"i am not at all physically attracted to you"
is an absolutely valid reason to not want to date someone.
People had the nerve to call me shallow for this.
By the way, it’s also totally cool to turn someone down without explaining your reasons. You are not interested, no will suffice. Do not feel pressured to explain your decisions to someone else.
Remember sometimes getting the song you were actually looking for and sometimes getting an mp3 of bill clinton saying that he didn’t have sexual relations with that woman instead
after the fifth time you realize to never download files within a 100kb range of that mp3 from hell
Steven Salaita initiated an important discussion on Facebook about the discourse around anti-Blackness on social media, specifically Twitter. I tweeted out a link to his post earlier but since not everyone has Facebook, Steve gave me permission to share his post here. This is what he said.
Can we have a thoughtful discussion on the relatively recent discourse of “antiblackness”? There is much in it of which I am wary, in particular the way a coterie of non-Black people takes it up and inadvertently dehumanizes Black folks in the process (I offer the benefit of the doubt with the modifier “inadvertently”). I’m curious to know what others think of the phenomenon, and I’m open to considering various viewpoints.
A few general thoughts:
—there seems to be a fixed emphasis on biology, with all the problems it entails (not least of which is judgment of a person’s opinion based on how race can be imagined in an online avatar). The authority of one’s biology is a particularly important feature of the discourse.
—Black folks who don’t accept the general tenor of the discourse are subject to questions about their ethnic authenticity (very often by people who aren’t Black).
—I see a bizarre attachment to Obama as an exemplar of Black achievement. Criticism of Obama is thus rendered “antiblack” or a “derailment” of Black conversation.
—there is virtually no analysis of class and, while there’s oblique mention of state power, very little substantive critique of imperialism, neoliberalism, or militarization.
—there is a tacit, sometimes explicit, hostility to BDS and to Palestinians more broadly. Along these lines, the general critique of the Arab World as a place of little more than slavery and racism is woefully simplistic. In fact, there’s profound ignorance of nearly all Third World politics.
—building from the prior point, the “antiblackness” discourse grafts Black American issues onto the Third World in ways neither productive nor sensible. For example, during the #BringBackOurGirls tag, antiblackness proponents kept talking of the kidnapping as a “Black” issue. While the Nigerian schoolchildren are most certainly “Black,” I find it terribly reductive to imagine that they share the same feeling of kinship with African Americans. I rather doubt that most people in Nigeria (or anywhere else in Africa) would see the sort of cultural, ethnic, political, or spatial affinity with African Americans that this community has decided is unimpeachable. It therefore constitutes an appropriation. It also limits necessary critique of American policy: those who wished to discuss American criminality on the continent were shamed for taking focus away from the “Black girls.”
—what is “antiblackness”? Is it biological? Cultural? Phenotypical? Don’t the geographies of blackness shift according to variations of location and ethnicity? Is there a developed theory worth reading? Has any good scholarship been produced around the phrase? As used, it’s more a shaming tactic than an analysis of antiblackness. To be clear, I see antiblackness as completely real and as a horrible phenomenon, inside and outside the United States. I just don’t believe that “antiblackness” as a discursive practice is a useful form of illumination or contestation. Indeed, I would argue that it exacerbates the structural problems of racism by championing the values of immutable authority.
—what is the relationship of this discourse with the long and brilliant tradition of Black internationalism?
—Suey Park generally leads the charge. Enough said.
—Finally, and most important: racism against Black people is a profound problem. It’s very real in the Arab World and in the Arab American community. Same with South and East Asia. Same with Latin America. In what ways, then, can we productively challenge it without the heavy-handed techniques of those who confuse their need for constant validation with intellectual practice?
My feeling, I suppose, is summarized in a tweet I sent the other day: there’s a significant community on twitter that tries to pass off pathology as a coherent radical discourse.
I wish I could share the more than 100 thoughtful responses Steve sparked but not all of them are public. Here’s a link to the Facebook post if you want to check it out.
Nah, you’re not gonna do this shit today. And you are damn sure not gonna do this in long-form on my watch.
I know that Black creativity has saved your life many times before. I know, because I’ve seen it happen. I’ve listened as non-Black people in my communities raised on Hip Hop talked about how it was the only relatable, empowering culture they found that also educated and radicalized them as a youth. It was formational. I’ve watched people become politicized, shaping their new political identities after bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Assata Shakur, Angela Davis and Frantz Fanon. I’ve watched as folks become activist celebrities using radical ideas from Black Power and Civil Rights movements to shape programs that do not benefit Black people. I’ve watched as people make livings and loads of social capital off of DJing Black music, dancing, walking and dressing like Black people, selling the Black aesthetic to others. I’ve heard that friends use Nina Simone and Sade to sing them back from depression, Rihanna and D’Angelo to get them in the mood. So many people in my communities, lately, have been using Octavia Butler to renew their hope for radical futures. Without Black people, what would your lives be? You might be thinking, you know, it’s so much more complicated than all this, race is complex, we’re all part of the human family, etc., etc…
Black art is not free for all damaged souls. When Nina sang about strange fruit, she was talking about a lynching…of Black people. When Black rappers say Fuck the Police, they speak to a state system of lynching…Black people. Your pain and isolation, however real it may be, is not the same as being Black. Your self-adoption into hip hop and djembe drumming and spoken word, makes our art forms all about you. You, however well meaning, have stolen Black labour and invention and used it for your own purpose. It warps the medium and changes the message, the magic, the healing. From now on, consider how the cost of consuming, appropriating, regurgitating, and getting your life in multiple ways from Black art, Black culture, and Black peoples’ creative genius detrimentally impacts our lives. Being Black in an anti-black world means experiencing daily attacks that threaten our dignity, our happiness, our freedom, and often our lives; and in order to enjoy Black culture, you’re going to have to take action to help get these back.
But because Black people’s labour, language, intelligence, creativity, and survival arts have always been considered free for the taking, you probably didn’t feel ways about using it. You probably didn’t think twice. Black culture is the most pilfered, the most ‘borrowed,’ the most thieved culture, and we’ve seen this happen time and tie again.
Quote is from her essay Black Art Is Not A Free For All on Black Girl Dangerous. Read it all. Truly exquisite writing, especially as non-Black people continue to use, consume, pilfer, plagiarize and be appropriative of Black cultural production and art while simultaneously suggesting that Black culture, especially that Black American culture, does not exist.
I’ve also watched non-Black people suggest Black people contribute “nothing” to anti-oppression theory or praxis while their ENTIRE FRAMEWORK for approaching it is via Black cultural production or Black women’s epistemology.
Like…the cognitive dissonance proffered via perspectives shaped by anti-Blackness is astounding.
READ. THIS.(via tigerkit)