Tag: social justice

Hell Is For Racist White People

Morrison said race is a distraction; looks crazy, feels crazy—stops you from doing your work. In a nation concerned with the color of Christ, than His character or cause, use history as eraser and bludgeon, powered by a theology by which will always see us as other as less outside of the God of the universe and His love—binding Him to White men whom need to hobble or brainwash anyone who does not find them to be the Almighty.

In pursuit of bravery and freedom, I leave the lazy descendents of slaveholders; grandsons of murderers; daughters of rape accusers and their defenders; daughters of all Confederates, to the god of their making, for the Hell they made for me and those who look like me.

This place devoid of privilege and power, where only suffering answers them. Gnashing on tongues they cut out or silenced out of Black people: remembering just how at that our of their death the plot twist most unimaginable! They see Mother Mary, her Son, and His Father are all Black.

-JBHarris, December 2022

SOCIAL MEDIA LYNCHING (Part 2): “Follow All Backups”

If you mention the phrase follow all backups the appropriate answer is, ‘Drop them in the comments!’

On TikTok, this is common. In the 12 years I have been on social media (among 4 platforms–in March 2023 I will have been on Twitter a DECADE!), I have seen how racism, white supremacy, and misogynoir converge to rip down platforms for anyone whom may want the world to be better.

The idea of having a backup page occurred to me after my first few bans and video reporting became more prevalent. From COVID-19, to racism, to sexism–how could a cis-het Black woman writer be unscathed?

It is common to have backup pages; pages to go to live from; pages to comment or spy. With the algorithm determined or deterred by racism, backup pages are necessary!

Yet, I forgot one thing.

Before the first inneration of whatjayesaid was banned, I had gotten my page kidnapped.

Yes. KIDNAPPED.

I would be banned 3 days, 5 days and 7 days–but access would take a day or more to return to me. I remember one ban took another week to release back to me despite emails and contacting the app directly!

Seems legit.

It was at the knowledge of knowing my account could be kidnapped (as well as mass reported!), I made it my mission to stay on the app…for spite.

Yeah, spite. I’m not above it.

At this posting there are 3 back ups: @shesgottapen2.5, @theecaramelgriot, and @stillwhatjayesaid.

I refuse to let an app that will ban me (a cishet Black woman) and praise real Nazi’s, silence me.

The Great Undoing

White people want to fight for the reputation of America. Hence why they have an issue with Colin Kaepernick kneeling, why they have a problem with us “ungrateful Negroes”.

After all, it’s their ancestors who lynched people, sexually assaulted people, murdered people—“It’s not us!”

What belies this pseudo dialogue are questions which greater White establishment only want obedient an obedient answer to:

Shouldn’t you be happy with what we gave you?

If you’re happy with that, I [as a White person] still remain to be good.

By this logic, whiteness can continually, inherently ‘be good.’ Even though James Baldwin said, “As long as you believe you are white, there is no hope for you.”

The Great Undoing is erasure: hiding history. In doing so, you [as White establishment] preserve the idea of whiteness so much so even the immigrant, non-White peoples whom come to this nation from all over the world, aspire to whiteness! To the point they will disavow cultural knowledge, knowledge of self, to be accepted, preferred by White people!

The majority of White people don’t want to relinquish the which allows them to control the greater narrative, individuality, the ability to claim both group authority and individualism! However, greater white culture desires to strip individuality from non-White people! In doing so, autonomy–freedom!–is limited to and for White people.

Which means we (as non-White people) again are fighting over the right to add to or correct the greater, more palatable narrative. When White people screech, “Who is they?“

They know exactly who they are!

They are the White people who perpetuated some of the most horrible atrocities in human history that you were descended from!

Make no mistake we know the root of the Transatlantic Slave Trade start in Europe; Bishop Bartolomé de las Casas in 1515 said Black people didn’t have souls. Ergo, we are not human. If we are not human, then it is easier to brutalize us.

Even in death we are not safe.

For The Great Undoing, why should Black people be mad, right? One of the tenants of White Supremacy is the expectation of comfort! Being granted the right to never be confronted, accountable, plausible responsibility to anything whiteness cannot profit from.

Why should we as Black people want to rock the boat? Why talk about these things? Why bring it up? The answer to

Y’all have a good here! You’re free now! You’re not mad anymore are you?

Toni Morrison said racism is a distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. This is where us as writers an artist come in! We have the power to go in and out amongst people, in and out of rooms, to make these observations, declarations which other people may be scared to say, or don’t know how to say.

Which is why they still want Black people whose ancestors were enslaved to a land by which they don’t know their original language or names to pledge allegiance.

Don’t you find it interesting?

