On #BlackBrunch And Bottomless White Tears » VSB

Featured, Race & Politics, Theory & Essay

On #BlackBrunch And Bottomless White Tears



Earlier this week, NYC protesters supporting the #BlackLivesMatter movement decided to take it up a notch and encroach upon “White spaces” in order to express their outrage over police brutality against Black folks. I thought it was a splendid idea. More often than not, creating awareness about an issue to facilitate change means making folks uncomfortable. And nothing is more uncomfortable for a nice chunk of society than admitting racism is a thing.

In the most White Privilege-iest showcase of White Privilege since the Kale Kommunity Konvention (I swear this doesn’t exist; but, what if it does?!), the patrons of these “White spaces” were super miffed and expressed such grievances via social media. I could hear the tiny violins crooning faintly in the background of their spacious lofts as they typed furiously n their MacBook Gravities (this joint ain’t out yet; only a privileged few have it).

Look, I get it. No one wants their hipster-yuppie meal interrupted. And if we’re being really real, let me show some solidarity and admit that a lot of my fellow Black folks also enjoy some of that good brunch. See: Any post about Bougie Black folks on this very site.

However, if that is your greatest concern, then that must be nice. Sorry the blood of my Black brothers and sisters spilled on your egg white omelette and gluten-free home fries. I totes apologize if my homie’s “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt made you lose your appetite for your air-infused skinny mimosa. MY BAD.

When your biggest beef is centered around the way folks protest oppression and not the oppression itself? You need to be checked. In fact, the amount of frustration I have in general with people’s fixation on the reaction to racism instead of the racism itself is enough to make me implode. The problem isn’t rioting or protesting or looting, the problem is years of an institutionalized society whose main decree is to uphold a system in which a certain group of people are dehumanized as humanly (huh.) possible and then expecting said group of people to react to such in a humane manner.

But, focusing on the former is easier, right?

Of course, we all know that what comes easiest is not always the best for us. It’s not easy to sit at a restaurant surrounded by angry protestors, but guess what’s less easy? Being that angry protester because a person who shares your skin color is unlawfully gunned down by another person who was hired to protect them. And not even seeing a week go by without it happening again. And again. It may be easier to ignore the heightened tension surrounding police brutality against Blacks, especially when you can’t personally relate. Hell, this shit is heavy. We’d rather be able to ignore it, too. Difference is, we can’t. And quite frankly, since we’re all living here together, you shouldn’t either.

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.

  • camilleblu

    “When your biggest beef is centered around the way folks protest
    oppression and not the oppression itself? You need to be checked.”


  • Vanity in Peril

    Wait. Is this author Cheekie? Great post and gorgeous to boot. Let them clutch every pearl from Jared’s they own. We can’t stop until we see equality. Fuque your feelings.

    • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

      Yup! I am Cheekie and she is me. And thanks! :)

      • Vanity in Peril

        Awesome-sauce! I’ve been following VSB since 2010. I don’t slways comment but you (and I am your people) were two of the first I remembered and I believe I used to follow both of your blogs but then what had happened was…*trails off takes very important fake phone call.

        • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

          I realllllly miss IAYP… was thinking about her last week or so.
          And thanks for the long-standing support! And my then blog is now defunct so no worries! ;)

  • MeridianBurst

    “H*ll, this sh*t is heavy. We’d rather be able to ignore it, too. Difference is, we can’t. And quite frankly, since we’re all living here together, you shouldn’t either.”

    Pretty much. We should’ve been doing stuff like this from the start. Anyone who is part of oppression or benefits from it, has gotten used to living in a world where they benefit from it and have been shaped as people from that, they’re all going to want things to happen where it won’t affect that. They want it to stay in our own spaces where it doesn’t encroach on their comfort or psyche. The first thing we should’ve done was take it to them. That’s how I feel about it. We’re all in the same boat and it’s going to be much different from now on so why should they be able to escape the reality of the changes that are happening? Why should they be allowed to have a sense of comfort in something that is clearly wrong and an obstacle to the health of this nation? Tuh.

    What bothers me is how timid black people are to go there with it. We’re so used to reacting in our own communities and watching it be misinterpreted in the world at large, we’re so used to being chastised that we don’t even see some things as options. All of that is going to disappear though. All of this is escalating in our country and fear just isn’t something we have anymore. It’s too much happening on a consistent basis when we’re already in a raw state for there to be any fear. People are going to keep trying to get away with the same ol BS or sit in the comfort of their own homes and not deal with this, and they’re gonna button push, but it’s going to backfire on them. The only thing it will do at this point is strengthen the black community and cause them to be more resolved. It will be what gives us the courage to do what we have to. I’m looking forward to filling dams, lakes, and aquariums with white tears. Your way of life is finito.

  • What about disrupting the graduation ceremony for new police officers?

    • Freebird

      they might shoot.

      • MeridianBurst

        They aren’t already? Die laughing or die silent seems to be the option.

        • Freebird

          im just saying. but i hear you. i stay ready….

  • meccasue

    Great post. It’s always easier to focus on the inconvenience than the reason behind it. Thanks for bring it to the forefront.

