I Can’t Stop Listening to that New Snoop Track ‘Lavender’

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CW: Police Brutality and Snoop Badassery (Lavender spoilers)

Last summer a police officer in Minnesota shot and killed Philando Castile as he reached for his wallet during a routine traffic stop. His young daughter and fiance were in the car, and his fiance live-streamed the entire ordeal on facebook. This happened the day after Alton Sterling was murdered by police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, another preventable tragedy caught on tape. Both videos went viral and people across the country took the streets demanding societal shifts to acknowledge that #BlackLivesMatter.

However, as thousands of people rallied for justice across the country, a lone sniper  used a Dallas protest for the murder of Philando Castile as a stage to shoot 11 officers, killing five.

This incident became the focal point of broader (see: white) society to not only derail the conversation of police brutality in marginalized communities, but to justify a social target on the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

So when Snoop Dogg and The Game used their visibility a few days later to “peacefully march” to the LAPD headquarters, I was hopeful. Their intentions were “to create a dialogue between the Los Angeles Police Department and the African-American community”. Then Snoop told reporters “We’re not here being violent. We’re not loud. We’re respectable.” and  I felt that hope dissipate into thin air.

We know Black people are killed by the police every 28 hours in America. We know how stop-and-frisk affected the Black community in New York until the practice was struck down by federal courts for being unconstitutional. We know the way lacking education funds and housing and employment discrimination cap the growth of our communities, and create an internal spiral of problems. We know the way the microaggressions thrown at us everyday affect our mental health, from sleeping behaviors to overall longevity.

And all this shit is ancestral . . . All these studies, all this “research”, all these politics can go back years upon years, generations upon generations.

So if you think the answer is to be respectable? Good on you and do you boo. But to try and be humanized for that… after alllll this?  Nah… You better make room for those whose anger is a little less peaceful.

So I made a mental note, and left Snoop at that.

Now we have a new president, a new administration, a new era. Stop-and-Frisk has been advocated by our current president. Everyday the new administration proceeds to cut the limited resources and services available to us. We are watching as our government normalizes microaggressions on a macro scale, making bigots more confidently violent and legitimizing hate into policy.

And all this shit is ancestral . . .

Not even a year since that summer day in LA, Snoop is back on my newsfeed. This time for confronting authority again, not in the streets with messages of kumbaya but in a music video strapped and dangerous. Snoop is humming a much different tune to bring in the new summer, and the melody has echoed all the way to the White Clown House.

His song and visuals have disgruntled our new president. Apparently, Snoop was even called out by the Dear Leader himself, putting him on the list of unfavorables Trump would love to “fire”as  if his reality is still The Apprentice and not running one of the most powerful countries on earth.

So I clicked the video.

And hooo0o0o0o0ooooly shit guys…

Yes.

I’m talkin… YES!!!

 

While I was hesitant to listen at first, I’m glad I did. The song is refreshingly angry, smooth, and catchy af. Quintessential Snoop. And then there are the visuals… It’s pertinent, silly, provocative, and directly confronts the current administration:
Don’t come your clown ass round here…
Real talk,
I’m leavin all you clown ass niggas outlined in chalk.

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The video portrays a world of clowns that are stupid and evil, where clown police murder innocent fathers at routine traffic stops while witnesses capture the scene on camera and upload it to ClownTube for all the other clowns to see.

clown killed

Meanwhile, Snoop and his crew watch from a distance before kidnapping the leader Ronald Klump from The Clown House while he gives a speech promising to “Deport All Doggs”.

 

ok Behind a warehouse, Snoop takes a toy gun and in a true clown fashion, pulls the trigger to reveal a red sign with the words BANG! in Black. Oh, the imagery. The scene fades out with the crew dancing around a tied up Klump while Snoop and a friend pass a blunt back and forth, buckin at Klump between them as he reaches out for a turn.

