Love Deez Nutz, or Why Van Jones Is Wrong and Maybe Even a Bit of a Bullshitting Magical Negro, or Happy Friday from My Corner of Trump’s America–Whatever You Like–I’m Tired

One of the reasons that I dislike the way that black people deify Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is that it makes a lot of us adopt a passive way of dealing with racism and racist white people that is really fucking unproductive.

MLK was a Christian minister. He advocated for nonviolent protest and civil disobedience because these principles aligned with Biblical doctrine. He strategically combined a political message and mission with ministry. But this isn’t a mandate. This is not the only or the “right” or at this point a proven way to effect change around issues of race in our society

As courageous, wise, and principled as MLK was, we can look at the racial climate in this country today and say–in all fairness–he might not have been as effective as we needed him to be.

Because he sought to change people’s minds. He sought to make the Masters of the Universe and their racist minion perceive black people as “good” and so deserving of equal rights and fair and decent treatment.

And I’m sorry, but his aim was off. There, I said it. Throw holy water at your screen if you feel impelled. Or smear it with anointed oil. It may sound like sacrilege, but appealing to white people’s spirits just wasn’t the way.

It makes sense that MLK would’ve opted for a nonviolent approach, though; he was a religious man; he was raised in the Jim Crow South where blacks were regularly terrorized; his protests were just one prong in the operation of the entire Civil Rights Movement; and King had no precedent to demonstrate to him that the changes he helped to make–without the threat of violent recourse for any reneging by the white establishment–wouldn’t last.

I am a 40-year-old black woman that has been educated academically and through experience in institutional and interactional racism. I’ve been treated like shit by the system and by individual bigoted people. America has given me a lot, but it’s taxed me a whole hell of a lot for that shit, and so I don’t feel like black people have overcome enough in the past 50 years to call the Civil Rights Movement anything more than an extremely valiant effort.

It achieved fractional victory, at best, and that is not a castigation of the men and women involved in it; it’s an indictment of America and whiteness and a recognition of just how entrenched bigotry–and particularly anti-blackness–is in both things.

I once sat in a class during my MA in which I was the only black person and the only student excluded from the class’s study group. Everyone included in the group was white, and that was everyone else in the class.

They never issued me an invitation, and they arranged meetings right in front of my face, across the discussion table where I was sitting, regularly. They wouldn’t even turn away or speak quietly or try to be discreet.

It wasn’t until I got an A+ on a paper, and the professor raved about me to them, that they finally even acknowledged my presence. Before that, whenever I would contribute to class discussions, they would fall silent and then pass right over what I said, onto another of their comments. Habitually, someone would repeat a point that I made earlier in class, and he or she would be praised for it as if he or she thought of it first.

After I got the A+, though, my classmates issued that invitation to the study group. They started listening when I spoke in class and asking me questions like I was a mini professor.

This led me to assume the only reason they hadn’t done these things before was they thought I was stupid, and I couldn’t think of any other reason for them to think that except that I am black.

I was enrolled in the same graduate program as them, which meant I had to have the same minimum GPA, same GRE score, and same number of bachelor level credits to gain admission. They’d heard me speak eloquent English in class and make really smart observations, so, in order to dismiss these things, they had to call on something other than logic. That would’ve been either belief or emotion.

I learned from this dumbass ordeal that bigotry is based in belief. It’s emotional, not factual or scientific. That is the reason that you can’t reason it out of people. But you can’t love it out of their asses, either. Sorry Van Jones.

And anyway black people shouldn’t be treated fairly by this society out of love or even respect. We should be treated fairly by this society because this society placed a mandate on itself to fucking treat us fairly.

How white people or anyone else feels about us is too capricious a determiner for whether we should, say, not get shot by police when we are unarmed and innocent of a capital crime, for which police can’t legally execute us anyway because that is not their fucking job.

White people don’t get the protections afforded them by the government or law enforcement because of how legislators or cops or judges feel about them. They get them because they are legally entitled to them, and it is easier for white legislators, cops, and judges to give them these protections because of cross-race effect.

But who cares? They can circumvent that shit if they need to, and they need to. They don’t need to be bribed; they need to be put on notice.

In the same way that so many millions of black people can harbor generational resentment of white people but still deal with them nonviolently, civilly, and productively, white people should be forced to deal with us the same way, even if they believe every single bullshit stereotype about us. It shouldn’t matter whether they “like” us or “love” us or not.

I can work with white people without exploding my antipathy for the worst among them all over the rest of them. I can teach white people without exploding my antipathy for the worst among them all over the rest of them. I can share public space, transact business, cooperate with, and socialize with white people without exploding my antipathy for the worse among them all over the rest of them.

And so can millions of other black people. So do we all. Because if we ever did explode–whenever we do explode–we get eviscerated or incarcerated or fucking eradicated.

And since we do it, and white people rank themselves as better than us–they make all these adamant claims to superior intellect, morality, discipline, and wisdom–they should be able to do it, too. They should be able to interact with us without exploding their supremacist bullshit all over any of us, even if they fantasize about doing it the entire time.

