We are trying too hard to play by rules intended to subjugate our Black bodies only to get crumbs in return. We want a piece of the pie from a system that arose on the sweat and blood of our ancestors through colonization, enslavement, and financial oppression. We clamor for respect, and equality or the acknowledgment of said equality. The truth is that, in theory we are equal because we have the tools to build our own table where we make decisions for ourselves without seeking approval from the dominant group. In reality we are not equal, not if we have to avoid calling White folks out on their privilege at the risk of no longer being invited to the party or their table. When will we wake up to that fact that so - call opportunities from people who claim to be allies come with a price, with rules that challenge our very integrity???
It starts the moment that we stop being the Black friend that they claim, when we call them out on their White privilege and bullshit. Usually, this is by someone unafraid to be shut out and sadly some of us shun those people to keep our positions at the table of white supremacy. This is an unfortunate thing, but we will have to look passed them and keep our eyes on th the prize. When building our tables, rented negros or coons will most likely be the gatekeepers who block in various ways and at every turn. Now, this is not intended to question one's Blackness, but I have to wonder, ask, and repeatedly go over in my mind why my Black people can't see that if we rise up against the mainstream collectively from our own lanes, that we wouldn't have to worry about "keeping White people happy to get what we want." Of course it isn't that simple, We have respectability politics as one of our biggest obstacles...
"We have the RIGHT to ask questions of not only the dominant group (White folks), but we CAN & SHOULD question folks within our own ranks. usually the response to questions and gripes include getting defensive, brushing off, and subsequently degrading the person and inquiry."
Respectability politics can kill, it has killed and will kill countless Black folks who are told that they cannot be themselves. We automatically start by devaluing ourselves within our own community of orientation, the Black community. It is as if we are fulfilling the crabs in a barrel stereotype, like we are in a forced competition with ourselves. Respectability politics reinforces tone policing, sexism, hate, fear and a host of other redundancies that hold us back as a collective. We can't express anger, have to dress a certain way and present an overall image that will improve things just enough for us to work three times harder in order to be twice as good as our White counterparts. This is so contradictory to me that we as Black people in general are automatically groomed in that manner and then achieve some level of success only to be told not to be too expressive or too intersectional. We become shells of ourselves, one dimensional to the point that we even view our own intelligence as a threat to ourselves and others.
We are talented beyond binaries.
We are intersectional beings that are unique and we must be respected for it! Respectability politics needs to die a swift death, so that we can thrive and not just survive. It needs to die because unsolicited directives about how we should express our individuality is no longer acceptable. This is where we have to cease the tone policing and disrespectfully crossing boundaries that don't need to be crossed. The need to "play the game" has long passed its prime, we simply need to walk to the beat of our own drum and celebrate differences. We can still be unified, unique and learn from others with different perspectives. If we shake the fear of things outside of our social norms that have been instilled within us by respectability politics, we can then listen actively and learn something new about ourselves.
Lets start by building our own tables, and having much needed internal dialog without white interference.