But it’s so much more than that. It’s the way the video opens up to a family getting ready for a normal day of life, tv playing in the background, a little boy pouring a bowl of cereal. It’s the ending with a commercial only fit for the world Jesse Wellens (who directed the video) created for Snoop’s potent rhymes. The details of the words and visuals are crisp and they captivate.

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As we carry the weight of our beautiful Black skin in a society that works systemically to destroy us, Snoop gives us 3 minutes of sadistic release filled with colors, clowns, and confrontation.

It’s noted.

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To Be First or Second: How to Call out a Racist in Real Life

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truthh

If you wanna understand the content below, check out this video of a woman getting her shit handed to her on a New York subway train after spewing Islamophobic racism on an innocent passenger.

Did that? 3 minutes later? Here are my thoughts: 

I love this so much. Called her out and forced her to do the mental exercise to verbalize her racism to everyone.

“Why is he bothering you? Because s/he looks Indian/Muslim, is that what it is?”
“Yes!”
And then you hear it… the passengers around her… scoff at her ignorance, belch out “Oh my gods”.

What a fool.

Most importantly, I want everyone who watches this to see how it all started. Not the initial abuse, but that it was the first woman who said something about it. Quietly, accented, but she said something…
And that was all it took for this racist to be taken down. So another big props to lady #1 because as a “foreigner” over here, I know what guts that took.

I read something a long time ago about group power dynamics. That it’s actually not in the first person who stands up/agrees/disagrees/whatever, but the SECOND person who follows the first person. That is what causes social ripple effects.

An example that comes to mind is Rosa Parks. She didn’t just randomly refuse to give up her seat. It was in her memory of Emmett Till’s murder three months prior that she refused to get up. And it was in that act that rippled into the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Which rippled into the full on Civil Rights Movement.

Watch this video again and think about this: If that first woman hadn’t said anything, would the second woman have?
We can’t know for certain.
But we *KNOW* with the utmost certainty that the second woman spoke up because the first woman called out the racist. It’s right there on tape.

So if you’re ever in a situation and you’re unsure whether to say something, do it. Chances are in your favor that there are people around to back you up. Actual people, not the Breitbart comments’ section this racist apparently thought were surrounding her on a New York subway.

*Cue Nick Young Meme*

I’m out.

I’m Quitting the “Dream Job” I Fought Immigration For.

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Photo on 2-26-16 at 3.54 PM (1)I guess this is 2017 update #2. This is more for the people who know me in real life and have been following my travels but not my twitter feed lol. I’m gonna hit some things I’ve hit time and again on social media throughout this last year, mainly my struggles at work and with immigration. This is something I plan to write about more analytically in the near future, possibly on another platform, and if so, I’ll link that when it comes. For now, I’m keeping this blog my personal safe space. If you feel entitled to more, see 2017 update #1.

Hey everyone,

I’ve been in Germany for the last year and half (stable-y, no big travels except a couple little trips in Europe). It hasn’t been that great. I’ve been working as an English teacher at a bilingual kindergarten and going to school part time. Last Spring, the immigration office criminally charged me for accepting my current job and the process trapped me in Germany for 3 months while I waited to see what would happen (best case, case dismissed, worst case, deportation and banned for up to 10 years). It was kind of hard to relax with something like that hanging over my head… and it’s not like I could just come home and feel the love and support of my friends and family, because God forbid I miss the mailman with the letter of my fate. But– thank God!– in the end the charge was dismissed and I was granted the freedom to go back to work!

-_-

Fast forward almost a year and the “dream” job I fought the system for is actually a nightmare. I work with 8 catty white women who attack me microagressively everyday to the point where I feel like I’m in a permanent brace-position emotionally, and if you think racism only affects you when it’s n-words and confederate flags, in less than a year I’ve lost almost 20 pounds, acquired severe hypotension, and gotten more colds and flus in the last 6 months than in my entire 6 years living abroad.