So fuck using love as a weapon for fighting racism. Unless you’re going to make love into an acronym. Unless you’re talking about

Leveling with people about their bigotry;

Opting into confrontational political action aimed at definitive positive change;

Voting in every election, not just the Presidential election, so the political process can benefit the oppressed inasmuch as it can in America; and

Educating yourself about what the-hell the government is doing by reading real news and doing independent, academic research if necessary–yes–you should–knowing the shit that’s happening is that important–look at what just happened back in November. It was only a minute ago.

If you ask me, this is the only type of L.O.V.E. that’s going to get us–black people, Latinx people, Muslim people, Arab people, indigenous people, LGBTQIA+ people, undocumented immigrants–everyone Trump and his pack of dogs will be systematically attacking over the next four years–anywhere or anything.

The ruling class in America only cares about two things: preservation of power and access to money. So anything that doesn’t threaten these two things isn’t going to compel or impel them to do a damn thing.

You can come together and support these racist-ass politicians or “love on” your garden variety moneyless Trump supporter all you want; if you don’tinconvenience or obstruct them, they’re not going to change anything about the way they deal with you.

This ain’t Disney. This is the dog-eat-dog world of American imperialism. This ain’t Obama’s America anymore. It’s Trump’s.

Getting back to MLK–I often think that so many of these black men that pop up in the political arena echoing and aping him are really just looking for fame or glory–they are looking to be valorized or canonized like he was–not continue his work–not lead black people to viable solutions to our problems or help us make progress toward a more equitable America.

I think that they lack integrity–because they know that “love” is not a political strategy–it’s the way to heal personal relationships–they know race politics aren’t personal–they’re subconsciously vying for the affection of white people and using the fight against racism as a vehicle to gain legitimacy from white culture–they’re too cowardly to do something drastic and die (even just from the public eye) like real soldiers but for a worthy cause–that’s why they preach nonviolence and tell us to fight an actual enemy with what amounts to submission–but they’re still vain enough to want to be heroes.

They’re playing the role of the magical negro when they know better and could do better, if they wanted to.

In other words, they exploit the fight for civil rights to become media and/or Internet famous the way Tomi Lahren exploits the fight against civil rights to be Internet famous.

They’re all sound bytes and catchphrases and hashtags. They love the spotlight and hoopla and maybe even the drama, they love their paychecks and high profiles, but they don’t really love us. They can’t.

Because if they did, they wouldn’t tell us to bend over in a queue and take the establishment’s unlubricated dick with smiles on our faces.

They wouldn’t encourage us to funnel our light into their seemingly bottomless pit of narcissism and nihilism like it’s nothing or like we have an inexhaustible surplus.

MLK was the product of a specific moment in history. He was right for his era, and he earned his venerated appearance in the American narrative. I do not argue with that.

I admire him, and I appreciate him. I even forgive him his indiscretions, if that’s even my place. I think he is a tremendous model of leadership, even if he wasn’t our political messiah.

I am not writing to bash MLK, or Van Jones, or other supposedly woke, professional Uncles (or cousins in the case of Trevor Noah) because I guess selling hope or false wisdom is better than selling cigarettes or alcohol or crack or lottery tickets to poor, struggling black people.

I’m just saying–black people are already a love army. The fact that we haven’t attempted, at any time, on a wide scale, to burn this country to the ground for what it did and continues to do to us, despite how we have fought, labored, and died for it–and in it–and because of it–shows that we are filled with love for our fellow Americans.

Racist people’s selective blindness to that is an indication that they will only ever see what they want to see when they look at us, no matter what we do.

So we should stop putting on all these performances of “respectability” and “morality” for them and do something that will actually improve our condition.

We should love ourselves enough to fight for what we want, not roll over and beg like good little pets.

199 thoughts on “Love Deez Nutz, or Why Van Jones Is Wrong and Maybe Even a Bit of a Bullshitting Magical Negro, or Happy Friday from My Corner of Trump’s America–Whatever You Like–I’m Tired

  1. These revolutionary ninjas are funny… Dr King was on the right track when he die and that’s what these niggerows need to study so they can complete the man’s work… He understood the fight was about economics… He started by backing the back of a major transportation company and he ended by help to build a stronger work force in the black community… People who do nothing and build nothing always try to down those on the battlefield… Build a movement then talk about King after you’ve done half of what he did…


  2. Reblogged this on The Building of a Goddess and commented:
    “Because he sought to change people’s minds. He sought to make the Masters of the Universe and their racist minion perceive black people as “good” and so deserving of equal rights and fair and decent treatment.

    And I’m sorry, but his aim was off. There, I said it. Throw holy water at your screen if you feel impelled. Or smear it with anointed oil. It may sound like sacrilege, but appealing to white people’s spirits just wasn’t the way….I’m just saying–black people are already a love army. The fact that we haven’t attempted, at any time, on a wide scale, to burn this country to the ground for what it did and continues to do to us, despite how we have fought, labored, and died for it–and in it–and because of it–shows that we are filled with love for our fellow Americans.”

    YES! I love this analysis of our current situation. It’s a truthful critique of what seems to be our new norm.

    I refuse to argue and play respectability politics about my humanity and equality. You either see me and all that makes me who I am as equally human as you are, or you don’t. And if you don’t then I won’t deal with you or anything about you. I do not exist to proselytize to racial supremacist about my humanity.


  3. I wrestled with the idea of having a black president until I understood what it meant to be black. I still don’t, and I still won’t. I think that man was a courageous leader, Obama speaking, and I think black-America can still become a paradise we think it is. White people that is.


