In The Woke Olympics, Nobody Wins Gold » VSB

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In The Woke Olympics, Nobody Wins Gold

I’ve decided I want to bow out. It was fun while it lasted.  However, after careful review, I’ve concluded that The Woke Olympics just isn’t for me. I can’t compete. These carefully constructed tweets have me sweating at my desk on the regular, and baby, I’m tired. One slip of the finger, one well intentioned tweet gone bad, and just like that, the Woke community has turned their backs on you, and there you are, all alone-Un-woke.

You can kiss your Twitter mentions goodbye. You can wave goodbye to your Facebook and Instagram feed, too. It’s over for ya, pleighboi. 

In a time where Black death is state sanctioned, and we’re forced to relive our collective trauma via YouTube on a daily basis, I understand the importance of being “woke.”  What I can’t really explain though, is the need to outdo each other when it comes to social justice issues and Black consciousness.

Let’s look to social media for example, the Woke Olympics hub. Here, we can find people of all backgrounds, using their platforms to “spread knowledge.” And while a lot of the time, they are in fact doing that, much of the time, they are using their platforms to humiliate and shame the un-woke, as opposed to enlightening them. Some have seemingly made a career out of taking good natured statements or jokes and turning them into debates, sending out a series of tweets consisting of nice nasty pet names like “sis,” and “sweetheart.” When that’s not enough, some of them just simply spread false information to their followers-let’s not forget the young brother who insisted menstrual cycles were a result of European doctrine. He also contends that white people are from Mars. See below.

And just like that, after Jesse Williams, a well-known actor and activist who consistently uses his platform to speak out against social injustice, tweeted that people should go see “The Birth of a Nation,” he lost favor among the Woke. Nate Parker, producer and star of the film, was accused of rape in 1999 and went to trial. Parker was acquitted, but the resurfacing of the case, court documents, and his publicist’s-worst-nightmare addressing of questions surrounding the case led to a boycott of the film.

Following his tweet, a full fledge Twitter “Get Jesse Outta Here” campaign was launched  and I’m still not sure he knows exactly what hit him.

Sure, some things are non-negotiable. I can think of a number of things that I simply won’t tolerate-racism, bigotry, sexism, misogyny, rape culture, willful ignorance, and shuckin’ and jivin’ to name a few. But we have to be able to separate ourselves from certain issues and have productive conversations that empower, elevate and enlighten. Otherwise, our Twitter wars are counterproductive. Great entertainment, but counterproductive, nonetheless.

We’ve become a population that engages in incessant policing, who are demanding perfection-holier than thou brats with keyboards. There is really no good reason why the Planking  phenomenon triggered an onslaught of thinkpieces linking it to slavery. No good reason, at all.

Yes, I want to stay woke. I want the same for my family and friends. Educate yourselves. Do research. Be heard. I want us to call people out on their racist behavior, and make it clear that we won’t stand for it, not for another damn day. But what I’m not willing to do is participate in meaningless, mob mentality, faux Black consciousness debates via Twitter, or anywhere else.

I don’t want the Gold medal.  I want the liberation.

Karma Jonez

Karma Jonez is a 29 year old Howard graduate, born and raised in Petersburg, Virginia. She is now making somewhat of a living in Atlanta, GA, where she relocated 3 years ago. She is a Public Relations Specialist who drinks too much wine, and watches more Love & Hip Hop than she'd like to admit. She has her own blog and weekly podcast where she says a lot of funny things and talks to super cool people. Her work has been featured on sites like XoJane, Blavity, For Harriet, WETV, BlogHer and more.

  • Brooklyn_Bruin

    The Twitter activists in Egypt toppled their government.

    Despotic and unresponsive governments are banning social media all over Africa (Ghana was talking about it this week), and in many places in the world (middle East, Asia, South America). Because those folks are actually awake.

    The uneducated abroad intimately understand that they only allow leaders to rule. Rule by consent. Could be machete time in some of these places. We should be sharpening the guillotine over here.

    Instead folks yapping about how this preacher is going off on another preacher, or Trick Daddy is making in character comments.

    Lemme swap out this SIM card before they find me

    • Other_guy13

      “Trick Daddy is making in character comments.” I’m done

      • Anyone expecting a well-reasoned critique of femme beauty standards from him is somewhere between a fool and a damned fool.

