What Happened When I “Came for” Cardi B.: The Cardi B. Conscious ClapBack

I’ll be honest with you, I never intended to author a post on Cardi B. The post reflects an aspiring writing seizing an opportunity to practice the skill to which she has dedicated my life.

Before I continue, I want to state that I do not regret anything that I posted. I do however regret the aftermath of my articulation—namely bringing the disingenuous and intellectually impenetrable to a blog designed to expose the labyrinth of a global racial paradigm.


Soaring Stats: A Gift and a Curse

ABD logo
ABD logo

Saturday marked the most readers my blog has ever seen. Three and a half years ago when I started this blog, this news would have been great. The traffic however, was not those seeking a collective consciousness, but those who maintain a proximity to blackness but seek to centralize what they compartmentalize as their faction, in discussions of blackness.

Specifically, this increased traffic was solely credited to Cardi B, and those solely interested in engaging blackness from an Afro-Latin/Latinx perspective. So while the majority of the hate-spewed comments accuse me of being ethnocentric, the argumentative interest prompted by my Cardi B. post was in fact fomented by ethnocentricity.

To those who counter my assertions, I ask you—where was the influx of “Afro-Latin”* commentary on my post remembering Recy Taylor—the black woman gang-raped by white men in 1944? Where were you a last week when Erica Garner passed? And where are you yesterday when as the black community honored black author Zora Neale Hurston on what would have been her birthday?

I want to point out that all of the previously mentioned names are those of black females born in America, just like Cardi B. But neither of my articles speaking of those bearing the same blackness my skeptics claim to believe in, garnered any traction from the Latinx community.

Where was your interest in blackness when not anchored in the location of your drop off?

The answer is simple— basking in the ethnic deflection created by the sorcerers of whiteIsabel_Luberza_Oppenheimer_(Isabel_la_Negra)_del_Barrio_Maragüez,_en_Ponce,_Puerto_Rico_(DSC05441C) supremacy, claiming the many labels, like Puerto Rican and Dominican, created by the white man to diversify how they call us all n*ggers.

I would  have welcomed a  proposal to partner with a diasporic sibling to widen my pan-Africanist scope. I would have welcomed a critique demanding I acknoweldge the diasporic black female form like the late Isabel la negra—but this is not the critique.

No, the overwhelming amount of insults,  accusations of ignorance, and declarations of my misunderstandings of colonialism, reflect the colonized minds of those who place nationality before race, and attack truth to maintain the fallacy necessary to eschew looking the true villain in the eye.


The Real

Most of the comments on my piece on Cardi B, are from those who did not bother to readbutton-blackpower-lg
the article. The article specifically acknowledges diasporic Africans as descendants of the same black bodies abducted from the shores of Africa. But rather than take the article for what it actually said, many approached the piece with their own insecurities regarding all that they’ve gained from blacks whom did not choose their placement in America.

Yet despite my descendance from the same abducted black bodies that birthed by brethren outside the U.S., I have been credited for stealing my own ancestors, for doing the white man’s work of dividing the most beautiful and resilient people offspring of Africa.

Namely, what makes these comments problematic is the personalizing of a collective argument, by attacking what my skeptics perceived as a representation of the haughty “African-American,” while the true villains escape these scathing replies and instead maintain their esteemed place in the bloodline, the employment, and bed, of my mythic adversaries. These verbally violent acts– socially reproduced almost two-hundred times in the last seventy-two hours– not only depict misdirected anger, but reflect the type of cowardice that brings our shared oppressors to tears of joy.

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Africa, A Tree with Many Branches 

Africa is the common branch to all her lost children, but to act as though some of her children have not forgotten the black foremothers and forefathers of their past, is sheer denial of the part many of Africa’s children play in the wrath of white supremacy. While certainly not limited to schomburg_arturoAfricans outside the U.S., the migrant black is often given an easy out by the American white supremacists who wish to discount the horror inflicted onto dr-benblacks in the “land of the brave and home of the free.”

