Here I Go Again

This is just (what I hope will be) a short post in response to an ‘Ask the FSM’ I received. It has to be short because otherwise this post will turn into a political rant. As do the majority of my ‘neutral’ posts, now I think of it actually. But whatever. This is also quite a timely-relevant question, as October is the month we celebrate Black History Month in the UK.

QueenNefertiti asked at 15:04 – ‘What do you think of BLM?’

For those of you who are unaware, the abbreviation ‘BLM’ is in reference to the Black Lives Matter movement, founded by three African-Americans in 2013, through a social media hashtag, (#BlackLivesMatter or #BLM) following the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin.

I’d like to apologise in advance for any grammatical or informational discrepancies, but in short, this is what I think of it:

The fact that we live in a world where ‘Black Lives Matter’ has to be voiced aloud for people to recognise this basic fact is despicable. It should just go without saying. I think, as not just a black person but also a person who clearly sees injustices and racism in the majority of the institutions worldwide, that BLM is a very valuable and worthwhile movement. At the same time, it’s a travesty that this movement exists, because it just shows the so-called ‘progressiveness’ of our society isn’t, in fact, as forward-thinking as we’d like to believe. However, the general success and support of the movement inspires a level of hope in me; that despite the mostly fractured and separated community of blacks, there still remains some level of solidarity.

I believe that the common misconception of the BLM movement is that people believe that when it is said, it means ‘ONLY Black Lives Matter’ or ‘Let’s ignore every other marginalised group and recognise only the oppression of Black people’; both which are, of course, wildly inaccurate interpretations of the movement. BLM literally means ‘Black Lives Matter’, not any more or any less than any other race or ethnic group, and that we would like you – the authority, the law-deciding institutions of the world, but moreso of America – to recognise this fact when you are dealing with any case relating to the wrongful treatment of black people, judicially, socially and in any other relevant context.

Of course we need BLM. The amount of horrific cases of police brutality that have been surfacing for the past years are far too many – there should be none. The figures of inequality and injustices in the wrongful convictions of black people or alternatively the wrongful acquittal of white people who have committed crimes against blacks (especially in the case of police officers who have murdered innocent black civilians) are ridiculously high, and indicate (to me, at least) a clear problem. The fact that people are disregarding BLM as a movement which is ‘unnecessary’ or even ‘radical’ is, in my opinion, offensive. How can you tell me that a movement which acknowledges the oppression of a marginalised group and attempts to combat that oppression, through peaceful protesting and campaigning, is ‘radical’? They are literally fighting for the right to be recognised and treated as equals – a status which black people (in America in particular) have been fighting for, for the best part of 400 years.

BLM is not a supremacist, violent or systematically-racist movement. It is a movement that combats the supremacist, violent and systematically-racist institutions of America, and yet is still relevant for black people in communities all over the world. BLM is not a radical movement. There may be radical supporters WITHIN the movement, but there have been and are radicals within every group which stands for peace and equality; in the same way that you cannot label every Muslim an extremist or every white person a racist, you cannot label everyone who agrees with the BLM movement a ‘radical white-hater’, or a ‘segregationist’. Plus, not only black people support the movement. People from all different ethnic backgrounds and races support this movement; another indication that this movement is not at all an ‘exclusive’ one.

I support Black Lives Matter. I am not a violent, a segregationist, a ‘radical’ or anything more than a person who desires social, political and economic equality for blacks – and social and economic equality are, for the most part, still ongoing struggles.

I also do not think that the counteractive ‘All Lives Matter’ should even be used in the same sentence. Yes, ‘All Lives Matter’ but saying ‘ALL lives’ is not specifically focusing on the lives which are currently at risk; you’re including a group which is CLEARLY not marginalised or experiencing the same levels of inequality as others. Yes, there are other oppressed and marginalised groups, but rather than bringing them up as an argument to counteract the BLM movement, why not campaign for these issues yourself? Rather than attempting to invalidate the BLM movement by raising other racial issues, why not simply take up the mantle and raise these issues yourself? Rather than citing ‘black-on-black crime’ as the greater killer of black people in America than the American Police force, why not stop trying to invalidate BLM with somewhat pathetic and irrelevant excuses? As I saw on a very succinct Instagram post, it’s like people saying “Black Lives Matter” and the response group saying “Yes they do BUT…” There is no need to add a ‘but’. There is no ‘but’. Black Lives Matter. End of discussion.

I hope I’ve answered your question, QueenNefertiti.

