When White Groups Co-Opt Black Movements, They Win
It’s pretty obvious where this is going. Black people aren’t going to get anything for their votes. Yeah, some will say it’s only been a few days since Biden’s been in office and the new Congress has been in session, but that has been long enough to tend to all sorts of other groups who haven’t supported Black Lives Matter, at least without motives.
I keep thinking about the LGBTQ movement this summer co-opting Black Lives Matter inserting Trans Lives Matters and Black Trans Lives Matters. White Pride groups basically did a drive-by All Lives Matter on our movement. This week they got their flowers for their thievery. Congress rewarded the LGBTQ community with Equality Act, a bill to ban discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. A Gallup poll found only 5.6% of all US adults identify as transgender, lesbian, bisexual, or gay. The poll showed an increase of more than 1% from a 2017 Gallup poll (which found 4.5% identified as LGBT) and a 2% increase from 2014 (3.7%). Generation Z identifying as LGBT total 16%.
These are very small intersecting populations to focus on. The focus does not infuriate me. The timing does.
The LGBTQ population is a tiny, complicated minority population. What complicates the population is race. Rarely do we see the breakdowns of racial identities of persons polled our the groups at large. Race determines whose issues are addressed first. As a person in a same-sex relationship, my race trump’s my gender and my sexual orientation. If any other minority LGBTQ persons are truthful, they’d have to admit the same.
The LGBTQ co-opted Black Lives Matter and came out on top. Black people who helped the White LGBTQ community get their rights still don’t have protections for being Black, well, you played yourselves, again. You’ll reap no benefits from the Equality Act if you’re Black because we are the most hated of all minority groups in America.
Maybe if you cling to your White LGBTQ friends, you’ll get to benefit from those protections you helped them fight so hard for.
We’re Still Fresh Off The Racist Coup
Let me just remind you we just had an insurrection on January 6th because White racist GOP’ers didn’t want to honor the Black votes in certain states. We’re also heading into our second year of the pandemic with no support for our basic needs. Like, food, water, and preservation of our shelters. We’ve lost jobs that are never coming back and we have a White Supremacy problem. But okay.
This is a perfect example of how White people will prioritize themselves and what’s important to them on the backs of other groups. The LGBTQ community has done the same thing White suffragists did with the Civil Act. If there are African-Americans folks and allies mobilizing for progress on behalf of African-American civil rights, White people are there for the stop and steal. Granted, the Act is likely to be defeated in the Senate, the fact Congress this act was important while we’re literally being killed in the streets with no justice because of the color of our skin is appalling to me.
I hate this place. Muddying the waters harms African-American and Black folks. Every time.
It’s why I believe it’s imperative African-Americans be declared a separate protected group and we have our own agenda if we’re to continue living in this shithole country. As long as we’re viewed as simply a minority group, White folks in power will cherry-pick which parts of the minorities they want to support. They’ll always neglect African-American and Black people. Some may feel this is the oppression Olympics, but I feel like it’s a matter of life and death for us. We’ve been fighting the race wars longer than we’ve fought about sexual identity and sexuality wars.
Why can’t we fix things in order and stop putting Black people and Black issues to the back burner? Because America is racist, that’s why, and whether most White people will admit it or not, their centering issues are usually about how they’ll benefit. White people aren’t vested in racial issues the way they are pro-LGBTQ issues because they likely know someone they care about (i.e. kids, relatives, friends, old college classmates) who are in the family. They don’t give a rat baby’s ass about race issues or anything to do with anti-Blackness and racism because they don’t have any African-American or Black people in their orbit.
This is why I believe personally groups should segregate themselves for the purpose of their social justice and racial advocacy efforts. Anytime African-Americans and other Black groups allow White social justice and racial groups able to be White and Other, Black folks lose.
Biden Skips Black Long-Standing Discrimination To Tend To Asians Discrimination
Another slap in the face to African-Americans fighting against racial discrimination after a summer of clashes with police nationally was Biden coming into the office and signing an Executive Order condemning racial attacks against Asians related to the coronavirus. I know his ass saw George Floyd die the street. He spoke to his family. I know he has seen numerous other police killings and all the police who participated in the attempted coup. Cops are out of control, but Biden has chosen a path of least resistance, focusing on one of their favored model-minority groups.
Biden has done nothing in the way of undertaking police reform. In fact, he noted he had no plans of doing so. I realize he said he had plans to do reform, but if your plan is to do the same thing America has always done, that’s not reform. That’s repetition.
