I’ve recognized a common occurrence on threads and posts about racial inequality lately. I figured I’d share it here. Did you know that by calling someone the color of their skin you are perpetuating racism? Yes, systemic racism can only be abolished once we stop verbally saying someone’s race. People of color (oops), I mean “people” can have equal and fair access to social, economic, and political opportunities if we just stop sharing our color. Who knew? All this time, my ancestors only needed to stop calling themselves black in order to get a fair slice of the educational, occupational, and residential pie. I now can sleep easier knowing that if I just stop calling myself a black woman I can one day with hard work make it in the private sector. Not too much hard work though, mostly networking to mom and dad’s friends to get me a corporate position fresh out of school. Ahh, serenity.
Now, you must be trippin if you thought that wasn’t sarcasm. Most of the remarks I read from white people (some brown/black too), is that by just the mere mention of blackness I and others are perpetuating racism. What in the green grass of Barney’s hole in the ground?! Calling Elmo red could suddenly discredit all the educational advancements he’s made in children’s lives? Let me make it very clear, racism is a system built on power plus prejudice. My white boss can have power and still chose to hire me in a position that requires diligence and intelligence, all the while knowing I’m black. Black is NOT synonymous with bad, evil, lazy, or other negative connotations. Although, Disney would have you believe otherwise. Black is a color, and when associated with humans, it is a color that traces a history of oppression, racism, success, intelligence, struggle, and strength. It is not wrong or continuing a system of oppression to recognize a black person’s color. The problem is rooted in how you recognize their color. Calling someone a black b**** is problematic because it stands to associate their color with a negative assertion. Calling someone a black lawyer (or even a black janitor) is a descriptor. It is supposed to directly target that individual who comes with a complex history. If you know someone’s name use it, but when using a descriptor that is not meant to other or degrade someone you aren’t perpetuating racism.
I question how some people will shun the idea of calling a black person black, but hold racist ideologies and practice racism. I didn’t call you black, but I’m not giving you this job because I think people like you are lazy. I didn’t call him black, but I stopped him for a broken taillight because people like him always have broken taillights. I didn’t call her a black teacher because she’s just a teacher… in an impoverished community where the students are mostly brown and black but the staff is 100% white. I don’t understand how people cannot recognize that descriptors have their place and their need in our society. Racism hasn’t been abolished, and it’s looking like it’s here to stay thanks to Don Cheeto. What that means is that not calling someone black IS NOT ENOUGH NOR BENEFICIAL IN ANY WAY TO ABOLISHING RACISM. I will alway support and endorse BLACK EXCELLENCE. I support all excellence, but I’m labeling the black people’s as such because of a history of non-celebratory behavior for black success.
I am a black woman with many of blackness’ complexities. And if you are afraid to call me a black woman, we need to have a chat because your foolishness is showing.