7.20.2015

They'll kill you and say you enjoyed it (#POCLivesMatter)

Black Like Me

There's a scene in FOX's Empire where Cookie Lyon (Taraji Henson) hops in the back of a taxi and the driver (who is of Central Asian descent) objects, saying something to the effect of "you people" causing trouble. To which Cookie replies:


I was reminded of this scene this weekend while going for my semi-weekly Thai dinner with my East Indian bestie, blogger Miss Kaur, and a new mutual Nigerian friend.  While Miss Kaur often teases me for knowing waaaaay too much about Asia, she also tends to joke that she had to have been Black African in a previous life.

To which I always reply, "What do you mean 'previous life'?  You're African in this life."

And we all have a great laugh, but it really got me thinking this time around.  I've been planning this post for the past few days because I've noticed two things: 1) non-black people of color often want to identify with black people, but are basically programmed not to, and 2) non-black POC often make the error of believing there's so much of a difference between them and black POC in the first place.

There isn't.  The statistics behind the state-sanctioned murder of Latinos and Native Americans via police brutality has shown that black men and women aren't the only victims here - obviously.  The blatant dehumanizing disrespect for Asian bodies via media, and the rapid rise of poverty rates (despite mainstream media insistence to the contrary) more than confirms that war hasn't just been declared on black people.

And the error non-black POC constantly make by thinking they're "not black" is precisely what puts them in danger.

You are black.  When you're pulled over by the cops or stopped during a walk, the very first thing you need to remember is that you are, in fact, black.  When some white girl/guy with less education, experience, productivity, and poorer attendance is promoted over you, know that it is because you're black.  When you hit the infamous glass (or bamboo) ceiling after years of faithful and impeccable service, it's because you're black.  When dating sites, forums, apps, pages, and profiles quote quite confidently proclaim, "No Black/Asian/Hispanic" - don't be fooled by the little breakdown of the groups: they're all black.

So don't think you've been left out of America's notorious black/white racial dichotomy.  You're not left out; you were never left out.  "Black" and "white" are purely social constructs, and you were always factored in as black by extension.  Now, black people always recognized your blackness, as well as the fact you were in denial about it.  White people definitely recognized your blackness, and found your denial exploitable.  Remember: denial is "a defense mechanism in which the existence of unpleasant internal or external realities is denied and kept out of conscious awareness".

Thus white America was (and is still) able to do a lot of the same things to you that it did (and still does) to us.  Your denial of your blackness prevents you from even seeing what's being done to you, from realizing the full scope of your victimization, and thus from being able to defend yourselves appropriately.

And for those who are horrified at being associated with the "lowly, base, savage animals" - let's be honest: you don't actually see us that way.  Name a brown civilization which the European imperialists didn't brand inferior or savage or barbaric in some way - there isn't one.  Oh, sure...their descendants have since strategically retracted some of those criticisms, but the sentiment remains:  You're not them.  You're never going to be them.  Your culture is a threat to theirs.  Your very blood is a threat to theirs.  And that's never going to change.

So when non-black POC talk about not wanting to associate with black barbarians/animals/savages, "those people" who have all "those problems", what you're really saying is, "We don't want to be seen as black.  Black people are targets.  We don't want to be targeted."

The irony is you already are "black", you already are targeted, and you have been in many ways for a very, very, very long time.

Silence is Violence
"If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it."

― Zora Neale Hurston

...[I]t’s so easy to rationalize making adjustments. ...Maybe if you move the goal posts, maybe if you accept a little more tyranny, a few less freedoms, everything will be okay. Maybe if you smile, and if you’re patient, and you do what you’re told—maybe if you wait long enough, someone will come and rescue you. You can’t justify the risk of rebellion, because you’ve got these rules you follow now, and things are complicated, okay? It’s not as simple as it used to be. (Source)
The phrase "White Silence is White Violence" is both true and essential, and we're quite right to focus on it, but we cannot focus only on white silence.  POC silence is violence too.

The second quote above comes from an AV Club review of a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode.  DS9, as many of you know, dealt heavily with themes of war, genocide, and imperialism, and how different characters handled their roles within those themes.  This episode dealt with the silence of the oppressed rather than members of the oppressing side.  The story highlighted the highly questionable compromises people will make and the amount of subjugation they will tolerate, just to remain out of immediate harm's way.