That wasn’t even a short post, but I hope that my point is clear; I’m sure it is.

Love the Faerie Squad Mother x

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UN Declaration of Human Rights – Article 19

I’m sick of being told not to rock the boat. I’m sick of feeling uncomfortable discussing issues that should be talked about because they need to be. I’m sick of feeling like I’m not the person who can say anything because I’m supposed to be the quiet black girl who sits back and quietly calls people problematic but doesn’t say anything to their faces.

I’m sick of this ‘angry black girl’ rhetoric. I’m sick of people telling me I’m making a big deal out of something that isn’t even being made a DEAL out of. I’m sick of the fact that these mentalities are so institutionalised and normalised that whenever I say anything, I’m suddenly the villain. I’m sick of being villainised for something I have every right to do. I’m sick of people calling me aggressive and vicious in my behaviour. I’m sick of people believing I am out to fight them verbally about racial issues when in reality, that’s what they do to me.

I’m sick of ignorant people. I’m sick of having to tell people that their behaviour is offensive or rude or racist or prejudiced or discriminatory or problematic. I’m sick of the fact that in the 21st century, I still have to tell people that their behaviour is offensive or rude or racist or prejudiced or discriminatory or problematic. I’m sick of hearing about whose ancestors didn’t own slaves. I’m sick of hearing excuses made for ‘justifiably-racist’ comments, or actions. I’m sick of the fact that people believe that we live in a post-racist society.

I’m sick of the fact that my culture is still a costume and a trend. I’m sick of the fact that I’m told to ‘relax about my culture’ when I have every reason to get angry.  I’m sick of people ‘tone policing’, and telling me how I should feel about things that are problematic. I’m sick of the fact that me highlighting someone’s questionable behaviour turns into me racially attacking someone.

I’m sick of people believing that white people are oppressed. I’m sick of white people believing that they are oppressed. I’m sick of white people believing they are entitled to everything, including oppression. I’m sick of white people feeling they are entitled to use the word ‘nigger’, in any of its forms or variants.

I’m sick of people fetishising my race, and men of colour, and women of colour, and mixed-race babies. I’m sick of the fact that the movement #BlackLivesMatter has been counteracted with #AllLivesMatter, not because all lives ACTUALLY matter, but because people want to derail the growing self-love and solidarity of Black people. I’m sick of the fact that #BlackLivesMatter is still controversial. I’m sick of the fact that we have to even have a BLM movement. I’m sick of the fact that we have to campaign and fight for #BLM and #BlackGirlsRock because nobody seems to realise this without us making it a thing.

I’m sick of people trivialising my struggle. I’m sick of the fact that because I’m ‘just’ a black girl, my opinion about racial issues pertaining to myself suddenly carry no significance. I’m sick of people telling me that I haven’t experienced racism. I’m sick of people telling me what I have experienced isn’t racism. I’m sick of being told that my personal experiences are invalid.

I’m sick of the fact that in the media, in films, in movies, in books, the exploration of a culture is mind-blowing and hard-hitting, but in real life, in MY life, people never want to acknowledge the origins of a culture, so long as it suits them. I’m sick of people being uncomfortable discussing racial issues. I’m sick of my struggle being a taboo. I’m sick of people trying to avoid discussing these issues altogether. I’m sick of people telling me to “not get involved” because it has “nothing to do with me” when the issues are directly pertaining to me.

I’m sick of being looked to as a minority group as the spokesperson for an entire race and culture and heritage in certain places. I’m sick of not being looked to as having an opinion for an entire race and culture and heritage in certain places. I’m sick of having my opinion passed over because it’s too controversial. I’m sick of being told my opinions are controversial.

I have every right to call someone out if I feel like they’re being offensive. I have every right to RESPECTFULLY call someone out if I feel like they’re being offensive. I have every right to point out someone’s problematic behaviour. I have every right to RESPECTFULLY point out someone’s problematic behaviour.

Don’t tell me to calm down. Don’t tell me to stop talking. Don’t tell me I’m being offensive. Don’t tell me I’m upsetting said problematic person. Don’t tell me to stop making a big deal out of it.

I can’t believe I even have to write a post like this.

I’m not a person who likes to ‘rock the boat’. I’m not a person who likes confrontation but I am NOT a person who is going to sit by any longer and listen to problematic people and offensive people and racist people and prejudiced people continue on in their ignorance without telling them.