I know he saw and heard us begging and pleading. He’s not done one Executive Order exclusively to protect Black people from the long, unethical hand of our unjust laws. There have been no Executive Orders for police reform. There have been no Executive Orders to protect Black votes, the same voting block that delivered him the office he currently holds.
Biden said he had our Black backs. I knew he was full of shit when he said it. It took him running for President to finally apologize for his 1994 Crime Bill. He’s shown us he’s full of shit too many times. Biden isn’t the man for the hour, and most Black folks knew it, but we had no clue he would be this disrespectful to Black folks. The vanity and lunacy of Whiteness are incomprehensible. The lack of regard for Black people is almost like it’s planned. It’s eerie.
Nobody has our backs. Folks keep telling Black people they need to wait for slow incremental change as if we haven’t been waiting already for centuries. I’m angry because folks have the audacity to say how little time Biden’s been in office as if he wasn’t a career politician with 40-years of political experience under his belt already. Asking Black people to wait after they’ve already waited and their lives are in constant danger is racist. Period.
No other group has to wait except Black people, and I’m tired. I don’t expect anyone to do anything. I just want to highlight the hypocrisy and demonstrate how other groups in America co-opt and undermine the movements of Black people for their benefit with no regard for how those actions harm our families.
Biden, like the Democratic Party, has moved on to shore up the support by tending to the needs of other smaller minority groups to compensate for the loss of Black votes they intend to shed. Make no mistake, the Democratic Party is shedding Black votes, picking up other minority group support, and preparing for the Brown wave in the next few decades. It’s the reason for the emphasis on immigration and DACA.
Republicans are working on their White man’s coup. Democrats are working on sustaining White Supremacy in a different way, with the help of Brown model minorities. Both parties have the same goal although they use different methods to get the results they desire. That goal is to keep the white identity and all its structures in power.
Black people need to understand neither Biden, Harris nor the Democratic Party will deliver anything to us tangible or meaningful during these next two years if ever. Dems will lose power in 2022 and we’ll be dealing with Republican White Supremacist for the next two decades.
Mark my words.
If Black lives mattered, Biden, Harris, and the rest of the Black, White, and Brown politicians in Congress would have already done something by now. So would have individual states in the Union. America is simply put a breeding ground of hate and anti-Blackness. You don’t have to say you hate Black people to hate Black people. Just be apathetic towards them and work harder for other groups than you do us. That’s the hate White people refuse to acknowledge.
Black people are dealing with threats from all sides, so if you’re Black you better be figuring out how to live without support. America is showing us what it's always shown us. Our families have been doing it for decades. Strong Black family structures will be vital to survive this season.
Remember Last Summer?
African-Americans, Black people, and lots of good White and Brown people marched most of last year after watching George Floyd and so many other Black men killed in the streets by police. All last year, Black folks had to deal with other groups attempting to co-opt or decenter our movement. That decentering is what other non-Black groups in America have always done. The language of defunding the police was one of those tactics used.
Someone changed our simplified language and turned it into something that was difficult for the average person to understand. Those people were White people. We cannot have any business unless White people are involved in it. Even when we rage in our own language, Whiteness must put its final touches on it so that our words don’t harm White people, at the expense of Black and Brown people. Even when we rage, there is racism in the mix.
There is an expectation in America that Black people should include everyone in our movements when other groups only use our movements to protect their collective groups.
Black Lives Matter was about Black people being killed by police and the government not doing anything about it. I’m not sure how sexuality and LGBTQ rights decided that was a perfect vehicle to connect with except White people have historically latched themselves onto Black movements to get what they need while not assisting us to get what we need. The LGBTQ movement has been racially exclusive, and this past summer they were forced to deal with the realities of how White the movement has always been.
While we may intersect in some areas (i.e. minorities and racial discrimination), when other groups have the opportunity, they choose their race and use racism for their social and financial gain.
For example, White feminists during the early waves of the suffrage movement didn’t believe Black women should be included in their movement. Furthermore, African Americans were enfranchised by the Constitution and denied the right to vote by individual states. White women didn’t help us before helping themselves and other groups of women despite us being here first.
Every woman got the right to vote before Black women.
Black People Help White People Decenter Their Own Issues
Black people, at some point, we’ve got to become wiser about having what decentering and co-opting our movements looks like. I keep thinking about the old O’Jay’s song “Back Stabbers,” “Smiling in your, and all the time they wanna take your place.” Folks love decentering us and stealing from us. It’s a known fact. Add co-opting social and racial justice momentum to the category of things stolen from us.
