The Time Isn’t Right, But It Is Now: Processing Our Anger for Trayvon the Black Feminist Way

I am still angry that Trayvon Martin’s murderer is a free man. I know many of you are still reeling, too, and that you share my sense of despair and helplessness. Every time I see George Zimmerman’s defense team, Mark O’Mara and Don West, give another interview and brazenly suggest that it is Zimmerman who is the victim, Zimmerman who is in danger, Zimmerman who was unfairly racially targeted, I alternate between wanting to throw something at the tv and wanting to summon all my evangelical roots to call down the fire and brimstone of an Old Testament God who smites our enemies.

Zimmerman and Defense Team smirking for the cameras

No words necessary.

Every word they speak is another move in a historically scripted, finely choreographed, racist dance on Trayvon Martin’s grave. And their comrades are right at their sides in the graveyard shoveling dirt over the freshly dug graves of the Voting Rights Act, Affirmative Action, Native Sovereignty, Abortion Rights, and Immigration Reform.

I seriously do not know how our ancestors endured this shit.

It is clear that these white boys have been upset with the way this thing has been going for a while now. And when they looked back, they located the source of the problem in the mid-twentieth century, when Americans more courageous (or more opportunistic) than they decided to “give us” our rights.

But the god of white supremacy giveth, and he (most definitely a HE) taketh away.

Here we were thinking that fifty years out, we’d be in a season of commemoration, not evisceration.

As the utter folly of such thinking dawns on us, perhaps in an earth-shattering sort of way as it did on Saturday night, scores of Black women felt a visceral need to find and hold on tightly to the Black men in their lives that they love, partners, sons,  brothers, nephews, cousins, friends.

I, too, felt an almost primal urge to do the same. And yet, even as I felt the need to do so, a sense of alarm started to rise somewhere in the far reaches of my mind. It was the same sense of alarm that I felt back in April 2012 at the height of the campaign to arrest George Zimmerman. I wrote:

“How do we make it so that our choice to stand up for Trayvon and acknowledge the injustices perpetrated in his name doesn’t set Black feminist organizing back three decades, by reinforcing notions about Black men being an endangered species, particularly since in this moment, it feels in some ways, like they are?”

I know it may seem selfish for sisters to even suggest that our struggles matter in this moment. But if the treatment of Rachel Jeantel, Trayvon Martin’s friend, has taught us anything, it is that we are in this shit together. Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, has been an exemplar of Strong Black Womanhood throughout this ordeal. What other choice did she have? But while many folks may admire her strength and resolve, We Black feminists know that those regal robes of superwomanhood are much too heavy a load.

Trayvon's Parents

Trayvon’s parents

We need a world with far better choices and chances than these. And we cannot afford to become yet again invested in the fiction that Black men’s struggles are harder than ours, more urgent, or more worthy of attention. We, Black people, are far more visionary than that.

Even so, political energy is finite. Stakes is high. And everybody needs to be taken care of. Black women included. That is why it is so important that we get it right. The time may not be right. It never is. But the time is now. So even as Black women prepare to do what they do best, move into care mode, and brothers prepare to do what they do best, and accept that care, this post is a gentle reminder, that the Black freedom struggle cannot, yet again, be built on the backs of Black women.

 

 

Feel free to use our comments section to vent. But keep it respectful. And loving if possible. We are all in pain, and we all deserve a little gentleness here. And trolls will be blocked. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

To aid us on the way, here’s a mix entitled “elegy (for extraordinary black boys and girls)” from CF Jalylah in honor of Trayvon, and Aiyana Jones, and Rekia Boyd and Hadiya Pendleton and all the other Black boys and girls gone far too soon.

crunktastic

59 thoughts on “The Time Isn’t Right, But It Is Now: Processing Our Anger for Trayvon the Black Feminist Way

  1. Trayvon’s death and the trial about his life (yes, it was Trayvon who was on trial here) only reminds me how the work of my parents generation is not over. I think my generation has been in lulled into a sense of complacency thinking that the work and the fight against discrimination, racism, and the violence attached to it had been won. Trayvon’s death is a harsh reminder that we too might have to sacrifice our lives to fight for an America of equality and justice and that the fight is never over. I hope Trayvon’s parents find peace because they have been given the same bitter pill to swallow as Mamie Till and many other Black parents whose son’s deaths have been tied to the policing of Black men’s bodies. I also hope they eventually get justice for their son. It just may not be in a manner that they imagined.

  2. wanting to summon all my evangelical roots to call down the fire and brimstone of an Old Testament God who smites our enemies.

    This. The thought has passed through my mind more than a couple of times.

  3. Personally, I think that we have to stop framing these conversations as “either/or” and mutually exclusive. Trayvon as a black male with all of the attendant issues is at the center of our attention right now because he is the victim, and that is as it should be. His mother and friend are secondary victims–and I don’t mean this in any way to slight their very real loss and pain. (His father is in the same category–how do we understand the burdens placed on him to play particular roles?) But Trayvon is the one who lost his life here. If I/we are slightly more focused in this moment on the specific struggles of being in a black male body then that’s ok. Just as if a black woman was raped the conversation might be skewed towards the specific oppression of the black female body in that moment. Does this mean that sexual violence doesn’t have ripple effects on men? No.

    I also don’t mean to suggest that we can’t pay attention to multiple things at one time–but when we begin by framing the issue as if a focus on the specific oppression of being black and male is an automatic slight to the issues of being black and female, then we simply perpetuate the antagonism–and usually end up competing in the oppression olympics. Which does none of us any good whatsoever.

    • Show me when the conversation is ever about Black women in the way that it is about Black men when they are murdered or otherwise treated unjustly and I might concede some ground here. But as it stands, even on this blog, there have been far more posts about Trayvon Martin than any of the Black girls who’ve been murdered. And I know that because I’ve written most of those posts. So this isn’t about where my political commitments lie: I’ve fervently given my energy, words, and feet to marches, in support of Trayvon. But I’m clear that Black America does not reciprocate this kind of love and concern for Black women.

      And we should say that even as we focus our attentions on this dead boy and the injustice of it all.

      • Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley Carol Robertson have a treasured place in the historical memory of “black America.” Tawanna Brawley’s advocates got “black America” behind her pretty strongly when the details of her story broke–there were marches and everything on her behalf-whatever happened later. More recently, I have seen outpourings of rage and grief over the murder of Hadiya Pendleton, for example. Are there tons of anonymous black women victims?–yes, and so there are untold numbers of black male victims who don’t become the focus of media frenzies, blog posts, or marches.

        I think there are issues here that need to be separated. Why does any particular story/tragedy become national news? Why do we get riled up about some stories as opposed to others that may be similar? Why do we zero in on particular aspects of a tragedy at the expense of others? Does race and gender cause this distinction? My answer, sometimes it absolutely plays a role, but I’m not convinced that it’s always the whole story. And I’m not convinced that the way Trayvon’s murder has moved people can be reduced to the fact that he was male and not female–or that our focus on his burdens over those of his mother in the midst of all of this is about willful and deliberate ignorance of black female oppression. Might it play a role? Perhaps. But there are a number of things going on here, and I just like to be complicated.

