As this series ends, for this last post, I leave you mantras. Refer as needed and necessary.
You are not determined by the words of your lessers.
You are not determined by the words of your lessers.
The lies of white supremacy are not Gospel.
You aremade for more than subservience.
Your life matters.
You are not determined by the fragility ofracism and white supremacy.
With these mantras, I send you out in the world. I equip you to fight off the dogs of white supremacy and their dog whistles. I remind you that you have more in you than what the world sees, and you have every right to share those things.
Currently on TikTok, there is a war happening. It has been happening for months–MONTHS!
All over what a White person said in the presence of Black people. Read it again. And read it again. What I need you to understand that ‘white catfishing’ is not a new condition! As long as their is racism, white supremacy and white fragility–without accountability!–white catfishing will exist!
One of the greatest cases of this outside of Ms. Millie in The Color Purple, was this creator on TikTok that went by the name of my_doode (as of this posting, he is not on the app anymore). This is the creator that was a stabilizing force during the 2020 Election! I thought he was smart, woke, and proving himself to truly be a part of the fight for social justice!
Then, he had a public fallout with a Black creator. A Black woman creator.
Then, he said that the shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant was justified.
Then, he got checked.
Then, he got read.
Then…he quit. And made a video about that. It’s the privilege for me!
White catfishing is always going to be steeped in white fragility and white supremacy–powered by audacity and mediocrity! It is dangerous to movements, progress, healing and anything that looks like equity, equality and access. It must be confronted, vetted and not tolerated!
Before we get started, let us get some terminology:
Catfishing is when someone sets up a fake online profile to trick people who are looking for love, usually to get money out of them. A catfish is the person that does this.
Performative allyship is still oppression.
Know this. Remember this. Share this.
In this Cold War Civil War social justice movement we are in, the new thing now is allyship. Being an ally. Are you a ally? Should you be an ally? In the justice of that, in the wanting of justice, it is impossible to do the changes the world needs without help! In acknowledging that white supremacy and white privilege exists, the dismantling of oppressive systems can only happen when those with privilege admit they have it, and use it for the betterment of those that who do not have it!
The killer part to this is the rash of performative allyship, there is a hyper vigilance with those whom are working for change! It must be! This is most often seen on TikTok (follow me on TikTok–@whatjayesaid)! In the almost year I have been on this app, I have seen people whom have been thought to be allies/accomplices whom have been found out to be neither! Yet, they used social media and the work of social justice for clout.
Black. Lives. Are. Not. Clout.
Black. Lives. Are. Not. To. Be. Used. For. Clout.
Vetting for those whom are not Black into Black spaces, to help (read: not take over!) movements and their progress, is necessary! It is needed! You have to know who is with you, who isn’t and who is faking–it is those who are faking/constructing personas of social justice whom are the most dangerous.
Trees have fake, weak and dead branches too. That’s why you have to prune them.
As a writer, as a minority writer, as a minority writer with a platform, I am a minority writer, who takes great happiness in finding other minority voices, I cannot stress how important this is…how needed!
I have been a freelance writer for 7 years, and a blogger for 5 of those years. One of the most powerful things that I do in running platforms is two-fold: I am creating content and looking for those who want to create! Part of my job as an administrator is to create a place for my own voice. As a writer who is Black and woman, and a Black woman writer, I have to make space! If I do not value my own voice, if I do not mine the strength to make my voice priority–I will not be able to give that strength to anyone else!
In making a platform through my talent and voice, I must be aware that puts me at an unique advantage! I must be able to recognize who can benefit from exposure, from mentorship, and the kindness writers extend to other writers!
I would be lying to you if I said writing was easy. It isn’t. It’s not. That difficulty is amplified when you race is added in the mix! The writing community is so vast, it is so confusing at points, that if you do not have a community to support you…you will quit. What I do to help writers to not quit is to maintain space, remain steadfast and remain consistent. I offer support. I offer guidance. I become the support I didn’t have, creating a community that I didn’t think that I needed. In building this network, in building these platforms, my goal is to show the world the talent that Black writers have.