When non-black people question why #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName are gaining so much traction, and how come no one's talking about the continued slaughter of Native Americans and their Latino cousins, what they're really questioning - without fully realizing it - is the issue of volume.  Every so often I read someone disdainfully write that "the squeakiest wheel gets the oil", and their disdain stems from the following conundrum:

Black is "bad" because it's "loud and defiant."  Many non-black POC don't want to be seen (by whites) as "bad"; they want to be "good".  According to white America, good POC are quiet and compliant, even when they're being profiled, assaulted, murdered, economically shortchanged, and branded overall inferior and unattractive (or attractive as the Exotic Other per Eurocentric aesthetics, but nevertheless inferior).

Meanwhile...the squeakiest wheel gets the oil.

I make no apology the traction and gains black people have made by being loud and defiant.  We will liberate ourselves from white supremacy by any means necessary.  Non-black POC need to stop caring so much about what white people want and what they think, and need to get loud in order to gain similar traction.

There's a reason this is not an "interracial" blog, it's an AMBW blog.  There's a reason we stress the #AMBW focus, and the hashtag is branded on about 90% of our merch.  Because the moment we deviate from the AMBW grouping, the very first thing people want to talk about is anything and everything but Asian men and Black women.  Either one or both of us always gets phased out of the conversation.

It's no different with the Lives Matter movement.  Asians, Latinos, and Native Americans need to get loud.  And defiant.  We live in age where a random white guy is perfectly comfortable burning down a mosque, or shooting up a Sikh temple or black church full of unarmed, unsuspecting worshipers, and mainstream media will brand his actions as an attack on religion.  Where every melaninated person is treated as either a terrorist/thug if they're male, or an expendable whore if they're female.  Where both genders are routinely used as punching bags and target practice.

Silence will not save any of us.  Compliance will not save any of us.  We have to save us.  And to do so, we have to be loud.  We have to defiant in the face of immediate harm, rather than succumb to our fear of it.

So when you hear about any member of the Asian diaspora under attack, #AsianLivesMatter better trend with a vengeance.  Organize those protests.  Sign those petitions.  Boycott.  Raise hell and be the biggest, most belligerent nuisance you can fucking be.  You no longer need worry about what might be done to you in retaliation, 'cause it's already being done.

Latinos and Native Americans, not only is this your country, and your continent, this is your fucking hemisphere.  Out of all the brown people walking 'round here you should have the least tolerance for this bullshit.  I've always known Latinos were dying at high rates at the hands of police, but when I read just how high and how many Native Americans were dying as well, not only should #LatinoLivesMatter and #NativeLivesMatter be trending, but the wrath of the communities combined should be heard from the northernmost tip of Canada to the southernmost tip of Argentina.
 
We need to view each and every single assault and death of a POC as an intolerable inconvenience to us, as a source of great suffering.  And if we must suffer needlessly, so must everyone else.

The best place to start is for all POC in these Disunited States of America to speak up and say out loud: "We're all black, and yes...we're fucking proud."

27 comments:

  1. I agree with this post but I also feel that if non blacks do not know this then that is on them. I have always and will always be proud of Black people for bringing awareness to the injustice they are dealing with. It is not black people's job to protest for the freedom of non-blacks and for some reason they seem to think it is. They quickly look for black allies to bring the awareness to their issues while being silent or non allies to blacks. Whether they look down on black and so on is on them. Blacklivesmatter and they need to make sure they are protecting their own lives as well. Black people have focused on others struggle and then they turn around act brand new once they are given tokens. If they don't understand they aren't white then they never will and their ignorance will lead to their down fall. Those who don't want to wake up stay asleep. To many POC have anti black tendencies to wake up so *shrug* is my response. But innocent lives being taken regardless of race is problematic.

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    1. if non blacks do not know this then that is on them.

      Knowledge, awareness - these are trickier than we think, especially when you take social conditioning into account. Let me be clear: I'm not saying black people need to step in and do the rescuing. I'm saying our brown siblings need to step in and do some rescuing. We're all hurting. We're all struggling. The damage is already being done, which is, ironically, to our advantage.

      Those who are in fear of "punishment" simply need to realize they're already being punished simply for existing. Once that clicks, and I mean fully and clearly clicks, everything else will fall into place for them.