        Bottom line, for me, my methodology is victim-centric. Does that mean we can’t talk about intersections, no. Does that mean we shouldn’t have conversations right now about these things, again, no. But I just think there’s room for everything on the table, and one discussion doesn’t have to be inherently antagonistic to the other. If we are truly all in this together, then let our dialogue reflect that. By all means, let’s talk about Sybrina Fulton’s burdens. But they are valid worth talking about on their own merit, worthy of our attention at the same time that her son, the victim, lost his life because of a slightly different set of burdens. And it’s ok for us to acknowledge that.

      • I think this post and the many others we’ve written about Trayvon inherently and explicitly acknowledge the magnitude of what happened to him. For the record, your list included only one black woman from the last quarter century, and that is telling.

        That being said, I haven’t set up a competition here. Like you, and as like a colleague said to me this morning, I think focusing on victims should be central to these kinds of analyses. Problem is we tend to focus on male victims, and to not see female victims. My call then was not for competition but rather to make space for everyone.

        Thanks for reading.

      • “Bottom line, for me, my methodology is victim-centric. Does that mean we can’t talk about intersections, no. Does that mean we shouldn’t have conversations right now about these things, again, no.”

        I think that the focus and attention on Trayvon Martin extends beyond mourning the “victims” of racist America. The fact is that Trayvon’s story is also the story of countless people of color. For me, the key is not to think of Trayvon (or Denise, Addie, Cynthia, etc, etc…) as victims [of oppression] but rather as TARGETS of interlocking SYSTEMS OF DOMINATION such as white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism. To me this is powerful because a move away from victimization/oppression towards “systems of domination” not only serves to give more agency to the targets of these dominating systems (aka people of color)….but because we live in a white supremacist, capitalist patriarchal state, a movement to end patriarchal domination/”sexist oppression” also serves to strengthen movements towards ending “racism” and “classism.”

      • This part of Sista’s response vibes with me: “Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley Carol Robertson have a treasured place in the historical memory of “black America.” Tawanna Brawley’s advocates got “black America” behind her pretty strongly when the details of her story broke–there were marches and everything on her behalf-whatever happened later. More recently, I have seen outpourings of rage and grief over the murder of Hadiya Pendleton, for example. Are there tons of anonymous black women victims?–yes, and so there are untold numbers of black male victims who don’t become the focus of media frenzies, blog posts, or marches.”
        She could’ve included Latasha Harlins and others that are more recent and fueled movements, but i get the author’s main point. Where i’d want to take the conversation further is on equating such orientations to “black America” in a wholesale way–i appreciate that the author has limitations of space though. Most importantly, and to the authors main point is the impact of black women such as Clementine Barfield in Detroit, Brenda Muhammad in Atlanta, Mothers-Roc in LA and so many more women of children murdered who built in the bloodshed of their chidren and laid the basis for the Urban Peace and Justice Movement in the US in the 80s and 90s, which focused on the survivors (not victims) of violence and focused on creating peace in our communities, with the understanding that peace required justice. This movement mostly led by black women is “hidden in plain sight” in so many of these discourses of violence and feminist agency. I wish that we might raise thier names and make these linkages–especially when so many say, what can we do, and talk about what “nobody has done or is doing”. That last point is not directed at the author but just my venting. Thanks for the post.

      • SISTA (July 15, 11:24AM & 12:17PM) SPEAKS *VERY WISELY*!!

        Why should Black people have to have an *antagonistic* tug-o’-war over this that only serves the *oppressor* and people who *want* to engage in — or provoke — divide-&-conquer tactics or one-up-personship?

        The oppression, for example, that disproportionately and systematically (especially *racially* targeted under the *decades-long* so-called “war on drugs”) sends Black men to prison (while Black and Latina women have been the new prison growth industry) — and before that it was the Black male chain gang — and before and in between that it was the capricious racist termination of Black men from their jobs — all put a *heavier* burden on Black women at *home* (or with Black/Latina female relatives) — and *forces* (or at least *imposes* on) her to take on that role and *extra* burden — in addition to her being Black *too*, and subject to sexual abuse, especially in domestic employment, by white male bosses since slavery — of having toa be “The Strong Black Woman!” _These things are hardly any secret, or hardly otherwise little known, in Black America!_

        THAT POIGNANT CLOSE-UP PICTURE ABOVE SHOWS *BOTH* OF TRAYVON’S PARENTS GRIEVING — A *WOMAN* & A *MAN*.

        I know that in the San Francisco Bay Area where I live, when a Black *woman* is murderously gunned down by the cops, everyone and everyone’s attention who turns out for a Black *male’s* legalized murder by cops, turns out and is focussed for *her*!

        Local progressive radio programs get focussed on *her*, the local Black print/online media does coverage, the progressive community print/online media does cover, leaflets are widely distributed, community meetings are held about it, people show up at city hall and call for accountability, and vigils, demos and marches are organized for *her*!: the same as for any Black *male*.

        No one Black says, ‘Naaaw…, she’s just a Black *woman*…: forget about it…’

        And can you imagine the Black *FUROR* if Zimmerman had killed an innocent Black teenage *girl* with *candy* in her hands, no less!? And if we had a video or the audio of a Black *girl*, with candy in *her* hands, being stalked by a full-grown sizeable white man, that would be a bigger story than even Trayvon!

        When anyone has the police murder of an innocent person caught on *video*, or the *audio* of an innocent child (one source said he was actually 16 at the time) literally with candy in his hands, just trying to make it back home, legally murdered by a *wanna-be* cop *stalking* him in the *dead of night*, then of course seeing/hearing the actual video or actual audio heightens any truly feeling human beings awareness and anger.

        The video and/or audio — what you actually see or what you actually hear recorded — quite naturally make it more *personalized* — as it was *even moreso* for the scores of utterly shocked witnesses actually there *in person* when Oscar Grant was shot. After all, without the video or audio — something we can make go viral all over the internet — the cops would have just *lied*, *as usual*, Zimmerman would have just lied, of course as he *did*, and there would be nothing recorded to challenge the word of the cops or a wanna-be cop.

        Look how many Black people — Black men & women alike — are challenging — there’s been a Black *FUROR* over that too — the *20-year* sentence of Marissa Alexander — for standing her ground — also in Florida — against her estranged husband by merely firing a warning shot into the air/ceiling of her own house!

        The country and the media always focusses in the major issue at immediate hand — particularly when there’s video or audio. But, btw, the mainstream media didn’t focus when Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. (a grown Black man) was legally murdered by the White Plains, NY, cops — probably because there have been so many legalized police murders of Black people in New York, that — ‘ho hum’ — he was just another one — like another New York traffic fatality — ‘nothing remarkable there.’