So the update is I’m changing my life. Today I talked with my boss and told her that the job is affecting my health and I need to leave immediately. I have been offered another position closer to where I live  and the environment is so diverse and loving. It’s not the “elite” place I’m at now, but gurl you know if the last year’s taught me anything, it’s not to strive to be in spaces too good for melanin. My boss agreed and I should find out tomorrow if a transfer is possible.

I would really appreciate it if you kept me in your thoughts tonight and tomorrow and checked in on me every now and then to see what the latest is. Maybe things will work out and I’ll find a more fitting job in Germany. Maybe it won’t and I’ll head home to my wonderful friends and family in America. Ok, ok that last statement is only half true lol.. but as of now, anything’s better than this.

See ya ❤

Feminewbie went MIA… Until Today.

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Photo on 9-15-16 at 9.09 PM #2

Hey everyone,

 

I have been writing as Feminewbie since 2015. I have always used blogging as a way to organize my random thoughts, but Feminewbie was the place I could hash out my feminism. I have tried to use this space to grow as a feminist; go through my own complexes, talk about current events, and work through my beliefs rooted in internalized-inferiority. Looking back, some posts are pretty problematic, and I’ve left them there so my followers can see my journey. See, there’s no such thing as “perfect” activists. We are all approaching social justice from a white supremacist patriarchy, and the baggage of that must be acknowledged. It’s problematic. But it doesn’t have to end there.

In my case, I kept reading, kept learning, kept talking, kept listening. And over the last two years, I’ve expanded my understanding of myself and this world, globally, historically, and intersectionally.

I’ve found that I’d rather be problematic than invisible.

Which is why I want to give some clarification about my absence on here.

Last Spring, I posted a Big Fuck You to Everyone and then came back with a story about my experience witnessing police brutality in the park last summer. That post went viral with over a million views in two days.

Shit got real.

To see my words elevated made me feel scared and hopeful. I was scared because my words resonated across the world, and they were angry and filled with pain. I was hopeful though that everyone who read about The Gambian would be more critical in their daily lives — more critical of how they treat marginalized peoples and the treatment of PoCs they will accept witnessing from others.

Less than a year later, we’re where we’re at. Trump is president. Brexit is official. Europe is growing more fascist everyday, and I’m still Black. I’m still woman. I’m still queer. I’m still learning.

But my posts have slowed drastically, and while I still post on youtube.. even that isn’t what it used to be. So why not?

This blog has been my space to be problematic. And since that post went viral I realize this world has very little room for a melanated woman to be open (spot-on or problematic as she may be) without horrifying backlash.

Beyond whatever bullshit someone wants to type to me behind a screen, I’ve been silenced by my unsafe visa status. I’ve been silenced by my job exploiting me. I’ve been silenced by the capitalist values bubbling in my core that image is everything, and do I really want my name synonymous with militant or angry!? even despite knowing the racist roots of those stereotypes.

This was my problematic space… To talk about fucked up family relationships, my disordered eating, my racist experiences at my job and the immigration office. The things I started off just aimlessly writing about online I now feel and understand all around me. I want to talk about these things, but the scrutiny this blog gets makes me feel nervous.

In the last year, I have lost family members and friends, and I struggle to maintain the status I once took for granted. Currently, I am 45 kilos. Over the last year, I have lost more than 20 pounds. I’ve been sick more times in the last 6 months than in my entire 6 years living abroad.

And I need space to talk about these things… I need more than 140 characters. So I’m taking my blog back. From the ghosts in my mind and the phantoms lurking behind computer screens, only detected by the view counter.

I exist in all of my humanity whether you’re comfortable or not. Whether I’m comfortable or not. We’re more than a quarter through 2017 and I’ve been out here in my real life preaching unity, volume, no compromises, and no apologies. I’m bringing that back to cyber world.

If you are here, it’s to see the connection between the macro issues imploding our planet and my micro experience as Feminewbie. The beautifully flawed person.

