Slam Poet. Author. New Media Activist.
So I had a conversation with a friend today as she was heading to speak with her church about racial reconciliation. She is a Black woman that attends a predominant white church and made it her mission to lead her community in this endeavor. Before she headed out she asked me, “Bryant, what would you say to them?” For me, it was simple.
“Tell them I said f**k their reconciliation.”
We both laughed, then we both talked about it and agreed…
F**k their reconciliation.
And this is not some eye-catching tactic to get whomever to read this blog. I’m serious.
F**k racial reconciliation.
For those that are unfamiliar with this initiative, let me explain. Racial reconciliation is a move by the white church stream to see healing between the Black & white races. Unity is the goal. Obviously there is history between the two, and a negative one at that. But over the last 10 years or so, the white church stream intentionally wants to make amends between the two races (Black & white). This looks like building more ethnically diverse churches (since diversity is a core vision of God’s kingdom. See Revelations 7:9) and engaging in matters of justice. In practical ways, college ministries have “urban programs” where they encourage their white students to live in some urban area for an amount of time and engage concepts like white privilege, racial injustice and so forth.
Now all this is well-intentioned and I appreciate the effort, but they can kick rocks with all this racial reconciliation crap.
One, the entire conversation is white-centered – which actually feeds the “problem” its trying to solve. It makes white feelings, white behavior, and ultimately white people the crux of “reconciliation”.
Now notice I placed the words “problem” and “reconciliation” in quotations, because who ever said we (as Black people) have a problem with whites just because of their skin? This reminds me of why I hated the movie Crash, for it made it seem like we all suffer from race equally.
I will venture out to speak for all Black people and say…
We don’t have a problem with white people just because their white. We have a problem with being murdered, oppressed, stigmatized, robbed, dehumanized, etc., – which typically comes from white people.
We’re not the ones clutching purses, locking doors, or avoiding eye contact with someone just because they’re white. We’re not the ones reproducing images of white people as savages, rapists, murderers, thugs, etc. just because they’re white. We’re not the ones criminalizing little white children and murdering them in cold blood just because they’re white.
Get my point?
The very concept of reconciliation is that two parties, who are at odds with one another, come back together in a restored relationship. But Blacks have never been at odds with whites just because of their skin. Blacks never sought to distance themselves from whites. Most Black people don’t even really care. I mean seriously, do ya’ll think we’re out here worrying about what ya’ll think about us? The only time we pay you any mind is during a job interview…
There is no need for reconciliation because we actually are not against you. At all. We attend your schools, learn from your teachers, visit your doctors, read your books, earn your degrees, play your sports, watch your movies, sleep in your hotels, sell your drugs, wear your clothes, buy your houses, drive your cars, elect your officials, fight your wars, eat at your restaurants, and the list goes on. Hell, some of our Black women even ruin their hair with chemicals so they can be “beautiful” like white women (this doesn’t apply to you if you’re a self-conscious creamy crack user. And white people, have fun googling “creamy crack”).
From my vantage point, we’ve always made attempts to be love and accepted by you. To have a unified world with you. Yet it is you, white america, that has fled from us. It is you, white america, that murders us. Brutalizes us. Gentrifies us. Lies on us. Dehumanizes us. You are the ones that clutch your purses when we walk by. You are the ones that lock your doors and avoid eye contact just because we have Black skin. You’re the ones that reproduce images of us as savages, rapists, murderers, thugs and more. You’re the ones that criminalize our children then murder them in cold blood. We don’t have a problem with you. You, have a problem with us.
Even now, while reading this, your racism is telling you that I’m a hurt & angry Black man that needs to forgive white people – which shows the need for racial reconciliation. But this is just you trying to control the conversation again. A way to keep it white-centered. It has to be all about you. God forbid that Black people show a little emotion over the effects of race. But I’m not hurt. And therefore, I don’t need your healing. For what you fail to realize is that Black people have learned how to love themselves, in order to still love you as white people. Because even now, we still attend your schools, learn from your teachers, visit your doctors, read your books, earn your degrees, play your sports, watch your movies, sleep in your hotels, sell your drugs, wear your clothes, buy your houses, drive your cars, elect your officials, fight your wars, eat at your restaurants, and the list goes on.
We also have our own schools, teachers, doctors, books, degrees, movies, drugs, clothes, houses, elected officials, and so forth. We’ve created choice. We’ve created the ability to define ourselves for ourselves.
But instead of celebrating us, you’ve even demonized that and said, “Look at those hurt Black people that don’t want to be defined by our existence anymore. Man, we sure need to reconcile.”
You kidding me?
Besides, why do you want to reconcile with my race anyways? That has to be the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard of. Which leads me to my last point -
I am not my race. White america can’t seem to get it through their head that I am more than just “Black”. In fact, the only reason why I’m seen as Black is because white people said I was so. Do you think over in Africa way back when we were talking to each other like “Wud up Black man!”
In the book The Heart of Reconciliation by co-authors Brenda Salter McNeil (a Black woman) and Rick Richardson (a white man), they define race as “a social construct used to systematically stigmatize certain people groups as inferior, thus justifying racial slavery, injustice and inequality.”
Can you smell the whiff of whiteness coming from that quote? Whiteness HATES to be called out, so let me say what Brenda should’ve had to fortitude to say -
Race is a social construct created (not just used) by white folk to systematically stigmatize Black people (and those defined in relation to Blacks) as inferior to support white supremacy.
Race was created as a broken construct. There was nothing ever good about the concept of race. Nothing. Now race is different from culture and ethnicity and, unfortunately, white america can’t seem to separate my God-given culture from their social-construct of race. There is a difference between my God-given culture and white supremacist constructs of race. Don’t reconcile with some broken idea that you created of me. If you going to reconcile, do it towards my humanity or something.
But at the end of the day, I’m not against white people. At all. I was taught (even the pro-Black stuff) by white people, got saved and do ministry through predominant white institutions, have very close white friends, have white family members and love white people. I do not look at a white person and automatically think “racist”. But I’m also aware that in white america, race is everything. By definition, the only reason you’re white is because someone else is not…
This is why reconciliation isn’t needed racially. You can’t reconcile what was never meant to exist in the first place. Race needs to be destroyed. Race needs to find a hell and stay there. But like all matters of spiritual growth, we would rather maim our flesh than crucify it. We rather have books & conferences about “racial reconciliation” instead of “white supremacy eradication”. The difference spells out the points in this blog. That…
1. We don’t suffer from race equally
2. Blacks not liking white people has never been the problem. White supremacy has been the problem.
3. We are not the social construction of inferiority that white supremacy created in the first place.
So I’m done with these talks. Holla at me when you’re ready to destroy the real enemy, instead of avoid it and come to me like I’m some hurt Black man that thinks about the mean ole’ white person all day. Talk to me when you’re ready to end white supremacy. But until then…
f**k racial reconciliation.
(p.s. I wrote this while listening to drill music so I don’t apologize if this came off a little militant. Chi-town all day)