but that doesn’t mean that this police brutality is ANY LESS fucked up.
it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay attention to this police brutality.
it doesn’t mean you can mock the women who screamed and cried on tape after getting maced IN THEIR EYES.
police brutality is NEVER OKAY. the answer is not “ignore it when it happens to white folks” it’s “pay more attention to the fact that this is a regular occurrence for a lot of poor POC out there”.
Long after whites had fled to white-only suburbs, the black middle class remained in black neighborhoods, quietly doing the job without fanfare. Its members worked quietly and without recognition to set up beautification committees. They organized safety walks. My late LeDroit Park neighbor Barbara Best used to say that when she and the old-timers would hear about all these “new” ideas for cleaning up the neighborhood, they’d just laugh: “Everything they are doing, we already did.”
Long before teachers were lionized in documentaries, or D.C. superintendents were hailed as heroes on Oprah, it was black middle-class teachers and administrators who were doing the unsung work of educating society’s most vulnerable students. It was black middle-class parents who accepted the burden of integrating schools by sending their children across town to white neighborhood schools because they valued diversity. It is almost unheard of for white families to do the same.
During D.C.’s murder-capital days especially, when white faces were scarce, black administrators kept the doors to raggedy school buildings open all over the city. All of this while knowing that whatever privilege they might have earned for their children could collapse at any moment in a hail of gunfire. Where is their gold star?
Susan B Anthony avoided real discourse with Ida B Wells and most feminists pretend they don’t know it happened
Angela Davis combined her experiences with feminism and the silent racism of yes Gloria Steinem with her education and her experience of sexism to write Women Race and Class , so many women name check the book and then drool kind of disgustingly and offensively over Steinhem
Mary Daly flat out avoided Audre Lourde and her book is still held up as radical godsend
Women OF color bloggers challenge white passive racism and sexism and less than five years later people send out book proposals like they don’t exist and must be found
This isn’t about the Help.
This isn’t even about the power.
Yes white women have in a SPECIFIC location to erase , validate or coopt women of color lives at will and have it considered work. Every Nice White Lady , Emily Deschanel manic pixie and touched teacher who did whatever she wanted and left sisters holding the bag, to be content with being sassy and alone crying at the wedding in the credits
That this discussion is hard on what about black women , that black women are the voices heard, that testimonies of REAL love of focus and desire come through.
This the Change
I am EXCITED about this.
I am excited that the Help is getting called out everywhere. I am excited that gossip columnists are uncomfortable about it.
I am EXCITED that Viola Davis is so damn good people are asking why the maid is all she can get?
I am excited that Black women feel empowered to say this is not okay.
If you have never had to beg for shit you were owed to keep your ass from going into default ( ended up doing it anyway)
or watch someone beg for her pay.
or watch someone be reminded how they were ” here to serve”
and know every single one of them looks and sounds like your mom.
And it’s all from well meaning fun liberal white women, who really wanna help
you will never have any idea how cloying and infuriating that is .
You will never get the heart break of that.
OF why spunky alternative white women narratives that feature black women will ALWAYS crawl your skin.
Because it is always about the same thing , of black women’s toil support and HELP in service of white glory.
and how every body needs multiple sources to believe that’s true
That we are what folks kind of sort of get right when they get around to it
be that it endangers our safety ( good being glib about this makes me LAUGH HARD)
our ability to be in the spheres we create
or to get out of bed
You have no unearthly clue what it is like to read someone say
” you are not alone”
” we hear you “
” we GOT this”
to see that in public, in private in the bold light of the sun Black Women can talk about themselves and that we can love and support and affirm each other
There is nothing about THAT , that isn’t awesome