        The cops decide to legally murder — at the cops’ whim using the slightest pretext/excuse — some Black person *NOT* because that Black person is *male* or *female*: the cops decide — at the cops’ whim using the slightest pretext/excuse — to legally murder someone Black because that person is **BLACK**!

        We don’t need to have an internecine Black gender tug-o’-war over the body.

        ALL OF BLACK AMERICA — *FEMALE* AND *MALE* — ONCE TURNED OUT OVER OVER FOUR LITTLE GIRLS TOO!

        *BOTH* OF THOSE BLACK PARENTS IN THE VERY POIGNANT PHOTO — A *WOMAN* & A *MAN* — AND EVERYONE BLACK WITH THEM — AND ALL OF BLACK AMERICA — FEMALE *&* MALE — WOULD BE GRIEVING *TOGETHER* IF THEIR CHILD’S NAME WAS *TRAYVON* OR *TRAYVETTE*!

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  5. “I seriously do not know how our ancestors endured this shit.”

    This so perfectly captures my state of mind since Saturday night. Everyday it’s hard to avoid just giving up and giving in to the blissful ignorance that many espouse in disdain at the collective grief on display. If all supposed allies and other skinfolk can say is that the system worked, then why in the hell do I and others keep trying?

    • ….faced with the reality of that insight, aren’t we then compelled to find out how they did–and endure even worse? Its part of using our ancestors as a “resource” rather than a “reference”. What do you think?

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  8. Thank you for this reminder that we are in this together. I feel so afraid right now for the struggle as a clear message is being sent to try and keep us ‘in our place’ and I don’t want the people who have begun to venture out to become fearful and retreat.

    My heart goes out to Trayvon, his friends, his family, and everyone who is hurting right now.

  9. I adore CFC and I adore this piece…It sums up my sentiments precisely.

    I went to a rally for Trayvon Martin last night and as we continuously paid homage and raised our voices for Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Diallo and all the other Black men who suffered injustices, the voices of Rekia Boyd, Saskia Gunn and all of the other Black women who suffered injustices were yet again placed on mute.

    My voice – a Black woman who was cornered by two men on a dark street the night before (no worries I ran into a MCD and returned home safely) was placed on mute. That fear was devalued at this rally. For a minute (just a minute) I felt guilty that I need to feel acknowledge in a struggle that I am fighting for…

    You’re absolutely right “we cannot afford to become yet again invested in the fiction that Black men’s struggles are harder than ours, more urgent, or more worthy of attention.” We need to stop this reoccurring narrative.

    Over and over again, I’m reminded why my dedication and passion for Black Feminism is so urgent.

    Again, thank you for writing this.

    - S

    • as an old white feminist, i am still think about what i (we) need to be addressing, as you all suggest. central to any feminist response to — what? is one of the questions i’m dealing with, i think y’all are asking for comment on the 4/5 white female jury who as agents of the patriarchy let Z go??? — central, as i say, to any feminist reponse to Z’s exoneration is the old feminist saw you touch upon here.
      men are afraid women will laugh at them. women are afraid men will kill them.

      i think that’s true for all of us. and i’m thinking it’s part of white female privilege, inculcated by big daddy, to be more afraid of black men than any other color of thug who corners women on dark streets.

      because, as someone pointed out, the protection of white womanhood is at the center of this whole stand your ground bullshit, and every other war they send foolish young men out to fight. feminist pacifism is part of it. i’m going to be thinking some more, before i shoot my mouth off. thank you for stepping up to bat.

    • I strongly believe the struggles of black women in this patriarchal world are central to black liberation. Yet highlighting the violence against black men in a state structure bent on destroying black life does not delegitimate nor diminish black women’s struggles. State violence against black men is a feminist issue and state violence against black women is crucial to the fight against ant-black racism.

  10. Speaking from the perspective of a black dad (14 yr old girl, 7 yr old boy), I think that there is a tendency for black folks to minimize the role of black fatherhood, and invisibilize black fathers. I have seen a lot of post, many by women, who speak only of the pain that Trayvon’s mom is feeling, or to identify with her pain, and left out the Trayvon’s father completely..or posts that have said, something like “all mothers can understand her pain”, without acknowledging the pain that black fathers go through as well. Granted, plenty of attention has been paid to Tracy Martin, but I have noticed this tendency, and it makes me a little sad, and I when I read this article I kind of felt invisibilized a bit…as if black men are not caretakers of the community. I do think that there is definitely anti female gender bias in issues relating to black people, and that black female victims get less attention than black male victims, and am definitely not arguing with that.

  11. The Black Feminist Way would have concentrated on the “silent” and complicit Racism known as White women. You just HAD to make the point of maleness in the article! When here is prime opportunity to address what everyone unconsciously(or consciously!) disregards, ignores, and finds excuses for. An ALL White(including the Latina)FEMALE jury AND Judge presided and decided this case. This despicable trial.

    • What is this singular “Black Feminist Way” of which you write? Are you suggesting that Black Feminism should not attend to gender inequality?

    • That is what I felt too. As a Native American woman I have seen so much complicity in racism and overt racism from white women. I feel so much anger at the jury. I don’t think we should let that complicity off the hook. Ignorance is no excuse for racism anymore.

  12. I truly believe that in God’s time this and other incidents like this will be resolved. My heart aches for the Fulton-Martin Family. People ask why this case was so much more different then any other black youths unjustified death? I believe it’s because we as African Americans know in our hearts that this child did nothing nothing wrong. That he walked to a store to buy snacks for himself and (step) brother. That’s a sign of a conscious child. A good hearted child. Not the scary black man that his defense team so skillfully got across to the jury. I think Eugene Robinson wrote an eloquent commentary in the Washington Post today. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eugene-robinson-black-boys-denied-the-right-to-be-young/2013/07/15/d3f603d8-ed69-11e2-9008-61e94a7ea20d_story.html
    Please read it. The bells of truth ring here.

    • Thank you for sharing the article.

      I sat on a phone with a, new aunt for she is the sister of a father I never met who died when I was a baby and this pass wknd was the first time we’d ever talk…she 62 me 33, anyway she consoled this new soul in her life. As I yet again shed tears over Trayvon, and all those who love him and all those who were being affected not effected by his death and the trial. I did not pray for any harm to come to zimmerman though I did for justice. My new aunt tells me, that god will take care of it as they have done time and time again. Yet, my heart feels as if it cant bear any more, that I dont want to run but running seems the best in order to try not to think, not to think of what transpired that night. What a child, must’ve felt as some strange person in a truck in the middle of the night followed him, stalked him, to his death? I cannot rid those images from my mind, I cannot fight the feeling of what I wouldve felt and done if I had been in his shoes as well. Hell yea, “stand your ground”, and thats exactly what my brotha did, and where is he now? The peace that I seek often, finding know within the words of Dr Martin Luther King Jr and Mahatma Ghandi, and various bits from various religions is the same sort of peace in which ppl look to in god/allah/buddha/shiva and thus more. For here my Spirituality is not quite like that of religion, so it is difficult for me to keep seeing these types of things as a wait for god to handle. May be it is my anger, and I will be first to admit it if I am called on my shit about it. But right now, right now I am black with a hoodie, I am black walking and whistling at white girls, I am black walking to my car, getting on a subway, dancing on a corner, I am black and regardless of how much I pray or any one has/does, our black men/boys, women/girls are going underlooked and disregarded, and I AM FULL OF IT.