Now, my blog does not discount that that there are diasporic Africans, like the late and prolific Arthur Schomburg and Dr. Ben who made  incomparable contributions to blackness. Though also born in Bronx like Cardi B, Dr. Ben is absent from ALL criticisms of my diasporic siblings, which reflect the limited and prejudiced scope of my skeptics. Dr. Ben reflects those who placed nationality second to their African origins– those throughout the diaspora that welcome their separated siblings with open arms, and dedicate their life to the  whole of blackness. But in the 2ffe9421a4f01c98a8c5b7723ac2f48c4a36afabsame breath that I remember and honor the late Dr. Ben,  I would be remiss to acknowledge the overwhelming majority that do not mirror his actions or ideology.

This assertion does not mean that those with African ancestry must identify as black–there is no pressure to associate with blackness.  The conscious objective is not to “convince” folk that they are black, but embracing those who do.

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Tell em’ why they mad son’

black_pride_rectangle_magnetYet, the issue with the post was not so much my analysis of Cardi, but that me, a person of the black collective not only understands the unmatched contribution of blacks to the globe, but possesses the confidence to shout it from the mountaintops.

I, like countless other blacks who stand up despite the pervasive expectation that blacks must lie down and take the exploitation and appropriation violently  handed to them by those inside and outside the black diaspora, endure the labels of “bitter” and “angry.” Labels that function to cloud black confidence with the same negativity–namely bitterness, anger, and hate– that foments our continued disenfranchisement.

The animosity that accompanied this post, mirrors the animosity endured by the outspoken black deemed bitter, angry, and difficult by whites threatened by blacks who articulate an incisive understanding of what has been designed to destroy them.

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Am I Black Enough to Be Black Person? 

dascha-polanco-brooklyn-high-school-vibe-compressed
Dascha Polanco, of Orange is The New Black (Netflix)

The question is not and never has been whether an individual is “black enough,” but how present blackness is in the life and identity of a person who considers themselves black. Light skin does not discount one’s blackness, as Prince, Michael Jackson, and Beyonce, while flawed, have never stated that they are not black. Rihanna, though a black woman, has never identified as a black woman—Amber Rose, though birthed from a black woman discounts her blackness—though both reap the benefits and support from black people and their proximity to blackness, and also function to illustrate the pervasive ideology that the black female form oozes an animistic sexuality.

Orange is the New Black actress to Dascha Polanco, on the other hand, an African of Dominican displacement, has openly proclaimed herself as a black woman, although she plays a Puerto Rican woman on the series. Thus, the issue is not whether you are of African ancestry, but whether you function as a black person. Cardi B, and Bruno Mars have African ancestry, but do not function as black people. Having black blood does not make you black, its about owning your blackness and not treating blackness as a fair-weather friend. It’s about enduring the good, bad, and ugly of the black experience.

It’s about understanding the road you walk on as paved in the blood and bones of your brethren. It’s about joining forces with your black brethren, about aiding in the production of black commerce, be it economical or intellectual—not using black people, black support, or black currency as a key to enter the master’s house.

job-applicationRather than accuse me of dividing the black collective, I encourage those who identify as Afro-Latino, or Latinx to consider the ways they function to divide the collective. Particularly, do you check “black” or “hispanic”?  “Hispanic,” “Latin,” etc all function similar to terms “mixed” and “biracial.” They are mythic labels implemented to divide the black collective. Thus, by calling yourself any of these names, an individual becomes a facet of a collective war waged against black people.

Namely, the systemic distinction between “black” and “hispanic” is a deliberate act implemented by those who observe a place at the top of the hierarchical structure to divide the black collective with an implication that black and hispanic/latino are mutually exclusive. So rather than ask me whether your displacement in the diaspora or bilinguality qualifies you as black, ask yourself whether you are black enough to check black on paper?

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They Worked Hard for All You Have

As seen in countless countries populated with Africans displaced in the transatlantic slave trade like Brazil and Haiti, blacks displaced in the United States sacrificed  for centuries to engender modern (temperate) liberties. Our efforts, while birthing many feats,  have largely knocked down the door for many throughout the diaspora who voluntarily flee to the US to get places that that young boy or girl in the projects will never obtain an opportunity to visit even on a school trip. Contrary to popular belief, this young boy or girl that does not get a chance to seize his or her full potential does not reflect lack of ambition or motiviation. This illustrates how white supremacists have succeeded in no-colored-allowed-black-americana-cast-iron-sign-10x4_220665307171dividing and conquering the black collective, how the white supremacist society has succeeded in using our own siblings to systemically disenfranchise their own people.

