Solidarity can’t work without understanding that Blackness has a role in every struggle

The first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidency have been marked by continuous attacks on the most vulnerable communities, just as promised. Those who have been resisting this administration have rightly responded to these attacks by attempting to shed light on every step taken toward such harmful efforts—from the blatantly bigoted “Muslim ban” and its equally bigoted second iteration, to threats against “sanctuary cities” whose governments refuse to go out of their way to target the undocumented.

However, in shedding this necessary light, many people have also chosen to distinguish struggles such as those against Islamophobia and anti-immigrant violence from the plight of Black people. While some have argued that its apparently lessened visibility is only a necessary evolution of the Movement for Black Lives, others have questioned the movement’s continued relevance after Trump’s ascension highlighted so many struggles that are seemingly distinctive and equally important.

Four Signs That You Might Subscribe to the Politics of Respectability

This article was originally posted at Water Cooler Convos and has been reposted with permission.

 

One of the most irritating byproducts of this new era of being “woke” is the increased numbers of people who read one Martin Luther King, Jr speech or saw one thing Angela Davis said that one time or found an Audre Lorde quote on the Internet and now they have discovered Black liberation theory, Black Feminism, and Black queer praxis. While it is admirable that more people are interested in assessing their roles in anti-Black racism and queerantagonistic systems of control, it can be frustrating when these individuals prop themselves up as exemplars of social justice without the foreknowledge of those efforts that preceded them.

How Trump’s concern trolling about Black crime is a trap for well-meaning progressives

In a sign of things to come for Black communities under the new administration, President Trump threatened federal intervention to address the “carnage” that is Chicago’s gun violence in a tweet last Tuesday night:

 

Though what he meant by “send in the Feds” is still unclear, Trump has used Chicago’s violence in the past to justify “tough on crime” policies that cause even further harm to the very communities experiencing the brunt of this violence. One can expect his threatening fix to once again be just more anti-Black violence in a cheap disguise.

Understanding the ‘cultural not remedial’ aspect of Black Vernacular English

“Why don’t you hand in papers in Ebonics since that is how you talk?”

I remember someone asking me this in my early days of grad school. I then explained that, as a student, it was my job to perform particular scholastic duties – including showing a mastery of the traditional APA, MLA, and Chicago Turabian styles of writing.

However, I told him that I use my native tongue – manifested from my years in Oakland, Calif, raised on the music of E-40, Keak Da Sneak and Tony! Toni! Toné!, and on the slang stylings of radio DJs like KMEL’s Chuy Gomez and Sway – in the classroom when I speak because I have no problem being who I am in that space.

But his question made me think about the ways that our use of regional tongues of Black Vernacular English (sometimes referred to as African-American Vernacular English, AAVE, or BVE) is often judged unnecessarily. Not only that, our decisions to use them in particular settings rather than others is often questioned as inauthenticity.

Black History in 2016…on the Negro National Anthem, Kaepernick, Violence, and President-Elect Trump

What is my nation?

When Colin Kaepernick first refused to stand for the national anthem earlier this year, I imagine this question weighed heavily on his mind as well. I imagine he considered how Black people in America were dragged, kicking and screaming, some jumping overboard to certain death rather than facing a future of slavery, into this land which was not ours by people to whom it did not belong either. I imagine he knew—like I know—that we are nationless, and have been for hundreds of years.

And for hundreds of years we have been expected to sing the praises of the country which enslaved us, lynched us, shot our 7 year old sisters dead in their beds without consequence, and has now elected a racist, sexist demagogue president who has promised only more of this.

Black Hollywood Wants Black Voters To Go To The Polls Today

Every now and again Black stars use their star power to make a statement about the political conditions in America. We recently saw it with Beyoncé, Jay Z, and Chance the Rapper endorsing Hillary Clinton for president at mass concerts in Cleveland and Chicago. Similarly, this star-studded PSA includes folx like Cedric the Entertainer, Meagan Good, Chris Spencer, Tisha Campbell-Martin and many others who want to emphasize the importance of voting in this year’s general election, specifically where Black voters are concerned.

Study Shows Young People Of Color Remain Optimistic About Their Future, But It’s Time Black Folks Consider Pessimism

I have always considered myself an optimist. This may come as a surprise to those who have heard me argue, sincerely, that “everything is anti-Black,” or who experience my total lack of faith in the idea of reform, or who witness me supporting unapologetic non-participation in the electoral system, having long lost confidence that it should be the primary vehicle for Black liberation.

Richard Sherman Changes Tune, Is Fed Up With ‘The State Of Things’ Facing Blacks

Richard Sherman rose in prominence a few years ago when his emotional response after a game garnered a slew of racist responses. At that time, he told the world that using the word “thug” in reference to Black people was just another way of calling them the “n-word.” Since then, he participating in what looked like an “all lives matter” demonstration with his Seahawks teammates and coaches. But, now, he seems to have moved back to his original position.

A new survey of young people finds growing support for Black Lives Matter and trans rights

By: Fusion

According to the GenForward survey, released today by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago and the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, young Americans are increasingly supportive of two major progressive causes: the Black Lives Matter movement and transgender people being able to use the bathroom of their gender identity.

It matters that people are afraid to travel in the US due to police violence

Yesterday, my partner and I planned a day trip. We were thinking about just getting away from it all after a tough week of violence against Black people and the racist mainstream news cycle to accompany it. We looked up some spots that were within an hour driving distance from Chicago, thinking this might be a good opportunity to let the kids experience something new. Then, we remembered that we are Black and we are unsafe everywhere.