Recently the Black people of Buzzfeed published this video which consisted of Black folks asking Black folks questions about our mannerisms, ideologies, histories, and perceptions. I’ll let you watch it below:
I think (some) of their questions deserve answers if only to show how shitty they really are in the first place. So below is a selection of questions from the video (paraphrased) and my answers to them. Take a gander and feel free, after reading this list, to NEVER ask any of these again.
- “Why is it so hard to be on time?”
Probably referring to so-called Color/Black People’s Time. Such an important topic that even Hillary Clinton and Bill De Blasio decided to turn the concept into a shitty joke. Well I’ll have you know that a SHIT TON OF OTHER PEOPLE as saddled with the “____ People Time” stereotype. Yea…not unique to Black folks and shitty whoever you apply it to. With that said, I would actually like to know who was the first late group…
- “Why is it a problem if I like anime?”
Ummm this short (but not exhaustive) list of Black Anime, Geek, Nerd, and Cosplay websites and Twitter accounts would probably like to have a word with you:
- “Why are we more likely to engage in a new dance trend than we are to get involved in politics or opening a business?”
In order to answer this question we have to acknowledge the long history of Black people creating things that either get stolen or blown up by white people. On the business side we have the many anti-Black riots that happen through American history that typically destroyed the few Black businesses in the community as whites lynched a few of us. The best example is the destruction of “Black Wall Street” aka Greenwood, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Just look at the links, I don’t really have any commentary for that.
On the political side, have you ever heard of Black Lives Matter? Or the All African People’s Revolutionary Party? Or the United Negro Improvement Association? Or the Black Panther Party? Or MOVE? Or…I’ll just stop there. Wanna know what they all have in common? Member of or the whole organization was targeted by the US government domestically via the FBI (in the 60’s through COINTELPRO). Wanna know why there aren’t a lot of people organizing? At least for the older generation it’s because they’re all dead or in jail.
- “How did watermelon become our thing?”
Watch “Birth of a Nation”, a movie that helped establish in the public imagination many of the negative stereotypes we associate with Black people today. Also Black people are not even close to being the largest consumers of watermelons (hint: its people racialized as Asian and Hispanic who are).
- “Why do you get upset when I don’t like a Black celebrity?”
Dunno what Black people you are talking to, but we’re cleaning out our favorites shelf as we speak.
- “Why do we use the N-word and then get mad when white people use it?”
See in general when a Black person uses the N-word its usually used as a filler or attention grabbing word. On the other hand, when white people use the N-word, a black person is usually about to get disrespected or killed by said white person. So yea…probably shouldn’t mash together two different conversations like that.
- “Why is having natural hair political/ a political statement?”/“Do you really believe light-skinned people are more attractive?”/“Why do you say I’m pretty for a Black girl/boy?”
Because Eurocentric beauty standards created in a racist settler colonial society makes it so that anyone being “themselves” other than some facsimile of whiteness or fits stereotypical conceptions of blackness (dark skin, broad nose etc) is seen as a problem or something exotic to be appropriated. Also related to (but not all encompassing of) issues of low-self-esteem in many Black folks and why people find whites more attractive than Black people.
- “Why is it ok for Black men to date white women but not be ok for a Black woman to date a white man?”
Its called Misogynoir and colonial patriarchy.
- “Why do we tear each other down?”
What community have you ever seen that is oppressed, abused, colonized, etc. not engage in sometime anti-social behavior towards each other? Franz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth give a good look at the psychological damage that oppression does to not only individuals but communities and nations.
- “Why you keep supporting non-Black owned businesses but not our own?”
There’s two answers I can personally give to that acknowledging that this is a much larger conversation and that I do try and support Black businesses when I can (although I’m a socialist and want to abolish capitalism anyways). The first is that I don’t owe you business because you are Black. If you aren’t providing good customer service etc. nah, you ain’t getting my business. The second answer is that for most things that we need, basic necessities, there aren’t many Black businesses that can compete with a Walmart or Target. I hate both of those businesses with a passion, but like most poor Black people, I need to eat and that often means going with the most cost effective solution which is not often small Black businesses.
- “Is there a cutoff time for this whole homophobia thing in the Black community”
Don’t get it twisted, homophobia, transphobia, and cishet bullshit is alive and well in the Black community but don’t go asking the question with the underlying assumption that we’re exceptionally bigoted or something. The truth is that Black people are not significantly more homophobic than other racial groups and a lot of our cishetronormative culture/politics is rooted in our colonization and enslavement. It must be rooted out and destroyed for sure, but that’s not going to happen unless you understand its connection to slavery, (settler) colonialism, and capitalism.
- “Why is growing up without a father so common within our race?”
- Here’s a whole article debunking the “Absent Black Father” myth
- Poverty has negative impacts on marriage and relationship survival.
- Welfare “reform” which implicitly punishes people for having working adults in the household makes it hard to create/maintain family ties.
- “Why don’t we take care of our mental health?”
- “Why is being educated considered a ‘white’ thing?”
Good thing that’s bullshit seeing as Black children do value education but our racist education system beats the love of learning out of them.
- “Why do Black people claim Native heritage?” (this is ignoring the MANY Afroindigenous people who exist and are continually erased in these kind of discussions)
Yea it’s related to the whole anti-blackness thing that even Black people engage with coupled with indigenous erasure that allows Black people (and others of course) to claim indigeneity without care for indigenous communities or the repercussion of their actions.
- That just because you’re Black doesn’t mean you know much at all about Black social life, history, oppression, or politics.
- That you should Google your baseless questions before embarrassing yourself on the internet because someone has probably already answered it for you.
- That recording on the internet leading questions that draw on racist stereotypes and perceptions of Black people can ONLY be detrimental to our community.
- Lastly you should question everything and take nothing about the world for granted without investigation, even if it comes from people who look like you.