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  2. I'd meditate on this a little long before replying, but...in regards to Asian POC specifically, from my experience with certain friends, there is this underlying obsession to live up to the "model minority" stereotype. I think a lot of these people recognize they're being directly and/or indirectly abused - some people I know have even admitted this - but they refuse to be "loud" or "defiant" in order to retain that disassociation from "disorderly", "disobedient", "rebellious" black people. I think some of them enjoy talking-the-talk in order to appear "liberal" and "accepting", but at the end of the day, they'd rather keep the status quo which, frankly, holds them in a higher regard than blacks.

    Basically, my sentiment is similar to Amanda's comment: "To many POC have anti black tendencies to wake up so *shrug* is my response. But innocent lives being taken regardless of race is problematic."

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  3. they'd rather keep the status quo which, frankly, holds them in a higher regard than blacks.

    This is a precise example of what I meant by knowledge and awareness being trickier than people appreciate. Non-black POC are not actually held in higher esteem than blacks; that is a very old illusion that's been successfully deployed to promote division - end of story.

    And non-black POC in America don't actually like the status quo; they fear the cost of improving it. That's why non-black POC in America are more hesitant to get loud and defiant, while Palestinians who've been bombed and tear-gassed on the regular have no problem saying, "Fuck it...we stand with black folks. We know how it is." They're already paying the cost.

    Don't get me wrong; we've seen some great strides over the past year. And the point of my post is not to rally non-black POC to black people; it's to unapologetically explain the success of social activist phenomenons like Black Twitter, #BlackLivesMatter, #SayHerName, etc.

    Because when it comes to your rights as a human being, you gotta think like Malcolm X and remember that no white person can tell you about your rights, and their anger should be the last thing on your mind when your rights are being violated. Because the truth is, for many POC - black folks included - fear of white reaction is the knee-jerk factor brought up when injustice against POC goes down.

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    1. I understand some of your points. At the end of the day, I agree most with this statement from Da Monday: "Non black POC, those who complain but take no action, need to take notes...you can't have your cake and eat it too." For me, essentially, if you you ignore the problem then you're part of it.

      I just realized, I believe the only commentary we've got on this atm is from black women...

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  4. And the point of my post is not to rally non-black POC to black people; it's to unapologetically explain the success of social activist phenomenons like Black Twitter, #BlackLivesMatter, #SayHerName, etc.

    Okay now I understand where you are going. I thought the former was the point of your post, which is why I responded the way I did. Now that I know your point I can say that while my initial post still stands, I think it will take them some time to get to the mental place they need. Everyone has their wake up call, they have had plenty but there will come one that will wake them up. For the Mexicans it was Donald Trump. I don't know what it will take for the rest.

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    1. For the Mexicans it was Donald Trump.

      I laughed aloud when I read this. Still laughing.

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  5. You, Ranier, Brotha and some other social blogs ought to be commended..for being you and speaking your minds.

    Just imagine what would have happened of people before us, right now and in the future would be/have been silent? We would not have gotten this far and for those non-Black POC who think otherwise. Nothing in this country is free. Some minority have..and continue to die for them to exist and they didn't get here by being silent. It's funny ,I was reading a scripture in the bible in 2 Chronicles 20:17( I believe) in it the man Jehoshophat was faced against 30,000 soldiers against his few so he asked the almighty for help. One would have expected for God to say " Run for your life..you have no chance against your opponents.." but instead he said stand still for he would help him fight his battle and he did..being victorious at the end.

    That is how I see these protesters. If you ask them, some of them are probably scared, rather not be in this war, and not being in this protest but they also know that as long as they remain silent,not only will nothing be done, but worse we all will go back to the days of Jim Crow and/or slavery never reaping the benefits of POC's that have died before and will die after them. If the almighty say that you have to sacrifice for freedom ,what make these people think that they are better than him? God isn't a fighter,but he'll put you in situations where you might have to.

    It doesn't matter how people act, if they White man don't like you HE'S NOT GOING TO LIKE YOU! The highest college degree , greatest job, highest pay or lightest skin will not shield you from racism and if any POC have that kind of attitude, I feel bad for them because they will be manipulated, used ,abused and spat out.Seen it happen too many times. Nobody should be silenced for speaking the truth . I could care less what people think about me. Their opinions isn't going to save me from being victimized from racism because at the end of the day in some way, they will be reminded of where they stand in this racist world of ours.

