For today’s #BlackHistoryMonth in the present, I want to share a discussion I had with a black male born in the late 1970’s recently, with one statement he had. A traveled man himself with the Air Force and time in war in the Middle East. We discussed politics, racism, and travel and then those all hand in hand.
Being a traveler we discussed my project and travel currently and it came to discussing some groups I know, such as https://brownpeoplecamping.tumblr.com and the very white world of RVing. We weren’t discussing ideas or asking why’s, we were just stating what is. And then he said “I’ll tell you why black people don’t travel the way white people do all across America…
Black people don’t travel, hike, do your RVing, camp, and all that because we’ve been told to stay in our PLACE for so long. We don’t even have the concept to step outside of our neighborhoods, our blocks, or the place that the white people have put us in for generations. We are allowed where we are told we are allowed and we don’t go where we aren’t allowed to go. Even now being allowed technically, doesn’t mean we are safely allowed or welcomingly allowed.” He said.
There was more to our long and very good conversation. But this part is burned in my heart. I teared up then and there. The truth and clarity of that statement will literally haunt me. And it is truth. Clear as day. And thus BlackHistory and what Being Black in America is is not history but still of today. Because people still chant #MAGA in open racism.
As a white woman I truly hope to allow travelers of color whom I come across to feel welcome and safe but I’ve been through all of the deep south and through the recent elections enough to know just how unsafe they truly are. I feel unsafe as a woman much of the time. I can’t imagine feeling unsafe all of the time as a black woman or even worse, the way we see black men treated by white men in the media. Forever in my childhood will be scarred the memory of watching the news of James Byrd Jr. And the past couple of years have been black men being murdered by the police for 100% no reason other than being black, like Philando Castile. Never will a police officer fear me, in fact his guard will likely always be too far down. The opposite the officer in the case of Philando Castile was.
It is sad. I remember this being a topic even in California with a guy on a hike-date in my early twenties. His mother worried about him for these reasons. Yet another more recent LAPD beating overkill of a black man had occurred. It was 2004. I had watched this one the news as it happened and then again over and over. My first young and naive white privileged thought I still remember today as being “My mama beat me if I ran, too” but what I was only just about to realize was that the long long generation long history of police beating, lyching, and killing the black man and raping of the black women had come long before and that the reason a black man ran today wasn’t why he was beaten, the reason he ran was because of a generation of getting beaten. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeRLfqxHP00 (Stanley Miller).
What is something to note with our recent gun debate is that the LAPD was first banned of batons because of the beating with them. And then Police Chief William Bratton banned the large flashlight after the 2004 incident and called for manufacturers to make a smaller model. And guess what? There are no beatings with batons and less with flashlights now. And though the LAPD has had the worst reputation, it has also had the greatest improvements. Not all police training and police departments across the nation run by very high standards if any at all. Certainly, lack of procedure can be pointed out in 100% of all of the media highlighted issues. Though even they are still far off the mark yet.
This is why the awareness of Colin Keapernick is needed. So many people don’t SEE the problem. They don’t even think what they do come across is a problem. And, as my naive self once was, that is the problem. And prob less can’t be fixed without knowing about them. And it shows that the eveil American treatments of Black people are not #History but that still of today.
We discussed growing up in interracial families. I had the experience of having mixed sisters, but here was a good long come to wakening conversation with a mixed young man and how police treated him, an upright college educated hard working person. Or how dangerous an angry, jealous, or looking for trouble, or racist white man can be. My eye’s had been opened even further than I thought possible as the girl from the south, from Texas, from an interracial family, raised knowing full well what hearing the word Nigger sounded. It’s seen/lived/realized/understood different from child to adult and it’s different from black man to black woman.
A black woman has a lot to fear, too, though. As any woman, times about three more than myself. One friend told me a long time ago, as a black woman herself, “it’s just that black women have only ever known violence toward them to not know there is something else to compare it to. We are stronger for it but the white man will take credit for that, too, so that we don’t even own that. Black women don’t own anything no matter how much we pay for it.” I can’t imagine carrying the weight that they do on their shoulders, but as a white woman and a feminist I will forever try and ease their burden, try to carry my part of the weight. And try to solve some of the problems of justice. If for no other reason than it being simply the right thing to do, then for my two young sisters who will forever live as woman, and black woman, in America at a time when white supremacists speak freely and openly at colleges leading the next generation of racism in charge and promise of a white America, and of their extinction and who have to live with their own white mother calling them Niggers and treating them worse even than the world they will ever meet outside. Their burden will always be greater even than mine even within the childhood we shared and now as grown women in the outside world.
Though this article has two lines that completely devalue black girls and try to twist a story on social media, there is a LOT of good information in here to share, and many links to good sources.