(If you read this reference in the comments under my original Cardi B. post, I apologize for my redundancy.)

In her autobiography, Assata Shakur delineates the divide and conquer technique in an anecdote from her childhood. She recalls a summer trip to an amusement park where she and her family were initially refused because of the color of her skin. Once her mother begins to speak Spanish, they gain access to the park. Shakur concludes the anecdote with the following reflection:

” Anybody, no matter who they were, could come right off the boat and get more rights and respect than Amerikan-born blacks” (Shakur 28). 

Were, Assata and her family any less black then when they first tried to gain entry?

Not all.

But at that moment, their blackness took a backseat to the mechanism, or in this case language, manipulated to grant them a cruel duality, where their blackness birthed their exclusion, but the foreign nature of their blackness garnered their temperate inclusion.  Thus, they opted out of blackness in order to opt into a white space.

too-blackTo celebrate Bruno Mars, Cardi B, Jennifer Lopez, and others employed in the same malevolent intentions to maintain the stagnancy of the African displaced in North American as occupying the base of American society, is to wave and smile at those granted entry to a space you were “too black” to attend.

Yes, I am saying that there are plenty of children lacking Bruno Mars, and Cardi’s racial “choice” that exceed their talent, but will never get the chance because they are “too black” to be anything but a rapper, or a “star” on Love and Hip Hop.

afro-latinoTo this I would aptly engage criticisms of those who perform a similar deed in  vacationing and staying at resorts where their brethren are suffering. To vacation at resorts when our diasporic brethren are rendered invisible by the culturally unenlightened and those indulging in a selective amnesia, who eat shrimp cocktail where diasporic Africans barely have enough to eat, is to also occupy a space established on the exclusion of your kinfolk.

But this is not the criticism.

The criticism is my failure to celebrate those who have the ability to choose whether they function as black. As a black person not subject to this choice, it is essential to my individual and collective survival to note that having black ancestry or a black ancestor does not make you black. People like Cardi B, Bruno Mars, Zoe Saldana, Christina Milian, etc,. have an option whether or not to identify with their black forefathers and foremothers in a way that author Wallace Thurman, singer Sam 5bca5ff33de4c8f97e6b70b06d3b22daCooke, and activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  did not.

This criticism, in its abundance and fiery presence under my initial Cardi B, post, proves an unintentional declaration of the low regard to which blacks displaced in North America are held. We are expected to smile in the face of a division that discounts our humanity to not seem divisive to those who imbue temperate benefits in the collective bludgeoning of black people from the white strategy of divide and conquer.

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Conclusion: What Happened When I “came for” Cardi B. 

So what happens when you “come for” Cardi B? 31ec281578fbbc9806eaf21d758113b8.1000x563x1

You are accused of lacking blackness in a failure to comply to the stereotypical traits expected of black people. It means being accused of dividing a people, while simultaneously subject to the division imbued in an accusation that me, a bearer of the black female form, “jumped Spanish girls in high school because they had better hair than me.” (actual quote)

I want to specify that I never “came for” Cardi B., I simply articulated a stance against cultural exploitation and appropriation encouraged and featured on the white media. I simply stood up for my people and my culture, and the aftermath illustrated diasporic blackness with regards to the black displaced in North America, as more abjected and ostracized than any article I could ever write.

So what happens, when you come for Cardi B?

White people everywhere snicker while the African displaced in Latin America and the  052217-Shows-BETX-Cardi-B-1x1Caribbean sulk in the exposition of the envy they hold for those they seek to emulate, but remain reluctant to appreciate  and truly identify as.

This envy solely comes from those who pledge an allegiance to an African identity they do not truly feel, who separate rather than sync themselves with their displaced sibling separated on the ship that did not not sever our bloodline, but parted our bodies.

Bodies that in some way, shape, or form face the option (at varying degrees) to “opt” out of blackness, to become a weapon used against those born from the same continental womb, be it via skin color, hair texture, education, tax bracket, ethnicity, etc.

