Usually when the American government is receiving criticism, some of its white citizens will immediately interject that if you don’t like the country you should leave or “go back”. I’ve always had a problem with that notion. After Colin Kaepernick did not stand during the national anthem due to the injustices people face under the flag, a lot of American citizens repeated the “If you don’t like it, leave” rhetoric. Why is this such a parroted slogan among white Americans?
First of all, telling black people who were historically enslaved and taken to America to now “go back” is insensitive, especially when a lot of us don’t know exactly which country we came from. Instead of actually addressing that there is an issue in America, the suffering people have to leave the country? Why is there more stress to get us to leave instead of more stress to see that racism still exists? Historically, black people built America’s wealth, and are owed trillions of dollars for unpaid labor. Please gofundme my reparations so I can “go back”, and include traveling funds if it bothers you so much.
Those who tell others to leave America if they dislike injustice, are saying that from a privileged position or from a perspective that is oblivious to issues as deep as racism. What kind of government ignores their citizens being oppressed? “Leaving the country” doesn’t aid actual change, it just sweeps issues under the rug. It also implies that America has no flaws whatsoever, therefore why fix what isn’t broken? America brags about being all about freedom, liberty, and equal rights for all, however disrespects the people living in the country. Why is freedom of speech only valid to disrespect people of color, and not addressing the injustices they face? Kind of hypocritical….
If you love the country, you would want it to improve. If you love the country you care enough to see that there is something wrong with how people are being treated, and you want to work to change it. If you want to silence people and ignore America’s issues, then you don’t love the country. That shows that you would rather watch America fall in her ignorance than move from your position of privilege and comfort.
A lot of the time, people who criticize how they are being governed aren’t “complaining” about one minor incident. It’s usually a compilation of problems that have been going on for years and have not changed yet. When your country is built off of the oppression of people and those same people face injustice to this day, there is plenty to “complain” about.
I’ve seen and heard people say “Oh well you should be grateful for your American rights.” There’s that notion from White America about being “grateful” again. It has always been a tactic used against black athletes and celebrities alike quite often. It says that it is best to ignore what black people are going through because we have so much to be “grateful for”, like the basic rights we had to die to get. But if you notice, the black celebrities and athletes are also mistreated. They are called racial slurs and are mocked daily. It was so ironic that people were slandering Colin Kaepernick, then proceeded to tell him about his American rights. Then does he not have a right to protest? Why is standing up an issue? American citizens have a right to protest. American citizens have a right to criticize their government. American citizens have the right to go as far as overthrowing the government if it becomes tyrannical. Why is it when black people exercise the right to protest, freedom of speech, and criticizing government, it no longer applies? Maybe because we aren’t considered citizens.
(Follow Nzinga Muhammad on Twitter @QueenNzinga13)
Black people of course cannot be racist towards white people, but can racist attitudes take place towards other People of Color (POC)?
When you have been conditioned to hate everything that is not white, you internalize racist behaviors that plague POC.
When you have been conditioned for so long to think a certain way about yourself and others, you turn into a copy of your oppressors.
Internalized racism is when conscious or subconscious acceptance of stereotypes about POC takes place. It is racist attitudes towards ethnic groups, even if it’s your own people. It is the product of self hatred, and the ingrained toxicity of white supremacy. We start adopting the oppressor’s mindset, and become other than ourselves.
Cases of this would be skin bleaching, black people calling dark skinned women ugly, or even East Asian people wearing blackface. Internalized racism reflects the stereotypes and overall racism placed on POC for centuries. It’s accepted by those who might even be affected by it. Internalized racism turns People of Color into Crackers of Color.
Remember when Azealia Banks went on Twitter and started throwing racial slurs at Zayn Malik not too long ago? That was a case of internalizing stereotypes of middle eastern people, and using that oppressive language as fuel for her comebacks.
When you see a self hating black person go on and on about how ugly black people are, it is such a sad thing to see. They’re literally black too! But because they have internalized the stereotype that black people are ugly, they truly believe it. They would be the “Uncle Toms/Ruckus” the “Negropeans” and “Sell outs”; and are happy with their thinking. Those who are filled up with internalized racism get labeled with these names in the black community.
