Featured, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

Dear Respectability Politics Brigade: This Is Time For You To Shut The Fuck Up

In the wake of the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina, this letter is equally outdated and timely.

In what seems like the unsavory mixture of an eternity and “just yesterday,” Black people have been murdered (again) by a White person (again) for the crime of “existing while Black” (again).

As I struggle to process the array of feelings after receiving yet another harsh blow of tragic news, the very last words I want to see are, “Black people should…”

You see, unbeknownst to you, we have been afflicted with a severe case of “Tired While Black.” This affliction includes, but is not limited to: hundreds and hundreds of years of racially-based trauma, micro-aggression, struggling to maintain a sense of community in the midst of it all, et cetera et cetera et fucking cetera. And yet, we somehow continue to carry on with our lives, fully-equipped with the world’s most effective mask. Just sit and think about the sheer ridiculousness of that weight. Shit, even Atlas shrugged.

Tragedy after tragedy, the cacophony of bullshit follows: Why are you so angry? Violence is only fought with non-violence. If only we respected ourselves, we’d gain their respect.

Well, with all due respect, I hereby declare that it’s time for you to shut the fuck up. I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want to read it. I don’t want it with a fox, I don’t want it in a box, I do not want your “Yessamassa” flavored green eggs and ham.

Our people have pulled up our sagging pants, seized that Westernized higher-education, code-switched our way into corporate culture, extended our hands in an attempt for all-inclusive peace… and were. killed. anyway.

Tired.

Every single one of your “solutions” have been pissed on at the hands of blood-thirsty vigilantes and crime-fighting figures alike. If the fact that we can’t even praise and worship in the place that serves as the very definition of sanctuary without the threat of blood doesn’t finally make you realize that the solution isn’t found in our reflection, then I highly suggest you take my advice of silence. If you really want to help, that’ll be the best bet. Because, at this point, I’m finding it hard to believe that you’re not being willfully obtuse.

Dictating what Black people should do or feel after this constant exposure of erasure (both physically and figuratively) is to take away our humanity. And our enemies are already trying to take that away, whilst expecting us to remain superhuman.

So damn tired. And angry. And sad. And frustrated. And hurt. And enraged. And Black.

So, let me be all of that. Let me be.

 

Tonja Stidhum

Tonja Renée Stidhum is a screenwriter/director with cheeks you want to pinch... but don't (unless she wants you to). She is made of sugar and spice and everything rice... with the uncanny ability to make a Disney/Pixar reference in the same sentence as a double entendre.

  • CrayolaGirl

    ..

  • Doo10

    Yes!

  • Sigma_Since 93

    Pinches your cheeks!

  • Jocelyn

    Yes and thank you.

  • Missus Maxwell

    *slow cap of applause* Yes to ALL of this!!

  • Valley Girl

    *Standing Ovation*

  • DG

    Yep…Yeah…Hai…Si…Yes in all the tongues of man…

  • Ms TLC

    Thank you my namesake :) because I’ve read a few posts by folks on my timeline that just left me…ANGRY! I mean someone actually said “…all the shooters in your communities killing folks everyday where you live and do nothing about but complain about it.” WTH do you say to something/one like that?!?!?

    • rubbadubbagullagulla

      Its just excuses. Folks don’t want to see the blantant real race issue screaming in their face. Someone said “Gang violence should be charged as a hate crime if “we” think this is a hate crime.” I asked the idoit “what gang violence are you talking about? Asian gang violence, Latin gang violence, Mafia gang violence?” That caught her up. She was only referring to Black on Black gang violence in Black neighborhoods. Stupid people I tell ya.

    • Boo Radley

      I suggest “Bich…go DIE.”

  • Andie

    I know it is only 10:48 a.m. But I could really go for a cocktail, a cheeseburger, and big piece of cake.

    • MzzPeaches

      And some herbal refreshments when I get home.

      • K Lust

        Ya’ll speaking my language!

        • MzzPeaches

          I’m tryna tell ya! An eighth every now and again is a lot cheaper than Prozac, counseling and high blood pressure meds.