So that’s the update. Get ready.

x

Tomi Lahren is Becky… And Other Reasons Why Trevor Noah’s “Confrontation” Wasn’t Helpful

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It’d be an understatement to say the last few weeks have been emotional. Since Donald Trump was elected president, it seems the world has begun to crumble. The way sand cliffs slide into the sea, we’ve known it would happen at some point, but to watch it before our eyes evokes a spellbinding horror.

First there was the initial shock and panic. Then there was the rather abrupt validation and normalization of the means and mentality Trump used to get where he now is. This, for millions of people, resulted in another wave of shock and panic. We’ve clung even tighter to each other and we’re reaching out to anyone with a microphone to ease our terror and relieve our fears… and what better way than with a laugh? If we can laugh – just for a second – won’t everything be okay?

I found myself either on Twitter or watching Colbert and Trevor Noah constantly for the first week or so after the election. Out of the three, twitter has been the most therapeutic. Sadly, as I get older, I see that the Colbert I once idolized is… nothing more than a rich white man with an impressive amount of liberal enthusiasm.

And then there’s Trevor.

“Trevor Noah faces off with Tomi Lahren on The Daily Show” read the headline on my feed four days ago. I was just waking up and the words caught my attention.

Yesssss. I thought.

When Trevor Noah took over the Daily Show, I felt a flurry of emotions. I was deeply disappointed that the position wasn’t given to Jessica Williams, a young Black Californian with bold humor,  brilliant comedic timing, and a bubbly smile. She started off as the Daily Show’s youngest correspondent, and remained their brightest.
But while I was let down that Comedy Central didn’t go for the obvious pick,  I was happy that they picked Trevor Noah. Not only is he someone other than another white guy, but he’s a mixed-Black South African. I thought his position in the African Diaspora would bring a fresh perspective to a lot of the issues surrounding us right now. Jon Stewart did a decent job in recognizing his privilege and using his platform to shine light and shame onto different social issues. Clearly, a Black man would only drive these sentiments further. For Trevor Noah to take Jon Stewart’s place excited me because he gives the show the potential to get even sharper and more confrontational.

Or so I thought.

As I clicked the link hovering under the headline, I was excited to see this “face off”. I wasn’t just hopeful that Trevor would confront Tomi Lahren — the young racist whose hate goes viral time and time again — I was expecting it.

But that’s not what happened. And that’s why we need to talk about the politics of beauty in a white supremacy.

Let’s talk about Tomi Lahren.

Tomi Lahren, I’m sorry to tell you, is someone I actually had to take time to google. The first time I saw her was a few months ago on facebook. She was in a video spewing anti-feminist garbage into my ears. I could smell her breath through the screen.. It smelled like internalized-sexism. I looked at her and felt sad. Blonde hair, blue eyes, a great smile, a thin body… The all-American girl. A waste. Little did I know those videos would result in her own show on television.

And that’s where we go from beauty to politics.

Tomi Lahren has the face that Americans, regardless of race, have been conditioned to humanize in ways unimaginable for anyone not white, thin, and “pretty”. She’s the one we’ve watched our whole lives play the protagonist or the protagonist’s reward. Our society has always given her the space and the platform to express herself.

You imagine she was on the cheerleading team. You can see her out horseback riding. Even when she calls for the deportation of millions of people, the justification of Black murder, and enthusiasm for the patrolling and registering of Muslim people.

It is vital the we recognize her vast reach didn’t happen spontaneously and it isn’t surprising. Despite what you may think of her personally, her face is one we’ve attached to the epitome of beauty. And the power of that beauty in a white supremacy is a platform on national television and an appearance on one of the most popular liberal shows on television… The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

Tomi Lahren can’t help what she looks like, but when she uses her power to reach millions of people with messages of xenophobia and racism, this becomes our problem. Because right now, from Donald Trump to Brexit, we are watching these beliefs turn to policy, and we need to confront the oppression with a swift and sharp “Cut the bullshit”.

That was Trevor Noah’s job.

Instead, he brought her onto his show and spent almost 30 minutes “confronting” her in a way that left an alarming taste in my mouth. I wanted to love it. I wanted to cheer for it. Initially, I did. But the next day, the taste was still there… I watched the video again.