However, victims of internalized racism sometimes are just honestly misguided and need to be taught to love themselves again. These victims can be as young as 3 years old. When children can hate their skin, their hair, their eye shape, or their entire culture, that’s how you know they’re suffering from a white supremacist disease.
There must be a self check of internalized racism. If you’re living in a poisonous environment, it’s good to check yourself and identify any symptoms that the poison is in your system. What stereotypes of your own people, or others, do you laugh at? Make mockery of? What stereotypes do you take as how that group truly is (negatively)? Do you make fun of people’s accents? Their unique names? Their countries?
We have an entire system oppressing us, but the oppressed have been conditioned to become just as bad as the oppressors. The poison had gotten into our bloodstreams, thus, we show signs of bigotry against our own people and others.
Knowledge and acceptance of self is key to help cure internalized racism. When you learn to love yourself first, that’s when the racial prejudice against your own cease to exist. Remind members of your race that they are beautiful.If you hear or see anyone make fun of “Asian eyes” for instance, or say racial slurs, tell them to stop. We are already fighting an enemy, we don’t need a worse one: Ourselves.
(Follow Nzinga Muhammad on Twitter @QueenNzinga13)
The Natural Hair Movement is rooted in black culture. It embraces or hair, and defies the white supremacist, Eurocentric ideology that we have “unprofessional” and “unattractive” hair. Our hairstyles such as Afros, box braids,Bantu knots etc. have been deemed as unappealing on black people, yet attractive enough for others to appropriate.
Does anyone else get these comments when promoting black empowerment or any pro-black movement?:
“Why isn’t there an Asian History Month? Latino History Month? Native American History Month??”
“You’re just making it all about black people.”
“Why hasn’t there been any coverage on ______? Oh right, because they’re not black.”
Yikes! The above said is 9 times out of 10 said by non-black people of color (POC) who choose to derail everything black people do to make our struggles known, whether it’s creating a powerful hashtag on Twitter, or protesting in the streets after one of our children gets killed.
They argue that they can’t get their struggles known because they aren’t black, as though our blackness is a pass to make our struggles known first. FYI: #BlackLivesMatter is not the reason you don’t get recognition for your problems YOUR community faces. You have an opportunity to make known whatever your community is dealing with. As a member of that group, you would know best.
Why is: “you’re just making it all about black people!!” even an argument anymore? For your information, my main concern is with my own, since as a black person, I have the most experience with black people’s struggles. My first love is with my own. I can’t stand up for you, or love you, if I first don’t defend and love myself.
And it’s not like you don’t have hashtags to bring awareness, or a month to celebrate just your race/ethnicity, like us black people.
Asian & Pacific Islander History Month? That’s in May. Latino History Month or “Hispanic Heritage Month” is in September/October. Native American History Month? November.
This not saying you should just be happy with only a month to celebrate your unique cultures. It is saying though, that you should not put down black people for what we have, when you have the exact same thing as us, in this case.
There are existing hashtags on social media to make known the beauty, struggles, and stories of other POC:
#NotYourAsianSidekick (Asian-American Women); #NotYourMascot – (Indigenous Native People); and #ReclaimTheBindi (South Asian Women); just to name a few out of the many. I didn’t name them all, but there are plenty of hashtags on various social media outlets made specifically for other POC, not just black people. By the way: You can create more! You have the ability to bring out any problems your people face on a day to day basis under oppressive systems, with a little ending line to sum up your thought-provoking posts.
You have what black people have, in terms of methods of providing awareness. You want to make more hashtags? Go ahead. You want to call for a protest downtown in your city? Do that. You want to make a big deal out of your history month? Go all out. You want to call for a boycott due to injustices of your community specifically? By all means, please do so. Make the world hear your voice.
What you’re not about to do is derail everything pro black. What you’re not about to do, is blame black people for the lack of attention your cause might have gotten. We will gladly stand in solidarity with you, but do not blame us for a slow growth in awareness. Surprisingly enough, it’s not just white people who don’t like us black folk. It’s some of our non-black POC family too.
Careful… your anti-blackness is showing.
(Follow Nzinga Muhammad on Twitter @QueenNzinga13)