The DC Voice

Willful Ignorance Is Not Acceptable

I have been avoiding my White friends. I am angry, rightfully so. Once again, we are forced to relive trauma that reinforces the fact that our Black lives do not matter in this country. I am tired of educating “upstanding” White people on racism. My personal reasons for not assisting in White enlightenment are as follows. I will not accept the pressure of being eloquent. When Black people become zealous about anything, we are labeled as angry or hostile. I will not coddle anybody when discussing the privilege that comes with being White and how all Whites, even you, upstander, benefit from it. Amanda Seales posted a video on her Instagram stories that perfectly sums up how a lot of Black people feel. Do not call us for reading material, do not ask us what you need to be doing as a White person to help. This is our time to process. The majority of Black Americans, myself included, have had to go to libraries, visit archives, rent documentaries, to learn our history. You have the luxury of Google and Bing, you do not even have to leave the comfort of your home. Do the work. At this point, willful ignorance is the decision (many, a lot, some, most) Whites have made to remain complicit in the lynching of Black people. Individuals have dropped the ball. Corporations have dropped the ball. Do better. 

I see a lot of people throughout my social media feeds claiming that they do not approve of looting. None of these people have seemed to grasp the main point. Black people are dying disproportionately of Covid-19 simply because we do not have access to medical professionals that care about keeping us alive. We are either unemployed, or deemed essential workers which puts our lives at risk. We watched a man get murdered on a jog by White vigilantes. We watched another man die at the knee of a police officer while three other officers refused to intervene. Mix these current events with the systemic racism we have experienced for centuries and there is now a molotov cocktail that is ready to explode. I firmly stand behind anybody that is actively protesting. When Kaepernick peacefully protested by kneeling? White people had complaints. When Beyoncé dressed up as a Black Panther and sang Formation at the Super Bowl? White people had complaints. “This is not the time. It is not appropriate. Why are they being divisive?” We are refusing to be peaceful now because you have made it blatantly obvious that we will continue to be villainized regardless. If the thing that causes you the most unrest is that people destroyed a Target, you are the problem.

Corporations were even worse. It is cute to make a little statement about how they do not condone racism and how they stand with the Black community. Meanwhile, behind closed doors, they have virtually no Black employees at a corporate or executive level. They participated in #BlackoutTuesday in which they were supposed to use that time to actually learn about Black plight, while silencing their scheduled activity. Nobody learned anything. Feeds were flooded with Black squares. The followings that these corporations have built remained clueless on any action they could have taken that day. Again, being willfully ignorant to how they perpetuate the problem. The phrase that is being used to describe this is “performative activism.” Meaning they will release their posts about solidarity, maybe toss a couple hundred thousand to a charity, go about their merry way. Not once attempting to correct their own actions. They love to hire us as minions to do their customer service work. When it is time for an executive to be hired, suddenly they can’t find any qualified Black people? The Black people that do make it up the ladder are subjected to microaggressions and tokenism. Afraid to speak up because nobody is on their side. NBC is literally in the middle of a racism lawsuit with Gabrielle Union and they fixed their lips to say they do not condone racism? Give me a break.     

We are tired of being seen as a threat for simply existing. I should not have to turn on the TV and see people that look like me, my husband, my father, my sister, killed for no other reason than being Black in America. This is not a burden that White people have to constantly bear. The Black squares everyone posted on Tuesday are pointless if there is no action behind them. We do not have words for you right now. It is your time to be the ally you believe yourselves to be. That starts with educating yourselves on your own time and having some tough conversations with your own friends and family. All lives will not matter until Black ones do and that is really the bottom line, folks. 

Undie-Fined

Undie-Fined

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The walls and alleys in DC are adorned with colorful and interesting displays of the artistic, historic, and often colorful richness of the nation's capital. We feature these works of art as backgrounds for The DC Voice web site. Hopefully, it brings further recognition to those artists!

This month's image is one of my favorites and one of three that adorns North Capitol & Florida Avenues NW.

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