First I noticed his body language. He seemed sheepish. He didn’t make strong eye contact and looked off toward the ground while “confronting her”. But his confrontations had no provocation and demanded no real accountability, on the contrary, they were soft attempts to mentor her. It reminded me of one of Obama’s weak speeches in his failed attempts to “reason” with Republicans. Noah never actually pressed her on how dangerous her beliefs are, or what the real implications those beliefs will have on millions of Americans. Instead he asks her to clarify them. Yes. Trevor Noah, the man I’ve been watching to wrap my mind around the chaos, gave Lahren free airtime to belch more racist propaganda. And he never seemed to really pin her.

In fact, when she falsely (but confidently) proclaimed that “Black men are 18.5x more likely to shoot a cop than a cop to shoot a black man! Those are statistics no one wants to talk about!”, Noah responded not by calling her bluff or demanding a source, but a fussy “Let’s move on to, like, the mainstream media.” A complete pass topped with “Because this is interesting. You’ve won.”

I was flabbergasted. Hurt. Overwhelmed. And my disenchantment only grew.

Both parties made statements on twitter thanking each other. Tomi said she had a “great time” while Noah tweeted she is “always welcome” on his show.

Then they went out for drinks. Thanks TMZ.

noah

Uhh.. no thank you.

This is where we see the depth of this issue. The network put a pretty white girl in a tight black dress in front of a Black guy and they both fell right into character. He softened his approach to the point of barely being able to look at her and she ate it up and then went out for drinks afterwards. This was spun as “destroying bubbles” and “respecting common goals”, but really this was two people who fell into a very typical narrative because they will never actually feel the blunt effects of the things they were discussing. They both would probably agree that they simply had drinks the same way they both agreed that they simply had opposing views.

As Tomi said, and Noah RTd:

not-a-bitchExcept you’re not “people with opposing views”. One person has an opinion that has the potential to ruin millions of lives. The other is defending their humanity. Or at least that’s what he was supposed to do?

Unless it’s not at all.

The opposite of someone trying to kill you (or justify your death) is not to convince them not to. It’s fight or flight. Considering most marginalized people in America do not have the privilege to pack up and leave the borders soon to be governed by a Trump administration, that leaves one option.

Fight.

Our job is not to use a bigot’s argument against our humanity to convince them to have drinks with us. Our job is to fight for our humanity’s tangible recognition in this society.

I’m ashamed to have ever been proud that Trevor Noah was given a microphone to speak for me. He never has. He never will. This is just a show for Noah. These are just topics to spit a couple jokes at and make a million bucks. At the end of the day, his identity as a South African doesn’t make him more connected to our struggle, but even less attached. He can sit for 30 minutes and listen to flaming racism without the slightest visceral reaction. Rather, he opted to freely spend more time across from that same person, privately.

So fine… I’ve just spent 1200 words railing. What would a successful confrontation have looked like then?

Let me introduce you to Darletta Scruggs.

Darletta Scruggs is an active member of the Socialist Alternative movement. She was invited onto Fox a few months ago to “discuss the success of the second #MillionStudentMarch day of action against Trump, racism and student debt.”

But when watching the discussion unfold between two people from polar opposites of the political spectrum, one notices how differently Scruggs navigates the conversation with a white man than Lahren did with a Noah.

This is what a face off looks like. This is confrontation. This is preparation and execution. This is Darletta Scruggs.

CLICK THIS BEFORE CONTINUING.

As a young Black Woman, Darletta is not protected by the privilege of white womanhood. The network didn’t put her in a little black anything. While Tomi Lahren regurgitated the same old poisonous rhetoric she’s gotten famous with, Scruggs was well-prepared to defend her views with nuanced contexts. Scruggs is not perceived as a dainty hometown girl with a little bite. She is not perceived as powerlessly naive needing only a strong man to guide her back to safety. Darletta is seen through the lens of whiteness that ties her words — that express a desire for the basic opportunities offered by other countries around the West — to being angry, loud, aggressive, unrealistic.