    1. I feel you Bluest i but do not get it twisted non violent protesters courageously risked and reaped real violence in return. The man himself was assassinated and tens thousands beaten and hundreds other murdered. MLK was in reality more warrior than saint irrespective of the myth.


    1. Black people are still much poorer, much less employed, much more frequently jailed, and treated with much less fairness by the court system in America. There are documented achievement and discipline gaps between white and black students that can be traced to racist practices in schools. Whites still earn more wages for the same work than any other demographic, and that’s males and females. Black churches are still being burned in the night. Dylann Roof shot up a church. The Ku Klux Klan still exists and exerts power in certain places in the country. Police shoot unarmed black people on camera, for unjustified causes, and they do not get charged or convicted. Trump is President-elect. Pence is the VP. His entire retinue of Cabinet appointees is white with only one exception. Over 400 of the 535 members of Congress are white. Ninety-percent of the top 1% in income is white. There are about four or five states that have no minority judges whatsoever. So, yes, fractional. There has been progress, but it’s been fractional.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What you say is all true. What I think you are overlooking is that before 1964 in Jim Crow states it was entirely normal and legal for:

        Blacks and whites to have separate drinking fountains labelled as such in public.

        Schools to be segregated.

        Communities to be completely segregated.

        Blacks to have to ride in the back of the bus.

        Restaurants and lunch counters to ban blacks.

        Blacks and whites to have separate bathrooms in public accommodations.

        Blacks to be banned from most hotels and motels.

        Businesses to discriminate against blacks and posting signs such as “No Dogs, Negros, Mexicans.”

        Poll taxes and poll tests, unequally applied, were used to prevent almost all blacks from voting.

        The KKK operated openly and with impunity and it wasn’t just a few nutters. It was the pillars of small town white society, torturing and murdering without any fear of apprehension or criminal responsibility. This stopped after 1965. You can point to police violence against blacks and that occurred also. Lynching was way above and beyond that. It was an expression of hatred and evil by entire communities.

        In many Southern states, blacks and whites could not legally marry.

        More than 600 martyrs gave their lives during the Civil Rights Movement and tremendous progress was made. Things have stagnated since then and the situation today is fraught a the US racist white people just elected a neofascist racist as President. But things are tremendously better now than under Jim Crow. The idea of a black president wouldn’t have been allowed to be published anywhere even in science fiction because it was totally inconceivable to most whites, even northern ‘liberals.’ Much less a President with a black African father and a white mother.

        You anger is entirely justified and right. But your narrative is one of despair and hopelessness. That’s disempowering and I think people need a narrative of hope and redemption to continue moving forward.

        I’m not saying you are wrong, the things you point out are valid and true. But don’t fall into hatred and despair please. We are going to keep moving forward. We ain’t goin’ to let nobody turn us ’round.

        What do you think?


      2. But segregation is still a reality even with the laws barring it and to the same deleterious effect. I think people need narratives of truth, too, and sometimes they need to be kicked in their asses; they need to be shaken out of their complacency. That said, things are better, but not so good that we should be content or that they should serve to justify the rage all these white people claim to feel at being “displaced” by us. I don’t consider myself hopeless or desperate. I’m pragmatic and, yes, a bit cynical. But I still think black people can improve our condition. If we fight.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. That’s silly. You can’t compare… Back then the entire circumstance of Jim Crow was incarceration. Don’t you get it? That was our imprisonment but also the source of our freedom and organizing. Apartheid. Under the gun but with passes to go work in their homes, offices and factories. If you weren’t self-employed or unemployed.


  4. Brilliantobservations. Your points are precise, and very insightful. White people do not deserve our LOVE, and LOVE will not change them! It’s a new day ready for new methods to move our community forward to acheive the best results for US!


    1. How about self-love? That’s what you start with. Love em or leave em, back in the day, under Jim Crow, we certainly didn’t like the man or everyone on our stoop or block, but having survived so much and listened to the tales of formerly enslaved grandparents and neighbors or people who just made it out of town when the rope was swung, we loved each other, not as commercials or pithy comments and assertions, but as in “Chile, am I glad to see you… Alive and breathing piece of a quilt you didn’t have to sell or convince anyone of. They knew and understood the value of self-love since we literally depended on each other for survival in a more independent and interdependent way. The restraint of being confined by Jim Crow created a resilience that regularly overflowed because the true heroes were the everyday people, or piece of the puzzle. Descartes turned on its head, “I am because of each of you”… Not “I think, therefore I am.” We are because we are one and the same” to Mr. J. Crow. Can’t say that about today. But one thing for sure, a common enemy can be agreed upon. And it is not in black or white. Its in being GREEN and knowing who our mother is… EARTH. Or lose the whole Kit & Caboodle. what makes whites supreme will be the temptation to follow the logic of divide and conquer. The Black Panthers knew this… Their newspapers called upon all the races of the earth to unite because they knew there was strength in solidarity, in people coming together for a common struggle and in having faith that hearts and minds can and do change. Believe it. Or perish… Forget about human exceptionalism, move forward into the awareness that to fall for the same old trick (divide and conquer) is to treat, at this, the 11th hour, the rest of earth’s creatures as the white man did…No more second and third class citizens. Fight for the survival of all beings. Or let corporate slave head and tail quarters have the final word. White thinking is evident in lines of reasoning that go like…


