Tag Archives: #BlackLivesMatter

Respectability Politics: 4 Hints Your Approaches to Empowering Black Communities Are Harmful

18 Jul

There’s a running joke about whether or not black people should eat chicken in public.

When I’d bring a packed lunch with chicken wings to the office, I’d laugh at myself as I heated it up in the break room, thinking, “Am I really about to sit down with a plate of fried chicken in front of all these white folks?”

Of course I would. The chicken stereotype seemed silly to me, but there were other stereotypes I worked hard not to portray. 

I used to viciously side-eye anyone who argued that twerking was empowering. I’d quietly shame people who enjoyed reality TV shows like Basketball Wives and Love and Hip Hop. And I preferred artists like Janelle Monae over Nicki Minaj because I thought Nicki was a modern day example of the Jezebel stereotype.

I didn’t like anything that made black people look like we didn’t have home training. I wanted society to see positive images, like the high rates of black college graduates or the thriving black business owners.

To me, people who embodied stereotypes were enemies to black progress. These were my respectability politics.

Respectability politics are rules used by marginalized groups to help assimilate and survive in hostile environments that aren’t as accepting of other cultures. These rules define acceptable behavior based on mainstream values. They define how to act in front of (white) company.

These politics are frequently found in conversations about how to tackle racism and anti-blackness in America and how to uplift black communities.

For instance, some black parents will teach their children to dress and act a certain way around police officers, in hopes that their children will not suffer the fate of children like Mike Brown and Tamir Rice.

With the exceptions of a few “news” personalities whose intentions no one can be too sure of (ahem, Don Lemon and Stacey Dash), respectability politics typically comes from well-meaning people who love and support black people. Our mothers, teachers, friends, favorite musicians, and relatives use them to better our communities and protect loved-ones from oppressive situations… Read More at Everyday Feminism.

Why Black People Aren’t Required to Fight the Battles of Other People of Color

4 May

Master of None

A few months ago, I was enjoying comedian Aziz Ansari’s Netflix show Master of None. The series had been applauded for tackling issues like racism in Hollywood, interracial relationships, and street harassment. But I was watching purely because I think Aziz, the co-creator and star, is pretty funny.

Halfway through the season, the show began to turn me off. During the episode “Indians on TV,” Dev, Ansari’s character, is copied on a racist email about casting Indian actors for a show. When Dev’s friend suggests that he leak the email, he responds, “People don’t get that fired up about racist Indian or Asian stuff. I feel like you only really risk starting a brouhaha if you say something bad about black people or gay people.”… Read more at The Establishment.

Why #BoycottBeyonce is Racist

9 Feb


Dear white people,

We’re tired of your anti-Black antics.

Some of you seem to think that celebrating Blackness is anti-American.

 Spoiler alert: It isn’t.

Are you mad that Beyoncé came hella Black at the Super Bowl? Are you mad that her backup dancers’ outfits paid homage to the Black Panthers? Does it really “grind your gears” that she mentioned her baby’s nappy hair?

Unsurprisingly, you are the same bunch that calls peaceful protestors “thugs” and “rioters.” You’re the same people that got behind #AllLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter (Side note: how can both “all lives” and “blue lives” both matter at the same time? Doesn’t #BlueLivesMatter sound just as exclusionary as you say #BlackLivesMatter is?)

Anyways, cut the crap.

Y’all hate on anything that celebrates Blackness, including Black History Month, the Natural Hair Movement, #BlackGirlMagic, scholarships for Black people, and Black Michael Jackson.

Can’t you understand that everything is NOT for you? You already have the Oscars, white-washed Egyptian casts, the next presidency, white privilege, Stacey Dash, and most of the other months of the year.

Beyoncé’s performance was not for you. It was for Black History Month, for the anniversary of the Black Panther Party, for a celebration of Blackness, and much more.

In a society where Black people have been looked upon as second-class citizens, where politicians do nothing about our issues, where our justice system fails to acknowledge the loss of our innocent lives to their establishment, we continue to prosper. We collectively slay with #BlackGirlMagic and we continue to seek justice and equality despite all roadblocks. So excuse us if we feel like twerking celebratory when Beyoncé says she keeps hot sauce in her purse.

And if you can’t handle us celebrating our blackness, you may want to ask yourself why blackness is so offensive to you. You may need to consider why everything has to be the “white way” in order for you to accept it. You may want to look at why you always have to make your whiteness a priority.

And ask yourself: Why am I a racist?

It’s 2016, y’all. If you don’t want progress in our nation, which includes the advancement of people of color, then you sound like the anti-American ones to me.

Because people like me want better for our country. We want to expose and demolish racist systems of oppression. We want to feel like equal American citizens. We know that may take a while.

But if you all would collectively back away from your keyboards and cease the movement of your tongues, it’ll only take a few minutes for you #BoycottBeyonce assholes to STFU.

Now excuse me while I get in formation.

Get in Formation

%d bloggers like this: