April 18, 2012
I feel like this series of posts requires an introduction because I know that there are people who think that anti-Blackness does not need to be specifically addressed. Or they think that talking about anti-Blackness is playing oppression olympics. Or. Whatever. They think whatever they want to avoid having to truly address anti-Blackness in whatever PoC community they belong to.
Everything I will write in this series of posts has one foundational premise: Black people are human.
The only true solidarity must come from recognizing, internalizing, and living with this one fact.
(and I most definitely do not mean, when I say that Black people are human, that we need to operate with some white hippie notion of “we are all human.” No. Just no.)
And because Black people are human. All of them. Individually. This means that I cannot write a series of posts that will programmatically ensure that you will successfully build solidarity and trust with Black people. This is impossible. Black people are not a monolith and what works with one Black person will not work with another.
Things you need to be prepared for:
- Some Black people will never trust you. Ever. No matter how hard you try.
Warning: this does not give you leave to give up. Nope. You still have to do the right thing and stand with Black people. Even if they reject you, hate you, mistrust you, fear you, cuss at you, whatever. You may have to stand with them in a different way if you are in this position, but you still have to do it.
Because it is the right thing to do. And if you want to be recognized for your anti-Blackness, you’ve already failed.
- You will fuck up and you will be called out.
Seriously. You will. I have been (and now that I think about I think I might owe a few apologies).
The mettle of someone truly committed to solidarity is tested and demonstrated for how they handle this situation.
Your only recourse when you are called out? Apologize (and, I swear to fucking god, I mean a real fucking apology not one of those passive aggressive fauxpologies). And do better.
- It takes a lot of time and a lot of energy.
Building trust takes work. Hard work. Standing with other people means taking risks and putting yourself out there. (and these risks are small compared to what they face, so do not ever equate your experiences with theirs. Ever.)
There are no shortcuts or easy ways to create true solidarity. And if you think reading my little series is all you’ll need… no. Not so much.
At every step of the way, keep these three points in mind.
Even more importantly, in your life, you must get yourself to the point where you not only recognize the humanity of Black people, but live, sleep, and breathe it. You must. Everything flows from this.
Last, I’m mostly going to talk about my personal experiences. Again, because I cannot give general advice beyond: Black people are human, treat them like this. My comments may also be more directed towards other Asians, ‘cause this is where I’m coming from.