I want to share this particular article because it shows how easily one person can ruin an entire cause with a false debunking. Though missing persons were down, missing young black girls were still very high, it was just getting a voice and a spotlight and #TimeMagazine decided to try and shut it down with two very bad lines and a terribly misleading headline just because out of passing things along on the internet SOME information as inaccurate (that 14 were missing in 24 hours rather than within less than a months time) and regardless, as is said “Members of the black community also perceived a racial dimension to the scarcity of news coverage. Black children who go missing receive less media attention than white kids, says Natalie Wilson, who runs the Black and Missing Foundation. Wilson and her sister-in-law Derrica founded Black and Missing in 2008, after the disappearance of Tamika Huston, a 24-year-old woman from Spartanburg, S.C., went largely unnoticed by national media. A 2016 analysis of online coverage of missing persons published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology found some evidence that cases involving white women not only draw more attention but more intense coverage. (The late journalist Gwen Ifill once dubbed the phenomenon “missing white woman syndrome.”)” This is truth.
Black people get noticed in the media less unless they did something wrong. And that isn’t something to ignore. As example of bad “debunking” articles, recently people sending articles “debunking” 18 school shootings so far this year, while their own articles still note 18 shootings at or in or on school grounds situations…it isn’t false, fake, or untrue. It might be worded a little differently and yes, let’s pay attention to details in journalism. But 14 girls missing in only one months time rather than 24 hours time in only one city without any news media attention is still something to bring to the forefront, and not allow SOME of what is on the internet (14 in 24 hours, or 18 school involved shootings maybe not by a mass bullet spraying killer but still 18 school involved shootings nonetheless, and all just as important as the other way) overshadow it. There are now more articles saying that 14 girls aren’t missing, rather than spotlighting that they, indeed, were legally reported and missing, because of one false timeline of 24 hours rather than a one months time. And now, as before, women of color who don’t get media attention when missing like white women do, or black women’s murders investigation with the media attention that a white woman’s murder gets (you don’t see a lot of black women murder mystery tv movies, either, do you?) So again, their voice is lost, as they often are.
And that goes without mentioning the #MeToo movement, started by the voice of a black woman, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/15/me-too-founder-tarana-burke-women-sexual-assault
And even the voice of a black woman in a hospital after giving birth and while, literally, on the verge of dying, doesn’t get heard. http://fortune.com/2018/01/12/serena-williams-birth-story-black-women/
And in all the mental health talk of late there hasn’t been whispered that of black women and mental health. Or even mental stress. Even Sandra Bland seems forgotten already and mention of mental illness then didn’t spark the fire for discussion.
And only recently it was black women who turned an entire tide in Alabama, of all incredibly places, to blue in voting in a Democrat Senate against a racist pedophile white supremacists which the white people of Alabama seemed to be moved even more to vote as bad news came out about him. Without a voice given about it at all beforehand, black women surprised the entire world with the largest American history change in over 8 years, when the first black president had won election, and by the smallest minority numbers to show how powerul even a small voice can be. They did it quietly but their voice spoke volumes to the world and upon history. And as a feminist and a Democrat I truly personally thanked and thank them now, but a week later it seems that incredible moment was already over and of course the focus was, in the end, still a white man who had the Senate seat even if it was black women who allowed him to have it. Do they get that credit? That THEY own that seat, that THEY put him there? No, still it seems somehow yet to be realized. Even white Wonder Woman in a movie got more than a week of media attention than those Wonder Women did.
And when black lives were being killed in large numbers, it was black women who created the Black Lives Matter movement. Simply because Black. Lives. Matter and in the killings America was saying that they didn’t. And what they face everyday is being drowned out by the voice of white people against it. Why doth protest the death of your unarmed men? They say, surprised and mad that the black, much less the women, dare to raise a voice. Long live the America that put black people AND women in their place to be spoken to but who are not allowed to speak! They say in their #MAGA way.
But we need to listen to the voice of the black woman.
However, even for me and the voice I raise for injustice and people of color, women, black women and men and unarmed killed children and so forth…I had moments, and still do, when I have a whole lot of learning to do. The eye-opening was the naivety of my young 20’s in a time when even many black people seemed to find the most rest they’d had in …ever in the history of America. But once the eye-opening was offered, it was up to me to learn, and seek being taught. And I do every day now. There is so much more to learn but I most definitely try and learn it from the black American’s and people of color all around the world. I always try and listen to their voice, and give them space to be heard.
Why do I care? Because I don’t have the weight of burden that they do. And they don’t have the choice of having that weight of burden which they carry. To be human is to be a friend and help to ease, and to carry the weight of the burden, and hopefully one day to help them fully cast it away. But they can’t do that without being heard. So in the personal experiences listening to the voice of my first story above, and the voice of the second, and the voice of the woman friend of mine in the third….I try and listen because “they don’t need any longer to be kept in ‘their’ place, but be allowed to actually live in the world among us all and us all together.” Real change comes from real stories. And here are three that I have heard in person that have moved and shaped my entire life. And THAT is America.
#BlackLivesMatter #BlackWoman #BlackMen #BlackAmerica #America. #MAGA can not win. #POC #WOC #Feminism