Yes, you. The one reading this.
Don’t scroll past.
Don’t tell me you’re busy. You clearly aren’t.
How do I know?
Well, you’re scrolling through stories on Instagram. You can’t possibly be that busy.
Anyway, just hear me out.
This man, George Floyd. Yes, the one who was murdered by police. Yes, the one accused
What’s that? You’ve been active in the fight against racism? Have you now? I’m so proud of you. I’m glad you’ve found the time in your perpetually busy schedule to retweet, post, like, and share something against racism for the first time in 4 months.
Oh, I’m sorry. Have I offended you? I mean, of course, you aren’t racist; I would never insinuate that, as it would be rude of me. It’s not like you’ve sat idle as a black co-worker got harassed or anything. That would never happen in your presence. You are an aware person who acknowledges your privilege and uses it to help the oppressed.
You appreciate, as well as value the lives and contributions of black people to American culture and way of life. You give back to them and support their work. You’re willing to educate yourself on the origins of African American phrases before using them. You’ve researched the intricacies of our culture and know where everything comes from. Of course, you did.
You realize that “the ghetto” isn’t this mystical place that produces rappers and artists for your free consumption, but a place of struggle and “make the best of what you’ve got.” You realize that we aren’t poor by choice or by the mistakes we have made, but because every success we’ve had has been taken from us, appropriated, mass-produced, and mass-marketed by some rich white dude in a suit, living in complete alienation from the origin of the product.
You understand that our outcry isn’t an opportunity to get internet creds or street creds, or any creds for that matter, because creds aren’t for you, who has every advantage, and all the creds in the world. You, who wields creds like a weapon, uses it to starve, choke, and kill. It is not us who cannot sustain, for it is you, who sucks the resources from our community to sell it back to the highest bidder.
It is you who has everything. Every word, every plant, every inch of land. You own this country. You own this planet; you have all the power. You grant yourself the power to decide who lives or who dies, who walks this earth, and who enters the heavens. You have the power to lie, to hunt, to lynch, to kill, to invade, as well as to evade both nations and responsibility. You do God’s will, but only when God’s will brings you power, profit, control, and domination.
It is you who has everything through the loudest voices in your echoing chambers, parliaments, senates, and house of representatives. All are guided by your interests, framed as a service, but is just lip service. It’s always about you, and you being good – the best.
Whenever problems arise, it’s up to you to approach, solve, and correct because it is you who knows best. You know what is going on in the communities you persecute, not the brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters of all those murdered and slaughtered. Your control of the narrative is so imperative that you’d rather risk the lives of innocents with lies and reprimands towards the suffering and dying, whose lives are on the line because no one hears their cries.
This isn’t about you, you who has all the advantages; the luxury to breathe and to live. We’ve heard your stories, histories, wars, enemies, and your conflicts of greater optics against threats to your “interests”. It’s your turn to listen, learn, and repeat. Just the same as we must with your Greek, Roman, and European tales, you must listen when we tell you of our deaths in such detail.
It is not for you to reframe, or to tame to make more palatable, for it is disgusting what has been happening to our people, while you’ve been living business as usual. After all, it is your business to exploit us, tear us apart and take everything we love. Take our music, take our stories, take our culture, take our lives. Blackness is your business, not because you respect us, but because it makes you money.
Your realization of such a revelation that black people are suffering, while you are celebrating, is a denial of the reality of such insanity. I cannot fathom your intention when you hop on a trend that will likely end within a fortnight because you’re too tired to fight for the injustice you created in your world full of hatred.
By Andraé Lewis