  5. One thing…MLK misrepresented the Bible…don’t forget that he was a false sabbath, revisionist history, replacement theology, Tax-Exempt 501c3 free money STATEChurch coonsquad Overseer/baller:
    Jeremiah 23:25
    “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in My name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’


    1. Wth are you talking about? ‘Snap out of it! That crazy religious fanaticism you’re in. Find someone to deprogram you…quick! You’re dying…literally


  6. I wish to say, wo—having lived through the civil droughts era—and post, that its not about the oppressors impression of black people but who we are to each other that matters most. There wasn’t this outsized since of black people terrorizing each other to get ahead. In the struggle, of tight communities where villages raised children, it took all hands on the table, including the neighborhood drunk, pimp and lady of the night. We were on one page. And everyone was held accountable. And no one wanted to be like whites, or cared about what they thought. You can’t even imagine the solidarity that existed because we took care of each other! You dig, sister? Under segregation we were ANOTHER COUNTRY! King understood that. And unlike today, every action a member of that village took immediately implicated, fell on us all. And we would all pay for it TOGETHER. Self respect and dignity and an inherent sense of self worth carried the moral of the day. That was black power. There was no obsession with material self worth. Regardless of religion (for there were black jews, Christians, Muslims and agnostics in our neighborhoods), differences of opinions about how to go about securing our rights, we didn’t expect or look to, unlike today, the system to solve our problems. We looked to ourselves. We considered ourselves a SPIRITUAL people, not a religious one; because simplicity and respect for nature secured our sense of having. Those born under mass consumerism where looking good counts for more than character might have a hard time understanding that you only looked good if you had character—and that meant your people’s back. That all changed with mainlining into the mainstream. You can’t compare apples to oranges in order to assess what MLK died for. We didn’t, as a whole, adhere to the religion of INDIVIDUALISM. We weren’t institutionalized by welfare (in fact, word on the street and everyday life was you had to be really desperate to go that route because all such snow jobs were just another form of slavery, taking away true inner freedom and creating dependability. That only became necessary when our communities ceased to be villages self-raising communities. We didn’t take each others live over sneakers or a snide comment because we knew we had one common enemy who was trying to take all of us down and out. And murderers, crooks, criminals were not respected. Until we started showing up on TV and in films exploited as such and mass marketed to the world as hip, cool and what not. Listen to Curtis Mayfield tell it like it was… Up to a point. We had our own economic infrastructure. Like I said, we depended on each other and if someone on the block didn’t have enough to eat or clothes to wear it was a no-brainer for everyone to pitch in. Because we either rose together or… do what we are doing now:self interest, self-progress, self absorbed, self referential. We weren’t up in white institutions and academies, we were neighborhood schooled, freedom schooled and valued “mother wit”… You didn’t even have to march or organize for simple everyday victories. It just happened. As common sense—sense we had in common because the one dear thing about Mr. Crow, was being more or less, with few exceptions, in the same boat, living and loving to gather. Unlike today we didn’t want to be like the man! We didn’t value his simple-minded morally bankrupt idea of progress. No, despite poverty we were educated enough to know that true freedom didn’t depend on co-dependence with “the man”. Similar to Native people the world over, we knew we were native to somewhere beside the USA’s cotton belt or northern factory, and that we were a proud, beautiful, badass people. We didn’t eat the poison—the man’s cooking, idea of food. We grew, made and ate our own less we become as healthy as all get out, as what is normalized today. You can’t imagine this world of solidarity—before sell outs sold out. Don’t point to one man who sacrificed his life. And for the record he was inspired by GHANDI and India’s results-oriented independence movement among others. You can’t equate now with then to even begin to understand the mind-set. History books trickle down information won’t get you any closer to the truth than speaking with those over 60, who lived in parts of the country, reality, the world, in similar communities. Furthermore, despite lynchings, imprisonment and the occasional bad egg among us, we didn’t care what whites thought about us (unlike today). We were secured, held in esteem by each other, not what whites thought about us. I don’t know where young people get this idea! What is it—the fact that we had such a powerful sense of dignity (walking in stride, fed by our own food, black lodgings, grocery stores and home sewn head rags) that you can’t imagine it. NO, sister, MLK, Byard Rustin, Mary Bethune knew, Angela Davis, like Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Sonia Sanchez, Fred Hampton, Ertha Kitt, and so many other freedom fighters called to the table to reason with idiots opposed against them. And like any other DIPLOMATS speaking truth to power, did what the TIMES DEMANDED—not what “hindsight is 20-20′ mainstreamed self-righteous, black consciousness apparently can’t fathom. The IMAGINE-NATION was was it was: “nation time”! I didn’t just witness it from a long tired distance looking back. I experienced what it was like when we were a village and we knew wolves were outside the door. And we defended entirely on ourselves to survive. And yes, however imperfect the message or the messenger, we sent our best ahead of us. To take the fall. On behalf of all. Of course, from the perspective of individualism you can find a way to fault one man. If that’s the case then you must fault all of us. At least we weren’t so sold-out that we no longer recognize the diff between what’s in or out. Sell-outs had a name. And were held accountable. I have a suggestion. Do a different kind of homework and interrogate the careers of all the black elected officials who have taken office since Carl Stokes was elected mayor (which was accomplished with the help of a behind the scenes MLK in tandem with black nationalists) and do a REPORT CARD on them. Hold them accountable. King is dead. Ask what those officials did on behalf of their communities. I do all the time. And its not