“This is America” really IS America, and that’s a shame

It look less than 3.4789 seconds for folks to lose their collective minds over Donald Glover’s (AKA, Childish Gambino) “This is America” music video. Let’s all forgive his misogynistic and other questionable ways and bask in the glory of this latest piece of black trauma porn made for white folks, by Black folks. Its “Formation” reborn with all the articles and videos dedicated to breaking down every little facial expression and every single dance move contained in all 2 minutes 39 seconds of it. White women set a record and gentrified the hell out of it within seven days. It’s obvious the perpetrator, Nicole Arbour, has no Black friends…or, she has Black friends like Donald Glover who happily allow her to use racial slurs in their presence.

This is too much to break down, y’all. So, so many layers and I haven’t been this conflicted since Trump voters found out that the Affordable Care Care act they loved and used was actually the Obamacare they had been convinced they hated and realized that Trump planned to burn their shit to the ground.

Let’s start with Childish “I get off when women who are not Black call me nigger” Gambino. We can save his report of dating “the Black women of different races” later, let’s use our time to talk about this trauma porn.

One of the worst parts of violence against Black folks is that it is well documented. And, we’re not even talking about recently with camera phones. Going back to Jim Crow, white folks took a liking to photographing Black bodies hanging from trees. It wasn’t unusual to see a crowd of smiling men (wives and children) included in these photographs.  They enjoy seeing us abused and have for a very, very long time. If images of Black bodies being abused was going to change society, violence against us would have came to a halt even before Emmet Till’s life got cut short by Carolyn Bryant, who is still living today. All the “This is America” video did was give white folks some more violence to be entertained by. I get what he was trying to say, but he didn’t have to gun down the choir to do it.

Next, we talk about how colonizers stay colonizing. Nicole Arbour almost can’t be blamed for gentrifying “This is America” when we are fresh off of Taylor Swift gentrifying “September.” It’s not her video that you should be giving the side-eye to; it’s the intention behind it.

The problem with the white feminism movement is this idea that sexism is as bad or worse than racism (even though white women, for all that they deal with, still have more social and economic privilege than Black people because of their whiteness). They often claim that they understand racism because they have experienced sexism. It’s not unusual for them to dismiss their own racial biases by using a “but, what about sexism” approach. Nicole’s colonization of “This is America” was a little bit of all those points mixed together with some horseradish and raisins. Not only did she miss the point of subtlety, but she also derailed a conversation about violence against Black people to complain about how she is expected to look pretty. And the bih can’t rap or dance.

All that aside, I wonder if Donald Glover would consider Nicole to be one of the “Black women of other races” he’s mentioned? If he did, wouldn’t that mean her calling him a “nigga” would give him one of the best orgasms of his life? And if that happened, wouldn’t we just be wasting our time even talking about this? Sounds like he would probably like her attempt at reminding the world that white women are oppressed, too.

The remedial class

You step into class the first day all excited and shit. At least, this is how my college career started. By day two, I was bored. People where asking questions I felt like they should already know the answers to. Every lecture was filled with old information (to me). People were panicking for tests I didn’t even need to look at the book to get an ‘A’ on. Pass me a glass and a whole bottle of wine…this is going to be a long four years!

This is what Black folks feel like when white people come around asking basic questions ‘bout racism. I’ll be honest, sometimes I roll my eyes at the computer screen. Occasionally, I will ignore an email because “you should know betta.” I will complain about it to my husband later. I will laugh about it when nobody is around. Same college shit, different classroom.

Ignorance is not always bliss. We are in the age of information where you have a wealth of resources about racism available to you all for five easy payments of FREE. Google is having a sale next weekend! However, the kind soul that exist somewhere in me feels the need to help a bit, so…if you’re having trouble as a white person, here is where you start.

Start by realizing that you were raised to be racist. If you are in your 30s like me, and especially if you were born in the South, your parents went to segregated schools. Your parents got to use the “whites only” water fountains. No, they did not have some sort of marvelous epiphany that their way of life way wrong. Children are smart, and all children enjoy special treatment. They were smart enough to understand their place in society as white people and typical enough to enjoy it. Your grandparents didn’t like MLK either: white people didn’t really like him until the late ‘80s and that’s because they had no choice in the matter. When Black folks started getting a little loud about injustice, the white people decided to hail MLK as the negro that did it the right way by using non-violence. All of this means your upbringing was no different from anyone else’s. Nobody taught you to be “colorblind”—they just taught you to control your prejudice in public spaces. I hope you read that sentence again. All these public acts of hate you are seeing lately have always been there…they even exist in you. The difference is that now society feels bold enough to bring it to the forefront. Before recently, white folks just did things like view Black girls as needing less protection than white girls and quietly called the cops on Black people existing. This isn’t new…it’s just being recorded now.

Realize that racism is not limited to just the South and a particular political affiliation. Oregon, for a while, banned Black folks from existing in their state. Chicago was one of the worst areas in the country for redlining. Rodney King. Gentrification. There is heavy racism on all sides of the political spectrum. Yes, President Barak Obama got called everything under the sun by Republicans, but don’t forget that dumb shit Joe Biden said about the man. Wherever white people exist, white supremacy exist.

