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.
FROM MY POINT OF VIEW
idea Milan would be a guy who I would continually keep in contact with. We had the same mutual friends, so we couldn't help the fact that we kept running into each other. We also went to the same bible studies every week, hung out on the weekends at the same gatherings, and started going to a new local church plant. During that time, little did Milan know, I became saved, broke up with the guy I was dating, and rededicated my heart and desires to Jesus. I was sold out for God and whatever he wanted for me is what I wanted for myself. Two and a half years after we met, Milan moved across the street to one of my best friends' house, Orlando. From then on, I saw him almost every day. We had prayer nights, bible studies, get-togethers, etc., and so much more. So, as our friendship evolved from strangers, to acquaintances, to good friends, to bros in Christ, to "my number 1 shootah" lol, it became normal to see each other. We began to hang out, call each other for advice, pray together, and I genuinely saw Milan as a best friend and really looked up to him as a leader and a true man of Christ. During those first three years of college, Milan and I saw each other go through so many different relationships and transitions that shaped us both into the people we are today. However, I don't think either of us were aware that we would be together until the start of Summer of 2013--three years after we met.
Milan and I went on a missions trip to Dominican Republic where WEIRD things began to happen. To prepare for the missions trip, the Lord put it on both of our hearts to have prayer nights specifically designated for our missions trip and our missions team. And, in July of 2014, when we officially arrived at the missions team, we were spiritually in tune. I would wake up from my sleep and feel led to pray for him. I also found myself praying for the same things that he was praying for, and it was things that no one else would feel or think. I had a talk with him about it, and at that time I thought, wow we have the same gift! (little did I know it was an introduction to what God was doing between us). I mean our spirits were just in tune the ENTIRE trip! It was something that I never felt before. When we got back, we both eventually saw, felt, and knew what the Lord was doing. We talked to our pastor and leaders, and they gave us the "go" to pursue a friendship that would eventually lead to a God-fearing relationship. Since then, I grew tremendously in my walk with Christ and my relationship with him as well as with other people around me. I am still in shock that the Lord had my future husband in my life for the past four years, and I only knew that past year or so. Funny thing is, I was single for two years before Milan and I began dating and actively pursuing Christ while growing more as a single woman. When I finally became the most content in my singleness, that's when the Lord began to show me Milan! Now, I can't thank God enough for the privilege to call Milan my husband and the father of my beautiful girls. I love everything about him--his smile, hilarious impersonations of people, silliness, seriousness, joy in God, and most importantly, his love and fear of the LORD! In short, I am so excited to see what the Lord has in store for the many more years to come! :-)
FROM HIS POINT OF VIEW
have to give me your number though." So we exchanged numbers lol, and I went back to Steph like I was the big man on campus. And then the wait began.I waited for some days to pass before I texted her, and sent a message saying, "hey how's it going. How is the hat treating you?" Sadly to report, I got NOOOO response! And this happened two more times, and I drew my conclusion: gorgeous woman, but I.......DONT........LIKE.........HER because she didn't give back my hat. I saw her a lot around campus after that as well as around the same mutual friends we had. So, we eventually became friends. Around this time, I started rapping again. I had the support of my close friends, and she was one of them. I always saw her at every outreach, concert, or freestyle on campus I did. So I kind of got over the fact that my hat was gone and considered her a friend in my book.
Fast forward to the summer of 2013, Olayinka, myself, and our crew were serving at a church plant, The Gathering, who we call our family. All of us were in there every Sunday, at every small group, and over their houses because we all loved and still love Jesus. We had constant bible studies, prayer nights, and outreaches together. We were gearing up for our missions trip together--all of us as friends. I had went on a missions trip the previous year, so I was pretty excited to have my close knit friends going this year. Olayinka, Saba (a mutual friend), and myself, got together every Monday and Wednesday and prayed for the missions trip. We came together faithfully and prayed for about 6-8 weeks before the trip. Through this, me and Olayinka's friendship began to grow. We talked more and got to know each other more. I quickly found out that she is a great person to be around. So, the weeks went by, and we went to the Dominican Republic.
As we were out there serving, I became strongly attracted to her--so strong that I prayed a lot about it and asked my Pastor about it. Olayinka and myself did a lot of work together, and we made a good team. This was a great but a weird time for me. When we came back from the trip, the attraction didn't go away. So, I talked more with my leaders, and they affirmed Olayinka and her love for the Lord. Pastor Juan Carlos told me, "Bro, she is dope! She's not perfect, but her love for Jesus is undeniable bro. Go for it!" His wife said, "I agree, but just take it super slow." I then talked to Olayinka about it, and we decided to get to know each other on a deeper level. That birthed into an awesome relationship which formed into a courtship, then proposal, and finally, one of the most exciting days of my life: December 13, 2014--our wedding day.
This has been a blessed journey to grow in the Lord walking with Olayinka. She has become my best friend, partner, sister in Christ, wife, and now, the mother of my children. Some said we were too young or critiqued us for getting married without lots of money, but looking back, I'm glad we were obedient to God. When I heard those things, I smiled because it made me think about Jesus every time. It makes me think about how He chose me before the foundations of the universe to be His. My love for Olayinka is only a reflection of Christ's love for the Church. I love Olayinka deeply, but I love her because I love Jesus. So, I know I can't be perfectly "ready", but I'm more than ready to spend the rest of my life with her.