      • I said anger, and anger is normally something I try not to experience. But I said it, so I must feel it. And I feel like crap because I feel it.

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  14. Thank you so much for this piece, crunktastic. Sincerely. I had to shut down my computer the other night after watching an interview during which Marc Lamont Hill agreed with Piers Morgan that George Zimmerman would have been convicted had he murdered a Black woman instead of a Black man. The resounding vulgarity, as well as historical and contemporary untruth, in such a falsehood made my flesh crawl and my blood boil. As I read a response to that uncorroborated and obscene claim written for “The Guardian” by Jamila Aisha Brown (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/12/trayvon-martin-female), I thought of at least ten other murdered and publically unremembered Black women (most of whom were queer) in addition to the ones she listed. Moments like this always lacerate my deepest vulnerabilities and fears because I know I am not seen as human or relevant by a range of individuals and communities across “the color line.” When I repeatedly read or hear people saying that “Black men and boys” “Black men and boys” “Black men and boys” are in danger in this racist society, as if Black women are not, and as if racism is the only danger “we” face, I feel further erased and invisibilized to the verge of oblivion. I also know that all skin folk ain’t kinfolk, and my “we” is much different from the one conjured by many Black people in the name of a gender-specific “solidarity” and phallocentric outrage against racial oppression. It is still LARGELY the case that all the women are white, all the men are Black, and the rest of us try to be brave.

  15. I’m inclined to agree with Rose here, and really, this trial puts a laser, red-dot focus on a whole litany of issues and arguments that Black Feminists like yourselves here at CFC have to finally, openly confront.

    Look, it’s really simple and painfully obvious: White Feminists/Women do NOT take Black people – and that includes Black Feminists – seriously. I’ve been checking around all the familiar White Feminist outlets online and thus far, they have been largely silent. How do Black Feminists respond to this – and why hasn’t the CFC done so?

    But, even more to the point, I think that the Zimmerman verdict directly challenges the notion of “Black Male Privilege – Hadiya Pendelton’s death brought out BOTH the President AND First Lady, and her killers were promptly apprehended. Chances are very high that they will be found guilty and serve long sentences in prison. We all know how the story ended for Trayvon’s murderer, don’t we?

    So, while the rhetoric that undergirds much of the Black Feminist Narrative, while sounding great in the abstract, falls apart in the realworld examples that is the Trayvon Martin case; it is just extremely hard to see how and why he was in life, or in death now, so very “privileged” over, above, and at the expense of Black Women; I’m just not seeing it.

    Trayvon Martin=Black Male Privilege?
    http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com/entry/135430

    Holla back

    O.

    • There is STILL BM privilege. This mere moment is proof that! And it was a Black couple(who have only “girl” children) that caused swift redemption for that child. All of the males are highlighted in this historical tragedy. Wouldn’t it really be revolutionary if this was just Sabrina Fulton’s story. Most BW are either ignored or omitted in Racial injustices. The craziest, saddest, victim of both was Winnie Mandela.

      • @Rose:
        Winnie Mandela? Uh, I think she’s South African. We are talking about the USA here, let’s keep the focus, hmm?

        The fact of the matter is, that Black males have been dropping like flies out in Chitown, for decades, and Obama only saw fit to address the matter – mainly in the form of yet more finger-wagging – when a Black girl was killed. Compare and contrast that to Obama’s mere mention of how Trayvon “could have been his son”, and how much sheer flak he took for saying that. Quick, how many Whites felt some kind of way about Obama’s comments about Pendleton (some of which were made during his SOTU address!).

        Sorry, still not seeing it…

        O.

    • It is odd that you compare the Trayvon Martin case to that of Hadiya Pendelton and from those two tragedies (in an extensive catalogue of brutalities one could cite) triple jump to the unfounded conclusion that Black male privilege does not exist. It is also deeply problematic and tremendously patriarchal that you demand Black women strictly focus our attention on white feminist racism and forego a much-needed critique of misogyny and patriarchy within Black communities.

      It should be pointed out that the Obamas have strong ties to the city of Chicago (Pendelton’s home city) and Pendelton had just attended a White House event before her murder. Thus the immediacy of her connections (even if indirect) with the Obamas, and some would argue her murder’s use for the Obamas’ arguments for stricter gun control (especially in the city of Chicago), need to be factored into any account of why they mentioned her publically. In addition to those factors, Pres. Obama DID comment on Martin’s death before the Zimmerman trial, and even said that if he had a son, that son would look like Trayvon. Further, Trayvon’s case did not need to be “brought out” like Pendelton’s because Black communities and Martin’s parents had already organized to bring national attention to it. Also, it was well known that Pendelton was the victim of gang violence and her murderers did not put forth any claims of “self-defense” as did Zimmerman, and thus there was no debate (no matter how racially charged and unfounded) over the justifiability of her murder. Pendelton’s murderers should be found guilty and serve long sentences in prison, as should the murderers of Jonylah Watkins, the six-month old baby murdered in Chicago by gang violence perpetrated by Black men. A more apt comparison with the Martin case is the lack of NATIONAL demonstrations, petitions, presidential commentary, discourses within Black communities, etc. calling for justice for Rekia Boyd, Marissa Alexander, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Tarika Wilson, Alesia Thomas, and a host of other Black girls and women whose cases get sidelined, if not erased, in this recurring gendered narrative of “Black men and boys are in danger.”

      Zimmerman’s acquittal does not signal the absence of Black male privilege, but rather poignantly illustrates the presence of white supremacy. Among the many elements that do signal Black male privilege is the deafening silence surrounding the violences and injustices perpetrated against Black girls and women (including the overwhelming proportion committed by by Black men) in the midst of vociferous Black community protest against injustices committed against Black men. You sound like a white woman who denies her white privilege because she experiences gender oppression in relation to white men, all the while reaping white privilege at the expense of non-white people.

      Lastly, your comment that Black Feminist must “finally confront” white feminist racism demonstrates that you know nothing about the history of Black Feminism.

      • @Sensonite,
        I know enough about Black Feminism to know that it is routinely punked by its White sisters, from Audrey Lourde’s time to this day.