Black women are some of the most incredible human beings on the face of the planet. We are. We are the Dora Milaje!
That Sisterhood, both mythic and ancient, bought by blood and time—we are amazing. That word Sis is ours! It is that recognition of each other, the divinity in each other—it is activated by the word Sis.
That power cannot be wielded by unbelievers! It cannot be transferred by those who cannot see Black as divine. White women cannot have this space, accessing ourlove and power because she feels she can. This is ours! This space is ours! This love, this security, this inevitable protection in this space.
A Black woman is more that what she appears to be! And will always be! It is up to the Black women of this Sisterhood to approve the worthy of access to that word, that space, to those whose melanin quotient doesn’t match our own!
We own this space.
We will not apologize.
Your whiteness is not a guarantee for approval, access, and acceptance! We own us now. We are of our own purchase. We are Queens again, your fury our thrones.
Sis. Noun. Short form of the word sister; a female sibling; term of endearment among women.
I have an issue if you are not a Black woman and you call me ‘Sis’. I do. I always have! I feel the same way when people call (or try to call) me Jenny rather than Jennifer! But that is a different conversation.
In being on TikTok (@whatjayesaid) for almost a year, I have somehow managed to avoid any real dramatic stupidity (a White dude with a lip ring who looks like he never washes his clothes face and a Black man who tried to read me in front of a shower curtain), but I through my bra in the fight (to quote @glammelanin) over the word “Sis”.
It is a term of safety, love and recognizing. It is not meant to be said by people that didn’t understand what it was like to fight for things, have lost things, and move in a world that chooses either to erase you, mock you or steal from you.
Sis is not meant to be said by those outside this sphere. I know there are other cultures that use sis and that’s fine! But for me? Don’t call me sisbecause you don’t know me. Don’t know what it feels like to be ignored by the same world that expects you to be in it—as they see fit.
This thing, our thing, this is just ours. PERIODT.
I don’t know what it is about White women that take it upon themselves to believe taking what belongs to Black culture, and making it theirs is okay! Where they really believe that if they take what we have created? They believe that no one will come for them!
What I wish that greater White culture would understand–and even some of our African cousins would sympathize to–is the Black people here, the African-American people here, we have created a culture, an identity from memory. From what we could remember, what we could recreate and what we could save! We have a right to gatekeep! In the words of Sunni Patterson: What can be saved when all is lost?
This child took her privilege– without packing rhythm, style or swag–to Jimmy Fallon and all but had a seizure on stage to Cardi B’s song, Up. What is always so amazing about these Addison Rae’s is the chutzpah they have! They see something neither created by them, nor created for them, where they are not the center of which may put someone else in the center? They steal it.
There is no other way to explain this. There is no erasing of this. There is no, “You’re being sensitive.” or “You should be flattered.” No, I should slap fire from you! White supremacy is a viral contagion which is a threat to all POC/BIPOC/Indigenous people EVERYWHERE! You steal what we have preserved. You mock what we hold sacred! But the moment you can make money off it? The moment it is fad, fashionable–then it’s exotic! For capitalism, anything exotic is profitable.
Black people are not going to apologize for gatekeeping culture. We are no going to apologize for checking these Becky Sue JaneDoes/Addison Rae’s about what belongs to us. The time for that was over when Tignon Laws where implemented–and to a lesser extent? They still are. Now it is just called, professional attire. And the world wonders we as Black women celebrate the soliloquy of Mama Pope.
Being the OBF is dangerous. I said what I said. You, as a Black friend, in the ashes of Orange Thanos, you need to be mindful and critical of whom your friendship group is! Consider this your first and last warning in regards to your own tokenism.
I do understand that with the expansion of educational opportunities, remote working and job expansion, that it is impossible to keep the same friend groups, or have those friend groups be homogenous! I am saying being mindful when you are consistently the OBF in a friend group. There is this sense of awareness that you have to develop which allows you to be cognization of what is, what is not, and what will be. Let me break it down this way.