pretty. But don’t stop there. Look at the tired excuse of a community sabotaged by a notion of progress the FORMER black communities KNEW not to buy into. That’s where the self-respect came in. We understood the difference. Couldn’t fail to notice that white folks had all the material goods in the world but they still couldn’t buy the humanity and grace with which WE all of us (back then), knew to put aside differences and approaches and walk the talk MLK was but one mouth piece of… you can’t imagine. In this agonistic talk or rap-your-walk world its been—for the most part— every Individual for their self. Oh, now we remember—we have a common enemy and it ain’t one of our fallen leaders. By yesterday’s standards, black, like democrats having moved so far right they are like yesterday’s republicans, are more like black white people or culture. You can’t even imagine how black blacks were before mainstream values turned our former village codes around. Sure there were degrees of assimilation over hundreds of years, but under Mr. Jim Crow, black, by virtue of its extremity from whiteness, featured more African community values… Like respecting elders, valuing them and children above all else. A far cry from today where the young—lol—are fetishized as having all the answers. Like they “know better”… that’s about the look and size of it. Hey sister, we lost a lot as a community falling for that one. That’s why political theorizing about the “myth of black homogeneity” got it all wrong and yet was so convenient for today’s taking us back black walk… It made folks, young academics in particular, press the point of individualism all the more. No, we weren’t trying to buy white brownie points. We were trying to survive. And you think you have it bad or that there is police brutality NOW (as if it went away)? Chile, you don’t know what civil liberties are… Until they are all taken away and you have to walk an entirely different walk. Only diff between now and that then is that our elders, men and women packed heat to protect our villages but they did it, as Miles said, “in a silent way”… Black folks where the very heart beat of cool. Because they knew cool couldn’t be bought. Now, so much is bought, souled out and consumed folks can barely tell true from false…make up stuff and fall for it. Cartoon politics and history about “respectability politics” is a delusion about the past.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. There was so much good stuff in there, Theresa. So much that I’ve heard from other elders, that makes me wish that I had been alive to witness and experience what we were like pre-integration. So much that inspires me and makes me think. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. when I say you didn’t have to march or organize for simple everyday victories I mean I witnessed very neighbor on my block and then the next few blocks, like a ring of fire, respond to reports of mistreatment by withdrawing their money—their buying power spoke loud and clear—from the offending shop or bank. It was like a party line. And it was much more of an oral culture. That’s how word traveled… By word of mouth. And you could live on, bet on someone’s word as their bond more often than not. And since crooks who preyed on our people weren’t romanticized or tolerated once found out, they didn’t get away with murder. Blame crack, heroin, Vietnam, welfare—whatever—but you can’t blame MLK. Or even Van Jones. I think his point, similar to many older folk whom young for—since they are celebrated as having all the solutions (LOL!—you see where that has gotten b-folk) or rather maybe “knee-jerk” reaction or default is similar to Michelle Obama, and its old school, something that can perhaps only be understood by the security if knowing your neighbor going yards back, and having everything in common, is to “go high when they go low”… Resembling or adapting or adopting THEIR (white cull or killture’s) behavior was anathema to blacks living under Jim Crow. That was the height of degradation… “becoming like them”… And sister, I hate to put it like this, but your argument is based in THEIR logic, a simple b& w hand-me-down sweater you are wearing and can’t even recognize… The difference. Your mind is washed in mainstream post-civil rights PROJECTION on the past. Think deeper, richer than your current argument. Back in the day, illiterate folks had skill,s trades and respect in our communities… You’re far from the insult reserved for “educated fools” which were held in extreme disdain black in the day, but the lot folks are enduring today is what is truly a FRACTION of the all day everyday land mines that confronted a black person overtime they stepped outside of the pot. “Respectability politics” my foot. Doubt what you read if it is so oversimplified that becomes a label convenient for….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Theresa, thank you. I am learning so much from you. Do you have a blog? Or a bench I’d like to sit next to you and learn and listen. Wow. Elderhood beaming. Thank you for beating the drum.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Our biggest problem as a people is the crabs in a barrel mentality. We are our biggest barrier to freedom. I don’t understand why we have to criticize the way the next person addresses inequality and injustice. Why can’t we just focus on doing our own individual part and know that each person offers a unique perspective and has their own role?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Because people with platforms like national TV shows have a major influence, and wrongheaded messages can circulate widely and cause major harm. Look at Trump’s campaign. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with critically engaging with the messages that public figures put forward. Blind acceptance or allegiance to someone else’s ideas is dangerous. Dissenting voices make dialogue, which almost always produces more nuanced ideas. And I cannot singlehandedly stop anyone from joining Jones’s love army, if that’s what he or she wants to do. I got 48,000 views of my blog post. How many millions of people watch CNN? I can’t tell thinking adults what to do, but, as a professional educator, who understands the role that “education” plays in indoctrinating us as citizens, I will always encourage people to dissect their own ideas and think for themselves. Sound logic can withstand examination.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. I am very sensitive to criticism of MLK, younger people including my generation did not have their black asses out there marching along side MLK and getting rocks thrown at them, yet we inherit the freedoms that this man died for, and by no means am I suggesting that the struggle for equality and true liberation is done.