        Like I said, it seems the Sistahood has much bigger fish to fry instead of harping on Brothas, who have NONE of the privileges White Men, White Women, or Black Women for that matter, enjoy. Again: compare the ways Obama handled Hadiya and Trayvon, and contrast.

        I’ve addressed this notion of “Black Male Privilege” here:

        Tackling The Bugbear Of “Black Male Privilege”
        http://obsidianraw.bravejournal.com/entry/130174

        And here:

        The Kermit Gosnell Case Raises Some Ticklish Questions For Black Feminists
        http://www.the-spearhead.com/2013/06/26/the-kermit-gosnell-case-raises-some-ticklish-questions-for-black-feminists/

        More later…

        O.

      • “Sensonite”, while I’m not getting into the tug-o’-war over who’s more oppressed, Black men or Black women, (see above, July 24, 11:13PM, where I also covered the Marissa Alexander issue), you seem to be *conflating* the murder of Black women — and there are plenty of murders of ‘NAMELESS’ BLACK *MEN* TOO (also by Black men), undoubtedly *many* more than of Black women (by either Black, white, Latino, or other men) — with the *LEGALIZED* murders (or, upon the rarest of occasion, slap-on-the-wrist murders) by white *POLICE* — *OFFICERS* OF THE *STATE* who are *officially* supposedly *sworn* to *protect* society — and now by that *wanna-be* cop G.Z. — and now possibly by white vigilantes (like the one, claiming Stand Your Ground, who recently shot 4 Black males at a gas station for playing their music too loud).

        Criminals, generally, are *not* culturally *or* gender conscious — and most criminals (Black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, Middle Eastern American, etc.) commit crime against those respectively *around* them and *at hand*. So, for example, Bernie Madoff, Jewish, ripped off almost *every last penny* and even the retirement *life savings* — certainly a life-threatening situation to be in — of many *Jewish* clients: in fact he specifically used his Jewishness to con other Jews!)

        ALSO, BLACK MALES AND BLACK FEMALES — AS I ALLUDED TO IN MY COMMENT POST ABOVE — OFTEN — IF NOT ALWAYS — FACE RACISM IN *DIFFERENT* WAYS — NOT NECESSARILY ONE GENDER LESS THAN THE OTHER.

        Assuming that Black females and Black males are about half of each others combined population (as is generally true of any population in the sociocultural West), prisons, including death rows, are clearly more filled with Black males; it was Black men who got railroaded onto Southern slavery-by-another-name chain gangs, in contemporary America there are more Black males who get railroaded into prison and prison semi-slave labor; police clearly shoot/kill more Black males than Black females; Black males are clearly more stereotyped as “threats” and “predators” (active “threats/predators”, for those in the ‘hood/ghetto; latent “threats/predators” for those anywhere else in American society, especially in white society/institutions!); Black families/children get disproportionately stripped of Black fathers; Black males get disproportionately, unfairly disciplined and suspended or expelled from school; Black males get disproportionately occupationally denied or stripped of their jobs in hard economic times; Black males are less represented in white collar institutions than Black females; Black males are probably more likely to deny themselves the aspirations to marry than Black women (because he feels that he should earn an appropriate income to have a marriage/family in the economic standards he would feel they deserve); etc.

        But, as I said in my comment post above, if nothing else this leaves a heavier domestic (*including economic*) burden on the shoulders of Black women! And I’m sure that Black women face other Black female gender burdens that I should be even more aware of — because I didn’t grow up, and am not, both Black and female!

        Now maybe I’m hangin’ out in the ‘wrong’ part of the country in the at least relatively more culturally and gender conscious San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley Bay Area — maybe the Bay Area is decades ahead in cultural and gender consciousness of wherever part of the country *you* live in or travel around — but if you hear some Black male cite off a list of *actually analogous* legally murdered Black names — and it doesn’t include *actually analogous* legally murdered Black *female* — or, as far as *I’m* morally concerned, other people of color — names, WELL THEN *CALL OUT* AND *CORRECT* HIS LACK OF CONSCIOUSNESS UNTIL HE *CHANGES*!!

        And, unless Trayvon got a state funeral, I agree with Obsidian when he asks how Trayvon was “privileged” when he ended up *murdered* by a white wanna-be cop stalker, his wanna-be cop stalker-murderer at first was taken by merely his word to police and wasn’t even arrested, and his wanna-be cop murderer ultimately went *free* — by, yes, it should also be noted (and *that* intersectionality *also* examined), by a VIRTUALLY *ALL WHITE FEMALE* (and maybe the “Latina” woman was one of those kinds of Latinas who considered herself white *too*, like G.Z. probably does), since you, “Sensonite”, otherwise want full accountability, *JIM CROW JUDGE & JURY*!

        Thus: I don’t think that Trayvon’s dad *or* mom thought he was “privileged”.

        But, you, “Sensonite”/others, please correct me where you think I’m wrong.

    • We actually called out white feminists on our FB page on Tuesday morning, which led to a range of responses from them. You can map that conversation there. Also if you click the link in the piece to my April 2012 article I deal explicitly with what it means to be a black feminist among racist white women and sexist black men. It’s a conversation that we have explicitly addressed in multiple ways in this community.

      Thanks for reading.

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  17. Ive been venting on my site, venting all over youtube, I have been venting about black this and black that. I have shed tears silently in my restroom because I dont think my white housemates will get it. Although they do. I have written poetry calling calm to the raging sea within me. And still this black boy lays motionless in a grave meant, and the time is now…and no there aint no right ever to it. We have to do it and we have to do it together, women and men, gay/queer and str8 and old and young. We have to remind each other of our potential and strength. I think of Trayvon’s mother (M. Fulton) every day, and have every day since his death. I think of if she were my mother, my aunt…I think she is my mother and she is my aunt, and she deserves to receive the same love and attention and support, and and right I would provide and have provided to my mom and aunt. There use to be a time when black communities bound together when such disgrace was presented upon them, our ancestors and sang and held memorial all the same, knowing they could/would get lynched for it. Held sit-ins, and locked arms in peaceful protest for, what they knew and how they could lose their lives over trying to defend and/or fight for rights and to just be.

    My truth, as I love all things in which make my blackness as black and powerful as it is, every time every time there is a Trayvon Martin, Kendrick Johnson, James Anderson, Oscar Grant, and so many other women and men, black, whose names have gone missing or swept under rug…I lose a little of who I am and what I am suppose to legitimately demand right over. I shouldnt have to still sit idle while my brothas (Trayvon etc.) names and personalities get slandered as if they did not exist, and/or their existence can just go lied about. I also am not suppose to have to hear/read my own brothas/sistas knock each other down (Rachel Jeantel) when we know we gotta have each others backs, in times like these.

    Sadly though, I dont know how I really am suppose to feel because I have become so numb to it. And I know numbness is not a good thing, at all.

