It’s no surprise that the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday dredged up some pretty complicated feelings for Black and brown people all over the world. Too many of us, after all, are the children and grandchildren of those who suffered direct and brutal exploitation and oppression from a system for which she was a proud figurehead.
It’s fairly common knowledge that the British empire robbed, oppressed and wreaked various flavors of havoc on India, Nigeria and Ireland — but historian Stuart Laycock found in 2012 that the British actually invaded about 90% of the world’s countries through threat of force or negotiation.
Long story short: We, the descendants of the colonized, are not tweeting our condolences. We were not big fans of the queen or the monarchy she needlessly upheld. She wasn’t just complicit in a system that violated our families and ancestral lands, but one that continues to profit off of our blood. And the monarchy she led remains solid, for no reason at all.
We’re hurt. And so Twitter is our therapy (in addition to real therapy, of course). All these clever Tweets are a potent reminder that even in death, no one is above being held accountable for their part in a system that we’re still trying to heal from and dismantle. It’s a slap in the face of our ancestors to lick the boots of those instrumental to our generational trauma.
After the queen’s death, Twitter users had a lot to say. So let’s add some cultural references to their tweets.
The reality is, the death of Queen Elizabeth reminded us of the damage the monarchy has brought onto our lands.
It is no secret that the British empire came into Africa and ran through it like a tomb raider. The British had the audacity to refer to our ancestors, who were beaten and starved, as “savages.” The resources they pillaged are often placed on display in museums.
And, uh, the British took some stuff from India too.
The exploitation of Ireland by the monarchy can’t be ignored ― and Twitter is a safe space for all those receipts.
Those are just a few of the many countries the British empire invaded over the course of modern history.
And because humor and joy are tools of resistance, we have to resort to the most classic of memes. After all, no one can truly steal the culture.