Since the death of Sandra Bland there have been questions swirling around the grounds for her arrest, the actions of the officer who arrested her and her response. Those answers will take time (and an independent special prosecutor).
However there is one answer I can supply for us all right now, without the wait—RESPECTABILITY POLITICS WILL NOT SAVE YOU.
Let me write this one more time for those who may not have seen it above—RESPECTABILITY POLITICS WILL NOT SAVE YOU. Everyone on the same page now? Good. You see, we’ve been taught or rather socialized to believe that if you “act right”, “wear your hair neatly”, “pull up your pants” and so on that you will be treated with respect and dignity just like your white peers.
No level of respectability is going to stop a police officer, vigilante, good ole’ boy etc. from taking your life away if they’ve been socialized through the erasure of black culture, black history, black heroes/heroines to believe we are nothing and don’t matter.
So, please save me the “Sandra acted out” bit and pull that nonsense on someone else. Sandra Bland stood up for her rights as a citizen and human being, only to be treated with no respect from an agent of the state that swore an oath to protect and serve her--not belittle and dehumanize. Period.
Pop Off of the Week: Taylor Swift vs. Nicki Minaj
On the long list of things I don’t have time for this week—People interjecting themselves in conversations that have NOTHING to do with them.
While discussing the treatment of black female artists by the music industry and how they are all but ignored in major awards categories while their white peers are celebrated for mediocre work and thin “wispy bodies”, Nicki Minaj was once again bringing light to a subject we often ignore—black women.
Enter Taylor Swift, who much like some mainstream “white feminists”, instead of listening to what it feels like to face both sexism and racism on a daily basis, wanted to shift the attention to herself and complain about Nicki picking on her.
Girl, have a seat—take several and while your finding your way off stage, open those two holes on the side of your head and close the one in the front. Taylor, unlike your songs would suggest— the world doesn’t revolve around you. Bye!
After Twitter and countless media outlets took Nicki’s side and lambasted Swift for sticking her nose where it didn’t belong she apologized. Apologies are worthless if nothing was learned from the bad behavior in the first place. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Poliwood Round-Up: Trending Topics in the #BlackTwitterverse This Week
Trend of the Week: #SayHerName; #JusticeForSandraBland
“Keep tweeting”, that was the message from Sandra Bland’s sister. In an interview on MSNBC, Sharon Cooper, Sandra Bland’s sister discussed the power of social media to keep the pressure on officials and the media to find out what really happened to her sister.
THREE: White Tears
That should have been the title of MTV’s new show “White People”. If I wanted to watch a show about white people complaining and crying I would turn on the Real Housewives of the Orange County. While creator/director Jose Antonio Vargas is seeking to enlighten white youth about their privilege and have a broader conversation about white supremacy, all I got was a bunch of whining. Based on the tweets that followed the premiere #BlackTwitter wasn’t into it either.
TWO: Squad Goals
“Ain’t nobody fresher than my clique, clique, clique”—that was the song running through my mind when I saw Sasha Obama and company exiting Marine One. Last weekend President Obama took daughters Sasha, Malia and friends on a trip to NYC. Nothing made me smile wider than to see these beautiful black girls, carefree and giggling as they were snapped walking off Marine One. In all the mayhem around black lives that we have seen as of late, I want to burn this image into my mind of my black president, his lovely daughter and her friends having a #BlackJoy moment.
ONE: #BlackLivesMatter Isn’t a Slogan
I’m not 100% sure who’s advising Jeb Bush on his quest for the presidency; but his recent dismissal of the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, as “just a slogan”, isn’t winning him much support in the black community. We are facing an epidemic of domestic terrorism and escalation in police violence towards African American people—not addressing this very real issue doesn’t make you a good Republican candidate, it makes you insensitive, ignorant, privileged and out of touch with reality.