    Give me the people who are out there fighting the war against police brutality and other forms of racial injustice. I admire people who are willing to stand and to sacrifice their lives to make out better. If people think that that silence is the answer to quell it, they should be reminded of how it isn't but this to an illness: You feel like crap but you keep the problems to yourself. People know that you're sick,but you pretend and tell them that "it's all good" As time pass by you get weaker and sicker , but you deny the illness. It get so bad that you have no choice but to go to the hospital and by that time ,it's too late. Racism will never go away but it doesn't mean that they're no victories ,nor should you stop they stop working if stuff doesn't go right for them. To be silent will cost all of us far more than they realize.

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  6. This is exactly why I am not a feminist....Feminism is for white women. I will not be at the front of the line for the fight but the back of the line for the rewards. No. This has made me break ways with Black men. You want me to stand by your side in the fight but behind you in the victory...Nope, naw, hells no.....I am big on the POC movement but if other POC want to be apart of the movement they need to stand with us. It is not up to us to drag them along (kicking and screaming) into equality. Many POC are waking the f*ck up and getting down with the lives movement.....I have said it many times to POC who seem to think they are white or white adjacent.....when the white man puts his foot in yo ass (and he will put his foot in yo ass) that's ya nigger wake-up call.....Answer it and wake the f*ck up......

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    1. Exactly. People need to start getting loud for themselves rather than wishin'/hopin'/prayin' someone else will get loud for them.

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    2. Right! I thought that it was just me but I'm glad to see it's not me being biased or roll my eyes when I read comments from non black POC like "Oh, it's directed at a black person then people say it's racist but here it's against an Asian person and no one is calling them out on thier racism". You know, they passive-aggressively complain about the double standard while obviously ignoring all the fights, the loudness and activist movements from blacks in the past (til now) that made it now unacceptable to say certain things to us. Non black POC, those who complain but take no action, need to take notes...you can't have your cake and eat it too.

      Myra

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    3. Non black POC, those who complain but take no action, need to take notes...you can't have your cake and eat it too.

      I was just thinking about this; the tendency to try to have it both ways: being "good" (as in quiet and compliant), while at the same time bringing attention to the issues which impact. It doesn't work that way. When it comes to racial issues, dealing with white people in America is like dealing with that child who only understands getting smacked upside the head. Talking/begging/negotiating gets you nowhere.

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    4. "Oh, it's directed at a black person then people say it's racist but here it's against an Asian person and no one is calling them out on thier racism". You know, they passive-aggressively complain about the double standard..."

      That's what I notice a lot when non-black POC experience racism a lot of them pull Black people into it for no reason. We weren't involved in it what so ever but instead of going to the source of the racism/racist act - white people, non-black POC just start comparing themselves to blacks with the old " if you said this or did that to a black person..." They need to confront white people not try to throw some other race, usually blacks, under the bus. Black people we actually go after white people when they're racist towards us. We don't even bring up other races.

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    5. "Oh,its directed at a black person then its racist but. but here its against an asian person and no one is calling them out on their racism.You know
      they passive-aggressively complain about the double standard."

      This is exactly what silence will get you...absolutely nothing. Anytime a non black person dont speak up with issues like this ,its mistaken as them not caring about social issues in their communities, or as too often thought off,some of them think its a bunch of folks acting a fool for no reason and scared that being associated with black people/the movement will ruim their standing in their community.

      The biggest myth about the Asians is that theyre not the victims of racism or that theyre liked more than other POCs...WRONG! White society loves who they want them to be. They think that theyre naive,soft and think that theyre into White folks that theyll sacrifice their culture to support White culture (eg.Dylan Roofs thoughts about some Asians)

      This should be a thought for any POC who think that theyre better than Blacks/POC .White racist use people who mistake as fearful or naive and get pissed at those who will speak up and/or challenge them at their game

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  7. The ironic thing about some of them is that, they will also accuse you for not being their for being there for their community. When it comes to Civil/Human rights , it's not only for Black people,but it's for anybody who have been victimized by racism.