  18. In addition to being a predator of black men, Zimmerman is a predator of women and girls. He molested his younger cousin starting when she just a small child, and faced no consequences when her parents finally found out except not being invited over anymore. He also stalked and attacked his ex-fiancee, then told the police that she was the aggressor, and the police just ordered them to stay away from each other. (http://www.thenation.com/blog/175270/domestic-violence-and-george-zimmermans-defense#axzz2ZHJ4Y3c3). If it had been a black woman that he’d shot instead of Trayvon, I’ll bet he’d have gotten away with it even more easily and that she somehow would have been accused of being both angry and over-sexual.

    • JC on July 17, 2013 at 2:10 AM said: “If it had been a black woman that he’d [Zimmerman] shot instead of Trayvon, I’ll bet he’d have gotten away with it even more easily…”

      C’MON…, I’M *DEFINITELY NOT WITH YOU* ON *THIS* ONE, JC.

      Plus, Zimmerman nearly wasn’t arrested at all — and he nearly wasn’t tried at all — all that came as a result of overwhelming Black pressure (so are you saying that there wouldn’t have been overwhelming Black pressure for a Black teen girl!?) — and the virtually all white jury acquittal was *unanimous* when he only needed one!! What could be easier than that?: no Black outrage and mass marches, no pressured arrest, and no pressured trial *AT ALL*!?

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  20. Disclaimer: I am a middle-class white woman. I will probably write something dumb, but I’ll try not to. Anyway, I know I am not Trayvon or his lovely devastated mother. But I do have a heart and a mind and a soul. And because I have these things, I am sick in my bones over the senseless murder and brutal disregard of this young man’s humanity. I was so naive. I never dreamed Zimmerman would be found not guilty. I never dreamed so many white people would gleefully rally around him like a bunch of blood-drunk savages. I am still reeling from this. Forgive me, but I thought class had replaced race as the biggest overall source of oppression this culture. I was dead wrong. And I am stunned. But at the same time, I find myself noticing things I hadn’t noticed before. Everywhere I turn, the message is being proclaimed that black people are the “other” the “sub” human. Not the real deal. The “three-fifths”. White people keep telling me I am being overly-sensitive about this, but I find the new show “Orange Is The New Black” horrifically racist. Am I just not hip enough to “get” it? It’s a tired old premise: delicate flower of white upper middle class womanhood in PRISON (how HILARIOUS! Get it? A middle class WHITE woman in jail with all of THOSE people! LOL) Within the first few minutes of the show, a gorgeous blonde white woman is accosted in the shower by an unkempt obese black woman who shrieks with delight about the white woman’s “TV titties”. “Look at those pretty titties!” she shrieks. I have seen variations of this scene a million times. Can anyone imagine the reverse? A gorgeous middle class black woman accosted by an unkempt obese white woman while taking a shower in prison? “Look at those pretty titties!” The unspoken implication of the show is that prison is somehow a more “natural” habitat for black and brown people than for lovely little white ladies. And isn’t the attitude that black people are somehow “inherently” criminal a big reason for why an unarmed young man was viciously gunned down for walking home from the store in his own neighborhood? Isn’t this why Zimmerman was acquitted and 17 year old Trayvon was convicted and condemned as deserving to die? Maybe I am overly sensitive to racist messages, but is that even possible right now? I will defer to the opinions of black women on this subject. As I said, I am a white woman and perhaps this concern seems trivial – but I really believe it is dangerous that so many critics are raving about the show without addressing the way it adds poison to our culture’s already racially poisoned air. Any thoughts on this?

    • MAJOR PROPS TO YOU TOO, penny white on July 19, 2013 at 2:28 AM — AND YOU ALSO HAVE MY HEART.

      You didn’t say/write *anything* dum…

      (I never spell it ending with a b.)

      In the endless chicken-&-egg debate of whether it’s race or class, I say why can’t it be *BOTH*!

      They’re obviously *BOTH* heavily interrelated. Gee, what good community work could have been and could be done with the *endless* hours *that’s* been debated — a debate typically instigated by white liberals/progressives/leftists who, by definition, never experienced racism, but always want to discount, ignore, or play it down (gee, *that’s* a way to get more than a handful of Black people in white liberal/progressive/leftist/feminist groups’, isn’t it?). It’s not *either-or*, but *both-and*! But,the same white people never say, “It’s *not gender*, but *class*, so we can just *ignore* gender.”

      BUT, so far, the entire history of this country, even before this country was this country, going back to the Virginia colony, is that *RACE* _DIVIDES_ (political and labor) CLASS (consciousness) — right down to the national debate on single-payer, universal healthcare: “You mean all them Blacks an’ Latinos will get it *tooo*!?… — fer *freee*!?…”

      (But, it was *Black* people who were enslaved for some 250 years in America, and an additional 2 years later in Texas, soon replaced by other forms and *systems* of slavery and semi-slavery, and it was *Black* people who suffered Jim Crow terrorism & apartheid for another 100 years in America — only ending, *on paper*, in the 1960′s. And it’s, especially, lower-income *Black* men, and, increasingly, lower-income Black women, who’ve been systematically incarcerated or kept under the “criminal-*injustice*” system. And it was Asians and Latinos — and *still often* Latinos — in America who experienced their own forms of slavery and Jim Crow — in the fields, on the mainland here or in Hawai’i, or building the railroads of the American Old West. And it’s obviously Black and Latino people who can be killed with near-impunity — even by other Black people for all the white law really cares, as look at the number of unsolved, and therefore unpunished murders in the Black community, or why there are gangs in the first place because younger generation Black people cannot otherwise be allowed to be educationally prepared and compete in the *legitimate* economy, such as it is.)

      You should check out the discussion at:

      http://hiphopandpolitics.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/time-to-have-a-serious-conversation-about-race-what-exactly-does-that-look-like-with-who/

      from where readers there were referenced to this webpage.

      I also posted some comments there — especially my first comment post there.

      Joseph from Berkeley
      July 23, 2013 @ 8:36 am

      “*BUT*, this country, our media, most public fora, this government — or any American government — will *NEVER* have a *serious* discussion about racism”

      [read more there if as interest and time permit]

  21. See I knew i could come on here and find some solace! As depressing and distraught this verdict has made me, I have also been particularly alarmed at how quickly progressives have named the horror of white fear, anxiety and black punishment as a uniquely male caricature of racism. It’s NOT. Rekia Boyd was killed by an off duty pig, a 7 year old was murdered during a raid and let me tell you being followed in a store and having white women clutch their purses is something I endure daily. I think black female pain is expected therefore the rallying cry around is still not palpable enough. Oh, intersectionality, why have you cursed me…

    • I completely agree with you. White women are at least as racist as white men. But because they are socialized to be more subtle about it, their racism is even more insidious (which is how female racists were able to slip under the radar and get on the Zimmerman jury). People think I’m a lunatic for obsessing about this new “hip” show that’s on netflix (Orange Is The New Black), but I think it perfectly illustrates your point that white women are given a free pass when it comes to being racist. This show is FILLED with the same old racist tropes and the implication that dark skinned people are inherently less “innocent” than white people. It is sick! But because it passes the Bechdel test and has positive images of lesbians, it is considered “progressive” and “great”. Bullshit. It’s a kick in the face to black women. Again. And I’m a 50 year old white woman. Am I crazy?

