Dear Well Intentioned People, Why Do We Really Honor King???
This isn’t about a juxtaposition of what King was or wasn’t, it’s about the erasure of historical facts and trues that make King a glorified Jesus symbol, toting respectability and “good negroe” symbolism. And especially when Black folks fail to realize the complexity of his gangster it gives white folks permission to pimp his legacy for the sake of feel good moments, like marching arm in arm with Blacks and cops and capitalistic greedy monsters. But it’s the after MLK day phenomenon, that intrigues me most……when folks of all creeds go back to their routines and forget that the DREAM wasn’t realized and the war is so far from over. Your/our well intentions can no longer be over looked, when the remainder of the year you forget that the fight must continue……or his legacy ends up being literally and figuratively DEAD.
MLK day has become symbolic of a dream of the DREAM for equality. Cities around this country often have symbolic marches in the name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr without realizing or embracing the essence of his and other’s walk towards Civil Rights. People quote the nice stuff King has said in the name of integration and inclusion. Truth be told, white supremacy is so deeply embedded in every aspect of society that even MLK’s dream has been watered down to make white folks feel like they can say, “hey King the black man with a dream was so profound,” even though they forget to stand for said DREAM. Let’s take that another step further, since King is so idolized folks forget everyone else who fought before King, with King and after King. Maybe that’s why the good folks of Sacramento cannot realize the importance of options, because they’ve been conditioned to idolize the clean-cut King and not appreciate the RADICAL King behind jail bars.
Langston Hughes spoke of “The Dream Deferred,” as a question of circumstance when a dream is not realized or nurtured or allowed to grow. See King was a polished, suit wearing, Christian, who was articulate, educated and insightful. But he was also a radical revolutionary who represented the resistance and was able to seamlessly toggle between worlds that labeled him a terrorist and those who sought his stature for hope.
So with that being said, I write these letters to white people, respectable blacks and revolutionary fighters for freedom today…….
Dear White People,
The seriousness of RACISM is overwhelming……..“I ain’t a killer, but don’t push me,” Tupac penned that lyric in the song, Hail Mary. Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five rapped, “don’t push me cause I’m close to the edge, I’m trying not to lose my head” in the Message. The severity of where we are as a society will continue to push folks to the brink and the reality is we need your help to end RACISM. “Get your people” is a serious sentiment because some white folks will only listen to white folks . Racist ideology was established in colonialism, became fundamental during slavery and has been solidified ever since…..even to this day.
We need White folks to keep their blinders off and stand in the gap. We need you to internalize the words of John Lewis, who said “When you see something that is not right you have a moral obligation to say something.” And when you stand in the gap, make sure you include women, immigrants, Muslims and LBGTQ folks. Please don’t forget to center us. Don’t forget to put us in positions of power. Remember that our experiences are real and that you cannot tell our stories better than we can tell our stories. It is important that you keep your white fragility in check, tame those fragile tears, and don’t white-splain or man-splain us. Don’t think we don’t know what to do or think, or our level of education dictates our ability to articulate our needs and not be emotionally out of control. I, we and you should be tired of nice white people talking about RACISM like it’s a nice topic of conversation to have to prove how woke you are or not. RACISM and all of its UGLINESS cannot be confused for lack of understanding. It shackles and hinders and fosters stagnation in everyone.
This is what I know for sure, there are tons of well-intention white folks who know there’s RACISM happening around them and don’t step up, out of fear that the bad implication of RACISM will happen to them. How many of you have family members who make racist comments and you say nothing? That has to stop today. I, we, they, no one wants to be tolerated because we together are stronger. We together can fight RACISM and the emboldened spirit that has come out of the wood works since 45’s election. White folks that is my challenge to you, because the reality is prejudice is an emotional commitment to ignorance. RACISM and discrimination are learned, man-made ideologies that cause people to be nasty and mean. White folks you have to answer for us all, how we together can fight the psychological investment in WHITENESS, simultaneously accepting that RACISM is the foundation and essence of America.
Only you can change this dynamic.
See you are not forced to be BRAVE every day of your lives, you can take a day off and we can’t. But also know that bravery comes with real and sustained FEAR. Jane Elliott said, “White women dream of having sons to carry on their family legacy, but black women are scared of having boys because they fear losing them prematurely to violence.” As a black mother of boys I am scared for them on so many level, but I bravely instill pride and worth and greatness and history and possibility. Dove cannot turn our skin white and our little black boys are not the coolest monkeys in the jungle…..y’all have to do better with checking stupidity and ignorance. The U.N. can’t be the only entity who thinks America owes Black America reparations, and you as an individual can contribute monetarily in an effort to pay for the sins of the past. And finally, I/we need you to repeat over and over in your head and/or aloud, “When Black Lives Matter everyone wins.”
Sincerely, your friend and ally
Dear Respectable Black People,
Brothers/Brothas and Sister/Sistas, Queens and Kings, Uppity and Boogie, Ghetto and Hustlers, Democrats and Republicans, Christian and other, Heterosexual and everyone else who identifies otherwise…..those of you/us who don’t fight the powers that be because it shakes up comfortability. Some might call you Boogie, I know the feeling because I’ve been categorized as such, and I know you when I see you. But in all of my life, I’ve never seen so many BOOGIE folks as I have in Sacramento.
Let me tell you about my respectable experience in Sacramento……I arrived from Oakland in 1985 and it was the kids whose parents took weekend trips without them, whose houses we’d party at and get drunk or high because they trusted their "good kids." It was the families at Calvary Christian Center who look down on my sister for getting pregnant as a teen and shunned my mother because she raised such a child. It was those who got hired by the State of California, making decent money and then buying homes in Elk Grove, Folsom and Roseville. It’s those who forgot about the hood, even though they attended high schools like Burbank, Johnson and Grant. It’s the ones who went away to college, joined fraternities/sororities and returned home to not look back because it would remind them of the bad stuff of being Black. You know those folks who feel the need to show up looking the part rather than getting their hands dirty. The name droppers who want to be on boards because it looks like you are civically involved in the community.
