March For “Their” Lives, A Black Female Perspective

Since the election of the current commander in chief, a number of factions dominated by whites have staged performances which served as a coming out party for the oppressors as oppressed–those who paint a picture of being denied the symbolism of Barack Obama and denied rightful representation in reality star turned commander in Chief. 45, illustrates a victory common to those who appear to oppose him. 45— a man who used his presidency to not only become the chief commanding officer but the king of popular culture, illustrates the pervasiveness of whiteness and the variants of racism. Namely, that those who seem vehemently opposed to 45, and what he’s about, prove just as racist, if not moreso, in their acts of opposition.

I want to state that the reason I am excluding the current commander in chief’s name, is to ensure that blackness remains central in a space designated to centralize black people. I also want to point out, that 45’s opposers designated him a number, in the same way that blacks incarcerated for the same crimes that designated them subjugates gain upon their entry into the penitentiary. However, the first president, who I will call “1,” remains referenced by his name, although this person owned slaves. How is his evil less that our current president? How do any of the American presidents differ from one another? The answer is they don’t but racism is to be practiced, not shouted from the mountaintops, as admitting racism, for white people, is to admit weakness. It is to admit that, as many black scholars have said over the years, that whites need a “n*gger” to foment their fictive greatness—their “superiority” invented not innate.

“March for Our Lives”: The Latest Distraction

Yesterday marked what the main stream white media called March for “our” lives, or a public demonstration against gun violence. In its attraction of supporters from all walks of life, the event proves an acceptable cause like LGBT and women’s rights—causes that individuals can per formatively support and not imbue a label of “complainer” or “anti-american.”

The use of black celebrities and activists like props function to imply that black lives matter to the cause. But if this were the case, this march would have happen decades ago. In Southern Horrors, Ida b. Wells documented the many blacks senselessly shot in the fervor of white supremacy, acts that mirror what the contemporary climate has witnessed in the racially motivated shooting of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Reneisha Mcbride, Philando Castile, John Crawford III amongst others. Where was talks of gun violence when a deranged white youth, shot nine black church goers as they said their closing prayer?  In these instances, there was not any public outcry. No, issues of gun violence did not matter until white children were killed–and instances like Columbine could no longer be treated as isolated instances. Gun access is yet another privilege of white supremacy—as demonstrated by the rarely acknowledged fact that the majority of mass shootings are carried out by white men. The purpose of the white supremacist society in which we live, is not to restrict the access of white men to said supremacy. The current emphasis on gun violence is the veil white supremacist hide behind. The issue for whites is not gun violence, but the preservation of white lives.

A Shifted Gaze

Focus on the rights of Women, the LGBT community, Muslims, etc is a just way for the white world to once again avoid looking the true demon in the eye, and to produce a world that continues to be better for whites and non-black “minorities”, while diversifying the way in which the black body experiences the violence of disenfranchisement and invisibility. For those who understand racism understand that guns are not the demon—the demon is white supremacy.

Conversations following Trayvon Martin’s murder birthed black lives matter, as his murder and demonizing by the media painted a portrait to the contrary. However, when white children are murdered, the resulting initiative is globalized—all factions solicited for support. When an issue affects the white collective it is time for change, when something affects a member of the black collective, demonstrators and activists are deemed complainers playing the race card. This is ironic, given that the #metoo movement, LBGT rights, and not “March for our Lives” all play the race card in diversifying the ways in which America centralized whiteness.

Before it was a gun, it was a noose, before that it was two hands that threw sickly bodies off a ship to make room for “superior” stock. The issue is racism, and in ignoring the core issue removing guns will just clear the way for another way for blacks to die, and another way for whites and non blacks to skate around the law in their cavalier disregard for the black body. But to parade the grandchild of the late great Dr. King, and use her as a face against gun violence is another level of violence. This act is spit in the face of King’s legacy and the legacy of all black people. It is also a toxic act of collective amnesia, as tt wasn’t a gun that killed Dr. King—it was racism.

This is not the first time this year the white media has manipulated Dr. King’s image to support causes antithetical to his platform. During the superbowl, Dr. King’s speech “The Drum Stick Major” was used to promote a costly vehicle, despite Dr. King’s firm stance against capitalism. Now, Dr. King’s legacy is being used to promote an all lives matter cause, overlooking the demographic to which King devoted his whole life—the black collective.

