Black Lives Matter—both in statement and in movement—make a lot of white folks uncomfortable. The insertion of Blackness into any given space (other than a non-political stage) is seen as a threat instead of an increase in equity—and maybe it is. The existing state of pervasive “whiteness” didn’t just happen. Modern whiteness was fought for, stolen from, and grown out of 1/5th xenophobia, 1/5th domination, and 3/5ths GREED. Our institutional status quo was built from genocide, enslavement, rape, and oppression. The norms of whiteness currently reside in gentrification, police terror, criminalization, and economic apartheid. Hella big words to describe what should be plain: White folks in power get angry when Black people just want to live. Systems aren’t accidental, they thrive because people want them to, so smashing those systems must be intentional and without reservation. Make no mistake, the insertion of Blackness IS a threat, and we will see tears of pallor rain down on this city in waves. Drink up, then! Get your mason jar, champagne flute, or solo cup ready! Top five times BLM Sacramento made local racists cry white tears:
1) Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones: Is trash. Dude unapologetically allows his officers to kill unarmed Black men, provides zero answers to the community—or even the families—and does so with smug smile on his conservative Trump-ian mug. This man CHOSE the weak accountability partner in Inspector General Rick Braziel (former Sacramento Chief of Police), then refused to work with him after even Braziel could see that the murder of Mikel McIntyre was unjust. Jones routinely threatens local Black activists, calling harm on them through personal attacks and public outcries to his white supremacist base, but then calls foul when the public shows up to HIS door to demand justice. He is the ultimate coward, a paternalistic, ICE-loving, immigrant-hating, white-lives-mattering brute—and he LOST his bid for state government after a very successful anti-Jones campaign by BLM. Cheers!
2) Mayor Darrel Steinberg: A great example of why Democrats and liberals can’t be trusted to create polices that promote racial equity. Steinberg gets enraged when the public calls him out on his anti-Blackness, because he assumes that he is one of the “good ones.” He’s not racist, he can’t be! He even has a Black friend and marches with Black women! Well and good, but who colludes with developers to create unaffordable housing and infrastructure at excessive rates, furthering gentrification in poor neighborhood of color, and displacing the longtime Black and Brown residents? Who refuses to support people-based solutions like shelter first for unhoused community members, rent control, just-cause eviction, etc.? Who refuses to publicly challenge his police department after they have killed three unarmed Black men in six months? And who turns beet-red and silences his constituents in our City Council chambers when we ask these questions? The mayor may hate the use of “murderer” and “Gestapo” for his police officers, but what of substance has he does to reduce their impact on Black bodies? Nothing. Steinberg can continue to cry out for decorum, and the people will continue to shut him down. Every. Single. Time.
3) Steve Hansen: District 4’s own anti-intersectionalist. In 2016 BLM Sacramento pressed City Council hard for an independent police review board with investigative, subpoena, and disciplinary power. Black Sacramentans filled the chambers after Joseph Mann was executed, demanded justice for the Mann family, and offered support for the creation of a police commission with real teeth. Steve-O, visibly uncomfortable with so many Black community members advocating for themselves, showed his entire ass by stopping the meeting to chastise the audience and share his “disappointment” with the tone of the evening. Please. You watch actual video of LEOs Tennis and Loyoza plan and commit pre-meditated murder, and you are disappointed that your electorate shows their discontent during a public forum on the topic? Shortly thereafter, BLM Sacramento led a protest on the steps of his home to call attention to his anti-Blackness and unwillingness to engage with marginalized community members. Overwhelmed by his own white tears, Hansen attempted to repeal freedom of speech and assembly in Sacramento by creating a no protest zone ordinance. Never forget that a man whose very existence and social capital was built on the backs of Queer and Trans POC who routinely practiced civil disobedience, attempted to silence those same people in the service of his ego. His feelings matter too—but not as much as the first amendment or the families who watched their loved ones die in the street from state violence. The ordinance didn’t pass.
4) Chris Pendarvis: The owner of Naked Coffee in Sacramento. Long known to the community as a problem who treats his workers awfully, benefits from gentrification by opening stores in neighborhoods that once offered goods and services that locals could afford—but no longer do, harasses the unhoused community, and is a raging misogynist. BLM Sacramento wrote a letter to local non-Black owned businesses that have infiltrated the historically Black Oak Park and requested that they decrease their impact on the existing communities of color by donating to groups that re-insert Blackness into the neighborhood and provide space and/or resources to long-time residents. Chris, apparently unfamiliar with basic humanity, responded with a racist, ableist, self-involved rant that shed quite a bit of light on what his company supports—whiney white men who care more about securing their ability to colonize the space around them, than caring for the people who inhabit it. I hope Chris chokes on his tears as the community organizes to boycott his crappy coffee.
5) Tim Jordan: C0-Owner of Old Soul Coffee. Yet another colonizing business owner who refuses to see his role in community discord. Gentrification is not only the theft of property and physical space, but also the disruption of community ties that keep people safe. Old Soul had the option to be a community hub by providing reasonably priced goods, offering local folks jobs, and creating space for needed community building; instead, it sells food at prices locals can’t afford, imports employees, and kicks out Black artists wanting a space to perform. BLM Sacramento held a popular monthly open mic event at the 40 Acres location, in which the stated intention was to create space for displaced Black folks to reclaim their neighborhood and share their experiences. When Jordan found out about it, he played every racist trope, calling BLM intimidating and scary to his patrons and workers, then cancelling the event in a particularly rude and aggressive manner. Jordan’s style of anti-Blackness is the very reason the open mic was created—and will continue. No permission grated or needed. If Old Soul wants to whitewash the corner of Broadway and 35th, they need to expect resistance.
In every case, a white person in a position of power chose their own feelings and ease over that of their Black neighbors. In every case, BLM Sacramento called them out with words, and they responded as if they had been assaulted. It is the already fortunate that demonize and weaponize Blackness, rather than addressing the unearned privileges of their whiteness. The insertion of Blackness and demand for justice in co-opted spaces isn’t meant as a challenge, so much as it is a method of survival. Elevating white comfortability over Black safety may be the norm in Sacramento—but things are changing. This list is not exhaustive and nowhere near completed. BLM Sacramento is a dedicated threat to white supremacy. Let the tears flow.
Wed * 10/10/2018 * 8:30am
Fri * 10/12/2018 * 7:00pm
Sat * 10/20/2018 * 7:00pm
Sun * 10/21/2018 * 12:00pm