DefiantLife

I Finally Stopped Worrying About What White People Think

 

Welcome to Performance I Create, the only black-owned multi-contributor blog in the HR space, so naturally there would be some participation in Sarah Morgan’s Black Blogs Matter, Black Bloggers Challenge. Now let’s begin.

Let’s state the facts, white men control the wealth in this country.  Jeff Bezos is worth $100 billion dollars, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are worth $92 billion each, and Mark Zuckerberg is worth $73 billion dollars – just to give a few examples. My lady Oprah, and hopefully future President, is worth $4 billion. With this and the history of wealth in America, it is understandable that many black folks are groomed to be concerned about what white folks think in order to live!

Growing up in the South in the 80’s and 90’s, you had to consider white people in everything you did, from going to school, to going out to dinner, to driving a car – especially driving a car. I remember as a teen with a license and car, my grandmother and grandfather used to always tell me to be careful out there and if I got pulled over to just do what they say and back then it was usually a white officer.

Okay, so whites control the majority of wealth which means they control the jobs and who doesn’t need a job? People of color have always had to deal with white people if they want anything in life – a car, a house, a business, a loan, etc.

Although some white people hate us and do not want to see us succeed, they have always emulated and even appropriated our style, i.e., Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Beastie Boys, Eric Clapton, Eminem, 3rd Base, every boy band ever (Jackson 5 was the 1st boy band) and even my guy Justin Timberlake – all heavily influenced by soul music and black musicians, not saying those folks hate blacks but many of their fans do while at the same time loving our style.

Just ask Donald Sterling, Strom Thurman, Donald Trump, Paula Dean, and many many other Jim Crow minded folks.

I say they really want to be like us. I recently read an article that said trump admires black athletes because he wishes he had their natural gifts and physical abilities. Seem about right to me because he went after the NFL players with an unmatched aggression which made me belief that he must really like them – think about it like this, ever hear of a homophobe who bashes gays because he/she are insecure about their own sexuality? Yeah, that part.

I lived in Iowa and Ohio for a while and I can tell when a white person respects our culture and values us as a people versus those that just want to jack our style for their own betterment.

As I got older, I saw how no matter what you do or did, some white folks will never see us as anything other than niggers. You can make millions or even billions and some white folks will still dismiss you as a nigger. You can play on their teams, sing at their concerts, cook in their kitchens, act in their movies, raise their kids, warm their beds at night or even be President of the United States but some will still only see us niggers. Trust me, I’ve seen it here in Tennessee, in Iowa and in Ohio. And we all see it in the news headlines everyday in every state in the union.

What I am learning about social media is that white people control that narrative too. They own the big blogs, websites, they sponsor the conferences, they organize the major events, and they decide what to believe.  BlackBlogsMatter is for us by us, and when you read the contributions from white bloggers, you will be able to see the ones that truly understand and support it versus the ones who do not understand and try to use it as a sympathy play, “oh, they probably don’t like me but read their blogs.”

A lot. I can’t say it was one thing over another but what I will say it was a combination and evolution in time, seeing black men shot and choked to death on video with no one held accountable, riots, trump winning the election, and just the natural tendency to stop caring about what people think as you get older.

The anger associated with the senseless murders of black people has given us all a sense of helplessness and so we use whatever platform we had to try and make a difference – obviously you understand that. I have even seen some whites who defended the police regarding Trayvon Martin and Eric Gardner soften and even change their stances with the murders of Tamir Rice and Philando Castile, respectively.

But those tragedies aren’t the only influences on my decision to stop worrying about what white folks think.

Two years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to the magic that is Issa Rae and her YouTube show, “The Awkward Black Girl” and it was quirky, funny, refreshing, and then came her HBO show “Insecure”. At first, I was not a fan of the show but then I feel in love with her unapologetic nature. Here is a young black queen not afraid to tell true stories about her life and the lives of her friends on national tv.

Then I saw a video clip of Issa Rae speaking at a conference in a panel style format, and someone asked her if she was concerned about how white America would perceive the show – and she said, something like, “No, fuck that, it’s not for them, if they get it -fine, if they don’t it’s okay. It’s about us.”

I spent a good part of my life trying to educate whites about blacks and I’ll tell you this – it was a waste of my time and energy {and it doesn’t matter}. Some folks will always be small-minded. You can’t worry about them. You can’t live your life for them.  You have to do what’s right for you and live your best life.

So, if Issa Rae is not afraid to create freely, then way am I – why are we?

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