Current Events

When I Say Black, I Mean BLACK.

As the coronavirus continues to spread across America, we have seen the devastating impact this virus is having on Black communities. Without fail in most, if not all states, Black people continue to be disproportionately affected by this virus. While some would like to point to the lifestyle choices of Black people, what is often left out of the conversation is the centuries of marginalization, oppression, and predatory policies that have collectively impacted the health of Black people.

So, when I saw that some governors were reopening their states, I made a Twitter post that stated, “To all the Black people in the states opening up this week, ignore these idiots, and stay your ass at home.”

And without fail, (because that train is never late) a White person or non-Black person, jumps into my feed with their “what about us” stance stating, “All people stay inside,” or “What about the White and Brown people. Are you racist?” (When is pointing out something to Black people racist? God, help me. The ignorance.)

Let me be clear in the Year of Corona since this seems like a difficult concept for some people to comprehend, when I say Black, I mean Black. You will NEVER have to wonder, “Does Hannah mean all people?” The answer is an unequivocal no. If I meant all people, I would have said all people. I said EXACTLY what I meant to say. I do not need any White person (or non-Black person) to come behind me attempting (and failing) to correct my language.

The problem for many White people is that they cannot imagine a world where they are not the center. They cannot imagine a space, even online, that does not include them. White people have always been upheld as the standard, and to not be included in something feels like an insult to them.

sad black and white GIF

Newsflash, this world has NEVER centered Black people and I and many others see it as part of our job to make sure we help uplift, educate,  support, encourage, and celebrate Black people. I will not be changing my language to make you feel better. I say what I mean, and I mean what I say.  There are some messages that are not designed for you. They are By Black People, For Black People.

And I know when the world REVOLVES around you, you feel some type of way when a statement isn’t about you but it is okay. Breathe through it. You will be alright if something does not center you.

The next time a Black person makes a statement about Black people, before you jump in with your “what about ALL…” statement, pause and follow these two essential steps:

  1. Ask yourself, “Why do I feel compelled to make this statement about me or center all people when a Black person is making the statement specifically for Black people?”
  2. STFU

Thank you.

Additional Readings 

Please Stop Referring To Me As A Person of Color. I Am Black.

To The “Not All” Posse, PLEASE, STFU!

We Rooting For Black People

DWP, For the Millionth Time, I Am Not Racist

Fear Of Black Excellence (#BlackExcellenceChallenge)

Dear White Allies, There Will Be No Cookies

 

11 replies »

  1. I love this. I saw tweet where a person said that black women are beautiful and someone tried to ‘correct’ into saying that all women are beautiful.

  2. I’ve gotta admit that I’ve had similar sentiments like you’re talking about come up for me. “Aren’t we all in this together? Shouldn’t we be inclusive?” And it’s taken a lot of learning, listening and reflection to have it sink in that black people have been oppressed for centuries, there are still lasting effects, and so it doesn’t functionally promote justice in every scenario to say “shouldn’t we treat everyone the same?” Everyone is not treated the same. It makes me sad that black people are still being affected disproportionately and that we’re not to the point of being inclusive. But even speaking about my sadness loudly would be shifting attention to myself when there’s true injustice being done. “Look at my cut finger!” While my neighbor has a gushing wound.

    But my finger does hurt and it takes effort to take the focus off of that. So I can see why some people are having the reactions that they’re having… that I have too. But I can also see, with effort, that you are looking at the broader picture of injustice and that this isn’t about me just because my feelings get hurt a little sometimes.

    Also, as a white person I’ve never had to collectively come together as a racial group to protect myself from injustices. Anytime white people are gathering as a racial group… well, it’s usually to oppress others… So I’m noticing that I have a negative connotation of exclusively talking in/gathering in a racial group. Well, just because it’s negative for me (white people) doesn’t mean that it’s negative for others. It’s even necessary at times.

  3. Come through baybeeeeee! I especially liked #2. White folks cannot be happy someone if anyone else is centered. We can’t even be sick without White people intervening to inject yourselves.

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