All the conscious community asks is a non-fickle choice to embrace or ignore blackness in part and whole, and to refute any and all options to work against your people.

While the systemic crippling of black folk throughout the diaspora, make it nearly impossible for the average black person, despite their placement in the diaspora, to travel or relocate from one drop-off to the next, in enjoying the richness of a 39diasporic culture,  we, as Africans, must remain mindful of how our bodies can easily transition from familial to fatal.

In journeying to the places where our abducted brethren created culture out of kidnapping (in travel or migrancy), our goals should never be to get in with the master, but to get in with our people.

Thus, my issue with Cardi B, Bruno Mars and other diasporic Africans turned “hispanic” “Afro-Latino” or “American success story,” is not so much their selective blackness (for those who argue that they function as black at all), but that their goal is not to get in with black people, but to get in the black mind and purse. To get into spaces created by those raped to birth the privilege they presently observe.

Nevertheless, there is no shame in refusing to claim those who do not claim you, but there is great shame and entitlement exhibited by those who perceive blacks with the same disdain as our colorless counterparts yet demand support from those they see as subjugates.

So what happened when a being of black female form “came for” Cardi B?

She was reminded that all desire central placement in blackness, but few actually desire blackness.

*Members of the black collective need not occupy their time or thoughts with those who do not claim them, or only claim black to attain access to some benefit. Which is why I choose to end my post here :-).

Black Power, and all Power to the People Who Truly Identify as Black.

*The author places “Afro-Latino” in quotations as she includes all factions of diaspora in her use of the term “black” unless indicated otherwise. 

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A People Divided: The Diasporic Dissonance of the Dark Race

A Recurring Query

 

“Catherine Saunders”

 

stated my soon-to-be seventeen-year-old student in a desperate attempting to portray a conspicuously scripted conversation as natural.

I felt a familiar feeling that foreshadowed where this conversation would go. So, I silently exhaled and tried to relax my muscles from an anticipated tension.

“Are you mixed with Indian or anything?” she asked in a fictive coyness that made my blood boil.

There it was. The dreaded query that appeared far too many times throughout my adulthood.

“No, girl I’m African” I said trying to hide my disappointment.

 

“Oh, so you’re just black?”

 

I’ll be honest. I am not sure if I asked or if she volunteered the information that I am about to share. But either way, I was hopeful that her follow-up would yield a hidden Pan-Africanism.

It didn’t.

 

“I’m Guyanese, well South American, Jamaican, Bajan, and English. I say all four because I’m not just one”

 

This “just one” phrase would prove a recurring phrase in the conversations surrounding black identity that would dominate my week.

Seeking another perspective, I requested the input of a colleague who I falsely compartmentalized as a “free African,” or an someone well on their way to a collective identity.

I asked my colleague how she thought Caribbean displacement affects black identity. The response, while elaborate and beautifully articulated, mirrored my student’s, but proved even more disappointing.

In summary, the “clarity” offered by my colleague, validated my student’s logic with a series of short-sighted remarks that revealed an ideology polluted with the subtle teachings of white supremacy.

Achieving Exotic Status, and The Singularity of Blackness

My colleague reiterated the “just one” phrase implemented by my student stating that it is white supremacy that coerces the black “American” to choose “one thing.” She then went on to say that Caribbean identity embraces the “totality” of their being, ie what my student in mentioning “Barbados,” “Guyana” and “England.” She also was sure to reference what she called the diversity of Caribbean aesthetics, a claim I’ve heard countless times in the boastful stupor of the oppressed.

.The variants of aesthetics is one of the many gifts of blackness, and is not limited to just one sub-group. Moreover, this comment is upsetting for many reasons, but mostly in exposing the true nature of the ideology from which it derived. Fractioned identity, is not pride, but an anti-black act guised as nationalism. This nationalism, seduces the decedents of Caribbean (or any other diasporic ethnicity) slaves to view their “drop-off” as “home” and to see their ability to have a “home” and “language” as superior to that of the non-migrant black in the states–who migrants seek to appropriate in their consensual journey over the same seas that carried their brethren who would be lynched, burned alive, castrated, raped, dismembered and systemically disenfranchised for centuries prior to the influx of Caribbean immigrants who would reap the benefits of their pain. I find it imperative to make this assertion, as diasporic Africans often highlight the struggle in their pseudo homelands as singular, discounting “struggle” as an experience shared by all blacks. Struggle, tragedy, and cyclical systemization is an integral component to black identity, but despite being a uniting factor, white oppressors implement black struggle as a weapon to circumvent black concord.

