The contemporary climate, which meditates on the commander and chief’s overt racism, remains largely oblivious to the subtle forms of racism engendered in response. By the previous statement, I speak directly to those who have used this time of overt racial tension to castigate the original people of color.
This praxis is currently manifested in Cardi B’s censure of Candace Owens. The act is an obvious effort to change the conversation surrounding Cardi B and race by making her oppressor appear more “black” than “African Americans” like Daniel Cameron and Candice Owens.
The racial quagmire that blackness imposes globally and domestically remains an area that an anti-black media relentlessly seeks to control. The media seeks to control who is black and what is blackness by those whom a white society selects to speak and represent blackness.
I make this point to highlight that it was Cardi B, not a black intellect, that the white media and racist democratic party selected to speak on behalf of black people, and like Candace Owens, Cardi says and does what the white world wants and needs black people to believe to remain in power.
I suppose on a surface level Cardi B and Candace Owens seem to encompass dichotomous images, yet both elucidate optics as an opportunity for anti-black evil to assume and actualize ontological and epistemological control over black people. Both women posit anti-black ideologies as diversely implemented across an array of colors yet appear to encourage alternative modes of thought socially and systemically programmed to white supremacist advantage.
However, the larger inquiry engendered by the diverse criticism of African descended people illuminates two important facts. The first is that the global castigation of Donald Trump has seemingly presented any and everyone as fair game. Trump yields a praxis that poses a detachment to the world at large; Candace Owens does not. Thus, everyone can and should criticize a figure like Trump because whether embarrassed or disenfranchised, his actions correspond to a plethora of people. What Owens does “do”, however, is create an opportunity for figures like Cardi B to exist; she creates an anticipated space for censure similar to Cardi B’s comments which appears more resonant and powerful than it is in juxtaposition to Owens’s overt cultural antagonization.
Owens’s behavior and words only hurt the African in America because she embodies the sourness of the strange fruit that once decorated the south. Owens personifies a live manifestation of a hanged black body placed on display to infantilize the black collective with fear in its violent re-presentation of white supremacy. To employ this same portrait, Cardi B is not the hanged body, she is the rope. Moreover, her censure, like countless other non-blacks who have taken this time and space to castigate the black collective, illuminate that even in the time and space of overt racial tension, those autonomous from blackness or those who adopt the label when or if it is beneficial to them, employ this moment as an opportunity to exude epistemological and ontological control over black life.
This behavior elucidates a point that made itself known long ago: that the African in America only has herself as an ally in this white supremacist space. Allies are not white or persons of color attempting to disguise the quest for control with pseudo camaraderie. Allyship should be about support and the ability to support remains disparate from those appointed by white supremacy to terrorize the black collective with avarice veiled as advocacy.
Nevertheless, I wish to return to a question posed implicitly earlier in this post: Who gets to critique the black person?
To this inquiry, I say what I always articulate and think as I see an influx in those adjacent to the Bigger Thomas and “Invisible Man” experience who seek to critically encounter the discourse both texts engender in pedagogy. If you are not the “invisible man” or predisposed to become Bigger Thomas you have no critical place to interrogate an experience to which you will never have to live. The same goes for what the current society delineates in the media. Those selectively or marginally impacted by the violent words of white supremacy have no right or authority to speak in chorus or in criticism of what specifically impacts black people.
Everyone wants to tell black people what to do, and even be black for the beauty of it but the same people remain unwilling and free from the burden America displaces upon blacks systemically and socially. Therefore, if you do not have to encounter the load of blackness in America, refrain from telling the black collective how to, or present on an opinion on who should, lift it.
Furthermore, thanks but no thanks to Cardi B and all others performing the same evil.