    • -h.h.h.-

      Too late sir, might as well be fresh as …
      http://data.whicdn.com/images/67735904/original.jpg

    • cyanic

      Tricky Daddy wants to marry Becky or Maria or both and doesn’t want a push back from black women who would still go there so he struck them first. And in the process looks like a self-loathing loser.

      • Scorpiogoddess??

        But what kind of push back would HE be getting?! He ain’t no Idris.

    • Kas

      Too late, they know who you are.

    • miss t-lee

      Unless he’s ready to talk about how Katrina Laverne washed him on his own song, thou carest not.

  • ak1991200

    “He also says white people are originally from Mars that’s why they have no rhythm”
    That’s the funniest thing I have heard today so far.

    Also when that whole thing happened with Jesse Williams I thought it was a bit unfair. He get’s the room to mess up, since he’s been on point for so long. And especially since it seems he’s so genuine and he’s not using this to build his brand.

    • But that’s the point though. People are using this for social status and brand building instead of trying to build a movement.

      • ak1991200

        Yeah, totally. It’s happening in feminist circles too. And it’s super disappointing.

      • Lol @ the “wokiest”

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        Somebody said here earlier this week about black Twitter. Once you understand the formula, you become immune to the medium.

        Every big corporation out there has probably contracted an agency to be witty, and shut down trolls and another agency to publicize the fact that they got a zinger in.

      • Love Life of An Asian Guy

        Tim Wise

    • -h.h.h.-

      nope, jesse williams isn’t allowed to make mistakes.

      we’re in a war for goodness sakes where my way of living must come out on top!!!

      (sorry…sarcasm)

    • miss t-lee

      “Also when that whole thing happened with Jesse Williams I thought it was a bit unfair. He get’s the room to mess up, since he’s been on point for so long.”

      Grand Opening, Grand Closing.

  • I feel you on the Woke Olympics. I’ve never bothered to compete. People who know what’s going on with kyriarchy and structural prejudice don’t need to advertise this. Somehow, the dumbest part of the culture of academia has somehow crossed over and made it mainstream. Trying to prove to the world that you aren’t some shucking and jiving c00n is making people go straight to the hotep zone. Nah, son. I’m good.

    Also, VSB/Ss with ties to the Cincinnati area. I need your help big time! Holla at a player!

  • Other_guy13

    Well I can say this…wondering why we try to out do each other in wokeology is simply a waste of time. It’s what we do as a people and a culture….to say “ninja, you ain’t up on this” is a way of life. There’s no winning with some people so like you….why even try. Just keep the conversations to a brief education when needed and everyone can get along. But this wypo from mars…I’m more woke than you…white gurl dating (talking to you Hoptep brothers)…will never stop unless we all just decided to sit back…watch the foolishness and pass the snacks around.

    • Question

      This. Are we surprised that wokeness turned into an Olympic competition? And folks are only contributing to the problem by engaging with and trying to counter the nonsense. Like Val said, I don’t see what’s so hard about letting die. Everything does not warrant a response. Actually, few things actually do.

      No response IS a response.

      • Other_guy13

        Agreed

  • -h.h.h.-

    First off…hi ma’am. *tips top hat*

    i agree in a sense, i’m tired of the twitter wars so i had to fall back.
    folks want a hotep world where we’re wearing ankhs and pouring libations? cool
    folks want a world world where women are goddesses, males are jailed and robots pour libations? cool

    i decided to walk my own path…to get more interested in what interests me, and stay out the fray that folks loves to hate participating…because i learned folks aint’ trying to unify, they’re trying to be right.

    p.s. you said you aren’t with the shucking and jiving…what about just the jiving? because i’ll admit i’m a jive cat…

  • Val

    Just ignore the nonsense and focus on what truly edifies you. It’s not that complicated.

    • Other_guy13

      It is that complicated….we talking about our folks here..we live to stunt in any way we can. Just saying

    • I have been able to find sooo much good career related stuff on Twitter recently. I don’t know if I was bad at searching or their algorithms have improved…but it is so beautiful to mine some diamonds.

    • panamajackson

      I don’t know Val. It’s HARD to ignore non-sense when you’re surrounded by it. Also, you doing homecoming?

      I’ll be at homecoming. I’M COMING HOME TO THE A!!

      I’m so excited.

      ALANA…WHERE YOU AT? WHO YA WIT!? ZONE 4.