    To say he would not have been effective today is very negative speculation, because the man grew up and survived overt racism that we do now know today. Yes we still deal with overt and implicit racism, I always say we may never completely stop racism, that’s like saying stupid people will never be born that discriminate on skin color alone, but we stand strong and ensure that racism never stops us, and by “stop us” I mean completely eradicate us from the planet while trying to physically (and mentally) enslave us once again.

    Like you, I am a 41 and a educated person, but unlike you I am not educated through schools, that we both agree treated us like shit. So I am not writing from a place of privileged or is this is not meant as a disrespectful retort. I say this to say that, if one can acknowledge that Dr Kings way is “not the only” then we can acknowledge that Malcolm’s statement that “any” means necessary acknowledges that it takes all kinds, and that any also means “every” means. So sister, there then would be no need to downplay the efforts of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, who held courage in his heart that many don’t have today. You are outraged that you were not acknowledged to you got an A on a paper, let us not forget, at one point you wouldn’t have even had a opportunity to learn to read, and King grew up in an era even more disenfranchised that our generation would have had to endure, this is not to marginalize your experience, but let’s look to history so we can help to put past and current leaders in their proper context.

    In the time of King, there was no internet. You physically wrote to the news paper or you got out and marched and protested. Dr King did not blog, and blogging and having these discussions online helps not all but many of us to feel vindicated, and yet, feeling vindicated is not enough. No, Dr King got out and marched, spoke, protested and was beaten and arrested, and he risked his life everyday with conviction, and if his spiritual beliefs were a part of his solace and motivation, then I have no right to dismiss his spirituality or the inner workings of his heart, what matters is the work he put behind that faith and the lives he continues to inspire even after his passing. Martin Luther King said himself that he was never looking to be a martyr, and that he wanted to live a long time. I think his life is inspiring and his death unfortunate and his example courageous, and I could never fill shoes like that, so it is difficult for me to think, that black leaders who acknowledge his contributions are simply seeking to glorify themselves, and simply wish to become iconic. We have to remember, that as big as black leaders in the past became in the consciousness of America, they still were ordinary humans that represented the common man, and they put themselves at the services of others for causes that were bigger than just one indivisual, so in many ways we agree, nothing wrong with the heroes journey, so long as it’s in service of a greater cause. So it’s a fine line accusing people of wanting the glory through media and/or Internet famous by following the example of a man that died for his values and his people before the internet even existed, and if so then I can discern the difference between their personal ego which has nothing to do with Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

    We seem to get very defensive when members of the black community speak of love. Now while I am not one to conform to respectability politics at all, or try to convince people of a racist nature that I can give them hugs and lend them rose colored coloring books, I do often contemplate what Van Jones, Prince, Martin Luther King, Common (who also sparked controversy when he spoke of loving white people) as well as Marvin Gaye truly meant when he said – “only love will conquer hate”

    You are right, I think many of us still want to be accepted by white people and the establishment. What I don’t see is that we are already filled with love, I think we have more so been cultured to be tolerant and complacent – that is not love. See, it’s an old cliche but we continue to associate love with weakness instead of strength. Love is the substance that help us to endure the horrors that we became disillusioned to in the first place, it is the opposite of hate, and complacency and tolerance of abuse is a form of self hate – not love.

    Love is exactly what you touched on, love for yourself, love for your culture, and love for your community, and not becoming the very thing that you hate – and that is not to suggest that we can practice racism the same as the white male patriarchy, but we can internalize the hate that was given to us in ways that begin to inwardly and outwardly turn in against us and keep us oppressed. Nothing angers us like seeing our own flaws in others, a person can easily take your blog as evidence that you as well are looking for media or internet attention, but this is not the intent that I get from you when I read your writing and I can see clearly that you are an intelligent frustrated and educated black woman.

    There is no one kind of love either and I think is is more a qualitative thing than political. The electors have showed us that voting is rigged, yet I would never discourage anyone from voting – that’s part of the “any” means. Any form of expression through the internet alone wont solve things, but I would never discourage voices like yours and your blogging, because that is one of the “any” means. The thing that love can has to conquer most is the set principle of dogma, and dogmatic thinking, when we begin to say that this is the “only” way, or the “only” kind of love that will work, without getting into a semantically heated debate, consider that words like “the only kind” may indeed contradict the “any means necessary principle”