          • K Lust

            He!! yeah. I tell people all the time. I smoke to help ya’ll and society from having to deal with my rage.

            • MzzPeaches

              Girl, eye to eye!

      • MysteryMeat

        Man listen. Rolled me a J last night. Havent partaken since last October. Lined my face up, poured some Tennesse Honey, turned the lights off, played some Coletrane “Violets For Your Furs” and chilled out in all of my Blackness.

        For an hour all was right in the world and I had a small iota of peace

        • MzzPeaches

          Amen. I foresee a bottle of red, a couple of bowls and my old school playlist on shuffle . I need to be in my zone tonight.

          • Tish Harris

            I think i’m about to go get some butter pecan ice cream on a medium cone. Stress.

            • MysteryMeat

              real talk get u summa that Talenti Southern Butter Peacan Gelato from your local grocery. You will get your whole L.I.F.E.

              • MzzPeaches

                Cosign!

                Anything they make will get you right.

              • TheVilleintheA

                Chiiiiiiiiileee! That seasaltcaramel……..

      • Kema

        Pass that!

      • brothaskeeper

        I stopped scrolling at this point. I know I’m new ’round these parts, butteruhhh how can one become a party to said refreshments?
        But to stay on task, this article is 110% accurate. For me, it’s become a Pavlovian response to change the channel whenever I hear a Black leader say, “we need/have to”. We’re not a lost tribe in need of a solitary shepherd. We are neither stepping nor fetching it. The revolution is overdue, and it will not be televised…well, it probably will be, with running commentary from Don “No Soul” Lemon and his logical and insightful journalism.

        • MzzPeaches

          *Throws VSB glitter* Well welcome and sh|t!

          And I don’t mind sharing said herbal refreshments with VSBs & VSSs in my vicinity. I always like linking with intelligent minds who vibe on the same level.

          And ol girl already called Don out on CNN the other day. #AreYouAngryDon?

          https://youtu.be/C_DAWf-sUhU?t=30s

          • brothaskeeper

            I was with sista girl until she called my president a Tom. Uncalled for. At his press conference, he called the act what it was (race-fueled terrorism) without calling it what it was. He plays their game and wins.
            This background harpy is one of the things that bothers me about my home state, that both black AND white people base everything on race to the point that they make it unclear when something really is a race issue (like this incident), as well as the if-you’re-not-for-us-you’re-against-us-mentality. There’s also an ubiquitous complacency that foments a surreptitious hatred, so pervasive that it’s basically a part of the flora and fauna of the state, a complacency so irritatingly common that it allows a Confederate flag to be flown in front of the state capitol (that was removed from the TOP of the state house and placed in the front as a compromise), that allows a US senator who was a staunch segregationist to be elected to eight terms and not retire until he was LITERALLY 100 years old, and now this.
            My heart aches for the lives lost and the lives affected (except for the demon who committed this act and all those who were complicit), but I sincerely hope that the profundity of this circumstance provides a corner around which there is a serious and profound CHANGE, NOT a CONVERSATION (because we’re done talking) regarding 1.) race relations 2.) gun control, and 3.) letting go of that f**king flag.
            Now…back to passing the dutchie ‘pon de leff hand side….

            • MzzPeaches

              “There’s also an ubiquitous complacency that foments a surreptitious hatred, so pervasive that it’s basically a part of the flora and fauna of the state…”

              Sir after that profound speech you just gave right nah! I’ll most certainly pass ‘pon de left hand side. Tell me what you’re drinking and I’ll fix that too!

              • brothaskeeper

                crown apple and sprite, see voo play….

            • Jerome Sistrunk

              Can you say plant boys and girls ?. We all know that Don Lemon is a sellout, but she is going after the POTUS. Didn’t Roof shoot people because of who’s President ?

              • brothaskeeper

                “every brotha ain’t a brotha ’cause a color just as well could be undercover”
                -Charles “Chuck D” Ridenour, “Welcome to the Terrordome”

              • Gordyman

                Stop drinking the Kool-Aid. Obama doesn’t give a fuck about us.

