Seanne N. Murray
Anti-Racist or Pro-Black?
Suddenly, people are interested in lists of black things like books and brands, artists and crayons. None of these things are new, no newer than the infamous Christopher Columbus eviscerating the indigenous people of the land we now call America.
Now, the “b” in Black, for people, is officially capital, an offense removed to affirm an ethnic identity. Meanwhile, the use of African American seems to be out of fashion in the realm of Black lives mattering.
Anti-racism is promulgated as the wave of the future, the 'new black' like orange in 2013. Tips and tricks on how to achieve it are presented like the application of magnetic eyelashes, bound to fall with the arrival of the next trend.
While the theme of anti- racism makes sense on the surface, being actively against a wrong, an inward review of the feeling that it evokes, negativity, reveals qualities set up for failure.
When it comes to rights, being for rather than against, even in nomenclature, is essential.
Assuming we can keep it one hundred, an effort not as simple as it seems when humanity itself has been degraded by fractions, wholes reduced to three fifths, human and civil rights address everyone without possibility for exclusion or misunderstanding. So, it is best to focus on how to be humane, the discipline that regulates compassion, how to be better humans.
Here are 5 things we can do to be more humane and impactful in the affirmative and, for those who still prefer negative reinforcement, the what not to do:
1. Focus on Equality or Screw Diversity and Inclusion.
The human race is defined by difference. So, diversity is inherent. Inclusion implies a blending or white washing of sorts, like Starbucks adding pink nail polish to the Black power symbol. Yet, contrast is what makes us better. Equal rights, opportunity and access for all is what we require. Period.
2. Be Smart or Don’t Be an Idiot.
Inform ourselves. Read more books than Instagram posts. Embrace old school information otherwise known as history. Educate ourselves beyond our own circles so that we cannot be fooled or enticed by fake premises that defy cultural and intellectual achievement. Recognize the difference between opinion and fact. Expose ourselves to as many cultures, people and experiences as we can by any means necessary.
3. Be Political or Don’t Avoid Responsibility.
The political process is, and always has been, run by the people, not by the politicians. Politicians work for us. If or when they work against us, our job is to vote them out or get in the race and do better. If we don’t participate, we can’t complain. It is our right and our duty.
4. Like What’s Legitimate or Don’t Idolize.
Influencer culture, extreme admiration, reverence or following someone because they act, sing or dress well is, I hope, a thing of the past. The last few weeks have made it abundantly clear that we are the leaders. We can keep the so-called influencers in the position of responding to our desire for an equal and kinder society. They are reactive, not proactive. Their job is to sell stuff we like in order to keep them wealthy. Let’s make sure we’re enriched in the process. Would we rather hear Justin Bieber singing about intentions or Future sing about Percocet and molly? For bonus points, let's beat them to it and write our own songs.
5. Listen or STFU.
To listen is to give attention to and space for the thoughts of another. In this hashtag world, we are so quick to respond that we hardly take time to consider what has been said. As Black people, emphasis on the “B”, it is both annoying and refreshing to observe the rise in conversation about our history and magnificence. The talk that is suddenly apropos and sexy like the latest Tik Tok video is what we have been discussing and experiencing for lifetimes. If only some empathetic and critical listening occurred before, perhaps we would not be in the situation we're in right now. Insert welp emoji here.
The bottom line is that we need action that represents movement toward equality and kindness in a diverse world.
As we continue to communicate, we should select words that send the right message, uplift our energy and magnetize a positive result.
Anything set up to be against rather than for is bound to fail.