    Much Love Sister
    I know that’s a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think I used the word “only” once in my post, but I understand what you’re saying. There are many ways to skin a cat, and I am critical of some of them, which I think is my right. I also don’t think that I was dismissive of MLK or his accomplishments, but I was dubious of whether his methods would work for us now because, as you pointed out, this is a much different time than the one in which he operated, yet we are still dealing with some of the same challenges, which is why I questioned the efficacy of his methods overall. The idea of having to go back and fight again for the same rights every 50 or so years is tiresome to me. I’d like to see us discover and maintain an approach to existing in this country that allows us to hold steady to a more equitable status. I don’t apologize for being critical of Van Jones, and the idea that blacks should “reconcile” with Trump supporters, because I don’t believe these people have any interest in joining with us to accomplish anything that will benefit us, and, anyway, it’s the people in power whose attention we need and to whom we need to demonstrate our power. I think that you’re generous in your assessment of these black public figures and pundits, but, as you said, we need all sorts of opinions and perceptions in this dialogue about how we should move forward, and I suppose that even opportunists have good ideas or make good points sometimes. I don’t know if we can make change or progress or whatever you want to term it by “any” means necessary because one method that I refuse to employ is taking responsibility for molding racist whites into better people. They don’t deserve our caretaking, which is what we provide them with when we tamp down our anger and save them from having to deal with it. You may be right; that may not be love, but it definitely saves their asses like love does. But I maintain that whites deserve to be held accountable in a meaningful way for what they have done and continue to do to us and the other minorities in this country. If love is how you do that, then all right, I guess. Someone tell me how that’s going to work in something other than romantic rhetoric. How do you love a mass of people into surrendering their hegemonic power and privilege?


  10. And we are dealing with those challenges today because, as many of those old enough to remember black power in our hand (up and down the block, age, skin color, right or wrong, up or down class, gender, sex) says under breath, in hushed tones) that classicism took hold in the community in a way it couldn’t afford to before. And the ball got dropped into a position its gonna take another generation and maybe a couple others to get back on track. The end of the civil rights era was the end of black history as known, experienced under apartheid America; and the making of another… thru the leap into the unknown. It was something to witness that line being crossed. We didn’t have to be that kind of black (like that kinda blue) because we were traveling into the unknown, miles ahead. Now, light years behind, its catch up time… Not to the who we were before float’n a boat to some kind of after lift. But a new kind of turning inward… to the piece of the puzzle that always kept us together, clothed, housed and fed no matter what crow was flying. And that is a return to self connected to nature, not just “urban” killture. Yes, Black folks, love it or leave it, didn’t necessarily love the land but nevertheless found freedom in it, whether running thru forests mid night on an unexpected journey, or in taking the time to look and learn from the beauty in order to treat each other as beautiful people, white man be danged… There were aspects of black culture gleaned from our relationship to land as beings of the world. And as owners of the land. If you have land, the old folks cautioned, you have everything. Blacks worked hard to own land and to keep it up in order to maintain their families. Not just to feed them, but to do the same thing landowning whites with hundreds of acres do with theirs, bulwark in, have a natural playground, gathering place that lasts thru the ages. It could be land in the city as well as the country. But one sure way blacks had “another country” was that they consolidated these parcels, added to them, and guarded them from the whites always eager to take land from them. Taking what was ours, what we worked and bought and passed down from before and after slavery, was the order of the white man’s day. And law. There was, for black townships, burbs, and country side, a place apart, to remember and be ourselves, unpoliced and control. For that little bit of selfhood apart from the “citizen council” hoods. Land was preservation. Of ourselves and our culture and values—whatever the differences or nature of “crabs”. Land could be more, as a source of food, industry (including juke joint in the woods or hush-arbor church), peace, serenity, beauty. But it was a way to go beyond the state of the police state that is always setting its teeth against us. That their lives depended on us was a known integer. But that our lives didn’t, to the best of our ability, depend on “them” was a key theme in the consciousness of black folk. That’s what Martin was walking about. Peaceful co-existence. Not the disintegration their idea of “integration” wrought… Our buying power ceased to turn around and nourish our communities—circulating wealth— in a huge alternative economy. It got outsourced to every Tom, Dick & Harry outside the community. “Crabs in a barrel” is real. It has to do with crawling out of a sense of collective nurture, struggle and dreaming— “over” identifying with the common lot—to the point that we pull each other down. Black people can’t be free without putting their money where their mouths are. Buying into each other, the culture at large. See, that is the piece of the puzzle lost in academia cuz libraries burn everyday some old black person with a wealth of experience and history passes on without handing down the truth of existence brimming over in our STORIES. The biggest distinction I make between then & now has to do with the generation gap. Black cultural values and focus shifted for many reasons. One of the biggest changes was moving away from an African world view where time and age mattered to the trick that turns capitalism’s wheels/will more than anything:the emphasis on ageism with the end result—ever so convenient for consumerism—is that young people know it all, “have all the answers”, represent hip, cool and hop, the greatest hits, the heat and the pop. I think that generation pasts had an eye out for the way Native Peoples in the US conducted their struggle and survived. How they did it depended on never forgetting. How they did that depended on always remembering. How they accomplished that depended on the stories, the stories, the lives of people told, danced and sang within to the People… “Making it” (and “big”) in the “white man’s” (“younger brother”!) world/the system/reality could lose the thread…of The Dream. And gain the Nightmare…of not even knowing who you are or where you came from. I think, in many ways, that is exactly where we are. And like Alice & Wonderland or Hansel & Gretel we are challenged with finding our way forward… With the back on back in mind. SO, if there’s any thing that set apart and defines culture for me relative to the black experience, it is that—elders had a role, a say. It wasn’t all about young people being cool and hopping. Children were valued just as much. The two ends of life facing outward and beyond matter. MEMORY matters. Now there’s a sign…
    Thanks for listening. And connect the dots in your own family tree! Mine contains the well-documented murder of a handsome, prosperous landowner named Anthony Crawford. Look him up. And learn… from the horror that is melting the world. Know that they didn’t just take his land. All relations were ordered to get out of town too. That means a lot of land in Abbeyville, South Carolina is stolen. And some what folks possess it… names and deeds changed to hide the guilty.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I do not have a blog. That you for listening and forgive me for hogging your space… felt inspired! But maybe I will look into doing such. Thank you for an insightful, engaging series of exchanges. We’re all learning here!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I agree with the blog at the start, because I’m critical of any religious leadership in civil rights, Universal Suffrage.

