimore was overcome with emotion that spilled over into protests, riots, and extreme behavior. As much as I hated the violence and destruction accompanied by the riots, I fully understood the emotion behind it. People were angry and they needed to be angry. Too many people actually believe the sarcastic line Tina Fey said, “…The Civil Rights Movement totally worked and now everything is fine”, which causes minorities to feel very real rage and injustice because everything is not fine.
Beyoncé recently released a music video called “Formation” before the Super Bowl. Over a hundred million people’s eyes were on the TV as she created a visual and auditory experience that represented (her) black culture. The song’s contents not only call out things like police brutality and injustice against black people, but it gracefully celebrated things black people are influenced to feel shame over like specific parts of their natural appearance.
Gala Darling wrote the best article of her career which addresses the fact that while she, as a white woman, can absolutely love and appreciate the song “Formation”, it’s not for her. She doesn’t mean “it’s not for me” the way I say “mint toothpaste isn’t for me”, she means this song– this anthem — wasn’t written for her. It was written for all the black girls who have been told they need to relax their hair to be beautiful or feel ashamed of their facial features. It was written for anyone who has been shown that being white is better.
I say “shown” because very few people will come out and say “white is better!”, but the evidence is damning which is why people started boycotting awards shows like The Oscars which are essentially just white people giving other white people awards. (That said, the SNL skit “Beyoncé Turned Black” is a hilarious commentary on how white people don’t understand when things aren’t for them.)
Unapologetically black? That insinuates someone would ever feel the need to apologize for being black. Should anyone apologize for being white or any other race? Hell no. You should never have to apologize for the color of your skin or where your great grandparents were from. Racist against white people? How is celebrating one culture automatically a racist attack on another? Do you think a Chinese New Year parade is a racist attack against White American Catholics? (If you do, you’re an idiot.)
I’d like to switch gears for a second and talk about feminism. The concept of feminism simply means you think men and women should have equal rights and be treated the same. It doesn’t mean women hate men, it’s just that they want the same rights as them. Are there people who hate men? Yup. That’s called misandry and I don’t approve of it (and it’s separate from feminism). Are there white people who hate black people? Yup. That’s called racism and I don’t approve of that either. Hating a group of people based on an umbrella qualification like gender, race, or sexual orientation is a disgusting hatred, prejudice, and discrimination that makes so many people’s lives a living hell.
Just because you’re a feminist doesn’t mean you hate men. Just because you’re celebrating black culture doesn’t mean you hate all other races.
Me saying “black lives matter” doesn’t mean I don’t think white lives matter. Of course I think white lives matter. I also think Asian, Latino, and Native American lives matter. I think all lives matter because they do. The point of me making a yarnbomb that says “BLACK LIVES MATTER” is to demonstrate my support of an important political and societal issue. Black people are oppressed, even in 2016, and that’s not okay. I say black lives matter because I want (white) people to know two things: 1) Just because someone is black doesn’t mean they are lesser in any way and 2) Saying ‘black lives matter’ as a white person doesn’t make you a racist against your own race.
Feminism is generally less controversial as a construct, which is why I’m using it as a comparison to Black Lives Matter. If you can wrap your head around the fact that being a feminist doesn’t mean you wish ill will towards men, you should be able to wrap your head around the fact that supporting the Black Lives Matter movement doesn’t mean you are giving the middle finger to all other races.
I support Beyoncé and the fact that she’s using her uber platform to spread an important message. I support feminism. I support Black Lives Matter. I support non-violence, acceptance, and equality. I support men. I support white people. I support all lives, because supporting one thing doesn’t mean you’re automatically unsupporting another. These things aren’t mutually exclusive, life isn’t black and white. Pun intended.
So celebrate and love yourself while simultaneously celebrating, encouraging, and supporting others. Fight for equality across the board and show love for everyone because we’re all just people sharing a home on this planet.
Beautifully said. The world needs more love, less judgement and hate <3
One thousand percent agree.
Here’s my contribution to the ridiculous debate against the black lives matter movement. I have more to say, particularly about how you literally cannot be racist against a race that is the majority and the oppressor.
Every white person in America should take a criminology class – the statistics are overwhelming regarding disadvantages based on where you’re born. There are these concentric circles that start in city centers and move outward, with the concentrations of crime being highest in the center and decreasing as the circles get larger. The co-factors are that in the center, schools are severely underfunded and understaffed, there are food deserts, and there are few jobs with little opportunity to leave the area due to poverty and lack of education. Those city centers are overwhelmingly populated by black people, a lot of them forced out of “nicer” neighborhoods when there were more significant disadvantages to being black, like segregation, not being able to vote, not being given jobs, and basic human and civil rights violations being rampant. Crime is highest in the center of the circles because the drug trade is the most rampant as it’s one of the only “jobs” to be had. If you were brought up in an area that’s run down, with little access to fresh food, with limited access to education, wouldn’t you buy wholesale into the idea that white people want to keep black people down? Because the predominantly white area across town gets a new mall, while you can’t even get your kid to elementary school? That’s extreme, but it’s reality for a lot of people.
Thank you for pasting this in from the Facebook discussion. I think it’s really important that people have FACTS to back up their arguments and it can be the only way to convince people of what’s going on.
This is an awesome post. I commend you for being able to speak so transparently about these issues. Many are scared to speak their opinion one way or another. It really drives me insane when on FBI seethe arguments that I must be racist if I say blacklivesmatter….or if black lives matter why do so many black people kill each other…when statistically speaking black on back on black murder is proportionate to white on white murders. People kill not skin color. Thanks for this very thoughtful message.
I completely agree with you. In Baltimore there was an unsettling percentage of black on black murders out of all the murders in 2015, but I think it’s evident of a much bigger problem with the way society is run and the disadvantages many black people have from Day One like Janice outlined above. I’m grateful my message was well received by most (like you!). Thank you for commenting.
“Do you think a Chinese New Year parade is a racist attack against White American Catholics? (If you do, you’re an idiot.)” – Oh Mary how I love thee.
Great piece on a super important topic.
Hahah thank you! 🙂