I am not disillusioned to believe that anything I ever say will change their opinions. I am not going to pretend that I am the Almighty SJW who will liberate the minds of all ignorant people. I am not saying that I have reached the ultimate level of social and racial enlightenment or that I am entirely #Woke. Because I’m not.

But I’m sick of being told I’m the angry black girl. Because I have a voice too.

And I have every DAMNED right in the world to use it.

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Let’s Discuss

Time for a rant. I’m so ready for this. It’s been building up inside of me for a long time and I finally have the excuse to let it all out.

The title of this post is quite misleading; a lot of the things in this rant aren’t actually up for discussion. Without further ado, let’s go:

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

I can’t speak much for America (since I am neither natively American nor have ever experienced it there) but I’m just going to speak from the POV of a Black-British Caribbean teenage girl, experiencing it in England.

Let’s start off with my personal opinion of this commemorative month. My ethos is pretty simple when it comes to this actually; I don’t like it. (I am aware this opinion is controversial, but I don’t care) I feel like it is very tokenistic and patronising. Like the Almighty Council of Whites sat down and said, “Aww, the dark folk are kicking up a stink about the past… let’s subdue them by giving them a month to commemorate their background.”

A month isn’t enough. I’m not saying that they should institute Black History Half-Year or Black History Century, but at the end of the day, how do you expect us to cram centuries worth of culture, background and history into 31 days?

It’s impossible. You can’t. Especially when what you WANT us to cram into that month is not the entirety of the truth. (But more on than in a minute).

I may not like it, but at the end of the day, if we’re going to have it then at least let it be commemorated properly and respectfully.

That’s the first problem – that the existence of this commemorative month is tokenistic and patronising.

Problem two: the reaction of white (and ignorant) people. Here are some of my favourite reactions:

  • “What about White History month?” (Honey, every month of the year is White History month)
  • “Why don’t we make it Multicultural Diversity Month?” (You make ANOTHER month of the year ‘Multicultural Diversity Month’, don’t get it twisted with ours, THANKS)
  • “It sort of makes me feel a bit uncomfortable.” (I’m glad you feel that way. Our past was uncomfortable)
  • “I don’t see why we need to commemorate things in the past.” (Hmmm… that’s funny, because, you commemorate the Holocaust, you commemorate Remembrance Day but, you want to ignore a part of history which not only was the building block for most largely-developed countries but also lasted a very long time and which people are still living with the repercussions of today? Hmmmm… Okay. Let me just… sip my tea…)
  • “Don’t talk about the negative things… we just need to be positive about this whole thing.” (Yes but that’s probably not what my ancestors were saying when they were being beaten by yours in the cotton fields, so once again, let me… sip my tea…)
  • “Things have changed now!” (*crickets chirp*)

And so on. I feel like I should dedicate an entire post to the racist and offensive opinions of small-minded White People. I love hearing some of the gems that some of them come out with. Really. They warm me at night.

So, problem number three with Black History Month is what it’s actually used (or not used) for. It seems to me that for the majority of the country, Black History Month is only that in name. It doesn’t actually change anything. There aren’t any national days or services or anything where it’s acknowledged. I find it very ironic how people are so willing to commemorate Remembrance Day out of respect for a war that lasted 4 years which STABILISED the foundations the country we live in, yet entirely overlook the events of a time almost 100 times as long, which BUILT the foundations of the country we live in. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the sacrifices that any of those soldiers made weren’t commendable, and I’m not saying that it should have been made into a small thing. What I AM saying is that it isn’t fair that we as a nation (as a country with a White Male Supremacist-led government) want to pick and choose which events suit us most to commemorate.

The truth is, Black History makes people uncomfortable. To which I say, fantastic. Great. Get uncomfortable. It wasn’t a pleasant period of time and at the end of the day, its effects are still on the perpetual generations of black people, mixed people, people of colour in general. Who remained unscathed and actually benefitted from this regime? White people. It benefits them to keep their ‘reputations’ entirely untouched by simply pretending that those 300 years plus of history never actually happened. I’m sure it aids their consciences as well. After all, as I have heard so MANY DAMN TIMES, “my ancestors didn’t own slaves.” Okay, fantastic, so then WHOSE did?!

Furthermore (LOL I’ve always wanted to get that word into a blog post), the whole POINT of Black History Month is the re-education of narrow-minded curriculums and ignorants. We act like only four black people were influential and helped the world in any way. Black Historical Figures are comprised of more than Rosa Parks, MLK, Malcom X and Nelson Mandela. There were more than those four. (GASP. SHOCK. HORROR. OH NO. EVERYTHING’S BEEN THROWN UP IN THE AIR NOW!)