White people in America historically have been culture vultures. They have no culture because White is nothing. It’s not real. White is a color, a made-up identity, and it needs to steal stuff to give it life. Whiteness relies on otherness for its seasoning. It relies on other cultures to simply exist. There is hardly anything we have, use, or enjoy in America that came from White people.
Our national preferred language is English (hailing from England, Latin, etc). Our food choices come from across the globe and are modified by White people, like pork belly becoming bacon, now it’s glorified pork belly again. Our religions, including America’s beloved Christianity, is a spinoff of Judaism. Some of American White folks’ favorite music genres mostly was stolen (often without credit) from Black creatives and Black culture. Yoga, White folks’ favorite “meditation and exercise rackets are really from colonized South Asia. Big White tech offers Black people free access to their platforms and allows, then harvests their AAVE and culture to reinvent for White people to consume.
White women (suffragists) clung to our Civil Rights Act because we had already made leeway and because a White politician suggested they do it to get their issues passed. They made sure they were added to it. Now, we have fewer protections and in some instances, no protections while White people have double and some instances triple protections.
It’s not cool when Black and Brown people are the only ones doing the thing. Our cultures become cool and accepted only when White people can do the things too, hence our term culture vultures.
My point is, White people will steal anything, anytime they get ready, and use it for personal and financial gain, to include our movements. We need White allies to help us, not steal from us and decenter us.
I’m all for intersecting issues fighting their fights, just not the expense of Black people. There is enough room in the social justice arenas to fight against the inequities and unfairness we believe we are experiencing. What is problematic is when we’re forced into groups with privileged and preferred groups. The privileged and preferred groups always take priority, leaving Blackness in the darkness.
Be mindful of your social justice collaboratives. Learn when to fight together and when to fight solo. A class fight is an everyone fight. But class intersects with our races, which makes fighting class fights problematic. White people will always pull themselves out of fights where they have an advantage.
When there are racial justice fights, while all Black and Brown people experience racism (unless they are able to pass as White like Jewish people, White Latinx populations, or other model minority groups), we don’t experience racism the same. Black people experience racism the worst, and we’ve experienced it the longest. We’re historically seen as less valuable and other groups know this. They too will engage in anti-Blackness, while fighting against racism. It’s times like these when being in the trenches with people like yourself is important. If you’re fighting with people who are going to constantly undermine and decenter you, you’re always going to lose.
This is why Black people are always losing. Whiteness has made it a sin to fight solo, because fighting solo demands they must pay attention to individual sins/issues, and they don’t want that. It’s easier to pool us together, make us fight among ourselves and they get to live another day free from accountability.
Black people must learn to fight alone and be comfortable in that. We must learn to fight and recognize co-opting, and push back against it. We must remember that White people for the most part are not fighters, which is why they attach themselves to our movements when they want something. We do the dirty work, and they benefit. Other groups are now doing the same.
When we were marching for our lives and writing for our lives, Asians and the largely White LGBTQ community were silent, because they too have issues with anti-Blackness. They too love White Supremacy and benefit from the oppression of Black people. To see the Asian and LGBTQ communities are benefitting from our efforts isn’t surprising. They’ve always benefited from our hard work.
What pisses me off is Black people not seeing the pattern and not being tired of being guilted into co-opting and decentering. If you can’t stand for yourselves on your own when it’s time, you’ll fall for anything, every time.
That’s why we vote for the largely White, aging Democratic party without a Black agenda.
That’s why we keep voting for the Democratic Party despite them putting other less oppressed groups before us.
That’s why the party keeps giving us representation without substantiation.
That’s why the LGBTQ and Asian communities have recognition and we have nothing of our own.
Black people keep getting played and it’s really too late to do anything about it. No one is going to give up anything for us. You gotta get it for yourselves. So Black people, you better wake up and smell the coffee America has fixed for everyone else.
Other groups are getting served, and you’re not.
Allies working with the Black community need to see and understand it’s not cool to continue lumping us into categories with other groups, because our issues are not addressed. Racism is a national threat, but anti-Black racism and inequality have been around the longest. It needs to be addressed now. We don’t have time to wait.
But if you can’t help us, just move on and let us be together fighting alone. We don’t have any more time or energy to invest in other groups who don’t have time or energy to invest in us.
That’s not being selfish. It’s self-protection. If everyone else can do it, Black folks can too. Black folks need to learn to see Black. See Black and protect Black. And learn to leave Black people who can’t in the dust.
If you don’t, no one else will.
Marley K. 2021 ©
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