Digest for week four of the 30 day Real Black History Challenge. This week is a little longer than the other ones because it includes two extra days of the challenge…. to make way for the encore. So this week’s digest includes 9 days of really fantastic information, from slavery to some incredible music. Make sure to listen to the song that Jay Cole wrote after Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson, called “Be Free”. So many powerful moments in this week. So much to digest and think through.
With the South Carolina murders that happened in the AME, the funeral of the Senator Rev. Pinckney’s funeral, the burning of Black churches in the south…. this week captures some of the most recent moments of the trauma of Blackness in the current age, and contrasts that with historical examples of the same.
After this week’s digest… stay tuned for the encore/finale that was a 24 hour timeframe with about 50 links, resources, quotes, images and studies about our history and our present.
“I am equal parts sick of your “go back to Africa” as I am “I just don’t see races”. Neither did the poplar tree. We did not build your boats, but we did leave a trail of kins to guide us home. We did not build your prisons… though we did, and we filled them too. We did not ask to be a part of your America, though are we not America? …. her bones brittle and dragging her ripped gown through Oakland. I will not stand your ground… I am sick of calling this recklessness the law.”
― Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
“The politics of respectability are, at their root, the politics of changing the subject—the last resort for those who can not bear the agony of looking their country in the eye. The policy of America has been, for most of its history, white supremacy. The high rates of violence in black neighborhoods do not exist outside of these facts—they evidence them.”#30DayRBHC
I started this project as a response to the ignorance of someone I use to know. I continued it because I had so much to learn about my own history, filling in the gaps of what I was taught in the whitewashed school systems and what I knew from my family and experiences…. and what I was learning in my studies.
One of the biggest things I have learned is that very little has changed. Our history is our present…. and at this rate it is also our future because we have refused to acknowledge the pain in our country, the history white people benefit from and the complete horror of the landscape that Black people are fighting through to survive. It has been over a 150 years since slavery ended, a little less than 50 years since the ending of the last Jim Crow laws, 50 years since the Civil Rights movement and the infamous Church bombing…. and yet today we are seeing through the lens of smartphones that not much has changed.
The New Jim Crow is alive and well, the prisons are full with our people, funeral homes booming, cops with militarized power and no accountability, failing schools for Black kids, kids lying in the street for hours while their lifeless bodies sit in the sun, people killed in Walmart while shopping, or strangled for selling a cigarette, or killed in their car while a cop stands on the hood to unload bullets into their bodies because of a car backfire…. and dead bodies in church. Because like in our past, today… we…
Jay hits a lot of really important points in this piece. He speaks on his own skin privilege (even though he is Black), he speaks on the impact of fakery from Dolezal on Black women and the anti-racism movement and he hits a very important point…. You do not have to be Black to love Black people. You don’t have to be one of us to find the value in us.
Please stop insisting you are NOT racist when you don’t know what racism means and what it looks like. Please stop thinking that you are not a racist because you don’t have a white sheet on and do not burn crosses. Please stop insulting the hundreds of years of ancestral knowledge and lived experiences of Black people by telling us we are wrong and everything is not “black or white”. Please stop acting like we are the ones that make everything about race.
You wanna be non-racist? Then learn how to listen and stop taking up all the space in the fucking room, stop acting like others who are clear and strong in their discussions about racism are somehow hostile. Stop being so invested in your own opinion that you are unable to actually take in information from those who know. Stop thinking you always know the answer.
And be aware enough to know that Juneteenth is NOT the time for you to try and school black people on right and wrong about justice and rights. Nope. Just stop.
“We, the (white) Jews of this country, rode in on the coattails of history and continue to benefit from how, when and where whiteness, as a race, and as a social commodity, was established. Up from slavery and in its wake, we wear our white and power-laden skin. We are part of the problem, every day, until we begin to complexify how we may, one day, become a real part of the solution. Black America is under terror. I see it, I fear it, I know this in my blood because I recognize this from another life, from before I was born. They? Us. If not you, who?”
This senseless tragedy has shaken the nation and is an example of the deadly consequences of racial hatred and unfettered access to guns.
NASW realizes there are no quick fixes that will prevent mass shootings, including those motivated by racial, ethnic or religious hatred, but true to our history of supporting civil and human rights we remain committed to joining other organizations in supporting legislation that would enact sensible gun control, end racial profiling and increase funding for mental health services.
That these tragic deaths occurred in a black church is not lost upon us. It conjures up images of 1963 when four little black girls died when racists bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.
Since that time, this nation has made tremendous strides to end racial strife and improve mental health treatment, but not enough. NASW remains dedicated to addressing the underlying social issues that cause such incidents to occur and will work with lawmakers, other organizations, and our communities to bring about needed reform.”
Can’t not be followed. In a store. For a block. For a mile. For a day. For days. For years. For life.
Can’t even get an isolated incident.
Can’t get an acknowledgement that the race card is manufactured, store bought, and made from our skin.
Can’t have nothing.
Can’t be a disappeared black girl found safe and in time.
Can’t get a disappeared black girl’s name read on air.
Can’t have an indictment, conviction, blah, blah, blah.
Can’t have paid leave, unpaid leave,
Can’t have nothing.” – Derrick Weston Brown