This concord is a worthy compromise for those seeking an ex-factor through a fictive multi-ethnic identity. To be fair, this is not solely limited to melanated migrants, but millions of blacks across the diaspora bamboozled into believing that black is everything but beautiful. The melanated migrant though bears a poisonous and often under-discussed desire to become the abducted African displaced in America in record numbers. While there are some non-migrant blacks who have moved to the continent or the West Indies, these numbers pale in comparison to the amount of blacks from the continent, the West Indies, the Caribbean, and South and Central America who inundate the black population in places like New York City.

Also inundating the flourishing population of the migrant black in places like the big apple is a systemized envy of non- migrant black aesthetics. Namely, those bearing the unsullied blood of the motherland, or its  envy a demographic who embodies the remnants of wombs legally violated by a system who conceptualized the black body as property. For example, I recall a young black male college student recall  his peers from the continent commenting, in a state of awe, on how different his hair was in comparison to theirs–citing his”looser coil” as a divisive factor.

On the reverse, I have seen and experienced the tokenizing of non-migrant black beauty by the melanated migrant. I would like to clarify that although using the term “beauty” I do not mean that the referenced individual is beautiful (we as a collective are beautiful), but that an oppressed gaze would perceive a diluted bloodline as beautiful in a self-hatred stupor. As a college student , for the most part, students from the Caribbean and the continent did not engage with the general population of those who were presumed to be “just black.” At the dating auctions that schools clubs held to make money, the melanated migrant would show up in large groups and “purchase” the non-mirgant black women who they refused to acknowledge on campus. Similarly,  I have had instances where I was inappropriately touched by migrant males who seemed to perceive my body with the same entitlement and disregard as white men. I have also witnessed migrant women engage sexually with migrant men who refused to acknowledge them in public when alongside those they perceived to be kin. These scenarios, mirror a similar ideology to that of my student and colleague, illustrating the various hurtful consequences imbued by a divisive ideology. Moreover, the intoxication of the abducted African displaced in the states seemingly offsets both an internalized envy and objectification in its divisive function–sometimes both symptoms occurring simultaneously.

There is also an envy of access. By access I mean access to whiteness. Although systemically disenfranchised by whites who own million dollar resorts miles away from children without clothes, and families without shoes or food, few migrant blacks seem to associate their lifestyle, or what prompts their move to the states, as a direct result of white supremacy. It seems their predominately black environment allows many melanated migrants to attribute their disenfranchised state to this dynamic and not the seemingly invisible whites who sit unbothered at the height of every hierarchy throughout the black diaspora. Thus, the abducted Africans displaced into the states, appear to be at an advantage in what must appear to be a closer access to white people and an illusive whiteness seemingly consummated through job titles and material goods.

Identity: Claiming Constructs

It is whiteness, and the journey towards it in material, aesthetics, and accolades, that thwarts black unity. My colleague plots curing white control of blackness by celebrating what I reference as the “drop off.” She finds solstice in Haiti, and suggests that non-migrant blacks do the same for America. The conversation as a whole was a hard pill to swallow, but this statement was the most problematic and most hurtful. To possess a sense of nationalism for a drop-off is to claim a land that has never claimed you but enslaved you and grown crops and trust funds in the blood of your ancestors.

It is the failure to look past the “drop off” that incites the disappointment in my student, colleague, and others that take pride in their oppressive placement. For a black to claim America, or a West Indian to claim a West Indian or Caribbean Country, or black displaced in Brazil to claim Brazil, or the countless blacks displaced in Latin America to claim their respective drop off, is to inadvertently thank the white settlers for ripping you from the womb of your mother continent and casting you in a systemized role necessary to manifest their destiny. To claim a drop-off is to make Willie Lynch and every white man who taught and practiced the science of oppression proud in the longevity of their cruel creation of system that destroys the the kryptonite to white global domination–black unity and a collective pride. Acknowledging a collective identity does not function to denounce anything. Rather, it is a proclamation of collective pride. In acknowledging a collective identity it is imperative to note that although I may check “African American” on applications, I understand that I am not an American.

