Where do I begin? As a Black woman, I have so much to say and nothing to say. Count on racial trauma to make you speechless with a thousand words to say— at the same exact time.
I am heartbroken at racism. But I’m not here to talk about that because we already know what that is. (In case you don’t though, click here for the definition).
One of the quotes I live by as a Christian Black woman is: “address the root of your sin to be free”. It’s time to address the most overlooked lie of white supremacy which is the tear gas blinding the United State’s eyes to their original sin: anti-Blackness.
While we often hear the words “racism,” “white privilege,” and “intersectionality” in today’s discourse around racial justice, “anti-Blackness” and “anti-Black racism” almost always get left behind. What many fail to realize is that anti-Blackness is the root of the US’s oppression and racism. Although anti-Blackness harms Black and Brown lives all over the world, there is a danger disproportionately destroying the health, wellness, and lives of Black lives specifically — and we are not angry enough about it.
For the sake of clarity, let me make two quick distinctions: 1.) Black folks and Brown folks are two different identities. Brown people are all non-white people who identify with the term you may commonly hear as “people of color”. Black people are people who look and carry characteristics of the African Diaspora or commonly referred to as “African American” or “black folk”. 2.) Don’t get anti-Blackness confused with colorism: the preference and privilege for lighter skin in all races and ethnicities (whew, another injustice to unpack for another day). Anti-Blackness is the war, opposition, and intentional hatred and degradation of Black lives.
It shows up every day systemically (in large, macro levels) and insidiously (sneakily invisible and hidden in plain sight) and I’m sick of the silence about this— from all races and ethnicities.
Insidious anti-Blackness is the white fragility of other non-Black people combating “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter”.
Systemic anti-Blackness is the world hating the features of Black bodies (full lips, brown skin, and curves) and then praising those same features the minute they are displayed on white bodies, also known as Black fishing (example: how Kardashians intentionally built an empire co-opting Black features, aesthetics, and dating black men culture while leveraging their privilege as white people).
Insidious anti-Blackness is going to a natural hair salon and getting charged extra for having kinky/afro-textured hair compared to “looser” curly heads getting charged less.
Systemic anti-Blackness is seeing a Black person work twice as hard with triple the trauma to reach a six-figure salary, advanced degree, and an executive title at a large corporation only to still be impacted by the negative net worth of Black folks in the US currently projected to fall to zero by 2053 if current trends continue.
Insidious anti-Blackness is the intentional pursuit to rob my ancestor’s of their wildest dreams about me being free.
Systemic anti-Blackness is a racist cop publicly lynching unarmed Black men and women, walking away free of consequences, secured salaries, and posting jokes about it as they sell the murder weapon to fans of the KKK.
Insidious anti-Blackness is when an environmental movement uses the word “climate change” over “climate justice” to ignore the voices who will be most affected by global disasters and pandemics: Black people.
Systemic anti-Blackness is when COVID19 was disrespectfully coined as “The Great Equalizer” as it disproportionately infected and killed Black Americans at a disturbingly higher rate than any other group.
Insidious anti-Blackness is Donald Trump tweeting the name of “George Floyd” for his own narcissistic hatred and political amusement while inciting the racial police violence that killed him.
Systemic anti-Blackness is KKK hate groups strategically planning and infiltrating riots at peaceful protests against injustice in an attempt to distract from the issue — knowing the world (including Blacks) will fall for it and reprimand Black people only.
Insidious anti-Blackness is non-Black, POC groups refusing to address how their distaste for us plays a part in perpetuating and enabling the war against Blacks: like the Arab man who called the racist cop that killed George Floyd, as his Asian cop friend stood by to protect him while it happened.
Systemic anti-Blackness is non-black POC groups actively taking on the role of the oppressor in service of white supremacy and not stepping up to be an ally to the disproportionate injustices against their siblings in Black communities.
Insidious anti-Blackness is writer Frank Chin boldly admitting, “Whites love us because we’re not Black” as he unpacked the myth of Asians as the model minority.
Systemic anti-Blackness is non-Black people with dark skin (brown people such as Indians and Filipinos), admitting the racism they experience is rooted in anti-Blackness while continuing to hold negative stereotypes about Black people, and distancing themselves from us in order to maintain some level of power and advancement in society. A method for their survival at best — and at worst, blatant disrespect and regard for our humanity.
Let me make this clear. Anti Blackness is NOT saying other non-Black/POC don’t experience racism, because they do — without a doubt. And as a Black woman I will never deny that and will continue to advocate for you as my fellow POC siblings. So in return, can I ask you to stop denying the anti-Blackness that is attempting to put you above us so we can fight it together?
For non-Black POC, this resource, Allyship Actions for Asians to Show Up for the Black Community Right Now, and speaking up against anti-black Latino racism crimes against African-Americans (such as the case of vigilante George Zimmerman who killed teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012, or police officer Jeronimo Yanez who shot Philando Castile at point-blank range during a traffic stop in 2016 where both men were acquitted of charges) are just a few examples of where to get started. White allies and anyone else who feels uninformed about injustice and structural racism, you can begin by educating yourself with this library of free anti-racism resources.
*Insert obligatory statement to fend off the white fragility here*: No black people are not perfect and we have issues too. But this is an article about Anti-Blackness. One issue at a time.
As so eloquently put by Natalie Morris in recent Metro article on why blacks are more likely face oppression than other groups, "The concept of anti-Blackness pushes back against the idea that all ethnic minorities have the same lived experiences and can be shoved under a singular umbrella" Simply put: White people and non-Black/POC allies stop lumping our pain. All POC do not face the same gravity of harm and the sooner we recognize the extreme barriers facing Black POC, the sooner we can address the anti-Black narrative and policies that are disproportionately killing us. Period.