You have benefited from white supremacy your entire life. From the time you were born and you and your mother survived the ordeal, you have benefited. Even if you were poor, you were poor and still lived in white neighborhood and thereby benefited from the better schools often found in more affluent white areas. See, when affluent Black folks move in, white flight begins. However, rich white people don’t mind trailer parks outside of their subdivisions. There is one outside of mine right this moment. Your name gave you privilege. Being able to see yourself in advertisements and movies as the hero, was a privilege. Being able to buy “nude” anything….is a privilege. This could go on. Whether you consciously knew about it or whether you wanted to, you benefited from being white. Today, you are reaping the benefits of being white. Tomorrow you will reap the benefits of being white. Your children will inherit these privileges. You need to sit with that thought and get used to it because it won’t change until a bunch of you all get together and change it.

Now, I know that took on a bit of a serious tone and I’m even shocked with myself right now. I don’t know what got into me. Maybe it’s all these clothes I have to wash today. Maybe, it’s because I had Korean potato salad last night and I was shocked that it was better than Karen’s shit. It had a few extra things in there, but nothing that didn’t go well together. I mean, I didn’t taste any horseradish or raisins. It was pretty good.

Or, maybe it’s because I finally realized that the Irish were slaves, too (um…kinda) and I gotta start being nicer to some of you. I can’t tell who’s Irish and who isn’t, though.


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When you woke AF and basic AF

We’re welcoming another new face around here, Tiffany Foster, an Alabama resident here to remind you that all good things come to those who can talk white when necessary. She’s currently working on her MS in I&O Psychology along with writing a book that only her mother will read. Sometime, in the near future, she hopes to go to Disney World and not be the only fly in the buttermilk.


2018 has given us a lot of entertainment. The phrase “this government is a joke” has taken on a whole different meaning. Kanye has confirmed his status in the sunken place. Ashy season has kicked off with a bang with the Cosby conviction. Every time I unlock my phone I’m being treated to these wild-ass current events that make me cry/laugh until I forget whether I’m legit laughing (because it’s funny) or whether I’m crying out of total despair and hopelessness.

However, let’s not get off subject. More than anything else, 2018 has given us this new class of “woke AF” white person that has invited themselves to the cookout and bought some bum-ass potato salad that nobody authorized. Black folks don’t eat just anyone’s potato salad. And who told you that you could come to my spades table trying to ask someone to teach you how to play?

Problem with this new breed of whiteness is that it’s brand new. When I say “brand new,” I mean that they literally did not think racism existed before Donald Trump got elected. In their mind, none of their friends or family is racist. They’ve never met a racist person. Nobody talks about race at their place of employment. They have lived their entire lives allegedly without seeing color until now. And this presents a problem. Several problems, actually.

  1. These heffas hopped, skipped and jumped over the voices of Black people telling everyone racism was still alive until some of their white friends elected an open-ass racist to office. Karen has stood firm, since the year her millennial-ass was born, that racism was a problem of her parent’s generation. Side-note: her parents are not racist and loved MLK. The problem with this is not that her parents are more than likely racist; the problem is the sheer amount of Black people she has had to ignore her entire life to get to this point. Why does she keep acting like Black people have been completely silent about injustices from the passage of the Civil Rights act until November 2016? We haven’t, of course, but it’s much easier for Karen and all her homies to believe racism exists if they aren’t having to trust the voices of Black people to come to that conclusion.
  2. They are walking into the Ph.D.- level courses while they need to head down the hall to the 101 classes. White folks are jumping in head first into their new level of “wokeness” without having a clue what they woke up from or what they woke up to. Civil rights? They kinda understand. KKK is bad? OK, they can see that. That’s pretty much where it stops. They don’t know shit about racism for-real. That’s a problem because then you have to hold their hands and walk them down the hall to the 101 class when they do some racist shit and immediately start talking about “how is that racist?”
  3. They are consistently using their proximity to blackness to absolve themselves of the responsibility of their racism. “I’ve got a Black friend/child/spouse/fetish, so I can’t be racist.” What’s even worse is that they don’t understand how gross they are using their relationship with someone to justify attacks on people of the same race. Karen, please take yo ass to the remedial class for this shit.
  4. They use “unity” as a method to silence the voices of Black women. I still remember how much abuse I suffered for calling those pink pussy hats trash. If you’re not falling in line with their narrow view of feminism, you’re divisive. If you want to talk about the wage gap suffered by Hispanic or Black women, you’re divisive. If you want to talk about the mortality rate of pregnant Black woman, you’re divisive. If you want to bring their abuse to the forefront of the conversation, you’re angry and why are you taking your misplaced anger out on me I haven’t done anything to you and can Mary please bring me some tissue I’m so upset that I’m crying and someone come over and comfort me! White tears are weapons.

This list could go on and on, but I need sleep and some real-ass potato salad. I’ll get started on one of those in the morning along with a list of what white people can actually do when they feel themselves about to commit one of these sins.


A “glossary” from BGIM if you’re still in the 101 classes or remedial class whether with regard to race or internet abbevations

woke

AF

What’s the deal with potato salad? (Here and, even better [because it links to the so-excellent SNL skit] here)

spades and what does this game have to do with Black people?


If this piece or this blog resonates with you, please consider a one-time “tip” or become a monthly “patron”…this space runs on love and reader support. Want more BGIM? Consider booking me to speak with your group or organization.

Comments will close on this post in 60-90 days; earlier if there are spam attacks or other nonsense.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash