I am not a racist. I just play one on T.V. Well, let me be more clear. I doesn't really imply myself but rather who I represent, and that is a "woke" sister. But you see, somehow, being "woke," or conscious, thereby not consenting to the fabrications that have been told to and about one's people, loving one's self and one's community, embracing what has been formerly alleged stupid, ugly and inadequate as beautiful instead, makes me a racist.
And I should add that I play one in more than one mode of media.
I play a racist bitter black bitch on most screens. And many--though not all--white people react viscerally to it.
On Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, my memes, photos of black love--sometimes between President Obama and the First Lady--afros, beautiful black children, African print prom dresses, and quotes by some of our fallen black leaders lead to harsh scoldings from trolls who will swear on the Bible that they don't hate black people, even though after looking through their feeds, there's always a picture of someone black eating watermelon or fried chicken, or doing something stereotypically "niggerish," coupled with a snarky caption about "some people" or "you people" needing to do something, like pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps; about America needing to be made great again. But to them, I am the racist. Somehow, my outpouring of love for who I am casts me as someone who not only hates white people, but who is actually in the business of oppressing them.
On the news, we are shown in the wake of some black man, woman or child's death, angry and screaming for justice. Although we have big signs that read, "Justice for Trayvon," "I Can't Breathe," and "Sandra Bland: Say Her Name," the anger in our voices, the furrowed brows scowling in disgust and utter fury, simply make us bitter black men and women with attitudes, as if we have no reason to be cross. Our emotions for a singular incident wear us like cloaks that will follow us throughout eternity, and it is assumed that we never smile. We are marching at anti-white demonstrations, not against racial injustice. Pale faces stare back at our grimaced ones of all shades of brown from their living rooms, bothered, feeling victimized and oppressed at the racists they see before them. Remote controls change channels, controlling what they choose to see.
In film, we typically play racists in movies like School Daze by Spike Lee, Dear White People by Justin Simien and The Butler by Lee Daniels to name a few I have recently watched again. Even with one hour and forty eight minutes of backstory that would explain our anger within the plot, and the inclusion of more than just as Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche describes as a "single dangerous story," even though we may emote joy, and love, and sorrow, and hope and faith within the films' narrative arcs, we are summed up for the sometimes only thirty-seconds of tape when we are screaming and "acting up," as angry black racists within racist movies. Ticket sales from white people are dismal. Oscar nominations aren't even up for consideration. We are the reason why racism is alive and well in America and we should not be awarded for our attacks on whiteness.
Except, we haven't been cast as racists on film, television or social media. Actually, we do not play racist anywhere, but in the theater of your own mind.
But on screens in the real world, conscious black men and women are cast to play ourselves: strong black people, who adore their own culture, their men and women, their children, their hair. We demand that black lives matter too. We tweet about self-love and acceptance.
Because the definition of being racist is one who believes a person is superior to another based on race, and loving oneself does not connote superiority of any kind, I cannot possibly be racist. The belief that I should put you and your culture front and center before my own? The idea that I should just "be happy with the way things are," which means acceptance of living in a whitewashed world, from history, to the Oscars to the overwhelming presence of white dolls in Toys 'R' Us even in predominately black neighborhoods? That would be racist, as it would signify my belief that the white race is superior to my own. Noncompliance to these ideas doesn't make me racist. The expectation that I should submit to these notions, makes you one. And your mama too. As racism usually begins in the home.
Or maybe this blog post is just racist.