Respectability politics be damned

Don’t let anyone convince you our clothing, dialect, demeanor, compliance, education, status or anything else will save us. What MIGHT help you out of one encounter will not save you or the next man/ woman/ child from conflict, violence or even death at the hands of individuals, institutions or the systems that keep them in place. That’s not to say I won’t have ‘the talk’ with my 7 year old brown skinned baby boy when he gets a bit older or that I won’t instill self love in my kinky haired 2 year old daughter and encourage her to ignore all the stereotypes she’ll encounter as a light skinned black woman, but I do want them to be proactive, rather than passive in creating a world worth living in for themselves and their children. Preparing our youth doesn’t mean teaching our boys how NOT to get shot or our girls NOT to be objectified, because they do not cause these phenomenon. How we are perceived and commodified across the world creates a picture of us where our women are sex toys and our boys are a problem to be dealt with violently. This is by design. As a result of knowing how the game is rigged we often waste time telling our women not to twerk and our men to pull their pants up but there are more pressing matters. What is ASSUMED about us because of the characteristics associated with baggy clothes and perceived ‘lewd’ behavior is again, by design. So ask yourself, how does judging your sister for dancing a certain way or your brother for dressing a certain way advance the struggle? How will posting a meme of natural vs relaxed women stop the police murders every 28 hours? Are you trying to create meaningful dialogue and be the change you want to see in the world or do you just want to avoid being stereotyped as ‘ratchet?’ Something to think about. We need to stick together. We all we got. Keep in mind ALL black lives matter. Not just the ones we agree with or think make us look good. 

 

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