No more bougie activism.
So I’ve gone to my fair share of protests, handed out fliers and pamphlets and went to planning meetings, planned cool actions and all that jazz. There is something though, that I think I have realized. When a movement becomes an organization it loses its power. It’s message becomes trendy and ain’t shit getting done. Sure legislatively and getting pictures taken with the media by talking about association with people in the group, yet the heart of the matter is ignored.
Imagine, running a I don’t know lets saaaay black activist group. You are straight out of your Masters program, you say Asé after every sentence, you’ve been awakened in an intense way and you talk a lot. Just a lot of talking. You don’t talk to those who are in the most danger. You only speak to black folks who also sound like they have come out of your masters program. You are in the community and not of the community so you are even a Gentrifier of Baltimore, Oakland, Philly etc. and at the end of your year term from chaining your bougie self to buildings screaming “black lives matter” you have successfully ignored the community you are attempting to protect. You put founder of said organization on your resume and the government organization that you go to work for wants to use you! Obviously to intersect ideas. They put their neo liberal ideas on your already false radical dreams and next thing you know, you’re winning awards and your big on social media, but people are still hurt and dying in the streets.
This isn’t about you. This isn’t about how many white people you can gather at an outdoor standing protest thing. This should be about dismantling the construct of white supremacy for EVERYONE by any means necessary. Not dismantling it for the bougiest of black folks by all means of compromise. I’m sick and tired of it. I’ve been it. I’ve worked and lit sage and smiled and said the chants but seriously? Fight for all black lives or sit your ass down.
I don’t know about organizations in your hometown. I can only vouch for what I’ve seen from where I’m from. If you don’t know the street which an art center is on. Then you shouldn’t be leading an action there because you are a Gentrifier. It is disgusting.
Ive learned recently that I have to think for myself. I can’t be like a sheep and let these organizations define my ideas. I can’t beg them to talk to the black folks who are homeless and mentally ill and who are in extreme danger. To be honest the cops look at us in our bougie daishikis and laugh. They look at us saying “fleek” and “melanin” and our quotes and Jesse Williams and they see a trend. They see a cute idea which isn’t dangerous at all. We need to be about something, or just sit our asses down. Strategizing should be a weekly thing. Not everytime a straight, black, male is killed routinely by police. We should acknowledge Korryn Gaines. We should acknowledge trans black lives. We should march without ceasing and stand for everyone. We should bombard society with our presence. Not when it’s fucking convenient.
These are my thoughts. What is activism.
Here’s what it looks like to me: It looks like a bunch of well educated bougie af black folks getting together and talking shit for hours and doing absolutely nothing. Sometimes we gather and sing, sometimes we chain ourselves to buildings, but most of the time we don’t talk to people in communities that are in danger. We frequent white gentrified establishments and drink hoppy beer and complain. We don’t talk to the woman who is weeping in the streets because she looks “dangerous” that is our own internalized shit. We come out with watered down tactics from our white institutionalized education systems. (The whole system of American education whether you went to an HBCU or not is built on white supremacy. The system not the school. Think about it. Grading, competition, sororities, etc.) and ignore those who are being killed and we ask ourselves why “ain’t shit changed.” Because we are unwilling ourselves to admit that ALL black lives matter. Activism is tired. There needs to be another word for what is really to be done. Something honest. Something not exclusive to the bougie and beautiful. Something real. I don’t know what it is yet, but I’m just critiquing this whole thing based upon being involved and just feeling like I don’t belong because I’m pretty bougie, but not enough to be in the black educated power club. I care too much when I ask questions about going into black neighborhoods and talking to people who are actually 100% at risk. I want to talk to someone who is not so concerned with their image that they are willing to get down on their hands and knees and do the dirty work. I’m not sure if I’m there yet. I don’t know how many more lives need to be taken before I can bravely take that step and organize something regardless of the controversy it could stir. I don’t know if I’m strong enough on my own.
Here’s what activism is to me: No bougie, watered down ass demands. Just fighting only for the dismantling of the systems in place to create new inclusive ones. Not coming up to city hall with flyers asking for stupid shit. No one is reading those. Not being afraid to speak fully and honest truths. Not relenting to criticism no matter how heavy it gets no matter if we get called a “terrorist” organization that should push us to continue the work not make us hide. It’s action every week or every day not randomly and sporadically depending on who gets murdered. It’s not giving up. It’s not trending. It’s real. It’s life. It’s not some power game. It’s loving your community. If you love Rhode Island go the fuck back to Rhode Island and let Oakland activists lead in Oakland. But it’s hard because a lot of us have been displaced. Which is even scarier. Just people who know the land spiritually should lead a movement in it. That just how I feel. This is just an amalgamation of a bunch of shit that has been building up for months. I finally had the courage to type it.
No more bougie activism.
Let’s do something real.