The problem I have is that people seem entirely comfortable in their ignorance. Last year, I had to fight for the commemoration of this month in my school (another problem – students shouldn’t be fighting for the recognition of something which is so important) and what happened was I got a WEEK – that’s right, a measly WEEK – in MARCH of the following year – another issue, Black History Month is OCTOBER not MARCH – to do assemblies.

Me. A student. Do assemblies.

Myself. A pupil. Educate the people who are supposed to be the educated.

So I was like, “You know what, I’m not happy, but I’ll roll with it.” What I decided to do was, since I go to a girl’s school, choose black influential women whom barely anyone ever spoke about or knew of. I also took care to choose people whose lives hadn’t had ‘happy endings’ so to speak; because really, that’s a mentality that needs to be broken. Not every black slave was freed and lived out the rest of their free life in happiness and peace. (That’s next in this rant). So I compiled my list and I was all excited and went to speak with the woman who was in charge of all this. I sat her down, told her my plan and she was like, “Hmm. Okay. Who are you planning to talk about?”

So I told her the names. And I KID YOU NOT she said,

“Well, I don’t know who they are so… maybe choose other people?”

I ended up settling with four mostly known women; Tina Turner, Maya Angelou, Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth. Great people, though not as obscure as I had wanted them to be. I wanted to prove a point; that we are only ignorant of the things we WANT to be ignorant of. The woman had made a conscientious choice to dismiss the people I’d chose because ‘she didn’t know them’. That is the whole point. If we keep exploring people we know, then we will never get any further.

Fourth (I think it’s four, I haven’t really been counting) problem; the mentality surrounding this month. Once again, it’s ironic how people are so willing to be sombre and silent in respect of the fallen soldiers – they accept their deaths with sadness – people are so careful about making jokes about Nazis to Jews – they recognise that the Jews’ predicament was serious and sensitive – but the instant slavery is mentioned, it is either made into a joke or tried to be made light-hearted.

Slavery and Black History is not light-hearted. Yes, they were some stories of happiness and victory; but not many. Yes, there were cases where people did escape, and live happily, but not many. Because let’s face facts here. It was not a nice time period.

Women were raped. Children were raped and abducted. Men and women alike were tortured. Black people as a race were animalised. Stereotypes flourished which still circulate today. (Black people and chicken? A stereotype dating back to segregation in America. Black fathers walking out on their baby mommas and children? A stereotyped instituted by slavery and escalated by the subsequent mentalities of indoctrinated black males. Dark skin girls being ugly and light skin girls being pretty? Started in slavery and was cultivated by the consequent self-hatred of dark skinned girls. Do you need more examples or are these enough?)

I tried to communicate this all in my final assembly in March on the Friday. It was entitled “The Unknown” and focused on the bare facts of slavery and the harsh reality. I thought it was important to touch on the stereotype thing, but also was necessary to throw in the whole ‘Stop using the N-Word’ thing, because that’s so important. It was also important, I noted, to mention that saying ‘Black’ or ‘White’ is not racist. However, saying ‘Coloured’ is mostly offensive and it’s not a readily accepted phrase. (Unfortunately, the woman whom I organised the assemblies with seemed to think that it was an entirely acceptable phrase to use, going so far as to imply the opposite; that ‘Black’ could be seen as offensive and ‘coloured’ was more politically correct.)

The whole point of the Month in general isn’t to shock people. It’s to make them AWARE. It’s to educate them. Because if we’re not educated about these issues then where are we? Back at square one.

My last problem is in the education systems in relation to the commemoration of this month. The whole point of schools is to educate the minds of youth. If you are supposed to be making us ‘socially aware’ (I think the phrase is) and ’employable people’ of the future, then that constitutes more than just academia and examinations. It constitutes a self-awareness and a racial awareness, especially for those students who are from ethnic minorities. We’re not taught how our colour affects our standing in the world socially; we find that out the hard way when we hear on the phone that our aunt had several bottles of Coke thrown on her out of a car window while walking home, with men shouting horrible, derogatory phrases at her, because she was black. We find out when we turn on the news and hear about yet more Black people that have been killed by police or in police custody, because of their race. We find out when we apply for jobs and we are told by our mothers to use the last name in our hyphenated surname, because ‘Nzeogwu’ looks too black, but ‘Johnson’ sounds less ethnic.

