Trumping while Black

This week, the boo-thang of one of my historic acquaintances asked me what Barack Obama did for me during his presidency. Was President Obama supposed to shower me with gifts because him and I were both Black? I never mentioned anything about Obama. In fact, for one Black man to insinuate that another Black man voted for President Obama is translation for, ‘Black people are supposed to fix their own social and economic issues and the Black president failed at helping you people do that.” If President Obama was supposed to do something for me as a Black man, then what did that mean for him as a Black man? That’s right—nothing, because he was swallowing that orange Trumpkin’ pie.

Why was a Black man who voted for Donald Trump asking me what Obama had done for me? Did he forget that his skin was as dark as mine? Or did his upbringing and adoption by a white family lead him on a journey of confusion and slow death? Does this young auto-tuned rapper only enjoy Black culture? Partaking in the magic of blackness while ignorantly strengthening our struggle? The Black rapper who helped host Maine’s so-called Hip-Hop Summit? The one who fantasizes of marrying a Black woman who is partially white (the historic acquaintance) and who lives with Black people? This sounds like the second American horror film of Get Out by Jordan Peele if you ask me.

This Black dude who supposedly spoke about how much he loved me to some of my Black friends happens to be in love with Donald Trump’s agenda for America. Think about that! When I hear a Black man telling me that he loves me and that he voted for Trump, my eyes become all squinty and my brain immediately explodes into vapor. This Black dude also happens to be adopted by white parents who also voted for Trump, perhaps influencing him to be like-minded with other Trump minions. The same Black man who voted for Trump, knowing that Donald doesn’t care about Black people, seems to enjoy lingering around Black folks until we start discussing our political views. He didn’t like that I called him out on his support for Trump in a group of Black people who proclaim that Black Lives Matter, yet who also embraces everything about his presence.

I prefer not to surround myself with Black people who are skilled in straddling the fence of whiteness; one minute at the dinner table with their white parents cheering on Trump and the next, having bonfires with Black people talking about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, or how children being separated from their mothers is just sickening. I personally do not feel safe around Black people like him who smile in my face and then steps foot into the voting booth to help Trump “make America great again.” He has learned the ropes of white supremacy most likely because he was adopted into it. He has stored away inside of him the secrets of whiteness while he uses his black skin as a resource for gaining social support. It’s been said that “Everyone wants to be Black until it’s time to be Black.” When it’s time to talk about the Black struggle and how whiteness is so rooted in the oppression of Black people, not many white folks want to get involved. They typically love the way we dress, our “accents,” our hair, our food and many other things about being Black, but refuse to listen and confront Black history, which truly is American history.

All I’m saying is that the Holy Bible in which I believe says to throw off everything that hinders me. This Black man is way past being a hindrance to me but has rather become a threat. We know what happens to white men who don’t get their way, after so many years of having everything catered to them. They get angry much like Brett Kavanaugh did. But, what happens to the Black man who has never gotten his way; who isn’t even aware of a way to go? Who has whiteness trapped beneath his dark skin, protecting him from the challenges that Black people face daily? Essentially, we have a white man trapped in a Black body, having no clue how to navigate such royalty. Kanye West isn’t the only Black person sleeping in a coffin full of psychological disorders and who needs to wake up. They are our neighbors, those who live down the street and who are even sometimes the friends of those we’re friends with—Black friends.

People can do what they want to do, but I don’t play these kinds of games; it’s that simple. I am starting to realize that I have several acquaintances who are also peers of other Trump-huggers. What can I do about it? Nothing. I believe in everyone being able to make their own decisions when capable of doing so. But, what I am not required to do is to chill with these people. I am not mandated to fit people like this into my schedule when loneliness strikes their ignorance. Because I am a Christian, I do not need to love these people simply because Christ has loved me. I do not believe that. God has loved me because I had been lost and broken. But when you have folks who are well aware of their decisions and how they impact Black people directly, that is not brokenness. There is nothing contrite about Trump or his disciples and I refuse to pass out my valuable pearls to pigs who I know will trample all over them.

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Little Black girl: A Halloween costume and a white woman’s threat

Today’s post is a first for the blog written by guest writer Dontavis Hines, and you can read about him in his own words:
My name is Dontavis Hines. I typically go by “Dante” and recently started using the name, “Dante Speaks” to raise the volume of my voice surrounding racial issues I face as a black man in Maine. I’m a man of many talents including dancing, singing, story-telling and nurturing others; you can always ask more about my personal life.
I moved to Maine in 2011 to be a missionary in the campus ministry, associated with my church. Although I had only planned on staying in Maine for one year, God has his ways of twisting up one’s journey here on earth. I’m still here in one of the whitest states, seven years later. During my time here thus far, I realized that I was different and that I needed to start talking about those disparities more. I currently am aiming to become a Nurse Practitioner of Psychiatry and one day hope to reach out to many who suffer (some unknowingly) from mental disorders. I’m a nursing student by day and night and an activist whenever the opportunity presents itself.

​I’m going to keep this real simple and discrete. Over the past few years of living in Maine, I’ve had to deal with a lot of white people’s ignorance. In this particular case, a white woman decided that she was going to casually joke about little Black girls and how her white mother perceived our beautiful princesses.

I believe God put me in the right place at the right time. Why else was I there to witness such racist remark? As I stood near this white woman, she proceeded to make her “joke” about how her mother would threaten to dress her up as a little black girl for Halloween. For some reason, she decided to tell this story of hers, in my presence. I’m a Black man with a little Black sister and little Black girl cousins. It was almost as if she was trying to provoke me in which she succeeded at to some degree. Did she really think I wasn’t going to say anything and just let her be a “Passive Patty?” You know? White women who attempt to be slick at the mouth with racial microaggressions and think that a Black person like me is just going to be accepting of it? Yeah, I don’t tolerate those kind of white women.

As she continued telling her little “joke”, she went on about her mother’s threat. “My mom used to threaten to dress me up as a little black girl, to paint my face black and to put brillo-pads in my hair if I didn’t behave,” she announced as everyone else around us laughed out loud. I immediately thought to myself, Is she really doing this right now? Is she trying to get my attention?

I knew I couldn’t say what I wanted to say. I didn’t want to be deemed the “angry Black man” so I turned around calmly and said, “You cannot dress up as a Black person for Halloween.” Her and her other white peers, and one other brown lady, ceased at laughing and went back to minding their business. I was so annoyed, upset and hurt all at once.

I later made a complaint about her racial remarks and of course, we all know how that turned out. Nothing happened other than an apology; this was not how I hoped for the situation to turn out but when you’re a Black man in America, trying to stand up to a white person, we typically don’t stand a chance. I honestly didn’t even know what brillo-pads were until I googled them. I was humiliated. I couldn’t believe that she grew up in a home where her mother taught her to compare Black hair to brillo pads; a scrubbing tool used for washing dirty dishes. Who knows what else she was taught by her white parents?

Racism is often taught to white children in their homes, even when it’s subtle or seemingly innocent. As usual, white folks “mean no harm” but they never fail at causing it nonetheless.

Dear white people: As we approach Halloween, please don’t attempt to dress up as Black person. Please don’t paint your face black to try to be any Black person. Please don’t threaten to dress your white children up as Black people, as if we’re some scary costume or a sort of punishment.

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 sebastiaan stam on Unsplash