What Is. Being the OBF is sometimes isn’t avoidable. No one moves in this life without needing, talking to or even befriending other people. However, being the only ANYTHING in a community or a friend group, is—concerning. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself, “Why am I the only one that looks like ME in this space?”
What Is Not. In the interest of honesty, remember that every friend is not an ally and a ally is not always an accomplice. The world is too dangerous for you to not know who is on your side! There are too many stories of OBFs in situation where they needed assistance or to be verified by someone else (aka someone non-melaninated) and–weren’t! Be mindful of this, because once it is shown to you, it cannot be unseen.
What Will Be. The danger that I speak of in regards to being the OBF is the ever looming threat of tokenism. It is the threat that whenever something happens in the culture or to them, you will either be either excuse to continue microaggressions, or ‘the Black friend’ they know. Don’t allow yourself to be set up for failure because there are people in the world who don’t think diversity and inclusivity matter. Yet, these are the same people believe since they are friends with you they have met both requirements.
Just like when you were younger and you were told to look both ways before crossing the street? Look around before you get invited into the all-White friend group with no mirrors.
In the grand scheme of things, I can honestly say that I have never been the Only Black Friend in my friend group. For this, I am grateful. In the current climate, I cannot imagine being the Only Black Friend in friend group in the age of Get Out and the hellish reign of Orange Thanos! Being the ONLY anything in a friend group at this point is dangerous.
There are cases in the media now (and some not in the media) of Black folk either out with a group of non-Black people and something happening to them–yet ‘no one knows what happened.’ If bullshit was a mountain, No One Knows What Happened is its foundation and summit! What I am not understanding is why this is the aspiration! It is neither my want nor desire to be the only anything in a friend group purely for safety reasons–if nothing else! The world at large is entirely too unstable, too dastardly, too capable of erasing all people that look like me for be to be anywhere, with anyone, who is unwilling to vouch for me, look for me, or protect me if something were to happen!
My intention is not to fear-monger. My job is to be light, heat and smoke! I would be a disingenuous to not explore this topic light and dark! There is an element that is totally based in uncertainty–rightfully so!–when you are the only anything in a friend group! Friend groups are supposed to provide protection and support. In the age of people chasing clout, false-flag allyship, in the wrong place we will all be looking like Chris did when he was looking at Rose for his keys.
The biggest microaggression I have encountered, and still encounter to quite a demonstrable degree, is this phrase: “You are ________________ for a Black girl.”
I hate that. Don’t say that to Black women, Black girls, ever!
It implies that being Black –in whatever context!–is either undesirable, unworthy, or a deterrent. And it seems to be a shock to non-melaninated people when you don’t take lightly to backhanded compliments. There is no reason for them! The one thing that I do know is I have heard, “You are smart for a Black girl” more often than I want to admit on a public forum. When I started dating?
Oh. Dear. Holy. God.
You are pretty for a Black girl was a reflex, and it felt like acid in my face every time that I heard it! Every single time. I didn’t understand it! For a Black woman, for a Black girl to look in a mirror and value, love, what she sees is a whole process! You have to deconstruct what the European beauty standard is so you can love who you see. To be considered pretty by a non-melaninated person is not an achievement! It’s not an aspiration!
I am a beautiful woman.
I am a beautiful Black woman.
I am beautiful woman whom is also Black.
These are the only three permutations of this complement I will tolerate. Ever.
I am not ‘smart for a Black girl.’ I am resourceful, dual-degreed and do not need the validation from non-melaninated people to be considered intelligent! Ever!
I am an intelligent woman.
I am an intelligent Black woman.
I am an intelligent woman, who happens to be Black.
These, too, are the only compliments I will accept in this area.
In the Gospel according to Queendom, that makes me a Bad Bitch! Let me go adjust my crown to dismiss peasants properly. Whatchu thought this was?