SOCIAL MEDIA LYNCHING (Part 1): This Is Really Happening

My best friend told me getting on TikTok would be a good idea. Why, you ask? “You have so much to say!”

And I do.

Yet when I joined TikTok in September-October 2020 (at the first wave of COVID-19), right before the 2020 Presidential Election, I found my niche in social justice (Social Justice Tok), and there I remain 4 accounts later.

Reported videos begat bans, begat trolls, begat mass reporting and that pulling down of a platform I built within a year.

It took my breath away when I logged in my account and it was…gone! I felt like my voice had been ripped from me.

It felt like a digital launching.

From that realization, and being the student of history, I came up with the phrase social media lynching. I define it as:

(c) September 2021, JBHarris

The practice of suppressing the content/voices of minority people (especially African-American people) who actively use their voices or position to fight racism, discrimination, erasure, on a social platform only to be banned (silenced) or have their content suppressed, accounts taken or platform sanctioned.

I wasn’t shocked. I was not mad. I got real focused and made a backup plan. And backup pages.

I looked for a pattern to my banned videos and the patterns to bans to other accounts I followed. I saw these 4 things:

1.) Problematic comments filled with whatever a la carte -phobia or -ism.

2.) You check the comment; arguments ensure in the comments.

3.) These comments persist for days and someone reports the video or comment–or both.

4.) All other like videos are flagged (reported).

If you make enough noise, you get this on your account:

Then, you’re a cool kid.

Overview: SOCIAL MEDIA LYNCHING

This is the series idea that caused me to walk away from ALL my platforms late 2021. But, I’m stronger now–and this needs to be said. It’s way overdue.

I sat on this. I truly sat on this…since September 2021.

It was in August-September 2021 when my first TikTok account (whatjayesaid) was mass-reported and permanently banned.

Over this 4-part series, I am going to explain this process, how I define this concept, and just how insistent social media is about erasing Black people.

From The Crates: Black Writer Poem (August 2022)

They would’ve killed me for what I do now.

the knowledge of the Bible

read, both in person

and on paper

with ink being

the same color as blood

before the fire of oxygen

hits it–

They would’ve killed me for what I do now.

Tongue cut out

hung from trees

as a warning–

as the barbaric English forced

On my ancestors

but demands your English

Be my first language.

When I first was able

to communicate pain

Or how I call my mother

how I wait for my father

it is always been words

that have kept me,

Yet at the same time

I have kept them–

I have grasp them

hold them tightly in

my dominant right hand–

subduing the same language

which has always yielded

strange fruit.

They would have killed me for what I do now.

-JBHarris, August 2022

My Sister’s Keeper (Pt. 1): What About Your Friends?

Author note: As of this posting, there have been no arrests in this case. #JusticeForShanquellaRobinson -JBH

Shanquella Robinson should not be dead. And the fact that she is in the company of Black people, in a foreign country, with her mother on the news demanding answers?

Disbelief isn’t the word!

Yet, it but I cannot help but remember the words of my mother: “Not every one is your friend.”

The most vicious thing about her murder is still how callous this all was! It rings of what happened to Kenneka Jenkins in Chicago. There is a debate on social media which debates this, but there indeed is a parallel. The main one is: who do you call your friend. And…why?

This young woman wasn’t yet 30.

A college graduate.

Entrepreneur.

And she traveled internationally with people she knew.

And yet, she is gone. A portion of her assault on the internet for all to see. An one of her assailants is a Black woman! The urban philosophers T-Boz, Left Eye, and Chili once said, “What about your friends?” As a mother now, this is my worst nightmare. I am trying to equip my children to be in the world, being able to listen to their intuition when things are wrong, and knowing exactly what a friend is!

This young woman is dead because of jealousy, and trusting the wrong set of people. Yet, there is a deeper element here. More sinister.

With Black women being so unprotected, with us working towards trying to build and keep safety, the safest place should be with another Black woman! In watching the video, in seeing this beautiful Black woman thrown around, pummeled, and with a Black man in the video saying, “Shanquella, you ain’t gon fight back?”

Furthermore, then, to find out that her murder innocence was videotaped on the phone? Only to have that video then begin circulating, which contradicts everything her friends told her mother? Horrendous.

How have we gotten here?

I believe one of the ways by which we have gotten here is we no longer value human life… that goes beyond race. In this reality by which we now currently navigate, and traverse, it seems what we value is. Everything is intangible. this generational gap is evident that what we as Gen X, millennials were taught, did not trickle down to GenZ. Or if it did, they didn’t believe it was worthy of implementing in their own social circles.

It doesn’t matter that this young woman had hopes dreams, a mother that loved her, family, that she belonged to–the fact that her friends in my opinion were jealous of her.

