Category: identity

The Face of America

america, identity, racism September 24, 2020

No matter where I go, I am never far removed from America:

A place lead by an aspiring authoritarian whose unconstitutional actions have consistently been upheld by other money-hungry, power-hungry, bad partisans.

A place where executive power topples all else, rendering checks and balances more of an illusion than a necessary practice.

A place where protecting people from an insidious virus is not a priority, but, downplaying the government’s responsibility in containing it, is. 

A place where government officials can work for tax-payer dollars while emboldening vigilantes to attack anyone who speaks out against a president who stands against so many.

A place where harmful misinformation is actively spread about antifascists, while the rise of white supremacy, posing the biggest terror threat to the country, goes underreported. 

A place where policies that worsen wealth disparities are instituted by an administration that touts ‘major economic growth,’ benefitting the top 10%, whilst millions of Americans teeter on the brink of eviction, hunger, or joblessness. 

A place that has successfully modernized and legalized slavery, and solidified a system that benefits greatly from the labor of incarcerated people within for-profit prisons. 

A place committing genocide by performing mass hysterectomies on women within ICE’s concentration camps. 

A place where police officers get charged for causing more harm to inanimate objects than they do for murdering Black women, men, and children. 

A place that is quickly growing more authoritarian than it is democratic. 

America’s racism is in Supreme Court decisions; the air and the water; and it’s pastimes. And it’s in you too. One thorough vibe check would show us the insincerity of the this-isn’t-who-we-are’s, when all signs strongly point to what America is, and always has been: the home of unabashed racism.

“Even the Nazis did not stoop to selling souvenirs of Auschwitz, but lynching scenes became a burgeoning sub department of the postcard industry. By 1908, the trade had grown so large, and the practice of sending postcards featuring the victims of mob murderers had become so repugnant, that the U.S. Postmaster General banned the cards from the mails.”

–Richard Lacayo, Time Magazine (2000)

White Silence Is Violence

identity, know, lifestyle, society June 1, 2020

To any White friend I have, or have had:

In this deeply racist society, it’s simply not enough for you to “not be racist;”

It’s not enough for you to treat me with the respect I deserve;

It’s not enough for you to open your home to me, and your other Black friends;

It’s not enough for you to know what’s happening;

It’s not enough for you to be and to be ‘outraged;’

It’s not enough for you to know the history of racism in this country, or even, of every other country on the face of this Earth;

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It’s not enough for you to read Angela Davis;

It’s not enough for you to know Malcolm X;

It’s not enough for you to walk in Black Live Matter protests;

It’s not enough for you to recognize your White Privilege;

It’s not enough for you to know how capitalism is inherently racist;

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It’s not enough for you to repent for the sins of Whiteness: multiplying the number of Nat Turner’s, Emmett Till’s, and Henrietta Lack’s;

It’s not enough for you to be actively antiracist;

It’s not enough for you to hold your White counterparts accountable;

It’s not enough for you to unlearn your racism;

None of it is enough when you remain silent about it.

White supremacy doesn’t end by you doing your antiracist work in the shadows. White supremacy doesn’t end by you not making it inherently clear that you are antiracist. Again, and again, and again. Until you’re blue in the face. Anything less than making your antiracist action known to your white friends and white family is violence. Anything less than you normalizing talking about race with your white friends and white family is violence. Anything less than you continuously shouting from the rooftops how white people can unlearn their racism, and how white people can contribute to dismantling white supremacy is violence.

And your violence is no longer acceptable to me.

I’ve endured years of your silence. I’ve seen you consume every inch of Black culture except for the death that comes with it. Through the years, I’ve heard chorus upon chorus of your thoughts on the latest Black dance, win by your favorite majority-Black sports team, Twitter beef between your favorite Black celebrities, or clothing drop from your favorite streetwear brand that routinely coopts trends started by Black people. And throughout the years, I’ve heard your deafening silence when police killed Trayvon Martin, Clifford Glover, Claude Reese, Randy Evans, Yvonne Smallwood, Amadou Diallo, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Sean Bell, Jordan Davis, Jonathan Ferrell, Ezell Ford, Darius Pinex, Ramarley Graham, Yvette Smith, Darrien Hunt, Timothy Russell, Malissa Williams, Kendrick McDade, Akai Gurley, Rumain Brisbon, Aiyana Jones, John Crawford, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Stephon Watts, Rekia Boyd, Trisha Miller, Dakota Bright, Corey Harris, Larry Jackson Jr., Tarika Wilson, John Crawford, Gary Hatcher, Manuel Loggins Jr., Nicholas Hayward, Kathryn Johnston, Samuel Dubose, Freddie Gray, The Charleston 9, Sandra Bland, Corey Jones, Alton Sterling, Roshad McIntosh, Ronald Madison, Joel Acevedo, Philando Castile, Patrick Dorismond, Jordan Baker, Timothy Stanbury, Terrence Crutcher, Keith Scott, Jordan Edwards, Stephon Clark, Bothem Sean, Atatiana Jefferson, Breonna Taylor,  Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd.

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I’ve endured your silence all 60+ chances you’ve had to speak out. I’ve endured watching you take zero of those chances, and still resolving to calling yourself my ‘friend.’ “Maybe they’re waiting for the next one?” I used to wonder. But, now I know that your silence means that you don’t see the perpetual violence against Blackness as your problem.

And it’s laughable.

Have you not lived this life in community with so many people? The next time your friend’s family member is sick, will you not console them? Will you not congratulate the next family member of yours who gives birth? Will you not check in on your friend who attended a funeral? Or, console the next one who has their heart broken? …Oh, I’m mistaken? You’ll be there for them? Even though none of those things directly have anything to do with you?

So, then, why the fuck are you not avidly fighting to make Black Lives Matter?

It’s because you don’t believe that they do.

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Storytelling in the Age of COVID-19

art, business, CEO, identity, know, thinkpiece April 29, 2020

Countless commercials are talking about our ‘unprecedented times,’ so what does this moment mean for storytelling in business?

To find out, I turned to Tamon George, Co-Founder & CEO of Creative Theory Agency, and my latest guest on ‘Oh…We’re Going There’ podcast.

Tamon is a creative theorist based in Washington DC whose award-winning, culture-focused marketing agency is amplifying voices, and telling necessary stories that overturn common narratives.

Here’s my conversation with Tamon, and links to connect with him:

Spotify Podcasts

Apple Podcasts

Google Play

Stitcher

Creative Theory Agency

@Tamon_

The Multifaceted-ness of Blackness

blackness, identity, Millennials, muslim, religion, society March 11, 2020

In this episode, Najma Sharif and I chat about the many ways to be Black, a woman, a Muslim, and the experiences that have come with each of those identities.

Najma is a writer, visual artiste, and founder of The Rader Zine. Najma’s work has been featured in major publications like Teen Vogue, Playboy, Bitch Media, Paper Mag, Vice, Fader and Highsnobiety, amongst others. In her pieces, she discusses pop culture within the lens of capitalism, black and Muslim identity, feminism, and history.

Here’s my conversation with Najma and how to connect with her:

Spotify Podcasts

Apple Podcasts

Google Play

Stitcher

Najma’s Work

Najma’s Twitter