As an African in America, I can honestly say that a part of me dreads black history month. For many, this month offsets a black year with a celebration of the motivational forces of a black past and present, but the anti-black world employs black history month as a platform to assault the African in America. Like most blacks housed by North America, the most resounding assault during black history month is both a personal and professional assault.
I was a graduate student at a predominately (white) woman college. As the final days of black history month were upon the small woman’s college, a student wrote, on the University’s social site, that the black women on campus were “evil” and “should be lynched.” The statement caused a mild uproar with just enough outrage to get those who willingly participated in an environment overtly hostile to black women and black people to adopt a pseudo activism to obscure their racism.
The statement not only articulated a lingering hateful and murderous sentiment but surfaced during black history month to convey an anxiety with any systemic performance that surfacely separates blackness from destitution.
This act holds hands with other examples of domestic terrorism that surfaces to posit blackness as undeserving of a month, and the African-African-Adjacent as unwilling to divorce the dark body from what appeases their dependent ideology.
I reference this anecdote to elucidate that the Gorilla Glue story performs an identical function as an inaugural offense of the new year.
Earlier this month, a black woman from Louisiana, Tessica Brown, went viral for gluing her hair into what became a fixed position. The viral video, while incredulous to many, proved comedic to others. A story that shames the black woman for her hair choice, yet again, is bound to go viral in a country that thrives on ridiculing the African aesthetic both conspicuously and inconspicuously.
Not only does this depiction posit the black person as unworthy of a month dedicated to their culture, but it blames a wounded individual for a gaping collective injury. What I mean here, is that the countless ways the African-descended woman adopted to mask her hair results from their colonial abduction and the resulting cultural adulteration. Thus, this narrative resumes the “you did it to yourself narrative” which absolves white accountability in face of the omnipresence of the cognitive bondage elucidated in both Brown’s icy blue contacts and her attempts to glue her way to a unnatural hairstyle.
The narrative delivered a predictable conclusion with a migrant doctor featured as the story’s hero. Now, for those who consider my rhetoric divisive, my verbiage reflects countless articles that reference the doctor as Ghanian. Though this doctor undoubtedly entered medical school under the same identity umbrella as Brown, this information, specifically the ethnic reference, surfaces to reinforce the model minority mythos. Africans who descended from those who built this country, those who bore the tides of waves that brought boats of opportunity for those who would choose what was chosen for the African displaced in America, those who the white media convey as gorillas who glue their hair to their head, or face potential placement on a mode of commerce that their bodies encapsulated centuries prior, remain the hyper site for an anti-black assault that posits systemic disenfranchisement and cultural obscurity as saving a “damaged” constituency from themselves.
In this anti-black world, Africans in America did not make something out of the nothing their abductors sought to make of them; they did not pull themselves up by the straps of boots they made. Rather, they glued said boots to the ground to, as framed by the white media, be rescued by their “better” halves.
Those who resume the dream of this white settler space assume the optics of the political and medical savior for their role in saving, not their North American kin, but for saving the white gaze from having to face their colonial misdeeds. To avoid looking the descendants from those they abducted in the eye, not out of guilt, but because to do so would underscore the reality that Africans in America are owed more than a month and more than what the white media labels “happy ending” vested in harvesting white hegemony.