You do not have to trigger yourself into “proving” you are a real “activist” by hyper-consuming Black death via State violence day after day, especially since it is the most violent myth that said perpetual consumption is necessary for “awareness” of what you are already aware of, no less. You can take a break to value Black life. You can value Black life as radical praxis, actually. You do not have to center non-Black people over your own survival to “prove” your “progressiveness” while tolerating their anti-Blackness and erasure as their “praxis.” You are not their microphones. You do not have to toleratemicroaggressive/abusive and violent White allies when you feel safer and healthier being away from them. There is no solidarity/allyship where there is anti-Blackness. I know people on Tumblr/Twitter/Earth think Blackness is in a perpetual state of arrears where our labor and our very bodies as representative of labor/products/services are all we are worth and what we perpetually owe them.
I am truly tired of Black bodies, Black labor and Black hypervisibility being viewed as a resource to be excavated and consumed by non-Black people. If you make a blog that is all goddamn selfies and that is every single post, I am here for it.
Do you know that the first act of self-care for us as Black people might be recognizing that we deserve to be cared for in the first place? Seen as human? Especially Black women. Because we more than anyone encounter the idea that our only “worth” as people is finite and measured by how much people can use and consume us. And by self-care, I do not mean solely consumption in a capitalistic sense (though that is not non-Black people’s place to critique how you self-care, especially since many of them refuse to examine how anti-Blackness shapes their perception of what is “hyper-consumptive” or “capitalistic,” and how comfortable they are with Black people suffering), but simply realizing that you can say “NO.”
“No, I won’t consume specific images of Black death on a permanent media loop as everyone uses our bodies to further their careers.” Or “no, I won’t co-sign using Black bodies as rhetorical devices to recenter non-Black people.” Or as a Black woman/Black LGBTQIA person, “no, I simply do not want to attend a particular community event this evening about State violence since no one does anything to secure my safety from intraracial street harassment or sexual violence while there.”Or, “no, you cannot use my content to further your career as you slander my actual methods of discourse on social media.”
“No” is radical self-care. Self-care is not selfish.
—Gradient Lair | Saying “No” as Black Self-Care