On most days I enjoy scrolling through my Twitter feed trying to determine how much water and can food I need to stock up on since it is inevitable that Trump is determined to be the leader of World War 3 before 2018. Truthfully, I find some petty pleasure in watching the girl from The Ring Kellyanne Conway sell her soul to Steven Bannon the devil daily in her video clips and trying to determine if I can actually tell Sean Spicer apart from Melissa McCarthy. I can’t. In fact, I think she is a better Sean Spicer than Sean Spicer is Sean Spicer. I try to keep an open mind and breathe, count to ten, meditate, down a bottle of vodka as I read just how full of shit hypocritical this entire administration actually is. There is not a day that goes by that I cannot call a flag on the play.
But yesterday took the cake when a picture appeared on my feed by cartoonist, Glenn McCoy that compared Betsy Devos to the iconic painting of Ruby Bridges, The Problem We All Live With, by Norman Rockwell.
Let me get this straight. This cartoonist is trying to make some twisted comparison between BILLIONAIRE Betsy Devos being blocked by a handful of protestors as she attempted to enter Jefferson Middle School in her plaid designer suit, leather bag, and is escorted back to a chauffeured Black suburban, only to be allowed into the school later?
This is what is being compared to Ruby Bridges daring journey just to attend school, under a court order, November 14, 1960? Ruby Bridges, a little six-year-old girl, walking into William Frantz Elementary, in her Mary Jane shoes, showing unwavering courage as she walked by a large crowd of people that gathered, throwing things at her as she passed. Every morning Ruby went to school a woman would threaten to poison her and that made President Dwight Eisenhower dispatch US Marshals to accompany her. The fear that she would be poisoned was so great that Ruby was only allowed to eat food brought from home. Ruby was taught alone, by Barbara Henry as all other teachers refused to teach a Black student.
And it didn’t stop there because oppression and racism tend to spread like a virus. Ruby’s father lost his job, the grocery story would no longer allow her family to shop there, and her grandparents, who were sharecroppers, were turned away from the land that they used to make a living and survive. Indeed, Ruby was warned. Nevertheless, she persisted.
That is oppression. That is what racism looks like. Going to school as a six-year-old girl and trying to learn under the threat of death.
Oppression, my dear Betsy Devos is not your designer suits, cushy pay to play government position and riding chauffeured in a suburban. Oppression looks like a six-year-old girl, finding every ounce of strength within her to stand tall, endure the chants and death threats because she had a right to learn. And being Black while learning shouldn’t be a crime. You, Billionaire Betsy, have no clue what oppression looks like. It looks like a 12 year old Black boy shot dead on a playground in under 2 minutes by the police. You do not know what oppression smells like. It smells like rotting Black flesh hanging from trees. You don’t know what oppression tastes like. It tastes like eating defeat and trying to regurgitate an ounce of hope daily.
I do not understand why some White people have this desire to be oppressed so badly!
Why isn’t there a White Entertainment TV channel? Because pretty much EVERY other channel caters to White people.
Why isn’t there a White History Month? Because every day, every month, every year WE are taught about White people. Ask your children the last time they learned something about Black leaders that was not during Black History Month and then ask them did they learn about anyone else other than Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks.
Why can’t All Lives Matter? If All Lives Mattered there wouldn’t have been slavery, there wouldn’t have been Jim Crow, Black people wouldn’t be imprisoned at an alarming rate for the same offenses the justice system allows some White people to skip through the lilies for. Where was this All Lives Matters crew during slavery? Where was this All Lives Matters crew during Jim Crow? Where was this All Lives Matters Crew during the War on Drugs which was really a war on Black people? Where was this All Lives Matters Crew when Black people were being gunned down in the street before the invention of the camera phone?
Why must we have affirmative action? Because this nation is built on a system that has had its foot on the necks and backs of Black people for hundreds of years and it is right to offer Black people a chance that inevitably we know we will have to work twice as hard for anyways. We can do it this way or give us reparations with interest. I’ll wait…
Why did Beyonce have to be soooo Black on her Lemonade album? Because Beyonce is Black! It was a celebration of sisterhood and Blackness in all its splendor! Everything isn’t about you!
Why is Netflix streaming a show called Dear White People? Because it is a clever comedic commentary that opens up a dialogue across sectors and may actually bring awareness to some of the racism that many Black people experience that many White people claim to be oblivious to. If you don’t want to watch it, stream The Office.
Why can’t we have White Girl Magic? Because this entire world celebrates and holds White women as the standard and it is important that we recognize and be vocal about our ability as Black women to shine.
Why can’t I sit out in the sun? Melanin. Take it up with God.
There is no beauty in creating oppression that does not exist. It is an insult to those who are fighting daily just to breathe. It is any insult to our history. It is an insult to those who are truly oppressed and are fighting for freedom. It is an insult to our struggle and what we are attempting to build.
The next time you feel you are systematically oppressed, I suggest grabbing a Kleenex, wiping your tears and discovering a way that you can fight with people that are truly fighting against oppression. Until then, save your fake oppression for someone else.
Photo Credit: Ruby Bridges uncredited DOJ photographer