To finish the quote: “Have you ever been to Missouri?!”
Hey, guys. A bit of an update: My updates have been nonexistent because I’ll be in Japan for 10-ish months starting in January and, as it turns out, that takes lots of preparation. I’ve been a bit busy between that and not failing my classes. But, I’m back.
I have been wanting to talk about this for a while, and it seems like I’ve hopped aboard the bandwagon too late for this post to help my views, but whatever. I had to give my two-cents eventually. Keep in mind, this is more of my personal reaction to these protests as a black college student than a logical critique. If you want the latter as well, let me know. I’ll break things up.
1.) This is a stupid requirement.
Guess what, guys! I finally have the experience of someone not believing that I’m black because I disagree with them. Multiple times! Apparently I’m just a really committed White Devil troll pretending to be a Colored to infiltrate the safe space and take it down from within. So on this grand, rainy day, I shall show you a picture of my face. ‘Cause, you know. Pics or it’s not true. Also, to those people who “don’t believe I’m even black,” fuck you for making me give up my anonymity just because you’re too racist to comprehend the notion that someone who isn’t lily white might disagree with you.
So yeah. It’s my face. Sorry, to the whole one person who was hoping I’d be attractive.
2.) The Racist Boogeyman
So . . . this is all you guys are working with? A swastika drawn in shit and a redneck yelling at you once? Really? You live in fucking Missouri, I would have guessed that you’d have actual problems, but I guess not. Let’s dissect this.
Swastikas aren’t even about you, first of all. I feel like if someone wanted to “target” black people, it would have involved a noose or a burned cross. You know, something that is not overtly associated with an entirely different group of people. Yet you, for some reason, have chosen to just co-opt it as your own and act like it’s a sign of people being racist towards black people and black people specifically. What? Also, it was established almost immediately after that a.) nothing could be done about it because they didn’t know who did it, and b.) that the person who did it was probably mentally disturbed. Writing stuff on the wall in your own shit tends to give that impression. Am I the only one who thinks swastikas are right up there with pentagrams as something people just use to make others think they’re edgy and dangerous? My default reaction isn’t to take it seriously. I don’t really know how your dean was supposed to “crack down” on that. Did you want a witch hunt for the racist among you? There’s no boogeyman made of Pure Racism that you can hunt down and put on a pike and vlala there’s no more racism on campus. Being against vague racism is really all your dean could do.
I’m going to point this out: the guy in charge of Mizzou was a dick. He financially exploited the student athletes of the college and didn’t even give them a good education to make up for it. If you’re going to force the guy to resign, have it be over that shit, which is an actual problem that he actually had a hand in. And, you know, if these protests gave the impression that that was their real reason for making him resign and the racism angle was just a political move to add social pressure, I’d actually be okay with this. But it’s clearly not. You made a man resign over something that he didn’t do and had no control over when a perfectly good real reason was right in front of your nose.
3.) Stop Pandering to the Idiots
So there was that incident, which, to reiterate, wasn’t even something you should have thought was about you. Then there was the incident of someone yelling “Nigger!” out of a pickup truck window at you. Yeah, this is annoying. I’m from the South too, this has happened to me on more than one occasion. But I just want you to take a step back, put your righteous indignation on the back-burner for two seconds, and think about this.
You are in college, which means, all things considered, your life is currently pretty good. You have food, shelter, a higher chance of being employed in a better job. The guys who called you a mean name once had to resort to abusing you from a passing car in order to avoid what they knew would be serious repercussions if they were caught and identified. These are people whose lives are so fucking pathetic that one of the only ways they can feel like Big Men is to roll around in their shitty pick-up truck late at night and yell offensive things at strangers. So take a deep breath, and repeat after me: You are better than them. Okay? They are pathetic, ad their thoughts and opinions are irrelevant. Are you seriously going to let a lowest-common-denominator idiot whose biggest life achievement was scoring 2 touchdowns against Grover County when he was 17 make you feel bad about yourself? Really? You became better than them by default the second they decided to be an ass. What they did only hurts them. It doesn’t have to hurt you if you don’t let it.
4.) Integrity? What’s That?
