As I continue to learn more about the history and future of Black people and all the systems designed to keep us oppressed that we continue to overcome, and the many intersections of our identities with those of many other marginalized identities and groups … I become less willing to debate about certain things.
Once upon a time, I would argue with people online and off about the root causes of some of these issues, and I would participate in the oppression olympics conversations to determine who had it the worst.
If I am committed to living my best Black life, there are some issues that are no longer up for debate. You’re either on the right side of it or you’re not. And if you’re on the wrong side, I ain’t going black and forth with you. I will wish you well and remove myself from your orbit to give you the time and space you need to evolve. But I won’t waste time trying to convince or engage you further. It’s just not worth the energy.
So here’s a list of what I’m no longer going black & forth about:
If White Supremacy is real then Colorism is real — and Darker Skinned people have it more difficult than Lighter Skinned people. While we can acknowledge the difficulties and struggles Light-Skinned Black people face at times, they are not and never will be equal to what Dark-Skinned Black people deal with.
Periodt. No more going black & forth.
It is important for Black people to see themselves authentically represented in all facets of life. In school rooms. In board rooms. In hospitals. In science labs. In court rooms — as judges and attorneys, not just victims or defendants. On television and in music — both in front and behind the scenes.
Representation matters — and it matters for the representation to be sincere and complete. No more token representation just for the sake of claiming to have diversity. No more single-dimensional ideas of what Blackness means. Demand and allow us to have the full spectrum of human complexity without apology or judgment. Do not accept or settle for anything less. Be outspoken and withhold full support when you see it instead of taking the “well, at least it’s something” approach.
The glass of representation is either full or empty. Periodt. No more going black & forth.
Women deserve the right to equal pay. We deserve to have successful careers and not be judged for the times or ways we choose work over family.
We deserve the right to marry who we want or not get married at all — and to select whatever naming nomenclature we see fit when we do. We deserve the right to make choices about our reproductive health — about whether we want to have kids or not, and under what circumstances. We get to choose whether we have natural birth or pain management medications, whether we breastfeed or bottle feed, whether we stay at home for some period of time or go right back to work.
We deserve to develop naturally within our bodies and not be forced to morph ourselves into unrealistic standards of beauty. We deserve to choose enhancers to our beauty without being ridiculed or judged. We deserve to menstruate without embarrassment and mockery. We deserve to enjoy our sexuality and pleasures without being labeled. We deserve not to be dehumanized and devalued because of our gender.
We deserve for our choices to not be judged or regulated by people who don’t even bother to try to fully understand our struggle or our choices. And Black women deserve this more because of the ways in which historical stereotypes have left our rights and choices infringed upon, judged and appropriated more than any other group.
This is no longer a topic for black & forth.
TOXIC MASCULINITY AND MISOGYNY
Black men ascribe to patriarchal ideals just like the rest of the men in the world. Because of the abuse and mistreatment they face because of their Blackness, their patriarchal dominance demonstrates itself differently and is tolerated more often by Black women because we know Black men are often emasculated in other spaces. But make no mistake, that isht is toxic and unacceptable, and it needs to stop.
We have to stop making excuses for Black men who control, dominate and abuse women to fill the void left in them by supremacy and by the very same patriarchy they are unknowingly repping for. Especially when that abuse, control and domination involves Black women.
This does not mean Black women are turning their backs on Black men. We are calling you higher, just as we have been since the beginning of time. Stop going black & forth and meet us on this new level.
HOMOPHOBIA and TRANSPHOBIA
Homophobia and transphobia are an extension of patriarchy usually poorly hidden under the guise of religion. Homosexuals and transgender and the entire spectrum of non-gender conforming people are NOT new. Especially in the Black community.
They are not actively trying to turn our men or women to a “gay lifestyle” (whatever TF that is anyway). They are not hiding out in bathrooms trying to hurt children. They are not pushing some kind of agenda that’s vastly different from any other marginalized group. There will be no more black & forth on this.
Intersectionality and privilege are complex games of rock-paper-scissors . And in our privilege, we all say uninformed, hurtful, ignorant things. And sometimes we do hurtful, ignorant things that cause marginalized people to feel more othered. It has happened, it will happen, and it is going to keep happening to all of us who are learning as we go in doing this kind of work.
When we mess up in the present or when something stupid from our past is brought to light in the present, we have a responsibility to make it right. And usually this means issuing an apology.
Sincere apologies take full ownership of the offensive, hurtful behavior. They specifically acknowledge the person/group hurt and note the specific reason why it was hurtful. They explain their wrong thinking and commit to doing better. And they actively take on the work of being and doing better.
We don’t get enough sincere, real apologies. We get a lot of weak azzed apologies with non-specifics on the who, what, where, why, how and when.
Let’s stop going black & forth about what a real apology is. Let’s focus on demanding sincere apologies and reformed behavior instead. Let’s stop giving away second-chances at a discount and forgiveness for free.
BLACK on BLACK CRIME
The rate of Black on Black crime in comparison to any other group on group crime is not higher. People generally commit crimes against people they know or don’t know but live in close proximity to. Since our nation is still more segregated than not, Black people live with and know mostly Black people — hence, we commit more crimes against each other. Let’s stop going black & forth on this.
Let’s also stop with the “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time” and “maybe there is more to the story” nonsense. Let’s talk more about the overpolicing, higher conviction and incarceration rates, and lack of support for successful re-entry after being involved in the criminal justice system that Black people are struggling with. If we work on solutions to these, the need to go black & forth on Black on Black crime will go way down.
Not all Black people are Christians. Not all Muslims are bad. Not all Black Jews are confused or misled. Some Black people don’t believe in a single god or any god at all. This is not new. And those who seek to keep us oppressed don’t really care.
In the end, we’re all just trying to survive and thrive. Whatever gives you the strength and comfort to do that is aight with me. Nothing to go black & forth about.
SOCIAL & POLITICAL ACTIVISM
Black people should vote. We should research to become educated about the issues, the candidates and their stances then we should go vote. Every time. Every election.
We should be socially conscious and active in many facets. We should donate to charity. We should volunteer our time to and march in support of causes . We should write and call our congresspeople. We should share and speak out about issues on social media. We should boycott when entities violate their responsibility to us.
All of these are required. The times we’re living in demand we do all 8. Arguably, the times we’ve lived in have always demanded it … but we got comfortable and lost sight of the fight. There’s no more time for that. And there’s no more time to go black & forth the importance and significance of our activism.
That’s my list of issues that I’m no longer debating black & forth about.