      • Val

        Nope, not this year. I’m contemplating a move to Atlanta within the next two years so I’m holding out until then. I know this weekend is going to be fun though. I expect to see some pics.

        • I will have to wait and go down for that one :)

        • panamajackson

          Boo.Hiss.Boo.

          • cyanic

            The ending to Dangerous Liaisons.

        • Other_guy13

          Wait…you have Atlanta ties…ohhhhhh snap *rethinks life*

        • Lea Thrace

          when were you at Spelman?

          • Val

            90s. Why, your a Spelman grad?

            • Lea Thrace

              No. GT grad who spent more time than she should have at the AUC. Thought we might have crossed paths irl but alas I was there in the early 00s.

        • Brother Mouzone

          Come and be a transplanted Atlalien like me….

    • cyanic

      I want camaraderie between myself and other black men. I won’t find it with g-boys because it’s crabs in a barrel there. And straight black men you can’t tell I’m a g-boy on sight just assume I’m weird. I have no tribe. It sucks.

      • Brass Tacks

        Do you consciously code switch when you find yourself amongst a group of straight males?

        I have a homie that does this, and when I asked why he shrugged and said it makes it easier to be accepted by the group.

        • cyanic

          I want safety and acceptance. So I keep my passions concealed. Everywhere is a pokerface except when someone’s attractiveness warrants a slave’s eyes down not to break from character. Yes code switching is necessary for negotiating your social acceptability in generally hostile places of black masculinity.

          • Brass Tacks

            That’s interesting. The homie of mine didn’t come out to us exactly. There was a very messy situation beforehand that ended up spilling out before the group.

            He disappeared from the scene and re spawned a few years later with a new (to us) demeanor.

            We’re not close like that anymore (separate circles), but when we see each other around old stomping grounds and company. He reverts back to the guy we new him as before things were unveiled.

            It’s an interesting study in Black male friendships.

            • cyanic

              Please see Moonlight when it comes to your city. It opens nation wide Nov 4th.

              • Brass Tacks

                I’m not even going to lie. I’m probably not ever going to watch it. Seeing males be intimate on that level isn’t something I am entirely comfortable with.

                I hope it succeeds fo sho.

                Broke back mountain for da streets!

                • cyanic

                  There are 3 segments. Your concern is exclusively relevant to segment 2. Everything else is free of the activity you wanna avoid.

                  • Brass Tacks

                    I aint that evolved, mayne. I would say I’m trying to do better, but i’m not.

                    • cyanic

                      This is the best possible art to make you more understanding of brothas who like brothas.

                    • Mary Burrell

                      I left you a comment about Moonlight I was listening to the podcast this morning discussing Moonlight. I was enlightened.

              • Blueberry01

                Oh, it’s out now over here.

              • MsSula

                I really hope I get to see this picture. The trailer was outstanding. And it is a very lonely place for black boys. Imagine g-boys in Africa… a whole other level.

          • Mary Burrell

            I was listening to NPR Codeswitch and they were discussing the film Moonlight. Barry Jenkins is the director are you familiar with that film? It looks interesting. Great cast Naomi Harris and Janelle Monet and Mahershalla from Luke Cage.

            • cyanic

              I saw the movie last Monday in LA at the Cinerama Dome.

      • Blueberry01

        Interesting. There’s a crabs in a barrel mentality amongst g-boys? Why exactly are they putting each other down?

        • cyanic

          It’s protection and projection. They protect themselves by being cold hearted to others and they project others having it better than themselves.

          • Blueberry01

            You mean they (attempt to) protect themselves by being cold-hearted. I believe that no one can ever fully protect themselves (from I’m assuming getting their feelings hurt) by having walls up.

            As for the probjection, the people that I know who do this are also dealing with unresolved issues (e.g. self-esteem, insecurity, fear, anxiety) and/or are in unhealthy/dysfunctional relationships. It didn’t necessarily relate to their sexuality.

            But, interesting observation, nonetheless.

    • Scorpiogoddess??

      *waving*!!!!??

      • Val

        Hiya, AM!

        *waves*

  • Other_guy13

    In other news…which one of y’all gone shoot ya shot? I’m just here for moral support…jk. Seriously Karma great post and welcome to the A.

  • Brandon Allen

    Yeah, people are more worried about being witty and clever than actually enlightening anyone. It’s tiresome.

    Thinkpiece culture is a bit tiresome, which is kind of odd for me to say, I guess.