And she knows it.

That is precisely why she does not let the white man across from her use those tactics to derail the discussion that he is unprepared for. She does not let him gaslight her. She does not let him throw false facts or erase connections between issues. She holds him to a level of accountability that leads him to one conclusion: Agreeing with her.

He is forced to recognize the limits of his arguments. He is forced to recognize that hers go beyond, and the society waiting at the end of her views will be better for everyone.

In 7 minutes, Darletta Scruggs got a white man to acknowledge the necessity of change on his part.

After 30 minutes, can we say the same happened with Trevor Noah?

fuck-that

To add insult to injury, since I’ve begun writing this piece cishet Black men have only gone further in their quest to save Missie Anne. Tomi Lahren was scheduled to appear on the Breakfast Club, which she cancelled, then went out with Charlemagne privately. Afterwards, he took to social media to lambast Women of Color for our lack of media presence, as though it isn’t directly connected to our marginalization in this white supremacist society.. he ended by comparing our could-be success to a platform that looks like Tomi’s.

Holy motherfucking yuck.

We will be free when everyone is free. Despite our differences, that’s the common goal our lives depend on… If Black men want to be a part of creating that world, their job is to amplify Black Women and Queer Black people, not elevate Becky. Come on, man. This struggle is loud. It’s intersectional. It’s unapologetic. To use this conversation to sleep with the enemy is not only offensive, it’s dangerous.

When cishet Black men are strong enough to sit across from Becky and deliver like Darletta Scruggs, then we can have a conversation. When they take ice cubes to their dicks before throwing Black Women under the bus for Becky is the day we can maybe work together for freedom and equity. Until then, stop stepping on us to get closer to a white girl from South Dakota.

This whole thing is gross.

Beyond Blackface

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Hey Everyone,

I recently wrote an article about an ordeal that took place here in Germany last month. Essentially, SWR aired an episode of “Verstehen Sie Spass” (Do You Get Funny) where one of the Aryan characters dressed up in Blackface in order to perpetuate ideas of Black inferiority for the Aryan audience in the studio, as well as the millions watching the skit at home.

There was huge backlash from Black People across Germany, and the SWR was forced to make a statement that only added insult to injury, especially when you look at this in the context of everything happening in the West right now.hello

As an American, it has been very interesting to be confronted by Blackface in Europe. This is such a clear taboo in my country — although white people also do it there — but I’ve never seen any*one* condone it as socially acceptable, let alone whole countries (Germany and The Netherlands, I’m looking at you).

In America, we are facing a myriad of challenges. We have our own history, our own culture, our own context… which is why it’s so important to put that in perspective with our siblings across the globe. Black liberation is when we all get free, right?

In order to stand in solidarity with one another, we have to understand the nuances of our existences.

I’ve lived in Germany for more than 5 years now. I left America right after the first decade of the millennium ended. For context, iPods were still a thing. Obama was still in his first term as president. Look at where we are now.

I am an American. My humor, my mannerisms, my accent beam U.S.A. But so much of my worldview has been molded by my experiences here in Europe. I don’t want to speak over anyone… just amplify what’s been shared with me, what I’ve experienced, and some ways we can work together to overcome oppression, which is different depending on who you are and where you are. Racism has another face here than what we recognize in the States. It subtely drains in a hopeless way. Our Afrogerman siblings describe it best with the word “lonely”.

I wrote this piece from my perspective, based on my experiences and relationship to this issue. It was reviewed by our siblings in the UK, Netherlands, and Germany, collaborating under the European Network of People of African Descent. It can currently be viewed on stopblackface.com and bethechangenetwork.tumblr.com, as well as below.

Please feel free to let me know your thoughts or start a conversation of your own.