The high society and airs of respectable Negroes…..I know you because you often smile in my face but talk shit behind my back because you think a girl from this town who went away to college should have more sense than blasting the message of such a group like BLM Sacramento.
Those who have adopted Republican indoctrination that subscribes to a work hard and get yours mentality, while fantasizing about being equal because you did everything right and you deserve it. Those Democrats who either fail to vote or trust that folks are smart and Republicans are too stupid to win. Truth be told, black conservative folks are still black…..ask the Dr. Henry Louis Gate about being arrested when he locked himself out of his own home; or the black football player who was arrested in Las Vegas for no other reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time; or that Black actress who was kissing her white partner and was mistaken as a prostitute. Success and money cannot save you from being profiled and fucked with.
Respectable Black folks tend to have hushed mouths when in mixed company but complain for days when around family. But I want you to know we are here for you, to help you see Dr. King was a true REBEL. To see that it doesn’t matter how hard you work at creating the perfect world, outside forces will and can take you down, without question.
On January 15th, I saw Rev. Al Sharpton on TMZ (now that’s funny to a certain degree) and he said “Martin Luther King would not be doing things for photo ops.” So I have to wonder if all of those who attended the #MLK365 march understand that Civil Rights was and is a serious fight for equity and inclusion. Hopefully we all are aware of the significance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and the legacy of the movement, including the water hoses, attack dogs and out right murder? I truly question if we are really aware or if we too have come to a place where he is this mythical figure because white America and those who control information have to decide who those chosen FEW black leaders would be for us. Now, I’m not saying MLK doesn’t deserve recognition, but what he is recognized for has gotten lost in translation over the years.
From my heart to yours, please make yourselves aware of this not so nice subject of RACISM and yes people do see your color. We can’t let respectability get in the way of what is clearly WRONG for the sake of getting along because it’s easier. We might not like some things, but to hate a group of people is the essence of RACISM. Respectable negroes, this movement needs you too. You are essential to networking and bridge building. You can make connects and open doors for progress. But first, you have to know EVERY approach is valid and worthy and necessary.
When on a day like MLK’s birthday claim BLM Sacramento is a divisive force in this town, that notion has to end. We are not the Black community’s step children who you can ignore, we are your family and there is so much work to do. Just because we don’t subscribe to respectability politics doesn’t mean you can shut us down or hush us up.
With Love Always……..your family!!!
Dear Revolutionary Leaders,
Thank you for your commitment to the movement. There is no insignificant role because we are a team. Regardless of the name of the group or organization in which you associate, your work speaks for itself. The revolution is filled with an abundance of talent…..brave souls who bring skills to the table that fit needs of the community and the message. We embody a spirit of boldness and progressive thinking in the face of adversity. In today’s rocky political climate of hate, misogyny and anti-blackness, it is more than the thinking; it is the words, teachings and ideas transformed into action. Let us embody the spirits of DuBois and Douglas, Martin and Malcolm, Assata Shakur and Angela Davis.
Let’s not forget the brilliance of Blackness, the joy and love of being unique and ingenious problem solvers. The legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr comes by way of Turner and Garvey, Sojourner and Harriet. It was side by side that he walked with rabbis and priest, sanitation workers and bus boycotters. King accepted the fact that he was a target and continued to challenge the system. In the process, we cannot forget to maintain rituals of self-care, because stress induced death is real……her name is Erica Garner.
Ralph Ellison speaks to the existence of the revolutionary, “I am an invisible man….I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids – and I might even be said to have a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.” Once upon a time folks would say, “the revolutions will not be televised.” Today in 2018, we are no longer invisible and technology has made it so that we can televise and document the revolution, to keep a living historical record for our children’s children.
We still have to worry about safety and being a target, as well as infighting….but at the end of the day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr blazed a trail and it is ours to run on. We have to challenge the system and put pressure on our white allies because they play a crucial role in progress. We have to stay the course because one of our respectable family members might have a door for us to come through and we have to be ready.
Always and Forever Fist to the Sky
Ok, so let’s keep it real……for far too many years the good old folks of Sacramento have been bamboozling us to lock arms with the likes of the very people who murdered King. Let’s be clear, King would not be marching with Sac PD and the Sheriff department, because he wasn’t into photo ops. See King was a radical, not a saint. King’s fight would have been in the streets to end racial profiling, excessive force and murder, ending mass incarceration, excessive bail and sentencing. He would have stood with those making minimum wage, immigrants/refugees and the highly disenfranchised Black trans women who continue to have to fight for the very right to BREATH.
In addressing white folks, respectable blacks and revolutionaries…..we cannot dismiss each other, for we need each other. Let us all look beyond the sensationalization, commercializing and co-opting of the DREAM because all of our problems are all of our problems and they can no longer be ignored. There are still people dying in the streets at the hands of state sanctioned violence. There are elections to come and systems to infiltrate. There are trainings to host so that we will be equipped for a better tomorrow.
Period. Point. Blank…..there is work to do, so let the fire continue to flicker for the revolution is far from dead. Dear well intention people, the DREAM is alive and so is King.
It is our goal to uplift and educate, and we are here for the heavy lifting……but know that the load is heavy and we need all hands on deck. Follow our Facebook & Twitter pages, join us for actions, events and training.....COMING EVENTS:
Mar 15 - The Anti-Sammies
Mar 17 - Cop Watch Orientation