Black Encounters: A Hopeful Black Woman On The Great Black Hype

It’s been a while, thus I feel like I  must write. But I’m scared that if I start I might ramble. I want to say  something inspiring that will  excite everybody to vote. I  want to say there’s something about this election that’s  going to push us, as a society, closer to dismantling the hate, greed, and structures that infringe on the rights of many of the citizens who carry this country on their back. But, alas  these truths elude me.

This election cycle has been tumultuous. We’ve learned that we aren’t as close to the color-blind, post-black society some have hoped for. Education, status, or works still does not buy respect among some in this country. Well, unless you possess the “proper” heritage. Finally, a man who shares a hue with people once brought to this country as chattel slaves was able to achieve the highest office. The spectrum of humanity  around the globe rejoiced after this moment, heralding it as a testimony to the sacrifices, battles, and lives lost during the great era when white was right and black was wrong.

The time since his election has revealed a lot about the fabric of this country. What this country has learned, that many black, brown, and marginalized persons have known for years, is that racism has not left the building. Some of the comments “birthed” during Obama’s presidency reveal the continued racial animosity and ideology that underpins our contemporary race relations. What I have discerned from the dissatisfaction expressed and opposition imposed by many constituents and leaders who benefit (sometimes greatly) from Obama’s policies is that most of their criticisms have little to do with his leadership ability, qualifications, or proposals.

No, a lot of time it’s simply about who he is. But never explicitly concerning what he looks like or his skin color. It’s usually more tacit or sometimes coded, such as their antipathy for his “shifty eyes.” There have been so many lies cast against the president that we lose sight of what the office entails. Critiques or criticism from a person of color are seen as treason. So, when our issues are overlooked we have to pick a side: speak up and demand more recognition, or continue to bolster him against the hate he receives from his cynics. I have mostly been on the “be quiet, let him fix this mess, and see what he does in his second term.”

But now that the second go around seems more tangible, I think I can speak on what I would love to the see president pursue in his second term. Are maybe I should hold my tongue for one more day and wait until its official. Yes, I’ll go with that. In the meantime I want to leave you with a couple of things that have been bothering me, cause I need to vent, and hopefully leave you with some nuggets to ponder why you (hopefully) wait in those long ass lines tomorrow.

Education. The stereotypes and covert racism that’s being peddled as educational reform is sickening. I’m also weary about these charter schools, especially with big corporate players like Wal-Mart heirs secretly funneling money into them and School Board elections. The brief glimmers of the diabolical plans they’re probably working on makes me queasy. A friend dropped this on me a few days ago, schools are institutions within this system of oppression, and thus can’t really be expected to spark revolution. This coupled with educational policies bullshit  reform is discouraging, but not weakening.

Black Unity. Recently, I’ve endured conversations from a lot of “scholars” and “future scholars” exploring why it’s damn near impossible and somewhat unnecessary to pursue a black agenda or any type of black solidarity. This hurts my heart. At the end of the day, no matter how much education, status, or wealth you acquire your ass is still black, point blank period. If you need convincing look at the challenges and disrespect our president has endured, and his momma is white. The simple fact that racism persists, with stifling economic, social, and political consequences, is enough for me to continue to fight for the group. Even those who think they don’t need “our” intervention.

Poverty. Along with the conversations on solidarity have been a number of talks about the different political and economic aspirations between the black middle, elite class and working, poverty stricken class. It’s suggested that these two “factions” can’t collaborate because they have different impetuses. I don’t believe that. Yes, homeowners have a right to protect their investments which is why I’m weary about the claims that black people are gentrifying black neighborhoods. Not saying it can’t happen. But these proponents have to realize helping renters does  not end with rent stabilization. First, observe why some people spend 20-30 years renting and how this benefits capitalism. Then ask how to  change this system and empower them to be homeowners. Are advocate for a living wage that will help them afford better living conditions. I’m tired of people talking about poverty like people enjoy  being broke, hungry, and living with uncertainty. But that’s a part of the strategy, because it absolves them of any responsibility and the privileges they’ve been afforded based on their heritage.

Enough of my chatter though. There’ll be enough time for that later. The most important thing now is resting up for the future. It’s going to be a long road ahead.


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