Peace

Beyond Blackface

Blackface is not a new phenomenon, but the attitudes around it have evolved with the changing times. Today it may be seen as shocking or taboo, but its racist roots can be traced back almost two hundred years. While in the 1800s this “humor” was accepted as open racism that justified slavery and Jim Crow laws in the United States and other oppressive policies against People of Color by the West, today white society tries to avoid the guilt of its roots while gripping the giggles.

A brief review…  Blackface has been a staple in Western Society since the mid 19th century, when white men first began to perform “minstrel shows”. These performances date back to the Transatlantic Slave era when European colonizers kidnapped and enslaved African Peoples. Blackface was a form of entertainment amongst white mass society that perpetuated stereotypes of inferiority about Africans held in bondage. These stereotypes were imposed on Africans by white society in order to justify and normalize the brutality of enslavement and exploitation. White men would paint their skin black with grease, cork, or even shoe polish, and dance and sing on stage for white audiences as if a “happy” “silly” “loyal” and most importantly – “stupid” — slave. The humor was simple: See how these savages are? Slavery… They love it! And if that could make the white audience roar with laughter, how bad could it really be then?
And that’s the point. Racist humor functions as a license issued by and for the Oppressor to dehumanize those they oppress with a joke, normalizing their violence and downplaying its effects with a chuckle. It’s cognitive dissonance.

Western societies that have built their empires on the colonization and enslavement of People of Color across the world normalize their oppression so that it can continue on today, morphing, coding, and evolving from language to policy in order to perpetuate the system.

We saw this play out last month when Guido Cantz gave a disturbing Blackface performance on the television show “Verstehen Sie Spass?” (Do You Get ‘Funny’? Yes, ironic). The skit included all Aryan characters, from the host and woman seeking his help to the audience members eager to witness something scandalous.
The woman claimed her father went missing in South Africa (of all places) and she hadn’t seen him since. The host then “revealed” to have found her father, calling him out to the stage. To everyone’s “surprise” however, they are joined by Guido Cantz in Blackface. (Spoiler Alert: That’s funny because he’s not white like them… see: othering, or Africans! Ew! Ha ha!).

Blackface Guido then goes on to try and reconnect with “his daughter” while she and the host awkwardly scramble to get out of the situation. Their faces look tense and disgusted when they interact with Guido, asking him questions in an attempt to lead him to the conclusion they’ve already come to: He can’t be her father — he’s Black and she’s white! How can he not see? Oh, because he’s a stupid African! Funny!

And if that’s not already hilarious enough, the skit continues with this “funny” (see: racist) dialogue between the three of them where Blackface Guido speaks in broken English frosted with what my American-ears can only perceive as a bad attempt at a pseudo Indian accent. The punchline of Verstehen Sie Spaß is simple: Look how stupid this “African” is! Hilarious!

It’s gut-punching. Literally.

Around 1 million Black People are estimated to live in Germany out of a population of 80 million. But the small numbers are no reflection of our strength or depth here. Black People have a long and complex relationship in Germany. Our roots go back to the early 1700s when the Ghanaian Anton Wilhelm Amo studied at the University of Helmstedt and went on to lecture across the country. The strength of those roots could be seen in the response to the Verstehen Sie Spass episode aired last month. Black people all across the country were calling out the Blackface broadcasted on our tv screens, our message clear: Not then, not now, not ever.

Our societies are as they are because of the intricate relationship between power, culture, and history, not an unlucky strike of cosmic dice. To talk about the oppressive nature of Blackface in 2016 could be compared to continuing a conversation that has been going in circles for almost 200 years. For Western Society to play up old racist tropes in 2016 is not edgy or new, nor is it part of any artistic or satirical freedom of expression. It’s lazy and oppressive. We will loudly resist the normalization of racist stereotypes in media. This is a matter of dignity, not debate.

That means the appropriate response from SWR (the channel that aired Blackface Guido) would have been in the form of an apology.

We recognize the roots of Blackface and in that context this episode was inappropriate and highly offensive. We extend a deep apology to the community we’ve offended and will work to produce better content in the future.