This will be a brief one. They muscled out people trying to record the protests even though it was their legal right to do so. They outright lied about the opposition their protest faced (the cops didn’t abuse them, their leader didn’t get run over–there is video evidence against both claims) just to make it seem like they were being abused when they weren’t. They tried to stifle the release of the footage that proved they were lying. Then they had the gall to turn around and say that the media misrepresented them and that’s why they didn’t want any cameras around. They go on camera and blame “the media” for their bad reputation, for depicting them as angry black people with their fists in the air. And no one points out that the pictures that they want released and have released themselves all show the same thing–angry black people with their fists in the air–but they’re fine with that.
Protip, guys, if you’re actually being abused, you shouldn’t have to hide from cameras and make shit up just to have your point hit home. The boy with a father who beats him every night doesn’t go to the cops to file a false report just to get his dad in trouble. He doesn’t have to. A real crime is taking place. All this makes me do is think that you’re lying about more things. This, combined with the fact that you only seem to have two concrete stories you’ve deemed worthy of circulating and harping on (the swastika and the racist truck guys), makes me think that you don’t actually have that many horrible racist events to talk about. If you did, it seems like you’d be bringing them up more often to make your point without resorting to lying.
5.) You are a Fucking Individual.
What are the slogans for this protest? “1839 was built on my b(l)ack,” “I love my blackness,” and “Concerned Student 1950.” What are the protestors chanting in those videos? “All we have to lose is our chains!”
What’s wrong with this might not be immediately apparent, but it struck me very quickly as a black person. It seems obvious to me, but it’s not to a lot of people. These protestors were not alive in 1839. They were not alive in 1950. The only chains they know come from urban style and bike shops. Yet, they are equating their existence to the existence of black people who were actually alive in 1839, in 1950, who were actually bound in chains.
Am I the only one who is vastly, vastly insulted by this? Am I the only one who isn’t okay with these college kids in 2015 America telling people with a straight face that their struggles are the same as the struggles of slavery and early integration? People call you mean words sometimes, and you don’t think enough of your professors are black, so that means that you’re a fucking slave?
Black people are never going to heal from past injustices with this mentality. That is my main issue with this entire ordeal. It’s not helping black people. It is holding us back. Worse, it’s holding us back with a smile on its face and an insistence that its taking us to the future. This is the mentality that tells black people, “All you’re ever going to be is a slave.” And it’s other black people perpetuating, not the evil white man, not institutionalized racism, but other black people.
There are no individuals in this movement. That’s why the son of a multi-millionaire can walk up on stage and talk about how he’s disadvantaged without so much as flinching just because he has dark skin. That’s why one person can have an annoying encounter with some rednecks and have it be understood as a plight against all black people. That’s why they can say that they built that school even though they wouldn’t be born for another hundred years. Because there’s no such thing as being your own person with this mentality. You are “black people,” any black person who has lived or is living or will live in the future. That is you. You are nothing else, and you can lay claim to whatever has happened or will happen to any of them at any point, like sticking a flag in the fucking earth, because you share a skin tone. Nothing else matters. They “love their blackness” because there’s nothing else to love about themselves with this mentality. It’s their college because they as a featureless group of Blackness made it back in the 1800s, and that’s all the logic they need.
You tell black people this, and it ruins any chance they have of liking themselves, because they are a perpetual victim, a perpetual slave, whose every action is an action of the collective–you’re a black author, you’re a black scientist, you’re a black professor, and everything you achieve is not an achievement for you but an achievement for black people. Which, of course, means, that most of them don’t have to do anything. Dashon down the street is going to Harvard next fall, which means his school can trot him and all of his awards out as the face of black achievement, act like it’s the black community that did all these impressive things and forget that the rest of the black kids in his class made fun of him for being smart. Because all of them did well as long as Dashon did.
And it’s black people telling ourselves this. Not anyone else. Black protestors came up with those slogans.
Then they wake up in the morning wondering why they don’t have any self-esteem, and some fucking fool comes up and says, “I know why you feel bad, it’s the white man’s fault! It’s the white man holding you back!” and they buy it hook line and sinker and he drags them right the fuck down.
And that’s what’s happening at Mizzou. And it’s going to happen again and again until someone stands up and has the gall to say, “I am not a slave.” The sad thing is, no one in the Mizzou protest would care. The millionaire’s son would give them a set of chains and tell them that they should be mad that the white man forced those chains on them.
I’m not saying racism doesn’t exist. Of course it does, and it probably always will. I’m not even doubting that those Mizzou kids have had slurs thrown at them on occasion. It’s Missouri. But when you insist all along the way that you are a victim, do you really expect to rise above anything, to be treated any other way?