I don’t recall any point in my life at which racism wasn’t a clear and present danger to the emotional and physical health of Black people across the globe because, well, I never lived in a fantasy world. However, it seems that acts of the blatant, casual, “IGAF-but-I’m-going-to-feign-ignorance” variety have increased—and social/new media has made it much easier to share and commit these crimes. And I’m tired. Tired.
I can’t do this with you all anymore, White people. You are literally driving me crazy. Yesterday was my day off and I was just trying to sit on my couch and relax, and what do I get? “Did you see the Russian socialite sitting on a chair made to look like a Black woman?” And this is one day after Richard Sherman (hey, bae) did his best Muhammad Ali—you know, the guy that everyone cites as this classy, inspirational American hero, as they quietly erase “(The Vietnamese) never called me ‘nigger’” from his story—at which point White Twitter promptly told him to go grab a snack from the 7-11 by George Zimmerman’s house.
Oh, and was I not trying to drink the week away in a bar on Friday night when my coworker texted me a link to Old Madonna, the mother of a Black son, referring to her White son as “#disnigga” on Instagram? I’m pretty sure that Sarah Palin said something wild this weekend as well, but as she is as much a politician as I am at this point, I really try to ignore her sorry, simpleton-baiting existence. But still.
Ah, yes, and among the number of brands that advertised using King Day fails was this tweet from Pornhub:
Happy MLK. In honor of his death, make sure to only use the Ebony category today.
— Pornhub Katie (@Pornhub) January 20, 2014
As we all have at least a cursory knowledge of our history, we do know how the word “ebony” became readily associated with Black people, right? Right. Happy MLK Day.
Look, White folks, can we just agree to disagree on the whole “treating Black people with respect” thing? Clearly, we aren’t going to see eye-to-eye. So… can y’all just leave us alone? Like, just look away when you see us doing anything and don’t put us in your movies, TV shows or living room sets. Just leave us be, leave us be, leave us be. Don’t celebrate Dr. King’s death on his birthday, don’t celebrate his birthday at all, just please go back to your corner and we’ll stay in ours. I don’t want integration anymore. I don’t even want those cheesecake swirl brownies from Starbucks. You just take that creamy stuff and let us keep the chocolate.
I’m tired of y’all making us feel bad, I’m tired of having to explain or defend my humanity and the humanity of those who look like me. Dealing with racism is like—how do I put this in terms that the most willful and ignorant and willful ignorant people can’t help but to understand?—like having to explain why one plus one equals two to an adult who tests at a seventh grade level. Like, no, you clearly aren’t the sharpest tool in the box, but you have to be capable of understanding some pretty basic stuff, right? Nope.
Perhaps I could deal with the blackface and the burning desire to use the N-word (HOW DARE WE KEEP ANYTHING FROM YOU!!), and the bizarre belief that Blacks and “others” have stolen the country, and that White people are the new disenfranchised minority, and the problematic media representations, and the inherent distrust, and the racial profiling of Black shoppers, and the outsourcing of Black musicians in the world of Black music creation, and Sandra Lee’s Kwanzaa cake, and some of these other microaggressions if we didn’t also have to contend with the prison industrial complex, and systemic lack of access to quality public schools, and gentrification, and crack cocaine that was deliberately funneled into our neighborhoods (it’s as if Reagan knew Sex and the City would happen and y’all would all want to return to the city from your tired suburbs, gee whiz), and police brutality, and apartheid, and the fact that folks really want to act like slavery didn’t have any lingering effects that a nation might, say, apologize and compensate for, and the fact that the majority of food stamp and welfare recipients are White. But nah, keep pretending that those benefits are reparations though.
As my friend Luvvie would say, I am no longer able to can. My can is empty and there are no more cans on my shelf. I can’t do this with y’all anymore, White people, I just can’t.
Now, I’m not quitting all White folks actually. I’d like to recruit RuPaul to issue some formal “Shanté you stay” and “Sashay away” notifications. But a good lot of you have to go, and if you’d like to formally excuse yourself from racial harmony now, please do and save us the trouble.