Maybe they’d even hire some Black people on the network to avoid blunders like this in the future. Sadly, SWR instead reminded the world why we must continue to fight for basic human recognition. They responded by saying that the skit was neither defaming, discriminatory, or injurious but “obviously believable”; and they feel bad if anyone was offended.

Or in other words, white people have once again appointed themselves as the definers of all that is defaming, discriminatory, and injurious after inflicting pain on another community to avoid responsibility and reform. Then to add insult to injury, they’ve twisted the debacle to position themselves in a place of victimhood because of their guilty “feelings”. Here’s my response:

Dear SWR, don’t cry me a river of the same Aryan tears that were dripping down your face while you watched that Verstehen Sie Spass episode. Are you kidding me? This is white fragility on an institutional level. Deal with it.

And in the meantime we will continue to speak out and protest Blackface in society, at full volume. Unapologetically. As long as it remains a staple across Western Society. From Verstehen Sie Spass in Germany to Sinterklaas in the Netherlands to Halloween costumes across the West, white people continue to paint their skin to perpetuate ideas of inferiority about Black people and normalize their own cognitive dissonance about their relationship to oppression… In order to escape the acknowledgement that they are a problem. But it’s only in admitting that that they can begin to change.

Blackface has existed in our societies for centuries, and to have a conversation with white people about it 200 years in (at the state of this world right now) is, as SWR demonstrated in their response, moot. We know white supremacy exists. We see it parade in politics, talk on tv, sneer at us in stations, follow us in the store. We understand its roots.

So if this is actually a white people problem for white people to solve, where do we go once we’ve yelled our lungs dry? And where do we go between call-outs?

We go to us: The millions of Black people all over the world expressing ourselves and telling our own narratives. We find and support our own voices. Amplify them. Echo them.

Ultimately, this is what empowers us and ignites change.  I believe that everyone wants that, even white people. But as long as they choose to cling to the same racist skits and oppressive tropes they’ve clung to for centuries, we’re leaving them behind. Because even in our dust, one white person has a bad idea and it ends up on television. Millions of Black people have good ideas all the time; where are they?

All around us. Turn off SWR and find them. Your community, your healing, your strength. The time is now.
This sentiment of superiority – racism, xenophobia, islamophobia, classism, and homophobia – which built up Western nations through colonization is currently erupting from beneath the surface like wildfire. Alt-right groups have sprouted up around the West and their hatred and phobia are manifesting in policy from Brexit to the election of Donald Drumpf for U.S. president.

And so, while Blackface Guido stings to see, we must continue to look at the situation in its entirety, acknowledging the intersections of social and political issues and discussing their relationships to racism, history, and justice. Most importantly, we must continue to be loud about our existences, which means amplifying only our true voices, faces, and identities, whether it’s in protest against Blackface or celebrating at Afropunk. From Ava DuVarney to Cecile Emeke; from vine (RIP) to the twittersphere and beyond, Black people are creating curative content that’s just waiting for to be absorbed, responded to, and acted on.

Donald Trump is President: Black, American, Abroad.

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I haven’t slept in 2 days. I called out of work today. My lymph nodes are swollen. My eyes feel heavy from holding so many tears. I tried to let them go. I called my best friend in America. We cried together. We wore Black in mourning. I walked out into Germany, she only miles from Washington, D.C… where Donald Trump will soon be moving in. As president.

It’s really happened. The day really came and took a piece of humanity with it. The first domino was Brexit, and everyone knows that what happens in America spreads like wildfire across the globe. The far right is gaining foothold across Europe, and has been given a seat in the Oval Office in America. Yesterday we entered another era. An era where Donald Trump is president of the United States and the West follows suit. (Please read here).

My heart.

We wear Black when we are mourning, but we cannot take off Black skin. So we embrace the mourning and transform it. As our ancestors have done for hundreds of years, we will mourn, and

We will resist.

I made this video of my thoughts. I want my siblings across the Diaspora to know that I love you all. We matter. And we’re only going to get louder.

x newbz