      • penny white
        on July 22, 2013 at 12:35 PM said:

        “People think I’m a lunatic for obsessing about this new “hip” show that’s on netflix (Orange Is The New Black) … … … Am I crazy?”

        Not at all, Penny…

        I don’t get Netflix/cable, so I haven’t seen the show, but you just realize how *insidious*, how *seductive*, even how *entertainingly*, white racist messages can be subliminally delivered and reinforced to white, or even to *other* non-Black people (like to the “Hispanic” on the jury and, of course, to Zimmerman himself), in this country — and to wherever the show is syndicated abroad.

        (Now I’m going to have to ask a friend who gets Netflix to order and rent a copy of the show for me to watch.)

        Other anti-Black male racist messages are insidiously and seductively delivered when female child sexual abuse (because we’re all instantly sympathetic to and instantly oppose *that*, so *that’s* the hook!) is used as the vehicle, like in the film “Precious” (what I call Black male stereotypes on *steroids*) — where, as I said at the other webpage (http://hiphopandpolitics.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/time-to-have-a-serious-conversation-about-race-what-exactly-does-that-look-like-with-who/) that this webpage was referenced from, now Hollywood and PBS are even lately using handsomely white-funded/-contracted/-commissioned, but *Black* filmmakers to produce/reinforce and put the Black imprimatur on these stereotypes — much as Spielberg bought the rights from Alice Walker (which made her at least a millionaire back when a million was *really* big money) to make a big-budget Hollywood film *version* of The Color Purple book.

        It wasn’t until over a decade later — when she was safely rich — that Walker admitted that the film version of her book might have widely promoted racist anti-Black male stereotypes. To look at white-made or white-funded American film (dramatic or documentary), or to listen to certain *white-beloved* Black feminists like Bell Hooks, you’d think that the only child abusers, wife-beaters, and misogynists in this country are *Black men*!

        I also wrote about that: google “Joseph Anderson” + “hip-hop documentary” + “beyond beats and rhymes”.

        Even more importantly, google: “Ishmael Reed” + “Precious” + movie + Counterpunch

        Btw, have you ever seen that *BUGS BUNNY CARTOON* that I first saw on TV as a child, but have periodically come across since on TV, that shows how “stupid” and “evil/dastardly” Arabs are?

        What does that song say in the musical “Brigadoon”?: “You *have* to be carrrefully *taught*!”, ‘starting from an early age, and it has to be steadily repeated’.

        Even many Black people haven’t taken me seriously about certain films either (whether anti-Black, and *I’m Black*, or anti-Asian stereotypes too) — but they often don’t realize how white people *look* at these films (whereas we know that the film doesn’t/hardly negatively represent/s ALLL Black people).

        But, like wayyy back about that implicitly anti-Asian film (I forgot the name of it offhand), starring Michael Douglas, filmed in L.A., with the more or less opening scene of a gruff Korean immigrant small grocery shopkeeper, with darkened, oily skin, and a scraggly, oily, dirty mustache and beard, and a dark, dirty/dusty/ding, cluttered shop — coming here and taking our money for cheap quality but overpriced goods! That’s what sets Douglas’ character off and that’s what we’re all supposed to sympathize with: Douglas’ character.

        Well, first of all, Koreans don’t usually wear mustaches & beards, and certainly not oily, dirty, scraggly beards (mustaches and beards not considered aesthetic, or even proper, in Korea, unless maybe someone is a very old man); and 2nd, Korean immigrants might not be able to afford to buy/rent a fancy yuppie store, but the shelves won’t be dusty, dirty and dingy. East Asians were raking the *gravel* into aesthetic patterns in their yards way back when Europeans were still throwing chicken bones into the corners of their medieval living rooms — even in the English royal palace! But, the viewer might instantly sympathize with a young, clean-cut, soft-spoken, ‘American-like’, Korean immigrant in a clean, orderly store, if the Korean character had been cast *that* way, instead of with Michael Douglas’ character in that film.

      • Thank You for mentioning “Precious”! I was HORRIFIED by that movie. My god, talk about demonizing “welfare queens”. And you know what is so ironic? I am a white woman who was raised in a nice white middle class suburban neighborhood. And my childhood was almost identical to that of the fictional character Precious. My (white racist) father raped me from the ages of 4 through 12, and my mother blamed me for the rapes. I became obese as a way of protecting myself, and dropped out of school due to emotional/psychological problems. We may have had much nicer furniture than Precious did (and thank god, I did not get pregnant or get HIV) but other than that, our stories are very much the same. So where is the movie about middle class white fathers raping their daughters? I guess if you’re not collecting welfare, what you do in your own home to your own children is your own business. Right? Aargh! Thank You for helping me to feel a little less alone and a little less crazy. I usually get shut down (by white people) when I try to talk about these things.

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  23. Tell us what you need, if anything, from white feminists like me that are also shocked by this injustice.

  24. I’m very angry right now and might not be politically correct. I’m sorry.

    t pisses me off that the white people I know are willing to talk about racism as an abstract concept or as something that happened a Long Time Ago, but they are unwilling to publically examine concrete racism as it exists and is perpetuated right now.

    On the flip side, I feel like white people I know are scared to talk about stuff because they don’t want to “get it wrong.” So they end up watching conversations happen without joining in, and they don’t learn anything new. I know there’s a fine line between joining in on conversations and dominating them, but I think that the white people I know should actually join discussions about race. I want to know what they do not know, so I can understand why things have gone terribly wrong (not to say the white people I know are completely at fault here, but I definitely think silence is one of many problems).

    One thing’s for sure: the POC that I know do not have a problem talking about race. And it’s becoming less problematic to talk about POC and feminist issues. We’ve been talking about it for decades. Literally decades. But…the white people I know (particularly my white feminist friends) just don’t talk at all about race. They tell me that they don’t think it’s their place…but fuck that just seems like it’s becoming the problem.