In contemplating the words of my student and colleague, my mind reverts back  to a moment from my past when an exchange student from the West Indies, on a Pan-Africanist panel, spoke about his desire to acknowledge his Scottish and Asian origins. His response was an obvious attempt to escape what he perceived as the singularity of blackness. But he, in a systemized ethnic state, saw his assertion as acknowledging all parts of self. I remember the guest speaker walking out in a disappointment that festered into disgust. The young man who made this statement sat bewildered in a bubble of ignorance he saw as a window to a complete identity. This example illustrates the height of a systemized mind, so systemized that like my student and colleague, he saw his comments as innocuous and not for the portrait of self-hatred that it was.

Asians, Latinos, Indians and whites do not claim blacks. They may dig up some black blood to obtain a scholarship or some other benefit, but other groups do not fraction their identity in the same way as blacks because overall they do not suffer from a lack of nationalism in the way we do. An Asian person may be Korean and may not even like his Chinese or Thai counterparts, but this does not stop him from functioning as an Asian. Not that blacks should emulate other groups, but to embrace our idiosyncrasies and still function as one, posits a crucial step towards a collective advancement .

The black collective can not afford to have anyone who sees him or herself as equally black and white or black and Indian, or anything else, because of an articulated inability to fully devote themselves to the interests of the black collective. If you won’t even say black, it’s highly unlikely that you will act or think in the best interest of the black collective  in a moment of conflict.

I also admit that while asserting that those who claim a drop-off are claiming those that do not claim them, I am doing the same thing in my wish for diasporic Africans to claim a black identity. In claiming South America, Barbados, and England, this young lady is not claiming black— a fact that becomes obvious in her compartmentalizing blackness as singular.

Although I do hope that one day all blacks will see the beauty of a black identity, I accept that that day is not today. I understand that it is easier to accept the drop-off, so that your mind remains comforted with what you’ve been nurtured to perceive as an upper hand and a one-way ticket to an exotic identity. For the melanated migrant, who wishes to appropriate the non-migrant black’s oppression, claiming the drop-off is their ticket to consummate whiteness. To those whose mentality is a systemic masterpiece of global colonialism, a fictive plurality works as a means to layer what is perceived as a singularity of blackness.

Ethnicity: A Cancer Construct

Before AIDS and various cancers from stomach to brain consumed the lives of so many Africans throughout the diaspora, the cancer of ethnicity and “difference” gradually expunged onto the black diaspora. This cancer repeatedly split the black identity so that members of the collective, with the same Kemtian blood running through their veins would fail to claim their own people, due to speaking different languages or socially identifying with an ethnic group that stood away from blackness.

To those set on exotifying their existence with the cancerous sub- identities created by our oppressors, “unity” seems stifling. To those seeking “difference” this “unity” appears an effort to erase what is unique about what they falsely perceive as their culture. Black identity is the exact opposite. Blackness is never and could never be just one thing. To be black is to bear a rich and endless legacy of everything black—to bear the multi-layered identity of a shared experience.

To be completely honest, I fail to see anything wrong with being one thing, if that one thing is black.

As Broken as The Sphinx’s Nose: A Systemized Suffocation

The Sphinx’s nose, seemingly one thing, symbolizes the power in a singular entity essential to identity. Namely, the Sphinx’s broken nose functions to “fix” the black collective into a state of constant confusion. The broken nose symbolizes the severed African diaspora. As a symbol of Kemetian brilliance and African majesty, it’s destruction at the hands of whites illustrates the power of destroying a single entity has on a collective. The African nose represents blackness, that in its distorted state, suffocates the collective into an induced oppression that simultaneously murders black unity.  The Sphinx now functions to substantiate the white supremacist act of removing Kemet from Africa and displacing it into the fictive “Middle East” to denounce that the original inhabitants were indeed black. Without this nose, the diaspora endures a systemic smothering into an ambiguity that furthers white mental and physical domination.