But Dr. King, and now his granddaughter, are not the only King’s being appropriated, so is the late Coretta Scott King.

Coretta & Cardi

book-coretta-scott-kingThere is a a popular sweatshirt worn by many black women that reads: Coretta & Cardi. The Coretta mentioned in the sweat shirt references civil rights heroine Coretta Scott King. Speaking or thinking of the late Miss King, recalls images of her marching for black suffrage, and of course the heartbreaking image of a solemn Miss King holding one of her children at Dr. King’s funeral.

Beauty. Class. Courage.

Coretta Scott King is a portrait of black femininity, bearing the strength and sacrifice that epitomizes what it means to be a black Woman. Cardi B, however does not.

While King and Cardi B both stem from a black foremothers, they are hardly sisters of sandra-bland-be-my-voicethe same struggle. Surely Cardi benefited from what Corretta Scott’s sacrifice imbued, but she has not paid the deed forward. If fact, Cardis placement on the shirt, like her place in a space  made possible by the same demographic she called “roaches,” also functions as erasure. The spot she occupies could very  well feature a contemporary black female activist, or someone dedicated to the very causes as Coretta. This is perhaps most disturbing in recalling the murder of Sandra Bland and the resulting hashtag “sayhername.” Sandra could have easily occupied a space on this shirt, but it seems as her body grew colder in the ground, folks just stopped saying her name.

Cardi’s placement on the shirt, although possibly an attempt at diasporic blackness, seems an effort to capitalize on the “it” girl—ignoring the reality that the same factors that deem Cardi relevant also made Mrs. King a widow. Thus, the juxtaposition of Coretta and Cardi B is not only dissonant but violent, allowing someone who does not function as black to seize yet another place from those who do.

It’s interesting because despite the oppression faced by blacks, many within the community take it upon themselves to play peacemaker and ensure the world that they are not at odds with other factions—illustrating the shirt as of the same force as the “March for our lives.”

Have The Chickens Come Home to Roost?

The violent appropriation of the King Legacy exposes the mental violence evoked in seducing blacks to support something which will bring virtually no change or sense fo safety to their lives. Both the Coretta and Cardi Shirt and the March for our lives performance, illustrate that black lives do not matter in America, but perhaps more disturbingly, that in a country maintained on the very ideals that deem black subjugates, black lives simply can not matter.

White lives, on the contrary, matter now more than ever.  But, as Malcolm X once said “The chickens have come home to roost.”  I say this to not be insensitive, but every act of violence inflicted towards those of the white collective is birthed from the same forces that breed their advantages. For the black collective, the same is true on a march darker scale. Namely, the same things that may bring individual happiness, often engenders collective doom. To wear this Coretta & Cardi sweatshirt or to march for “their” lives, is perform a script written by those who want to write blacks out of existence. For this reason, the black collective must remain committed to uncovering and acknowledging all the ways the white supremacist world works to seduce us into a festered subjugation.

To be clear, the purpose of this post is not to suggest that blacks should not care about others as black are innately empathetic creatures unlike our psychopathic counterparts. It is however, essential for black people to care about the black collective. To invest care into a demographic that thrives in our mental enslavement, is, to employ the jargon of Christina Sharpe from In The Wake: On Blackness and Being, to occupy the hold of the ship history says we exited as slaves. It is only in seizing our psyche’s from the hold, that we as a collective obtain the means to emerge “in the wake.”

So in efforts to end racism, I’m all in. But to march for “their” lives, is to walk over a collective that may not matter anywhere on the globe, but it matters to me.

Black Power ❤

 

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Until the lion has a historian, the hunter will always be a hero-Chinua Achebe Twitter: @womanistwriter Email: whispersofawomanist@gmail.com E-Portfolio:catherinecsaunders.weebly.com

4 thoughts on “March For “Their” Lives, A Black Female Perspective

  1. Brilliant. You articulated everything I think about this march and the use of Black faces for white movements. It all seemed so forced, the way these kids were speaking to the crowd. It was odd and unbelievable.
    This march happened within a week of us losing another innocent brother to murder by a soulless coward. I took it as a punch in the face. Where is the cry for police reform? Where are the white faces and marches and movements when our brothers and sisters are killed? How many times do we have to play this old role before we stop showing up?

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