I’ve been seeing this sort of thing a lot on social media lately, and I have to admit– I have laughed every.single.time. I actually screenshot this image off one of my Instagram friend’s timelines and have since shared it with a bunch of people. Of course the other side of this coin has been seeing negative posts about this very thing, calling for black people to “do better” and not continue to disrespect our ancestors and history. I’m writing this blog post to say– settle down everyone, this shit is hilarious.
A large recurring theme in this particular blog is the concept of coping mechanisms to deal with the pain of life. I think this idea has negative connotation but surely there can’t be anything wrong with searching for healthy and more productive ways to channel your negative emotions? Flipping through the channels one day, I stumbled upon a Roots marathon. Awesome, right? Yeah not so much. The next day I had to go out in public and face the world again, white people included. There are no words to describe the hatred that boiled up inside of me laying eyes upon white people again after having watched a film that chronicled the cruel treatment of slaves throughout several generations. I mean, how DARE they? And how COULD they? And what made THEM believe that they were somehow not only better than us, but so much better that they had the right to regard us worse than animals! Normally when a blue eyed blonde girl steps on my foot on the metro it’s not a big deal—it’s just the nature of the crowded train. But that day, I was ready to fight. This privileged WHITE BITCH had the nerve to step on my foot like I didn’t even matter. She said excuse me but it sounded pretty condescending to me, and I swear all I wanted to do was punch her in her shiny pink lips!
On any given day I am definitely and absolutely not a racist—but the day after watching Roots had definitely turned me into one. Look up any video on YouTube or any news article and somewhere buried deep in the comments section you will find that racism not only exists but it’s not as quiet as it was maybe 20 years ago. In the age of social media and the internet, people seem to feel more anonymous than ever before and thus free to say whatever whacky thing they wish; be it racist, sexist, agist or just plain stupid (hence this blog!) I still don’t know how I feel about white people exclaiming “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” because it becomes unclear as to whether they are embracing the lovable randomness of Sweet Brown’s odd declaration or just making fun of black people and our culture in general. However, I am definitely not an activist and I don’t care to explore or question the motives of white people or other races. All I know is that when some shit is funny I am going to laugh.
I believe that one of most beautiful thing about black people is our ability to maintain our sense of humor and religion during desperate times. All the black history memes tickle me because it’s a reminder of what we as a people do best: take something negative and make it awesome. You think black people are lazy, poor, baby making weed heads that are incapable of intelligent conversation. Ok, think what you want but we laugh about it because at the end of the day we know who we are and no one can change that. This is also why I use the “N” word because I think it takes a lot of balls to take a word created out of hate and degradation and not only turn it into a term of endearment but then forbid the race of people that created the word to use it! From what I’ve observed this year, there seems to be either a staunch, militant regard for Black History Month or barely any acknowledgment of it at all (perhaps this is why my daughter’s elementary school is celebrating Peace Month— whatever the hell that is). Listen, let’s not forget the that the purpose of this month is not to make the white kids uncomfortable, but to remind America that we’ve been around for years and not only are we a part of the solid foundation of this country, but it also doesn’t look like we’re going anywhere anytime soon. Black history month really shouldn’t even be, because simply put, black history is American history that shouldn’t need a separate month to say “hey, don’t forget about us and our contributions!”
Personally, I am just as appreciative of all the history facts as I am of all the hilarious memes being passed around. I think we as a race have “done better” and we need to chill the fuck out and enjoy more of a balance. There’s nothing wrong with laughing in the face of adversity and making light of the past if that’s what we need to do to heal from it. Our ancestors worked the fields smiling happily and singing songs because they didn’t want their oppressors to see their struggle and to gain satisfaction from their pain. I don’t see anything wrong with using those same coping mechanisms today. I will laugh at your stereotypes against me and post a meme about the Tyrone Jenkins, the first black man to use someone else’s piss to pass a drug test, but maybe I’ve never done drugs. Maybe I busted my ass in college, and I’m working now, and I’m three paychecks away from a down payment on my own house before reaching the age of 30—but all you can see and criticize is the “ignorant” meme I posted on Facebook. And while you were looking over there—I was busy grinding over here, laughing the whole time because you never even saw me coming…