  • Sigma_Since 93

    “The problem isn’t rioting or protesting or looting, the problem is years
    of an institutionalized society whose main decree is to uphold a system
    in which a certain group of people are dehumanized as humanly (huh.)
    possible and then expecting said group of people to react to such in a
    humane manner.”

    Cheekie, Cheekie, Cheekie!!!!!!!

    For years this is what the dominant society has attempted to run from when the mirror is held up for them to see. They will use every tactic available to get you to remove that mirror.

    • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

      You know it.

  • Awesome post. All these crybaby a$$ ppl need to be checked. G-checked.

  • Val

    Actually I wasn’t too impressed with protesting food outlets that White folks frequent. If you aren’t hurting their money then they aren’t listening. Same goes for shutting down highways at night. I think a better plan is to shut down all of the bridges and tunnels leading into NYC. And, shutdown LGA and Kennedy Airports as well. If you interrupt business then you interrupt money and people start wanting to talk and to solve the problem.

    Protesting in the new millennium requires new tactics.

    • Yes. We organized protests in places like the Apple Store in Times Square and staged “die-ins” in Grand Central Station and Macy’s, but what’s next? The protests were filmed and talked about on all of the news stations for a day or two, but ehhh that was it. I am all for protesting but we’re not being taken seriously nor creating lasting change by temporarily shutting down places these White folks frequent.

      • Sigma_Since 93

        Sustaining them. Do we have the intestinal fortitude to keep it up? The Birmingham bus boycott took a year to yield fruit not days. The sit-ins were a continued effort. Can we keep it going.

        • Exactly. I would love to say yes but I’m not too sure we have it in us to keep it up.

          • MeridianBurst

            Fighting too many fronts isn’t going to work and neither is trying to up the ante of our actions while still doing old tactics. None of it will have the energy or effectiveness it needs. We essentially have to abandon what we’ve been doing and make an impact with new tactics. That allows us to have the energy to sustain it.

        • Birmingham has been a majority black community forever and the entire community pulled together to car pool for what 15 months? That’s a devastating financial impact. Apple or these other places don’t need the black community like the Birmingham bus system needs it’s community’s support.

          • MeridianBurst

            That’s true. We’re not fighting the same battle or even on the same scale as those boycotts, but the basic principle of having something finite to act on and stick to is the same imo.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            Don’t muddy the message with insignificant details. With Birmingham, we wanted the powers that be to hear our concerns and the only way to bring them to the table was to bankrupt the city funded bus system.

            In today’s example, you will need whites to complain, because they will complain, to the powers that be for a resolution. This is why you protest in white enclaves. The powers that be have the option of not entering our neighborhoods if we only demonstrate there. If we only sat in at Sugar Momma’s Cafe, we would still be getting our meals in the alley because whites are not as likely to patronize Sugar Mommas as they were Woolworths.

            Keep it peaceful and continue to piss ’em off

            • You underestimate white ambivalence and their ability to ignore black plight. I assure you, the type of resolution they want is not the one you want.

              • Sigma_Since 93

                I’ve got tons of data to show the lengths whites will goto to show their ambivalence. This is why we must stay vigilant and remove all of the means for whites to escape dealing with the issue.

                • I’m confused why you assume why folks arrival to a solution would inherently be favorable for black people.

                  • Sigma_Since 93

                    The hope would be that there is dialogue about the solution and not some random notion thrown over the fence. I wouldn’t expect for it to be:

                    White minion: The Negros are upset.
                    White leader: Give them Newports. That should make them happy.

        • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

          Sustainability is key. And I also think we can kick it up a notch by boycotting. We’d have to actually get a substantial amount of people to do it, though. If folks can corral and get advertisers to pull out of a Sorority girl reality show due to boycott THREATS, we can do this.
          Difference is, we’re not just fighting against commercial structures, we’re actually fighting for human rights and by extension, civil rights mandated by an entire government. It’s a lot of ish we can do, but easy and quick fix it won’t be.

      • MeridianBurst

        The thing about the original riots and protests for me, and in general, is that they happen in our own spaces and all it does to the outside world is give them something to judge and chastise. It doesn’t have much of an effect other than garnering attention. That’s a good thing. What we’re going through *needs* attention. The second wave of protests which happened nationally and internationally were effective at shifting important dynamics, but I also think it was a kind of shift that just made people uncomfortable. It’s superficial in comparison to actually changing our spot on the totem pole. The way I see it, there’s changing our circumstance at the bottom of the totem pole and changing our position on the totem pole. That second wave of protesting bettered our circumstances. If we wanted to change our spot we should have been doing things like this from the jump. This should become our norm of doing things. It should be our immediate response and it should be something that becomes a constant in the American way of life. The point is to move up and stay up. We should make this our base of doing things so that in the future, the things we do will be actions towards rising our position in society.

      • TheOtherJerome

        “We organized protests in places like the Apple Store in Times Square and staged “die-ins” in Grand Central Station and Macy’s, but what’s next?”