These are the things we should not be surprised to discover. We should be learning about this in schools during this month. We should be discussing these things. They are only a taboo because we have allowed them to become that. We can un-make this reputation if we educate ourselves and our children, and pray that enough are educated about it in the future that what we are experiencing now will not be so bad for perpetual generations.

It makes me sad that so few schools commemorate this month effectively. It makes me sad that so little people know about the past of Black History and are so quick to make ignorant comments; and yet know nothing enough to understand that the nonsense they are speaking is offensive.

Nothing’s really going to change. That wasn’t the point of this post, by the way. It was a rant. I won’t ask for things to change because I know they won’t.

I can only hope.

Sweet dreams everyone,

Empress Rianna

Crown

A Friendly Reminder

Dear White People,
Please imagine a person saying this word: Nigger.
If, like some white people, you do not even feel comfortable reading this word, let alone imagining someone actually saying it, then I can only hope that your reasoning behind such thought is that you understand the hurtful intention behind it; not because you just genuinely feel uncomfortable whenever issues surrounding race are brought up in conversation. (In which case, congratulations! You have reached a higher level of human intellect otherwise known as AWARENESS :D👏👍)
If however, like some white people, you feel like this word would be said in a friendly, amiable tone, or are only uncomfortable because you don’t like discussing racial issues or acknowledging that your ancestors were more than likely slave owners, then you are both silly and very, very mistaken. (In which case, you seem to be stuck in the depths of human misunderstanding, also termed IGNORANCE :oops:😯👎)
Do you know the origins of this word? This word was used by your ancestors as part of the systematic oppression of black slaves. You using this word only evokes these memories. At no other point in history has the word “Nigger” been synonymous to “Comrade”, nor has it even had connotations of affection or respect. Using this word evokes these memories.
It is not okay to say. I don’t care if your boyfriend/girlfriend is black, I don’t care if your best friend is black, I don’t care if your chicken/dog/llama or the flower in your back garden is black. This does not give you the right to use this word. When you use this word, you are accepting and becoming a part of the systematic oppressors. When you use this word, you are conveying the narrow minded, racist and stereotypical view that black people are worse than animals; this is what the word was intended for, to make black slaves feel worthless. Calling a black person “My nigga” does not make you black, nor does it earn you any credit. All it makes you sound like is an ignorant person who is unaware of the meaning and intention behind this word. It is not okay to sing it in songs. It is not okay to laugh it off when someone gets offended at it. Apologise.
It is an offensive word. It was not intended to uplift the broken spirits of sufferring slaves, it was intended to grind them further into the dirt. You using this word is only grinding the broken bones of my ancestors deeper into the ground.
Stop
Saying
Nigger
Nigga
Nigguh
Or any other variation of it.
And what the hell is a “whigga”? A white nigger?
Why are you familiarising yourself with the word? Why are you trying to extend the narrow barriers to include the very same people who instigated the oppression? Stop getting familiar with it. Unfamiliarise yourself. Stop being comfortable with saying it. Recognise what you are saying.
In conclusion:
1. It is not a friendly word so stop saying it.
2. There can be no justification for saying it.
3. There is no context in which using it becomes acceptable.
4. Any variations are just as offensive as the derivative.
5. Just stop.

Dear POC,
The same applies for you.
It doesn’t help either, when you refer to your White Friends as “niggas” or “black”. Also, stop using phrases like, “You’re actually so black” or “You’re more black than me/that girl/that boy etc.” Being black or a POC is a biological predetermination. It is not a feeling and you cannot BE black or a POC unless you are biologically black or a POC.
You referring to your non-POC friends as “black” is problematic in two senses; firstly, like I said, it is not an adjective you can attribute to them without first embracing racial stereotypes. (Please, define what “being Black” is for me – if your description includes twerking, having a large butt, talking “ghetto” (which, in itself isn’t a particularly flatterring characteristic to attribute to Black people or POC anyway…) listening to Dancehall, Hip Hop, R&B, Rap and/or Reggae and eating chicken then I hope you realise how your stereotyping is reflecting on yourself as well). Secondly, it also puts these friends under the false illusion that they have the God-given right to say/sing/use the word “nigger” without causing offence; after all, if they are “black” and “all Black people use it” then why should they not be allowed to?

In conclusion:
It’s not really up for debate, to be honest, it’s just not a very nice word. Please stop acting like it’s okay to use.

Yours sincerely,
Empress Rianna

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