Born Black… Certainly Will Die Black…
Saying “You Ain’t Black” and not getting an Invite to the BBQ Doesn’t Change That Fact.
The “Outrage Olympics.” Kicked off this Memorial Day. The event started virtually as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden sat down with Charlemagne The God, once Biden uttered the words “You Ain’t Black” and the ZOOM call ended the press took off, and twitter was in a frenzy.
Republicans and conservatives who typically don’t listen to the Breakfast Club on POWER 105 FM in the morning, got wind of a clip. They were off to the races, creating memes, videos, rants, and a series of imagine if Trump would’ve had said something like that, Democrats don’t respect you-spare me the fake outrage.
I knew it would only be a matter of time before Biden issued an apology. Biden’s comments are not deal-breaker folks!!! Let me pause here a moment and say that again: This is not a deal-breaker folks. It’s not okay to stay home because your candidate didn’t become the Democratic nominees for President.
When I initially heard the words, “You Ain’t Black” I didn’t clutch my pearls, primarily because I don’t wear pearls; secondly, Biden came off as an old white dude who got way too comfortable during in an interview and said some shit in jest that he shouldn’t have-I said as much when I posted the video on Facebook. My post was not to condemn Biden, clarify or apologize for his comments-he already has a campaign manager, I’m not interested in applying for the position.
Plenty of notable celebrities and blue checks took to Twitter to share their interpretation of Biden’s words, “You Ain’t Black.” The consensus among black folks was that his statement was problematic because of the obvious, Biden is white, but he wasn’t wrong. I’m not Black Trump apologist or a Bernie supporter, my problem with “You Ain’t Black” is it simply ain’t true-fight me.
A word that kept getting tossed around was ”distraction,” this is a ”distraction.” We are capable of doing more than two things at one time. I drive a stick, chew gum listen to a podcast while placing an order going through DD’s drive-thru. I was starting to get the impression that either distraction was code for shut the fuck up or folks think you’re so fragile, not intelligent enough, and will explode from information overload before they recognize the Outrage Olympics.
We’ve become adept at watching the news and hearing some bat crazy shit for the past 3.5 since this guy has been occupying the WHITE HOUSE, and that hasn’t prevented us from getting up, getting dressed, and going about our daily routines.
Hearing Trump’s, incoherent outlandish babblings have conditioned us to recognize when something sounds off. So if we deny it and act as if it’s not a problem, then we start to sound like trumpeters denying reality. I’m pretty sure that’s a DSM IV diagnosis. I don’t want to lie to myself, stay quiet, or make excuses for some old white man. I’m not doing that if you choose to, that’s on you. I would perfer you say, yeah, he said it he should’ve had and what? I’m still voting for him.
What’s a deal-breaker is not having a conversation with people. When some people hear an opposing view, their first response is to become defensive, shut down and think someone is hating on them. I think we need to engage now more than ever instead of retreating into our silos where it’s safe. It’s easy to preach the gospel in your church, living your faith every day on your job, in school at the gym is a different story.
I know we’ve been living through what might seem like “The Twilight Zone,” a place where alternate realities rule, facts don’t matter, and the truth gets twisted to where it is no longer recognizable.
“You Ain’t Black” ignited in this controversy, it was personal for many black people. It is already exhausting for Black people who carry the pressure of being Black in America, for us to add the additional burden of being accepted by the group — being told you ain’t black if do-(fill in the blank). If you don’t do this particular thing, you aren’t black. So it triggered something in them. And some of us did what the NRA, Gun Manufacturers, Gun Rights activists, and politicians do after Mass Shootings, which is to say: “Now is not the time to talk about legislation, let us not politicize this, our thoughts and prayers are with the family.” After the dust settles on the mass shooting news cycle, it’s back to business as usual without any legislative changes made to combat mass shootings.
The only difference here is the alarm on ”You Ain’t Black,” and it has already been set for November, the clock is ticking. This whole idea of hurling pejorative terms at each other and denying them access to the BBQ is ridiculous, plus I’ve seen some of y’all food, and it doesn’t look that appetizing. We love to say: “We ain’t all monolithic in our thinking” in one breath, then castigate as not black in the sentence. If you were born black, you most certainly would die black!
We accuse millennials of being entitled attention seekers on a quest for clout and ridicule them as weak because they get participation trophies. At the same time, we proudly accept our participation medals for running a marathon. Every time I heard that phrase growing up, I cringed, because it didn’t make any sense to me. I never received a list from anyone on how to be black. My parents never issued me a black card. As I started venturing into the I learned, I could lose my black card, this card which was never in my position.
Telling a person “You Ain’t Black” or calling them an Uncle Tom is the ultimate black insult, it ranks up there with “Your Mama.” Malcolm X called Dr. King, an Uncle Tom. When Malcolm left the Nation, his views changed.
When I was in elementary school, I spoke with an accent, and it drove my landlord crazy, I would call my Uncle Shank instead of Frank. As my diction improved, I was accused of sounding white, sounding white can lower the rating on your black card. I grew up in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn during the crack epidemic, shortly after getting married, my parents moved back to Barbados. With nothing keeping in Brooklyn and wanting to provide a better life for my family, I went to Long Island. A former colleague once asked me where I lived; when I told him Long Island, he said: “Oh, you live our there with them white folks”-I lived in Wyandanch. Trying to provide a better life for yourself and your family can cause some to question your blackness.
We perpetuate the Uncle Tom narrative, from minstrel shows, which is a twisted version of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” In Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom chose certain death instead of giving up the whereabouts of two enslaved women who were raped and abused by their slave master.
Speak your truth, stand up for injustice, even if it goes against popular opinion, don’t let the opinions of others prevent you from speaking truth to power. People can disagree without having their blackness called into question. If we want to build a strong community, we can’t keep excommunicating those from the community. Being black is already tiresome enough, and even if you tell someone “You Ain’t Black,” It’s not like some magical incantation instantly turns them into, into, I’m at a loss for words here because I don’t know what they become. What do they become? They’re still black. When they get pulled over by the cops, they don’t get a pass, and they can’t go full-blown Karen and expect the police not to respond.
If you want to get Trump out of the White House, I think we should have those crucial conversations with those individuals in our comments sections; our communities group runs, churches, or mosques instead of instantly dismissing people and telling them “You Ain’t Black.”
If you don’t want to do it for grown-ass men and women, let’s do it for the next generation. Maybe we can eliminate an unnecessary burden of trying to fit into the popular group, by making it cool, to excel in school without fear of being ridiculed.