    • This may be very cold comfort to you, but I am a white woman and the Trayvon Martin verdict has been eating me alive. I have always known that our government could be evil and has done many evil things. But I never before felt that the American People – my fellow countrymen and women – were evil. But since the verdict I am beginning to believe that white americans are evil. And that has cut me to my core. How ANYONE calling themselves a human being could rejoice over the acquittal of a man who murdered an unarmed teenager is just – I can’t even express it. What can you say about that? I was so stupid. I actually thought that as a white woman I was just as oppressed as a black man. Hah! What bullshit. The Trayvon Martin verdict sure exposed that lie! I am nowhere near as oppressed as a black man. And black women? My god – the viciousness and cruelty from all sides is mind-numbing. What sickens me so much is not what Zimmerman did – it was the fact that his parents had to BEG the police to even CHARGE him. And it’s the fact that a jury found him NOT GUILTY OF ANY CRIME – NOTHING – NO CRIME! AND A CHILD IS DEAD!!!!
      It’s the white people who support and celebrate Zimmerman who make me cringe inside and feel as if I am living among evil heartless despicable cretins. I’ve always thought people were essentially good, but this verdict and the celebration of it have shaken my faith in humanity. I never dreamed Zimmerman would be acquitted. I was so stupid. I don;t like to talk about race cuz I am afraid of looking like an idiot..But I am hearing from you that silence is much worse than making mistakes while trying to communicate. So I am trying. I don’t know if it helps. But sometimes I wonder if having white privilege makes us less human somehow. I think being privileged destroys some part of us – destroys our empathy and compassion – the very things that make us human. I don’t want to be destroyed in this way. But I feel I have been, by association. Because the Trayvon Martin verdict has given me – as a white woman – a license to kill. And I will never feel clean as long as that is true.

      • penny white
        on July 23, 2013 at 3:48 AM said:

        “… … … … … And I will never feel clean as long as that is true.”

        You seen, Penny, that’s the thing about racism: it can cause, lead to, or result in harm (even possibly physical harm, as well as the daily emotional harm, or an egregious harm of possible spaces of ignorance) against innocent people on *both* sides — even if both sides don’t usually and regularly pay the same level of price.

        All your words, Penny, are GREATLY APPRECIATED by me, an African American.

        I find that if white people don’t somehow grow — and are willing to grow — over time, and I mean from teenagehood, then they are seldom willing to let themselves have an educational epiphany — because I usually find with most (though not *all*) white people (regardless of formal educational degrees), that there is some point of understanding beyond which they are just obstinately not willing to go and acknowledge. I guess that’s the point at which they want — and won’t even imagine, let alone go, beyond their *comfortable white assumptions* or *comfortable white-American values* to remain firmly in place — and most white people don’t even realize that their assumptions are *white-American-socioculturally-based* and circumscribed: they believe that their white-American assumptions are *UNIVERSAL*!!

        And if anyone Black or other people of color *pretend to share* such *white-American* sociocultural assumptions and values, then those whites — even white liberals — are willing to ‘forget’ race and ‘not see color’. But, by such white people — even white liberals — that ‘not seeing color’ is *provisional*, when not *probationary*. Or, as the famous white art historian Michael Woods said, “White people refuse to see themselves the way *other* people see them.”

        I once, years ago, had a white — decidedly *liberal* — female student friend, who when I told her that it was contradictory to admire James Baldwin *and* Ayn Rand at the same time! And that she (once my white female friend) didn’t understand what Ayn Rand (admittedly a smooth propaganda story-teller for naïve young white people or rich, conservative older white people) was all about — the diametric *antithesis* of anyone like James Baldwin — she almost immediately rejected my friendship. Now even though such white people, *before* such instances, think and know and admire me as intellectual and “really smart”, they don’t even give me a chance to explain, or even seriously consider what I say, the *minute* it crosses their comfortable/safe white-American beliefs and assumptions.

        And forget about if, to most white people (at least to most university matriculated/degreed white people), I humorously share — in “Black English” — how my mama disciplined me in no-nonsense Black English when I was a child/teenager, even though my mom can grammatically speak perfect standard American English at the university level!: I had another white female friend almost immediately first turn — after a semi-slow burn — *apprehensive* to me, and then *hostile* against me.

        And then in every such situation — not only but especially with white-American women — there is no such way as *diplomatically* but *intellectually* explaining my way out!: friendship *over*. Such white women/people *ALMOST FORGOT I WAS *BLACK*!!

        And then a lot of heterosexual white women just like to *play/toy* with Black guys — – or such white women, probably conflicted by their prejudiced hometown or university community or white friends, don’t know *what* they want with/from a Black guy (unless he’s a starring high school or college athlete, or a rising popular musician, or already rich). As the young Black guy in the brief YouTube video said at the other (Davey D’s) website page — like you’re a *mascot* — especially as long as the typical *white women and/or white guys*, in all my more socially upscale environments, find the Black guy *amusing*, and *entertaining*, and *always affable*, and most of all *intellectually unthreatening*, and *really* most of all doesn’t have “Black views” on philosophy, society and life. Otherwise, you (the Back guy) are a potential *predator*!

        (Remember all the Native Alaskan characters on that old TV show, “Northern Exposure” and how they were so wonderful because not even in private, in the show, did *Native Alaskans* — oh, so socially and intellectually harmless — oh, so quaint and affable — ever say *anything socioculturally critical* about *white* people.)

        Black girls/teens/women receive their own version of this treatment to the extent they even want to socialize with white people. But, that’s the demographics — predominantly white — if you’re in most universities or live in most university (or suburban) communities. That’s where the pool of your social life is, unless a Black person lives at or goes home often, and/or has a social pool of Black childhood/teenagehood friends in a Black community there, or joins a Black fraternity or sorority.

        Besides, the majority of white people — even the majority of white liberals — think that they *know* so much — if not know *everything* — especially about and compared to mere *Black* people — that such white people feel that they have nothing left to really learn! This is because in major part ( but not only) the TV, movie, sports, and music entertainment media, or white people’s *superficial* work, classroom, social or sometimes even dating associations, or for white conservatives the TV news crime reports, gives white people — even the average white liberal — such great “false familiarity” (I think that anti-racist activist and lecturer Tim Wise called it) about Black people. But, I’m often amazed, there are names that *were*, were at the *time*, or *are* famous and household names in Black society, that not even white liberals had then, or have now, ever even *heard* of, let alone know who those names are.

        Or you get Black people like OBAMA *LYING* to white people, when, in a nationwide televised speech, Obama *scoffed* at Rev. Jeremiah Wright, when, over 4-1/2 to 5 years ago, Obama said that the racism Rev. Wright talked about, ‘no longer *existed* anymore!’ — and Obama said that Rev. Wright was, ‘living in the *past*!’ Obama said that to make himself acceptable to *white* people, and to say what *white* people wanted to hear, and to help, or try to, make *white* people like him. And lots of white liberals just *lllovvved* for that (besides, Obama even publicly and regularly scolded *Black* people ‘for lack of self-responsibility’, but never *white* people) — as Joe Biden said, “*FFINALLY*, a *clean-cut* [that means suitably light-skin and shaved], *affable* [that means a Black guy is always friendly to white people], *mannerly* [that means a Black guy who doesn't intellectually threaten white people] African American guy we [white people] can like [that means he'll give all his white friends *cover* as their not being racist/prejudiced/bigoted]!!”

        And so it be’s…

  25. Pingback: Race, Gender and Allyship in the Fight for Justice for Trayvon | FOR THE BIRDS

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