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In the middle, (or are we at the beginning) of this new chapter in the ongoing domestic terrorism waged against people of color in America, I have a question: What is the system of white supremacy so afraid of? In other words, “what is the doing” of blackness that makes white cops have a hair trigger upon just seeing us? What causes police to stop a black man for making direct eye contact? What causes the powers that be to commit a black woman to an asylum because she thinks she owns a BMW?
I suggest that blackness is doing several things that upset white supremacy.
The first thing the performance of blackness does, is that it reminds white supremacy that we are still here. Black people survived and we weren’t supposed to. Any cursory review of the practices and implantation of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade would suggest that my ancestors were not supposed to thrive. The plan was to bring us here, feed us actual spoiled food to keep us alive, give us sub standard living conditions, torture us into submission, have us build the country and then hopefully die off. They certainly didn’t plan for us to become the President of these United States. So not only have we survived, but when we can break through the barriers set up before us, and are allowed to compete- we succeed. As hard as they tried, and continue to try, white supremacy can’t kill us all off. We keep coming as Micki Grant wrote. That stuns white supremacy and upsets white privilege as it disrupts their narrative of superiority.
The second thing that scares white supremacy in the doing of blackness is that in part we have been able to make the system stand up to the promises it makes (on paper). The laws of this country were certainly not written with blacks in mind as we we were not considered human by the majority of the people who wrote them. Most of the founding fathers of our country owned slaves. It is a testament to our enslaved ancestors of color that we now stand under the law as citizens, human beings worthy and equal. The thirteenth and fourteenth amendments to the Constitution, the Civil Rights Act, these laws have been passed on the backs of our brothers and sisters of color who worked to make the law actually perform as it promises. We can thank Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Thurgood Marshall, Fannie Lou Hamer, Dr. King, and a host of others who fought for justice. Their lives were dedicated to making things right, and they suceeded in making things better for us. Making the laws work as they should for the oppressed, is not what white supremacy intended.
A third thing the performance of blackness does that sticks in the craw of white supremacy, is that it highlights our vituosity. From the creation of the only original American art form of Jazz, to dance, to the billion dollar industry that is Hip-Hop, to fashion, to literature-white supremacy is jealous of our swag and will do anything to appopriate it.
What the performance of blackness does it is shows our humanity which white supremacy denies. It highlights our beauty which white privilege uses and abuses (saarah baartman). It showcases our ability to shine and create beautiful things even after being kicked down into the dirt, again and again.The resilient nature of blackness terrifies white supremacy. Who but us could make a cuisine out of the scraps of spoiled food they gave us? I find it lovely that the food we made out of the trash they gave us we put our soul into, and made it into sought after delicacies now called “Soul Food.”
Keep doing what you are doing my black brothers and sisters. Keep performing our color, people of color. The more you shine and prosper, the more we break the chains of white supremacy. The flags are coming down, and the laws are getting changed. They will continue to shoot us, flasely arrest us, and kill us. I suspect that will increase in frequency as we get closer and closer to parity. The more we make black lives matter, the stronger the resistance from white supremacy, but we will continue to prevail. Do not lose heart. We must work to end the systemic barriers to equality in resources, pay, and quality of life. As we keep doing the doing of blackness, we keep making inroads.
Keep up the doing.
It is working