It is because of this pervasive domination of whiteness that I do not support black migration. I am not against blacks being greater in number and in increased proximity between diasporic Africans, but in North America particularly, migrant entry and access functions to fester the necessary ethnic division to retain anti-blackness.

Migrant entry and access throws salt in the wound of an already divided and mentally enslaved people. White supremacists have used the diaspora of displaced and divided Africans to fatally infect the gaping wound of white supremacy. The placement of our misguided brethren alongside systemized kinfolk of a similarly distorted mindset only increases our plight to navigate our way through the global labyrinth of racism.

Moreover, I am against how migrant entry of access impedes black advancement. Thus, while I have never seen the physical void of the Sphinx’s nose, I felt the lack of air in conversation with both my student and colleague. I feel the lack of air when I hear any person of African ancestry dismember their identity into fractions. I feel the lack of air when I observe diasporic Africans see themselves in those from the same drop-off but not from the same mother.

The migrant black, like the black student who can “graduate” school without knowing how to read, like the black who works hard for a check that goes right back to their oppressors through bills, rent and careless splurges, illustrates the perils of racism and how racism makes all that could be good tragic for black people throughout the diaspora. Black migration could function under a Pan-African initiative in which blacks pursue blackness and shed pseudo nationalism for a black nationalism.

Yes we’ve been fortunate enough to have the incomparable contributions of Kwame Ture, Harry Belefonte, Claude McKay, and countless others who represent the potential for black unity. Their Pan-Africanist initiatives encompass the hope and dream of those who understand the strategic methods that seek to destroy the black collective.

Divided we suffocate.

Together we figuratively reassemble the mutilated nose of Sphinx.

Together we reassemble a black identity mangled in the fiction of ethnicity.

Together we  breathe as a single identity of a shared origin and shared experience.

 

I Am EVERY Black 

It is for this reason that I embrace all folds, experiences, and identities of blackness.

My identity has little to do with my individual experience and everything to do with a collective understanding. I didn’t have to be physically alongside Michael Griffith when he was chased by young white men from Howard Beach in the late 1980s. Blackness is a shared experience, so just as I am Michael Griffith as he ran for his life, I am also Tommie Smith and John Carlos as they sprinted towards black nationalism in the 1968 Olympics.

I am the black body that feels the breeze of the Nile river in the early morning and early evening. I am the Kenyan, the Jamaican, the Brazilian, the Honduran. I am the domestic worker that traveled north for a “better” life but found that the north not only bears colder air but the cold wrath of covert oppression. I am Harriet Tubman in my moments of fearlessness, I am Fanny Lou Hamer—hollowed by white evil but full of African valor, I am Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, Katherine Dunham, Fredi Washington, Winnie Mandela, Edwidge Danticat and every other black Woman across the diaspora who has tried to make something out of the nothing handed to us by our white oppressors.

It is the journey to consciousness, or the mental pilgrimage to an indigenous state that prompts an ability to confront the oppression of division.

Furthermore, I do not separate myself from any black regardless of circumstance or their placement throughout the diaspora. I stand beside them.

“I” is of course not me the individual but a collective identity that intertwines the past, present, and future of the black collective.

I also want to emphasize that the word “black” is not a phrase that I use lightly. To be black is not about having black skin, but identifying as black. To be conscious is to resist the urge to claim those who refuse to claim your collective. I accept their denial, and do not compartmentalize them as black-but continue to see their melanin as redeeming and hope for a change of heart. This is how I will make peace with the diasporic demons that steer my kinfolk into a divisive lunacy that functions solely to benefit whites and other groups that seek to exploit what Neely Fuller labeled “the shattered consciousness and fractured identity” of black people.

So to answer the query that inspired this post, No, I’m not “mixed with Indian or anything like that.” I am a diasporic black woman that embrace all forms of herself from Brazil to Africa to Latin America to the Caribbean.

I am everything the world works to ensure I am not: Black and proud.

I am Every Black person and every black experience and every black person and every black experience is me.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this family!

Black Power ❤