They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. That’s a bold-faced lie.
A few days ago, I saw a bunch of people posting a picture of some random woman on Twitter, saying she was doing blackface. Before you open images on Twitter, you only see the top half. So all I saw was this:
“What are they talking about? She’s clearly blac- oh my god, it’s Kim Kardashian.”
I was shocked. I thoroughly thought it was some photo shoot featuring a light-skinned black woman. NOT Kim K: a woman of Armenian and English descent.
Yesterday while mindlessly scrolling on Twitter, I came across a video of a black woman having her natural hair petted by her overly-curious white coworkers. Not only is this extraordinarily unprofessional and an invasion of the black woman’s personal space, but she was just stood there with an awkward expression on her face coupled with a nervous smile.
I have to admit, my first thought was, “Why isn’t she snatching away?!” which was immediately followed by the realization of if she did snatch away, her coworkers might have seen her as the aggressor in the situation. It could have been taken as she was overreacting, and her coworkers were “being harmlessly curious.”
With tears streaming down my face, I hastily typed those phrases into Google. It was a couple of days before my 17th birthday, and I couldn’t fathom looking as I do for another solitary second. Too black.
My mind is colonized. I will be the first to admit that. Any distaste I have for my personal features comes from the brainwashing millions of black Americans face their entire lives: black is ugly, white is not.
Ever since I was a little kid, I equated beauty with whiteness and lighter skin. Being bombarded with a sea of white actresses in nearly every show and movie and all the heartthrobs being solely white men will do that.
Google images seem to agree with me. You don’t get black people included in the initial searchings for “beautiful ___” until you add ‘black’ to the search engine.
The first installment of ‘The Hypocrisy of White Supremacy’ touched on the hypocrisy that past presidents, first-wave feminists, and white moderates showed in their dealings with black people and why white supremacy, as a concept, is a falsehood. After writing that, my mind was drawn to the sheer access black people historically had into the lives of white people, despite being seen as subhuman. Also, how European colonization is ultimately the root of the “anti-diversification” movement that the alt-right peddles.
Let’s start with slavery.
Mãe Preta (1912) | Artist: Lucílio de Albuquerque
The services ‘provided’ by black people via enslavement have always been an integral part of the progression of white societies around the globe. Black slavery is what made America as prosperous as it is today.Four hundred years of free labor will do that. These services, however, move past the manual labors of carpentry, building, and masonry.
Slaves were intimately involved in the lives of their masters and their master’s families. It is peculiar that enslaved black people were always seen as lesser than white masters, yet, played such an essential role in their personal lives. Slaves were dehumanized beyond belief, of course, but the vast plantations of the south could not run without a multitude of enslaved black people at the ready performing a myriad of household and field tasks.
Devane-Johnson held focus groups asking black women, ranging in age from 18 to 89 years old, on their thoughts on breastfeeding. She was performing research for a doctoral degree at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing. Devane-Johnson mentioned in her report:
“A lot of slave babies died during slavery because they weren’t breastfed. They were fed concoctions of dirty water and cows milk. Meanwhile, those children’s mothers were giving white children their milk.”
Enslaved black women raised white children before tending to their own. Enslaved black women nursed white babies before nursing their own.
Written below is a firsthand account from former slave Ellen Betts recounting life as a wet nurse in St. Mary’s Parish, Louisiana. This excerpt is from the book, ‘Bullwhip Days — The Slaves remember’ by James Mellon. You can find more information on Ms. Betts’ life at the Library of Congress website.
You can’t deny someone something that they actually are.
“I don’t care if you’re black, white, purple, or green, I see everyone the same!”
“When I see you, I don’t see you as black!”
“I don’t see color!”
“If we stopped making everything about race, then it’d go away!”
No, not this type of colorblindness:
This type of colorblindness:
If you can’t notice the difference in color between the different races, then you should see an eye doctor. Now obviously, there’s nothing wrong with there being different skin colors. We’re humans. Due to evolution and genetic mutation, varying skin colors should be expected. The problem is when you start seeing different skin colors as an issue. That’s where this whole ‘colorblindness’ thing comes in.
On April 18, 2019, a video was released of Sergeant Greg LaCerra and Officer Christopher Krickovich pepper spraying and punching 15-year-old Delucca Rolle in the face.
According to a witness of the event, more students than usual had come to a McDonald’s near J.P. Taravella High School because “somebody was going to get jumped.” Records from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office showed that police had been called to said McDonald’s an astounding 85 times since August of 2018. Vandalism, trespassing, and “suspicious people” were the most common reasons why they were called.
According to other students of J.P. Taravella, two fights occurred at the school earlier in the day of the April 18th incident. This is an explanation why the police showed up in their best robocop gear to “deal with” hyped up teenagers. An unnamed teen was involved in a fight there a day earlier. Delucca was assaulted and arrested after reaching to pick up the aforementioned teen’s phone. According to Officer Krickovich, Delucca disobeyed Sgt. LaCerra’s order to stay away and then had an “aggressive stance” toward both officers.
Krickovich wrote these things in his report:
“Again, the three of us were outnumbered by a large group of students who were yelling threats and surrounding us.”
“I had to act quickly fearing I would get struck or have a student potentially grab weapons off of my belt or vest.”
[Referring to punching Delucca’s head] “as a distractionary technique” [to free his right hand in order to cuff him].
“The technique was successful and I was able to place him into handcuffs without further incident.”
The two deputies were later suspended in full after initially being relieved of duty by Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony. Both LaCerra and Krickovich are charged with using excessive force during the arrest. The cases are still pending.
Obviously, this was an egregious miscarriage of “the law.” However, that wasn’t what I was focused on. My eyes turned to the comments people were leaving on the video and articles about the altercation.
“Black people forget trauma easily, anything of malice done to them will be forgotten at some point by their feeble brains.” — Thomas Jefferson, 3rd president of the United States of America- in his only book Notes on the State of Virginia (1784).
“I will cut off this right arm of mine before I will ever work or demand the ballot for the Negro and not the woman.” — Susan B. Anthony, a pivotal activist for women’s suffrage movement- said at a meeting with slavery abolitionist Frederick Douglass in 1866.
“Black people are too stupid to vote for me.” — President Donald Trump, 45th president of The United States of America- in a conversation with his former attorney Michael Cohen in 2016.
“I think one man is as good as another so long as he’s honest and decent and not a nigger or a Chinaman.” — Harry S. Truman, 33rd president of the United States of America, in a letter to his wife dated 1911.
“Slaves that worked there were well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802.” — Bill O’Reilly when talking about Michelle Obama’s comment on how she “lives in a house that was built by slaves.” in 2016.
“This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men.” — Andrew Johnson, 17th president of the United States of America, in 1866.
These are a collection of comments that span hundreds of years that were made from various people that range from esteemed presidents, suffragettes, and TV personalities. The thread that connects them all?
Let’s start with Thomas Jefferson.
Thomas Jefferson is a complicated, confusing human being. He’s praised for being a founding father- an architect of the America we know today. Still, he was also a brutal slave owner who both advocated for the abolition of slavery yet freed barely any of his slaves after his death. Why? How? Jefferson’s seemingly strong morals went entirely out the window when it came to owning black people, so what was his rationale? Well, Jefferson had A LOT to say about black people, none of it flattering.