Tuesday, February 9, 2016

So Unapologetic. ☁

(Sister Souljah, Circa 1994)
(I do not own rights to this image)

As of late, I have been very interested in the literary work and activism of Sister Souljah. I love being able to take information from my class work as a student and synthesize it with other information I find on my own. That's how I learn best; it makes the information relevant. And in dedication of Black History Month, what could be more relevant than the emotional/psychological/political state of America's young Black people?

For those who don't know, Sister Souljah is a prolific author, speaker, activist, and hip-hop artist that became well-known in the early 1990s. Most remember her by a controversial statement that she supposedly made in 1992 during Bill Clinton's presidential campaign. Sister was being interviewed by TIME Magazine and one of her responses was misconstrued in the media, causing some backlash from Clinton. If you would like more information on that, just click here. Nonetheless, she was not a force to be reckoned with. Sister was a product of the welfare system of the Bronx, New York but she was intelligent enough to know that her socioeconomic background could not and would not define who she was. She graduated from Rutgers University, studied at Cornell, and traveled abroad several times. Her passion was in awakening the minds of African people all across the globe and creating a universal community that strengthens the population as a whole. She practiced what she preached. In her local communities, she developed programs for Black youth that facilitated productive learning environments. We're all aware that little Black girls and boys deserve a learning experience catered to their condition as African descendants and well, Sister Souljah provided just that. 

What I admire about the quote above is that it validates young Black individuals' feelings of frustration and anger with the state of politics in America. Very clearly Sister Souljah explains how white political powers strategically guilt us into feeling bad for the discrimination and injustice that they subject us to. It's like pinching an innocent baby that cannot defend itself and then scolding the child for crying. What kind of sense does that make?

It's frustrating to me when reverse racism is used as a clapback to racism against POC (people of color). It makes my back itch. I break out in hives. Because it's a bullshit excuse that's easy to draw from. In order for a specific group to be racist, that group must possess the economic and political power to subjugate those they feel superior to. They have to possess power that allows them to systematically discriminate against other people. Simply put, Black people do not have that economic power. Thus, we cannot be racist. Prejudice against other races, yes. That doesn't require economic power. Anyone can hold prejudices. But being racist is something that we cannot be. And because of this reason, it infuriates me when that's used as a retort to systematic racism against POC. 

They want us to feel bad. They want us to believe that we aren't being mistreated, abused, or ignored. They want us to believe we're all equal as the Declaration of Independence states. And when we feed into these lies we are accommodating their system of injustice. 

We are in every way aiding in our own subjugation. 

I believe the #unapologeticallyBlack movement that has emerged is a result of realizing that we can take charge of what we will and will not believe. African-Americans are no longer choosing to apologize for shit they just can't control, like being Black! Our very existence is radical and rebellious. We may as well make use of it, be proud of our heritage and history. And do so with an attitude that holds no guilt, no apprehensions. Boldly step into white spaces and declare who we are, what we desire, and how we plan to bring those things to fruition. 


Stop apologizing and start appreciating. 


P.S. -Here is a YouTube video of one of Sister Souljah's speeches entitled "We Are At War" from 1994. Excuse the cheesy intro and low quality; it's an old clip. Enjoy!






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