Monthly Archives: March 2012

The most basic problem with post-racialism (besides its blatant falsehood)

“Since the notion that we should all forsake attachment to race and/or cultural identity and be “just humans” within the framework of white supremacy has usually meant that subordinate groups must surrender their identities, beliefs, values, and assimilate by adopting the values and beliefs of privileged-class whites, rather than promoting racial harmony, this thinking has created a fierce cultural protectionism.”

–bell hooks

An excerpt from a conversation with KS from the other day that I can’t stop thinking about:

Me: I can think of two Black guys on this campus that I would actually date–well, that I know well and would actually date. 

KS: Is [name redacted, 1] one of them? 

Me: Yes.

KS: Is [name redacted, 2] the other?

Me: No. [High school me would have dated him, which probably explains why freshman year me was somewhat obsessed.]

KS: *ponders who the other might be*

Me: You know, I’m starting to think that not making any moves towards something happening with [name redacted, 1] might be one of the things I regret most about my time here. He’s moving to [location redacted] and he doesn’t really love this place, so I’m not sure he’ll be around at reunions all that often and I feel like I’ve run out of time. 

KS: So make a move! Call him up tomorrow and be like, “If I wanted to have babies, I’d have yours, but I don’t…”

…I laughed at his ridiculousness then, and confessed that I’d been contemplating trying to hook up with him just so I wouldn’t have to always wonder what it would have been like, but I keep hearing him say that in my head. What’s keeping me from telling him how much more I’d like to be around him, at the very least? Why did we never actually act on any of the mutually-agree-that-we-should-hang-out-more-when-running-into-each-other-at-a-party things? What do I have to lose? 

[name redacted, 2] and I agreed to have lunch sometime this week, but I’m less sure about how I feel about him than I am about [name redacted, 1].

And speaking about people I want to hook up with, I’m trying to find a non-sketchy way to reach out to the female friend of mine who propositioned me earlier in the year about making that actually happen sometime soon, and maybe this is just my frustration talking, but I’ve started to notice that every time I’m in the same room as the first guy I ever hooked up with at Princeton, I think about giving him a round two.

Let us remember the name of the perpetrators, too, not just of the victims.

When I look at Trayvon Martin, I see my “baby” brother, who turns 17 next month. I’m almost positive he has that same red Hollister shirt the press shows Trey wearing. My brother likes to wear hoodies instead of coats. My brother walks to his part-time job at McDonald’s sometimes, and what is preventing some racist motherfucker with a history of violence like Zimmerman from thinking he looks suspicious, or like he doesn’t belong? It sounds to me like these “stand your ground” laws give anyone the right to take the law into their own hands in a dangerous situation–evidently even one where you could have not gotten involved in the situation. I can’t live comfortably in a world where grown-ass 200 pound White men can *murder*–let’s call this what it is–skinny Black high school kids. This is just too close to home. And it’s not the only case of its kind recently. I NEED people to understand that this is not an isolated incident of one crazy man. It’s not even the first such incident in that county in recent years. 

There were no eyewitnesses, and the police don’t seem to regard the police calls from nearby residents in which you can hear Trayvon’s bloodcurdling screams for help as sufficient evidence. No one saw can’t be justification for injustice. Our judicial system exists to bear witness to that which no one witnessed. We must be the voice for those whose voices have been taken away, but progress can’t happen if we remember only the victims. Remember both of their names.

“In the White racist imagination, “a nigger is a nigger is a nigger.” White supremacy took different types of Africans and reduced them to “the nigger.” I’m not chasing that kind of thinking. We are diverse!  I refuse to embrace that sameness. I know my people are diverse. Black rigidity, and not Black diversity, is the real threat to Black people. When we buy into notions of Black sameness, we begin to lose. I don’t want, nor do I need, all Black people to be the same. Some of us are straight, some are gay, some are masculine, some are feminine, some of us are rich, some of us are poor, some of us are college educated, some of us are trade educated, some of us outspoken, some of us are quiet. Respect our diversity. How can you claim to love Blackness, want to fight for it, when you see us the same way White supremacist do? We are not a pool of sameness.”

Excerpts from one of the best posts I’ve seen about #TravyonMartin

“How do we make sense of the senseless?

 “If this were 1912 and not 2012, we would call a Black man killed by a one-man firing squad with no just cause what it is: a lynching. These days, we search for euphemisms. Self-defense. That feels so inadequate. I mean, whose selves really need defending if it is Black selves–primarily Black male selves–that keep being murdered?

How does it feel to be a problem? It feels like gunshots, unheard screams, and a lonely, violent death.

“When scholars talk about a school-to-prison pipeline, they are not simply talking about the ways that systematic lack of educational access sets up Black people for a stint in the criminal justice system. They are also pointing to the fact that the very logic of public schools is designed to discipline Americans into a certain model of  citizenship, one that helps us to believe in the propaganda of equal rights that we are taught in our social studies classes, while obscuring the systematic inequalities that are on gratuitous display through the treatment of children of color, students with disabilities, and poor students.

“I have zero-tolerance for a justice system that deputizes overzealous white men and vests them with the power to be judge, jury, and executioner, under the trumped up guise of self-defense . If this community fails to prosecute George Zimmerman, their silence, their acquiescence, their approval will constitute an official sanctioning of his course of action.

“Even with eyewitness testimony, the police seemed incapable of seeing Trayvon as the victim. Young Black men are always the aggressors, right? Not the gun-toting white guy, who weighed 100 pounds more than Trayvon. Not the self-styled neighborhood vigilante with a documented disrespect for law enforcement. Nope. Just the Black kid, whose skin is (perceived as) a weapon.

“Trayvon’s skin, not his actions, not his character, made him a criminal. Blackness always looks suspicious. Whiteness always looks safe.

“In this post-most-racial moment*, we must seriously re-evaluate this narrative of linear historical progress that we are beholden to. No, Black men don’t routinely find themselves hanging from trees. But that might be less an evidence of progress and more an evidence of white racial adaptation. “Racial patterns [will always] adapt in ways that maintain white dominance.” – Father of Critical Race Theory Prof. Derrick Bell’s famous maxim echoes in my ears.

Trayvon is Black. And that matters when whiteness is the sine qua non of the American legal system, when possession of a white skin is the prerequisite for justice. And it is precisely because of this deep-seated association of white skin with property, that George Zimmerman felt he had the right to “patrol” his neighborhood for interlopers and outsiders. It is not coincidental that Black men are routinely profiled for looking suspicious in nice neighborhoods “because they don’t belong there.” The battle over who belongs in neighborhoods– even though Trayvon’s step-mother lived there!—is just a modern site for a long-standing warfare over white racial entitlement to control land and every thing that moves on that land.”

 –The ever-eloquent , in this post