    I disagree because despite the professor’s findings, I have reasoned people out of racism and that is what Race Does Not Exist seminars are about.

    Thus far I’ve only had them online; but soon in public with grants.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder whether people walk out of these seminars and make drastic changes to their lives? I think you can say out of your mouth that you understand that racism is wrong; I’m literally watching a YouTube video in which Bernie Sanders is talking to Trump voters that keep saying Trump didn’t mean what he said when he said he would try to institute a ban of Muslim immigrants from the US–that he only said that to start a dialogue–that they wouldn’t want people to be discriminated against because of their religious beliefs. Yet, they still voted for Trump. They maintain that he was the correct choice for President. So, as I began to say–you can say out of your mouth that you know or understand that racism is wrong, but, when you’re in the in-group of a society, are you going to move against that group in order to abstain from practicing racism? Are you going to act on your acknowledgement that racism is wrong? How many Trump voters, if you ask them, will tell you that–racism is conceptually wrong or morally wrong or even that institutional racism is unconstitutional? Probably a bunch of them, and especially the college educated ones. But will they do anything when faced with a choice to go along with some racist decision or support some racist action that threatens their status as members of the in-group? You know? I’m just saying. Getting people to concede an intellectual point in a conversation or discussion doesn’t change society.


  13. “The ruling class in America only cares about two things: preservation of power and access to money. So anything that doesn’t threaten these two things isn’t going to compel or impel them to do a damn thing.”

    This, as everything above, is very true. My own hope about Van’s “Love Army” attempts has been that he’s looking for a marketing angle, beneath which there will be more realistic activism. I have no idea whether my hopes are well founded.


    1. I hope you’re right, Ethan. Although I think it says a lot about black people that even after Trump supporters threw us under the bus, we still don’t want to appear to have a “problem” with them.


  14. “…black people, Latinx people, Muslim people, Arab people, LGBTQIA+ people, undocumented immigrants–everyone Trump and his pack of dogs will be systematically attacking over the next four years.” And women. We’re pinched, groped, underpaid, and demonized. We take care of the young, the old and the sick (and better look as though we like it). We couldn’t get the ERA passed. When we ask for equal time and equal pay we’re told we’re pushy, shrill and should smile more. Shirley Chisholm said she met the most discrimination because she was female. I want to be hopeful, but sexism and misogyny run so deep…and in all cultures, it would seem. Oh, how I would love to see black, latinx, muslim, arab, and immigrant men, step forward and say: “We don’t just demand equal rights and respect for ourselves, but for all women of all religions and all cultures.”

    Liked by 1 person

  15. “I can work with white people without exploding my antipathy for the worst among them all over the rest of them. I can teach white people without exploding my antipathy for the worst among them all over the rest of them. I can share public space, transact business, cooperate with, and socialize with white people without exploding my antipathy for the worse among them all over the rest of them” – I am doing my best to be able to do what you say above, as a whitish, non-practicing Jewish, privileged woman of 66 years old, educated by a liberal poet mother from LA, who has increasingly been brought to wanting to reach over a dinner table and strangle until dead a relative who I have listened to say something that once again revealed their in mho completely wrong wrong wrong what? philosophy? thinking? I don’t even know what name to call it because my guts get in such a twist my brain gets no oxygen… I have literally screamed and spit on people (spit only once) from a lack of being able to get out of my mouth how upset, hurt, angry, disgusted, terrified I feel that this other person, whoever it may be, could possibly have any power in forwarding their racist, sexist, uneducated, backwards, incomprehensible fuckedupness. When Obama was running for pres I told family and friends that they needed to keep me away from any family members who were not voting for him. The day he won my heart and spirit felt like somehow all that I cared about in life was vindicated. So, curbing the intensity of my anger towards fellow “whites,” especially those who are “privileged” enough to be able to distract themselves with endless wastes of time and money (fucking Christmas, who the fuck needs more stuff) who in anyway gives me the sense that they have anything less than absolute commitment to creating a planet that truly makes the most of being on it together as a human, animal, living, caring, thriving, nature loving and protecting and nurturing compassionate self-reflecting, other caring place — well… what can I say? Basically, I just have to keep remembering that the feelings of hysterical desire to do harm to those people is never going to get me anywhere but an isolation cell. The more I learn about history, herstory or whatever you want to call the past, let alone what is once again happening in the USA and from the USA to other nations, the more I think we humans are incapable, as a whole, of doing anything to create the world that works for all. And I’m actually a yoga practicing, hippy, artist, activist, earth mother, who believes that love is at base the only way I will be an effective yogini, hippy, artist, activist, earth mother. Do I make any sense? So, tell me, how do you not explode?


  16. Girl you have made me laugh today- out loud- with tears! This should be required reading for every Black person in America. You are spot on. Every word. About every person, especially MLK and Van Jones.


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