    I'm like this : if POC's are not interested in contributing to the well being of their people and other POC's.that is fine by me as I wouldn't beg for people to join,but one day ,they will be reminded that they are not the "exception" in some way.

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    1. but one day ,they will be reminded that they are not the "exception" in some way.

      Eeeeexactly. Because the whole "you're special/the exception" is a ruse, a tactic used to housebreak someone and keep them from doing whatever it is you don't want them doing.

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  8. http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/florida-gun-shop-owner-declares-store-%e2%80%98muslim-free-zone%e2%80%99/ar-AAdhVCa?ocid=SKY2DHP

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    1. Check the last line of the article.....I think it sums it up nicely.....

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  9. I'm going to have to disagree with some of the replies you made, I study African American studies and Political science (with a focus in civil and human rights) and it is historically false and currently false to say that it's a source of division to acknowledge that we all as poc do not experience the same racism. Power and domination are nuances when studying racism and non black poc are afforded opportunities based in not being black. They are more favored in the white power structure. (Just as lighter blacks are systematically treated better than darker ones) This doesn't mean they do not experience racism or that their lives do not matter -just want to make that clear- but there is an immense underestimation of what not being black can do for you. This country is built on anti black racism, and everyone else falls in between. And thus falling inbetween black and white means you will get treated better than blacks. it is an overstatement to say poc experience the same racism without at least acknowledging that some races experience specific racism more than others. Black people are seen as criminals much more than Asians are, just like Asians are seen as foreigners much more than blacks are. We cannot generalize racism because we're all not white. And like others have mentioned, poc communities are extremely anti black, because that's what This country has taught them. Black people do experience the worst racism in America. historical contextualization is always important when studying the now. historically other poc have built their livelihoods off of anti blackness when it comes to housing, education, etc. Furthermore , if you ever study protesting, it has always been advised that black people stand in the back of protests lines because officers or racist people will ALWAYS attack black people the most violent and the quickest (which correlates to the criminality) and will literally push any non black person out of the way to get to black people. And I think that within itself, demonstrates what not being black can "afford" you. There's a lot of details that are always left out of racism discussions, and we have to remember it is not simplistic as the black and white dichotomy. And that fundamentally this country is built on hating blacks, not on hating all people of color.

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    1. Thanks for this comment. This is how I read the situation and you laid out your arguement in a clean, concise manner.

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    2. currently false to say that it's a source of division to acknowledge that we all as poc do not experience the same racism.

      Just to be clear, my post isn't that we (POC) all experience the same racism. It's that we all experience racism - period, and we don't have to. There's no divine law which states "Thou (POC) must experience racism, whether in the same or varying degrees."

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  10. Looks like a Native Americam activist got the same treatment like Sandra Bland.My deepest thoughts goes out to Rexdale Henry

    I also continue to pray for Leonard Peltier.
    Im hoping for his release. Hes been on my mind since I was a kid.Its sad how this guy is being scapegoated by law enforcement.It would be nice if Obama can pardon this man,but I doubt it.

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  11. And sadly they keep coming: http://blog.angryasianman.com/2015/07/inmate-found-hanging-in-houston-city.html#more

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    1. My city. *looks grim* HPD is NOT nice to brown people down here - period. SEAsian men complain about being chased/harassed by cops.

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  12. Yep..another sad story about another dead inmate.Just like the author said ,there are so many of these deaths that you just cant keep count of them.

    A girl on a face book page had a meme comparing the amount of citizens being killed by cops in the UK vs the US. It went along something like 100 something people got killled by cops(UK) in a year,while that same amount got killed in a month..Wow! Now you know that the US is out of hand when them many die like that.

    I continue to pray for POCs and their suppporters who have to go out in the world with cops like these and I continue to pray for those activists seeking justice and for them to continue march for it.

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    1. Absolutely. The death rate is appalling. And the fact that POC are often going to jail over stuff that should be either just ticketed or given a warning is very telling; I think it's the new strategy to kill with impunity. No need for body cameras and no pesky civilians with cameras in jail.

      Furthermore, when a Black activist and a Native American activist day in jail one day apart...I call foul play.

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  13. "Furthermore ,when a Black activist and a Native American activist die in jail one day apart....I call foul play."

    Same here and law enforcement will call it "suicide"no matter how asinine the excuse sound.They need to do better than that.

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