        • Epsilonicus

          ” For me, it’s become a Pavlovian response to change the channel whenever I hear a Black leader say, “we need/have to”.”

          I feel like thats the moment my hearing suddenly stops working.

          • brothaskeeper

            I nearly tuned out when I typed it!

    • PhlyyPhree

      I will split this meal with you if you will take the cheeseburger and cake and leave me the alcohol!

  • Malik

    So as I read this it reminded me of a tweet I read yesterday that almost made me lose my mind from a self described “white and puerto rican” young man. Now this isnt just any young man, no, no. This young man spent seven, SEVEN, years at THE Howard University. This is a young man that came to college with ZERO friends, as told by him, and the ONLY friends he has now are black. Basically, he was fully accepted and embraced by the Howard community.

    Now you would think someone with this kind of background would “get it” or at least kinda, sorta “get it”.

    NOPE!

    He tweeted the following after the tragic events in Charleston “‘Black’ people need to stop referring to themselves as black and giving social constructs power to label them. Latin people arent brown…”

    What!? Huh!? Thats the issue? So us calling ourselves black is why we deal with so much b.s. in this country? So if we just stop calling ourselves black racists will be like “Well all them dark people stopped calling themselves black so we’ll stop labeling and discriminating against them”? Who knew it was that easy. Damn. Wish I couldve thought of that years ago.

    I post this to say, some will never “get it” no matter how indoctrinated they are into black culture, no matter how many black friends, no matter how many history classes, they’ll never get it. And for that reason they must also, please, shut the f*** up.

    • Yes, it is amazing how many people believe that “semantics” is the root of all the problems of the black community. Whether it’s hip-hop, black lives matter, using the N-word, mouthing off to cops, black people’s problems always tend to be from the sounds and words that come out from their mouths. Deep down, this is really what they want to say to black people anytime the issue of race is brought up (regardless of the context):

      http://ak-hdl.buzzfed.com/static/2014-11/6/18/enhanced/webdr01/anigif_enhanced-buzz-21960-1415315079-4.gif

      Yes, to them, talking about race is like listening to a bunch of kindergarten kids making noise and not doing what they are told or expected to do.

    • I see he went to the Isaiah Washington School of Idiocy, and clearly he graduated summa koom* laude.

      *I know that’s not how it’s spelled, but it looks like the real spelling is getting flagged. Heh.

    • NY Rican

      The young man is obviously Deluded into some kinda magical thinking that reality is only reality if you believe it’s real!… Lol… Yes, send his young tail to a Puerto Rican History class so he can find out who he is, cause obviously, he Don’t Know… And if he thinks he’s white no matter how light he is on the inside, somebody needs to tell him something about his Blood!… Which is of Spanish, Indian And African Descent!… Send him over to Arturo Schomburg Library…. and sit down, shut up, and read a book on his Puerto Rican History/Herstory…

      • NY Rican

        And Yup!… I haven’t slept since this happened. I’m in a Rage… I have PTSS from being beat up everyday from Desegregation and fighting and Protesting everyday…back in the late 60s -70s.., I want to Retaliate but I Pray instead… I will shine a light for all the children snd young folk around me instead… I will keep moving forward with faith and hope… Instead… And I… Am also very Tired!… Tired of all the grief and pain… We moved from Death for Civil Rights… To AIDS… And now to Death from the denial of Civil Basic Rights again… Yes, Denial of What’s Happening… Is Not Helping!…Stop coddling those white folks who are scared with your Silence… People of color in this country have to put together a Think Tank and strategize how we can come together to find solutions to these problems… Putting aside class or creed ect… I haven’t slept because I’m angry and I’m Tired….

        • MysteryMeat

          I feel you brutha. I feel u

        • Wild Cougar

          Stop. Coddling. Scared. White. Folks. yes

    • Asiyah

      He makes absolutely no sense.

      And this what I was talking about the other day when we were all talking about Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

      Many people don’t get it because they don’t WANT TO! It’s too painful a reality and they would rather bury their heads in the sand and live in an alternate universe.

    • Good post Malik

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