    I just want people to want better instead of faux policing everything while not changing how they think or interact with people.

  • Leggy

    Me? I’m just tired of the frequent use of the word “appropriation”. I absolutely think we have to have a conversation about why black features and hair styles are considered beautiful only on other races but I absolutely draw the line at telling white women that they can’t wear braids or getting mad every time a white person covers a black song or cooks soul food. I know it’s an unpopular opinion but those things just don’t bother me at all. Every time I log into twitter, it’s like “what are we mad about today?”, it’s tiring and I’m out.

    • cyanic

      The hypocrisy of them telling us we’re ugly while they take the very things that make us unique for their own perverse use. Those of us who wanna be mad about it have every right to do so if you choose to ignore it for something more substantial in your eyes. But it all matters because it’s their way of penetrating through every possible means.

      • Brooklyn_Bruin

        We need to stop giving them burn.

        2520’s (and others) are calling each other n words. That’s where we are. So if they take even that away, what could we possibly hold on to?

        • cyanic

          Dude I write things people find incomprehensible at times. I don’t know what the 2520’s is?

        • Scorpiogoddess??

          Yap.

      • Leggy

        See? Never in my comment did I say that YOU couldn’t be mad. I personally am not.

        • cyanic

          I said you have a right to not feel as I do to feel.

      • Question

        So a white girl getting her hair braided or wearing a name plate necklace is perverse?

        • cyanic

          It ain’t cute on them.

          • Question

            Blond hair isn’t cute on 90% of us.

            • cyanic

              Depends.

            • Scorpiogoddess??

              Point taken. It ain’t some people be looking like good God, who is thy Maker, my Father? I don’t think so.

          • Scorpiogoddess??

            Hehehe

          • Mary Burrell

            Katie Perry and Gwen Stefani do a lot of cultural appropriation not to Miley Cyrus.

    • HouseOfBonnets

      At this point they don’t really bother me anymore it just amusing because every single time it’s not only a hot mess but a constant reminder of why they remain the jokers in this deck of cards. See: Kim K. Soul food Sunday phase. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d6ff7ec702350bb903b18dff654d28701c8902ac6bb1458dd27bd7552734f86f.gif

    • cheddachasa

      I dislike when others take our stuff and present it as something new but I am wary of charges of “appropriation” because I don’t know where to draw the line and it can easily get turned back towards us. Have we appropriated everything that is not African in nature? Are Venus, Serena, Tiger, or all athletes for that matter appropriators? Is someone of African descent who plays a classical instrument or sings opera appropriating?

      • Scorpiogoddess??

        I thought we made music, no? Lol. So therefore, classical musicians are appropriating?

        • Technically yes. If white rappers and R & B singers get the side eye then black classical and opera singers should get the same.

      • cyanic

        There’s a difference between appropriating and conforming. Black people conform for the sake of acceptance and agency.

        • Scorpiogoddess??

          Where ya church at?!????? You preaching.

        • Blueberry01

          ….and protection, as well as access

      • Leggy

        And that’s my point. We can absolutely have these conversations because they are legit and of great importance but I draw the line at banning someone from participating in an activity that’s considered black.

        • Scorpiogoddess??

          I ban them completely from rocking Locs. Just NO. They look ridonc!

          • Question

            But Locs aren’t uniquely ours.

            • Scorpiogoddess??

              Que

        • pls

          I think it’s appropriate to WANT to ban *other* women from wearing black hair and “costumes” if they are just doing it to attract a certain type of male while still looking down on black women. If we let you in, and you choose to disrespect, then I think that’s a legitimate grievance.

          • Leggy

            I’m not about to tell someone what to do with their hair or body. I’m just not about that life. If the men they want is so taken by these extremely superficial costumes they’re welcome to have at them.

            • pls

              I agree, I guess I haven’t actually told a real human being they need to change their look back to basic yt girl, but I do find it annoying that these women are trying us on. They already have privilege, I’m not about to let them just take my/our style, too!

        • Except the use of ni@@a. That’s no bueno.

      • pls

        I think the one and only time black americans clearly appropriated anything was when we were all walking around wearing those indian jewels on our foreheads and every rap song had a sample with Indian people singing or with that Indian sounding instrumentation (i.e. oochie wally,)

        • Bob Sacamano

          The sitar.
          Sorry, I just had to get my music nerd on.

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