I want another go at Black History Month 2019. Maybe it was the fact that I was more aware of things than ever before during this month. Regardless, it felt like every day was some racist amalgamation of Sisyphus & Pandora’s box. Each day, a new box of racist bullshit opens, hits the news feeds, and exasperates every Black person into a simultaneous all-day facepalm/look of not being surprised at all. Then, the next day, Jim Crow Sisyphus starts all over again. Sometimes, he wore a pink pussy hat while doing it.
Random note: can Stacey Plaskett be the queen of Black History Month? She gets to rule over it and ensure that no clownery goes down for the duration? She has all of the Black Auntie looks and I am here for it!
Also, bringing out a Black woman to show that someone is not racist is dumb as hell. Say it with me:
Proximity to Blackness does not make someone incapable of being racist!
I don’t know how many more times this needs to be said for it to sink in for some, but here we go again.
Blackface. Everybody was in blackface, but no one remembers being in blackface. Ralph Northam and his wife have some deep problems that call for sitting down and getting out of any and all spotlights. No one needs to hear/see you on a fake come to Jesus tour when you don’t actually show remorse, my guy. Also, why was your wife handing out cotton to people and telling them to imagine they were slaves?
About that cotton, why is that a thing now? If your family owns fields and they sustain themselves and they’re proud and so forth and so on, I don’t want to hear about it. I need to understand why it has become a Pinterest-ish thing for people to pose for family photos in fields of it & decorate their houses with it (and also anything and everything with grey and white chevrons, “live laugh love”, and shiplap). I imagine the people who do this are a little hipster and a little racist. They like to wear their shoes with no socks when they “not all white people!” you to death. They like for Mumford & Sons or fun. or some other band I’m not hip enough to have heard of to be the background music for their monologue on school choice (which is actually racism and segregation repackaged).
Black History Month. It used to be a week. We get a month, the shortest month, and it’s still too much to ask for people to just let us have some peace for 28 days. That’s it. It takes longer to get out of a probationary period at a new job than we get for our history.
What do kids learn in school? Do people sing the Black National Anthem? (Look it up. It’s great.) Is it still just Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X (maybe, if he’s not taught as being super militant and angry), Rosa Parks, and George Washington Carver? A dream, an angry Muslim, a tired woman, and peanuts?!?
Jussie Smollett still hasn’t been proven to be a liar. I have seen some of the worst takes from people I liked. I will say that this month has shown me who will be foolish if you give them enough room. It takes forever for people to believe victims, if at all, and that can happen right along with digging up the victim’s past as a reason for why they could be coming forth with allegations. I still don’t understand how people will believe any police department when it comes to the life of a gay Black man. COINTELPRO. Fred Hampton. Just saying.
March is here. Women’s History Month. Who’s gonna come back to Instagram and/or their blog in honor of the sisterhood? I almost made a bingo chart with words/phrases on it like:
Sistren, sisterhood, etc.
We are here for each other
We are stronger together
Let’s build upon one another
Something about mothering
Motherhood has no skin color
It reads, and always has read to me, that Women’s History Month is for white women. Black people get their own month and we all have to share, but (white) women get their own month. I have seen more representation of other ethnicities in recent years, but it’s a stretch. When you have to force a celebration or recognition to be inclusive, ask why the missing features weren’t present at the start.
I just want for acknowledgements to not be novelty. Don’t all of a sudden start including Black people in your marketing campaigns because we started calling folks out on it. It’s obvious. You mean to tell me that the knitting industry had the ability to hire Black and Indigenous people of color but just chose not to until it was beneficial? Sounds about white.
It’s the same as when October becomes the month that everyone is aware of breast cancer. You don’t need to buy/sell pink hammers (Home Depot), peel lids off yogurt cups (seriously, just donate that money directly), and drink the pink version of 5-Hour Energy (your kidneys will hate you either way). In June, everyone likes to show they they’re all for LGBTQIA rights and equality. Everything becomes a rainbow. Younger, Lisa Frank-obsessed me would go into shock at the rainbows that appear. Then, it’s all over before the 4th of July gets here. Don’t pander and then disappear when the moment’s over.
I just… I want for people to be true. That sounds weird, but doing what you think is the “right” thing to do at the time solely because other people you respect are doing it? It doesn’t mean shit if you don’t believe in it. That goes both ways. If you’re piling on (again, Jussie) because you see some pretty respectable people doing it, please stop. This does not apply to people like R. Kelly or Bill Cosby or Woody Allen because the facts are there. They’re trash. On the flip side, if you want to be your best self and you know that will take some growth in the form of changing some relationships with family/friends, be you. Do you. If you like yourself and can be at ease within who you are, fuck the haters.
I didn’t intend to go all preachy here, but I guess this is how this is ending. I got a birthday next week and I’m going to do my best to not have a panic attack, recognize that I’ve had a helluva year, and be pretty fucking proud of myself.