The other day, I posted this update to my Facebook account:
I think My problem is that This Roof guy is loving the attention and it’s obvious he is excited to be written into the history books while the victims will just remain ‘nameless’ and ‘non-rememberable’ by the mainstream. Once again, centering then giving power to ‘whiteness’. (I will name them Clementa Pinckney, DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton and Myra Thompson.)
I actually think white racists are not anomalies. They are everywhere and it just manifests in differing ways. [A Facebook friend wrote whether or not Roof is a ‘full blown racist’.] I am not sure how one would define a ‘full blown racist’. Does it take shooting up a Black church to be one? I actually think not; but that is just me and a majority of the scholars in critical studies of race and whiteness that think this way; or just most Black folk in the USA, regardless if they are critical race or whiteness studies scholars.
SPLC has tracked hundreds of white supremacists groups in the USA. Actually, they track all HATE groups but look at their statistics and about 97% of these hundreds of groups are WHITE SUPREMACIST. Roof wasn’t an anomaly but the NORM in terms of his white racist consciousness. He engaged in ‘preemptive’ strike against a supposed black population that is going to ‘hurt’ innocent white people. This is the same mentality we find with the thousands of mostly white cops that engage in preemptive attacks against us Black people because they perceive us as ‘going to hurt them’. A 12 year old child (Tamir) is SEEN as a scary adult by police and shot. A 14 year old Black girl at an Austin Pool party is attacked and handcuffed by a white police offer. Notice how Roof, a 21 year old MAN is being constructed as ‘some kid’ (white innocence).
I come from the perspective of a black racialized subject in the USA and a PhD in the subject of critical studies of race and whiteness (through the platform of food).
I have learned that no matter how much we explain this to white folk, no matter the academic degrees, the rich canon of studies, the testimonies, we continue to have to EXPLAIN that this shit is real and white racism is not an anomaly but the NORM. (Head explodes).
And I have to say that except for one ‘white’ friend (non-FACEBOOK but in real world), I am shocked that none of my white friends have checked in with me about how I am feeling about what has happened. Like, this sh*t is traumatizing and even more traumatizing that there isn’t the ‘natural’ inclination to ask how it’s affecting my mental health. I am sure there is no conscious ill intention, but it really just says a lot about how differently race is lived by most of my white friends.
This morning, I had to pull over to the side of the road to talk about this more in the form of video.
What I didn’t say in this video is that I have isolated myself and my emotions so no one else can witness it. I have been trying to find places to cry alone. My mini-van works…while in the shower works. Some of you may be asking why I simply don’t approach my white friends directly. My answer is that at this point, it’s just too much; the ‘race education’ piece for me right now is simply too much. I am not sure how else to explain it, but it probably wouldn’t be emotionally healthy for me to be the one to ‘start the conversation’. I did burst into tears in the solitude of my own car, after recording this video. I was parked on the side of the road next to North Berkeley Library where I get wifi. I also thought about the plethora of white vegans who continue to dismiss or poke fun at Black Lives Matter– indicating that Black Lives Matter and veganism are incompatible. I thought about the micro-aggressions I have dealt with from mostly white male Buddhists when I have decided that engaging with race/racism/whiteness is a wonderful way to enhance the buddhadharma vs. ‘distracting’ from it. I thought about the amazing Black Lives Matter event in Oakland this past year, that was directly organized for families by a mothers of color activist group…and the racists and cruel comments that followed by many who thought it was ‘child abuse’ to teach children to be anti-racist, despite us using Dr. Seuss’s Sneetches and arts and crafts activities as springboards to introduce kids to these concepts.
I assure you, I’m not looking to be ‘saved’ by white friends. I’m also not suggesting that because most of my white friends who rarely, if ever, talk about systemic racism, should no longer be part of my life…. At this point on June 22 2015, I am not exactly sure what I am looking for….
…But right now, I am trying to take care of myself. I have been thinking again about my recipes for racial tension headaches and doing sitting meditation. I made a fresh dandelion greens, maca, kale, ginger, and chlorella smoothie this morning. I wanted something packed with sugar, but I told myself that I need some adaptogens (such as maca) to deal with this stress and sadness…And as I thought about adding more ‘hemp’ to my diet today, I thought about how hard it was to get big name ‘ethical consumption’ food companies to get on board with supporting the Black Lives Matter vegan conference this past spring. Then, as I drank my smoothie, I thought about the recent Time magazine issue about the secrets to ‘living longer’ that completely ignores how living in a white settler nation built on systemic racism, colonialism, and white-supremacist based capitalism negatively affects ‘wellness’.
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