No, no…you can’t do it *that* way (why not?)

Sometimes white people say they’re on my side. Then they say some shit like this:
I don’t think that kind of protest is a good idea because of how it looks.

The ironically obvious problem here is that just by giving that unsolicited advice, they are ignoring it for themselves—in other words, it’s a terrible look. I mean, the fact that anyone says that shit in public proves that they have no idea how their words make them look to people like me. But, you know, how things look to people like me are almost never really the concern.

In his Letter from a Birmingham Jail Dr. King wrote about the shortsighted need some feel to criticize acts of protest. Believe it or not, that criticism is alive and well and the how-it-looks version has to be the most fucking annoying.

It makes this presumption of authority. They say it as though they are veteran leaders of the most thorough focus groups. Or noble pollsters of the highest order. Or objectively stalwart students of the human pattern. In reality, that Black friend they won’t shut up about doesn’t even remember their name.

For real, to whom do these actions not look good? For whose favor should we adjust our behavior? Do you think that there are people who say shit like, “Well, I didn’t used to think that Black people should be killed by the cops … Right up until I saw them stand up for themselves!”? Trick question. Some people like that are definitely out there—it’s just that they’re lying when they say they weren’t always okay with violence against Black people.

This idea of people who will be put off the idea of racial justice because people of color protest is flawed because there is no such group of people. No one is on the fence about race. There are motherfuckers losing their goddamned livelihoods because the president fucked them over and they proudly still support him. You think they want Black people to do anything other than do what we’re told? They don’t. They don’t care about us or how anything “looks.” Again, not to be petty, but their president’s head looks like balled-up, wet toilet paper held together with dried up smoker’s phlegm, old gum and shower-drain hair.

Did you know that Obama lost the white vote both times? Did you know he got 5 million fewer white votes the second time around? Well, that’s all true and ain’t none of it because his behavior was offensive.

I agree with what they’re saying, just not how they’re saying it.
This is similar to “how it looks,” except, this one is usually a fucking lie. If you see someone getting murdered and say, “I agree that you’re being murdered, but I wanna talk about why you’re being so rude about it,” it’s pretty hard to believe you care about anyone’s life but your own.

I don’t like the president, but I want him to succeed.
Do you? Really? Because that’s what he’s doing. He’s completely succeeding in tearing children from their families and appointing judges to remove the rights of our fellow citizens and destroying our relationships with allies and aligning us with dictators and on and on. He is absolutely succeeding and that’s what you want? Maybe you mean you want the country to succeed. They’re two different things.

I’d love to hear them defend that!
I hear this after every single shitty thing the republicans do. The thing is, they will defend it and it won’t matter how inadequate you think that defense is. They’re only paying lip service. It’s not about compassion or humanity. Not for them. They don’t answer to you.

Hate never wins.
Tell it to the Native Americans.

America is better than this.
Oh, yeah? Is it? Since when? Do you want to MAGA?

In the end, this country is only a story we tell ourselves. There is a USA for white people and a completely different USA for Black people. Black people know this because we’re in your country all the time. Just to exist, we have to hear your stories everywhere we go. Your books and movies. Your history. We know the role we play in your story, but you don’t know the role you play in ours. You don’t come here. You don’t know our stories. You don’t know Ezekiel Rawlins, you haven’t heard Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song and you don’t really know how we got here. If you did, you’d know when to listen.

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