Staying in your lane

Adulting is terrible. Like absolutely terrible. I long for the days where my biggest qualm in life was running out of Scooby Doo fruit snacks. But with the territory of new beginnings come with new headaches, both in people and products. Despite being on a sleep, patience, and sanity deficit, life’s pretty good. It’s also very interesting. There are a lot of ignorant people online and offline. Take for example the homeless guy that was smoking a cigarette inside of Del Taco yesterday. I want to get to that level of DGAF one day. Where I have no qualms about breaking just about every food establishment rule known to man. He was an absolute prodigy.  And yes, he was white, not that it’s relevant. Just kidding, it’s relevant as fuck.

I stumbled on a Facebook post tonight by one of the pro-black pages I follow that had the Black Codes of the Civil Rights movement juxtaposed to Angela Davis, a notable Civil Rights activist. Now with these predominantly black spaces, there’s always the errant white person that decides to take upon themselves to “school” black people on their culture through nothing short of a patriarchal ignorance. Ignorance that usually comes from a place of meaning-well deep down that gets misconstrued by a series of mental gymnastics. This viewpoint of the “Let me enlighten you with 0 context” white person is always constructed from a reference point of privilege. Surprise, surprise. They always seem incredulous and borderline offended by anything that insinuates “racial division.” Allow me to sip my tea. I’m feeling particularly black today.

So this random white guy attempts to posit a question about why people have to be told “not to be bad if it’s a learned behavior?” Crude, but a valid question if asked from a place of pure curiosity, not from a place of arrogance and self righteousness. This guy was basically trolling in specific way as he believed he had all the arguments ready to refute anyone that would oppose his viewpoint. Generally I don’t get involved in internet debates because 95% of people are so focused on being right instead seeking to convince the other party, that it devolves into a personal attack clown fiesta. Both parties end up talking past each other because they’re not interested in a respectful debate and challenging one another to improve their arguments. Anyway, I’m reading this guy’s argument and it’s fraught with a lot of assumptions from a place of privilege and a deep-seeded desire to erase race/ethnicity from the equation. As though people of color have been on equal footing in terms of valuation for hundreds of year *cough* slavery *cough.* Something, something Trail of Tears. I think California has a couple thousands Mexican graves that Soul Cycle and Whole Foods aficionados are driving their Priuses over too.

Back to this guy’s question about why people, black people specifically, need to be reminded to respect, protect, uplift, and collaborate with one another. The answer is simple for a black person that has even a rudimentary understanding of the history of this country and our role in it. Allow me to direct Chad to the centuries of slavery, disenfranchisement, and systematic destruction of African/black culture. Tools of choice were, but not limited to lynching, executions in broad daylight, routine rape (mentally and physically) of Africans, denying Africans the ability to educate themselves, reducing their existence for the first couple hundred years to that of chattle. We weren’t considered human beings at first. We got updated to 3/5’s of a person then our membership was grandfathered into 2/3’s of person. And not out of altruism, oh no. It was for, wait for it, votes. Sound familiar? Finally, about 60 years ago, we got some rights to tack on to this semblance of being an equal person in American society. In the last 20ish, we’re in a much better spot sure, but now we’re getting executed on camera without consequence. Granted, law enforcement was originally created to keep us in line and to stifle our expression as human beings so I figure this just par for the course.

Now with all that overt disenfranchisement, we’ve yet to touch on the mental conditioning of black people over this same span of time. Conditioning that has indoctrinated legions of black men and women to participate in self-hatred, white worship, and generally not feeling too proud about being of African descent. We are our biggest obstacle sometimes. Colorism poisons many efforts to repair the community. So when you have all this weighing on young and old black minds, positive reinforcement is a must. Reminding one another that we are all valuable despite what mainstream America believes or close-minded racial purists spout at any given moment. Lifting one another and continuing to be in each others’ corner in the face of systemic racism is paramount to our survival. Because if we don’t stand up for each of our brothers and sisters when it’s not convenient, who will?

Just look at the rate of cultural appropriation in this country. Everything “black” is in style. In regards to women, one of my areas of interest naturally, I see it every day. Those outside the culture covet and idolize black bodies because we are the most beautiful people on the planet bar none. I don’t care what anyone has to say. Yes, everyone has the capacity to be a 10/10 physically, I’m not debating that. In terms of the whole package, black people got it going on and have been styling on America since its inception. That can’t be denied. So when Chad asks why black people need to be reminded to not tear down one another, I want to tell him that it’s because they’ve been told for hundreds of years that they’re better off dead.

I want to tell him it’s because he’s lead a life privilege based on something as trivial as the amount of melanin in his skin, he can’t fathom the importance of reinforcing this Black Code. I want to tell him it’s because, although he means well, he will never understand what it means to move through this society, much less this world, as a black person. I want to tell him it’s because he will never have to worry about having guns drawn on him when he calls the police for help. Or having to change his tone and diction on the phone to be granted a certain level of service that would not be be given if he were to use his natural vernacular. I truly want to tell him because there will never be a situation where each waking day of his life is marred by the ever-present consciousness of his skin color and having to let stares, whispers, and unpleasant vibes tug at his psyche on a the daily.

I find it funny that some white people get visibly upset when black people openly celebrate their culture, as though it’s an affront to their existence that this is happening. They say “Well how come we don’t have White History month? How come there’s not parade for our white leaders? If white people make fun of black people it’s seen as racist, but we’re the butt of the jokes all the time!” Yet another example of willful ignorance wrapped up in a blanket of privilege. Every day is a celebration of white history. Whiteness is ingrained into the very fiber of society, so to get mad that the spotlight isn’t on this section of reality for a fraction of a second makes me chuckle.

I understand this makes me seem like I hate white people. Maybe I do. Doesn’t feel like I do though. And I’m not going to quantify this saying “I have white friends!” because that’s a form of denial I actively oppose. On the whole, I haven’t much issue with white people. But I know they have issue with me often times, especially in this conservative state I now find myself in. I know my hair is not coiffed to perfection. I see your daughters, wives, and girlfriends staring me down; I’m sure they’re curious. Tell them to stick to Porn Hub because I’m not the one. I know it makes you uneasy to see me being emotive in the dairy aisle, dropping rhymes about yogurt and organic milk. Black expression is scary, I get it. Actually I don’t, but I like to pretend.

But what I truly abhor are ignorant people who impose themselves in areas or situations where their input is neither necessary nor relevant. People that just want to be contrarian, seen, and/or heard. “HEY I’M HERE, I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT, BUT I CAN TRY TO MAKE IT SEEM LIKE I DO. LOOK! LOOK! I’VE NO CONTEXT FOR THIS CONVERSATION, BUT YOU’RE ALL WRONG!” That’s what I see when this scenario happens. This is what Chad is doing by patronizing a people who are trying to heal themselves with his privilege. Unfortunately, in my experience, white people have been the bulk of the people doing this shit. This might serve to explain what I mean when I scoff at these comments and say “Fuckin’ white people.”

All that being said, you can imagine my internal conflict when Becky with the booty gave me her number today. Oh ambivalence, you beast.