        Not sure whats next. But those protests were Gods work. Keep it up. I just don’t agree with the Black brunch concept, because of the place it comes from and the message is confusing/ wrong headed.

        The die in’s send a clear message though

      • Val

        Yeah, the media is hooked on reporting on the NYPD and their spoiled child act. Something needs to be planned to change the story back where it belongs on saving Black lives.

      • Doo10

        There is no Apple Store in Times Square.

    • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

      Yeah, while I feel the “what’s next?” angle, I get kinda annoyed when folks totally disregard protests as if it’s not a major FIRST step. There are levels to this ish and steps have to be taken. You can’t soove racism without being aware of it first. We still haven’t gotten people to even acknowledge it’s a real problem, how can we skip ahead and solve it then? Protests have literally made us aware of instances in which, had we just relied on the news, we shouldn’t have even known about it. Trayvon Martin is a GREAT example. Though the conclusion sucked, Zimmerdouche wouldn’t have even went to trial nor got arrested.

      • Val

        I agree, there are levels to it. That’s my point, it’s time to take it to another level. And protesting brunch isn’t it.

      • Nicholas Peters

        How are ALL white people not aware of a system that has been benefiting them for HUNDREDS of years? whether liberal or conservative they teach it to their children, so they can benefit from it when they grow up….

        – Individual occurrences are much less important than the systetm that allows those occurrence to occur

        • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

          The ones that actually construct that system and benefit the most from it are totally aware of it. But, there is real ignorance in this world about racial injustice. In fact, the very ability to genuinely denounce the system that benefits them is a privilege in and of itself. Because they don’t have to think about it.

          • Nicholas Peters

            are you sure its real?…always seemed contrived to me…

            • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

              For some folks it’s contrived but I’m talkin bout people who aren’t rich and are living paycheck to paycheck and find it hard to admit they have any privilege, let alone white privilege. Those people really don’t realize how they have privilege because they can go about life without ever knowing what it’s like to be on the other side (i.e. Black). And they wouldn’t know until someone told them or they were directly exposed to it.

              • Nicholas Peters

                …then the question comes does that matter that they don’t know? because even if they knew I would bet you that they would try to exploit the system for their gain than to try to fight against, leading them to have less opportunity

                • Yet Another Lurker

                  I think it does matter. Bacon’s Rebellion and the Bogalusa Labor Massacre are instances that prove it does, at least to me. Many of the people who are not aware of their privilege despite being poor, will still vote against their best interest. It’s the reason some are more pissed about illegal immigrants “taking jobs” instead of being angry at the companies who are hiring them and often times, willfully bringing them here. It’s the reason some are more pissed that protestors interrupt their commute home instead of being pissed that bad officers who abused their power used the system to get away with doing so.

                  Framing certain issues as “their problem” keeps them from paying attention to the powers that be, who look just like them, that are doing actual damage to their livelihoods in the long run. Keeping many from joining with people who they have more in common with but refused because ‘those people are animals, lazy, freeloaders . . .’ etc. I think you’re right that some would exploit the system for their own gain if given the chance . . . honestly, some in the jewish community in this country are a prime example of that (especially in the entertainment industry). For the mass amount of people who have no other ties than race, the ‘ruling class’ has worked tirelessly to maintain the divide until it became so ingrained, they didn’t have to work at it anymore. I think more people are starting to notice but we’re at the very tip of awareness in that. I think it’s important that we continue to expose it. I hope I conveyed that properly, sometimes my thoughts can go everywhere. Still learning, still growing.

    • Epsilonicus

      There is and has been the next level. People are pushing and making moves on the policy level. However thats the stuff that doesn’t make the news

  • RagingNatural

    Sooo…about that #NAACPBombing though.

    Twitter taught me…

    • MeridianBurst

      That would be the escalation. It’s going to have the opposite effect it’s supposed to and in the end it will only turn out well for us. One way or the other.

    • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

      YO! The fact I learned about this only from Twitter and major news outlets are STILL opting to focus only on the Paris attacks is… something. -_-

      • RagingNatural

        Exactly. And the same people complaining about brunches being disturbed don’t care or are dismissing the NAACPbombings because no one was killed. Domestic Terrorism and our country doesn’t even care…

        • Facebook taught me the ied detonated outside of the offices but did not harm the “actual” building so it’s not that serious. Excusez-moi? Sorry, that was a targeted attack, the guy behind it just did it wrong.

          • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

            OMG, they got some nerve. There was no actual targeted attack with The Interview threat scandal, either (there wasn’t even a physical attempt) and look at the brouhaha from that joint. Come on… to say that’s what it takes is super insulting.

    • TheOtherJerome

      Thank god the person was incompetent who set the bomb. But wow.

    • afronica

      I am finding more and more that if I don’t check Twitter, I have no idea what’s really going on. I listen to and read the news, but without Twitter I’m only getting half the story. *checks Twitter for the first time today*

      • RagingNatural

        I feel the same way and that’s scary cause you can only find the truth when you search for it. Only rejoined twitter to keep up with what’s really happening in the world, not what MSM or government wants me to.

  • Skegeeaces


More Like This