I’ve been a woman for a consider amount of time now. And I know enough that, when a group of women don’t like you? They will do the most nefarious things to you to either isolate you, ridicule, you, or hurt you.

Yet, in this parasocial relationship, social media crafted reality, we must remember that not everyone that likes your images, like you. Not everyone that follows you, is defined as ‘friend’ will be one. Not everyone wants you to win, loves. And there are people whom truly desire to be in your space in order to harm or destroy you!

yeah, some of the questions I still have are:

What can be done to be pulled back?

And who was holding the camera?

Who had opened the door?

Trust as a Black woman is a powerful thing, and most fragile. Once it is violated–especially by another Black woman, that is hard to repair. If not impossible.

Read. Black & Woman.

This is the essay which will be in the anthology STORIES OF THE AMERICAN EXPERIENCE to be published by the St. Louis County Public Library. -JBH

            I am a Black woman.

I am a Black woman whose grandparents were enslaved, sharecroppers, and whose parents are college educated.  The American Experience for me is based around words, narratives, and oral traditions—it is no wonder I am a writer.

            With this artistic designation, I am aware the thing which I am good at, have gotten accolades for, recognition regarding—would have gotten me murdered 159 years ago! For the desire of learning, for my natural inclination and proclivity for language, would have gotten me murdered.

            When I reconcile the American Experience with my cultural and personal history, I am forced to admit the same thing which has freed me, killed my ancestors. The dexterity of language, my verbal acrobatics, and my slick mouth would have made me a ‘woman most unruly’…if I was White. Since I have no hope of whiteness, as a Black woman, I would have been the mare needing to be broken under field work, whips, or tree limbs.

            I reconcile that history, that most American ancestry for the enslaved, and I determine to say everything that my grandparents could never say. I make it an effort put pen to paper, letters on screen for visibility.

Or spite. Either will do.

Nikki Giovanni says, “Rage is to writers what water is to fish.” Indeed, Nikki. It is that rage I seek to understand, to source, and which fuels the things which need to be said! I grab it, dig it up, and put fiction, prose, or poem to it.

My way has been paid for me, through time and sorrow. There is a need in me now to express, critique, submit and record. From there, I am a dragon of my own making; my Phoenix tattoo substantiates that. So, indeed let the rage be the fuel.

 

I breathe fire. I will leave a mark. I must! The generation coming depends on it.

-JBHarris, September 2022

My Mom Texted Me At 5 AM To Go Vote

My mother doesn’t sleep—

and now with her being

the proud owner

of an empty nest,

she makes her rounds

every morning to make sure

all baby eaglets

with nest of their own

are fine—

but with the approaching

wildfire season, she touched

her wing to the head of her

Oldest Babybird

to remind her

it is her turn to go save the world.

-JBHarris, November 2022 (US Midterms 2022)

The Death & Burial Of Kanye West-III

III.

Is going to be slow-singing
and flower bringing
If My burglar alarm starts ringing
is what the Notorious BIG said
and protecting his space
and all those in it
clocking these dollars
and not worrying about
who hollers—
at the same time
now we must celebrate
the death of the Only One.

the death of his blackness
the death of his heart,
his vision,
and what we celebrated
in him…
has now died.

because it is now died
there is no need for repass.

We saw this coming.

There is no need to mourn,
because even Mary and Martha,
when they fell at the feet
of the Master were
told that on the last day
that their brother
who had died,
Christ would raise!

They had faith. We do not.

the same God of the universe
who gave alphabets, dialects,
and dreams, muses and music
with visions of the ability
to count all the stars in the sky—

We close the casket.
We lower hope and faith
Into the earth so that
Blackness is all he will know.

But we go on because
there is work to do
work to be undone.

The betrayal most complete in death walking around, as if nothing is wrong.
all things Black, boy, and joy
being erased in favor
of the lies the Only One
and his fellow betrayers
have swallowed because
scraps from the masters’
table you deem better
than feasts in their own
houses warm with dark faces
Which open and grant peace,
….And yet his mother is dead.

The one who believed
in him first the
one who believed him last
in it is fitting that the last people
that believe in him
are both Black and woman.

did the space
with free thought
exist in the same plane
As whiteness?
Where your Blackness goes to die,
Surrendered to by
Those who only know
Lies and thievery?

We commit the Only One
To his mother, Donda—
Let her open her arms to
The Only One.

There is no room for mourning
for this is celebrated!
because now you have
gotten what you want—
And there is no way back.

No one to open doors,
wipe tears and
pour back into you
what the world strips.

The Jesus you walked with doesn’t know you.

That old song
says ‘diamonds are forever’
but yet with this
one now returned
to earth?

It was always coal.

Will be turning our eyes to the East,
lifting our heads up from which
Comes our help—
there is no morning for Mr. West.

-JBHarris