To The Black Men Who Think They Are Neutral But Really Support White Patriarchal Supremacy…
Y’all on ALL my nerves. I honestly didn’t think I had any unbothered nerves left but then some Black men proved me wrong. Repeatedly.
So, for the ones in the back struggling with this concept: IN THE FIGHT AGAINST WHITE SUPREMACY, YOU ARE NOT NEUTRAL! YOU ARE NOT NEUTRAL. YOU CANNOT BE NEUTRAL, SO STOP PRETENDING YOU ARE.
As much as you want to believe that you can live a day without politics, you can’t. You can’t because you are a Black man. A BLACK man. Your skin color makes you political. That means that every fucking thing you say and every fucking thing you do is political. And if you didn’t know, now you do.
I have had too many discussions where you act like the shit going on in this country doesn’t affect you, where you think that by saying nothing, you’re not agreeing to anything. Except when it comes to oppression, saying nothing actually is saying that whatever wrongdoing is happening, you’re cool with it. It’s saying that you don’t give enough of a fuck to consider what it’s costing somebody else because you think it’s not costing you anything. It makes you complicit and it means you support white supremacy.
I’ve had discussions where you refuse to hold space for Black people. I’ve listened to you talk about turning the other cheek in the face of racial and gendered injustice. I’ve been in Facebook groups that have insisted that all we talk about is our fandoms without politics, as if politics isn’t the air we breathe, the schools we attend, the jobs we get, the medical care we have access to…as if politics doesn’t impact every part of our lives in every way and has for fucking centuries. I’ve had to exit so many groups run by Black men who insist that they don’t live a politicized existence; who push this illusion of neutrality and wield that shit with surgical precision when it comes to silencing voices raised against oppression.
I see it when you continue to support openly anti-Black, misogynoiristic artists like Kanye. You support men with a history of violence against Black women like R Kelly, Chris Brown, Nas…men who have never acknowledged the horrible shit they’ve done and feel entitle to their continued popularity despite the inhumane cruelty they inflicted. I watch you play the “separate the art from the artist” game while simultaneously punishing Black women for daring to criticize their behaviors.
You follow your misogynoiristic bullshit “leaders” like Tariq Nasheed, Boyce Watkins, Umar Johnson, and Tommy Sotermeyer who rise to popularity by shitting on Black women. You state that “both sides” need to be heard. That conversations questioning our humanity deserve space and respect. You have reason after reason for why it’s ok to slander Black women and Blackness while you knee-jerk defend whiteness as though you were born to it. It’s almost as though you fear losing the tiny bit of power patriarchy grants you, so to prove your worth, you double-down on oppressing Black women, making us your unwilling sacrifice as you grovel for power.
You hold space for whiteness in what should be all Black spaces. You cape for their rights as if it doesn’t curtail yours. I constantly struggle to understand how you don’t see yourself in the protests of Black women…in the need for our own spaces with our own rules that reject whiteness in all forms. Instead, you fight to silence those discussions. You fight to engage in faux dominance and leadership, when really your power isn’t the result of your work, but is, instead, your co-opting of the violent tools that were used to subjugate you. And because the illusion is more attractive than the reality, you cling to oppressive actions, to violence, to lies...lies that say you are entitled to exploiting and subjugating women and deserve all the space to reform your ways despite the damage you’ve inflicted.
I watch you undermining the work of Black woman, stealing credit and accolades instead of using the little bit of male privilege to elevate others. You engage in the practice of hoarding power, just like your oppressors, and give access based on how well women please your eye and pander to your ego. You boast of the subtle and obvious ways you try to superimpose your name over mine and other Black women. We just struggle with how quickly someone who is in the trenches with us will fuck us over for an ego boost or white approval, then call us angry for resisting, traitors for protecting ourselves, and bedwenches for divesting from your abuse to find love that includes mutual respect.
We sit in these white spaces that constantly tell us we don’t belong and watch you try to erase your Blackness to appease the white eyes observing you. You push politics out the conversation, never acknowledging that you are erasing your Black ass experience with it. You tell yourself that obvious racist shit isn’t racist. That racist art isn’t racist. “He’s an alien,” you say. “You’re reading too much into it,” you say. “Stop making this about your ‘feminist agenda,’” you say as you make yourself into the self-appointed gatekeepers to geekdom, assuming your penis automatically makes you an expert and excuses you from the myriad of toxic, damaging shit you do. You stand beside known abusers and protect them. You hang with your trash ass, abusive friends and co-sign on their bullshit because you think your proximity to them with give you some of the power you crave.
You can’t separate the abuser from the abuse. You can’t separate the artist from the art. They literally ARE the art they create. If you can’t acknowledge that their trauma and abuse is a part of the shit they make, then you are lying to yourself. It’s cool that sports/cosplay/photography/books/tv/movies/ are an escape for you, but you need to admit that these things are fucking problematic because their creators are problematic; otherwise you’re just perpetuating and sugar-coating dangerous, toxic shit. When you fight for white people to depict a future that excludes Black people, you’re advocating for your own genocide.
Kill the blinders and end the bullshit. Stop helping create and perpetuate anti-Black spaces. Stop pretending that if you only talk shit about women and n*ggers then it’s okay, cuz the truth you’re refusing to see is that you are the n*gger tap dancing to their song and doing their work for them.
It hurts. I know it hurts. Every time you have to think about it, it stabs you. And sure, all this awareness and thinking about how art embodies the values of its creators makes shit less fun. Believe me, I fucking know. I know how it feels to never see yourself or people who look like you in the future. I know how it feels to be told that wanting to be seen ruins the artist’s ability to create their art. I know how it feels to read/watch/hear things created by people who don’t think I should exist. And while white people erase us from their narratives, you erase Black women from yours.
I struggle to reconcile my erasure from the works of Black men; that Black women’s voices, bodies, beauty, sexuality, humanity, and lives are often placed on the alter to be sacrificed for the approval of the white gaze. We are used by Black men to further the agenda of white supremacy and anti-Blackness…to appease your oppressors and further your bullshit pseudo-liberation aspirations. You are living a fucking lie drenched in the blood of Black women and you aren’t even strong enough to admit it, much less change it.
You fucking need to change it. Stop lying to yourselves about your desire to appease whiteness. Stop lying to yourself about the respect you claim to have for Black women. Own your hate, recognize that it’s self-hate, and start working on fixing that shit cuz it’s killing all of us. Whiteness exists solely to exploit and erase you and until you understand that, everything you do to succeed in their game is a path to your self-destruction.