The #BETAwards demonstrates how challenging it can be for those of us who consider ourselves #conscious #BlackEdu #teamnatural and #winning to see all of our community with compassion. We will read a White ally for filth when they don’t fully acknowledge the widespread impact of racism, and then expect a Black person who has been working full-time since high school to speak like Dr. Cornel West.
By participating in any spectacle of putting down people of color from working class or smaller income backgrounds, we indirectly endorse policies and practices that are no less than lethal for those communities. This is true even if, like me, you are from a working-class or smaller income family. There is a big difference between offering informed and constructive feminist, anti-racist or anti-capitalist criticisms of someone’s work or self-representation and insulting someone because they don’t fit in with our radical politics of respectability. Our #conscious anti-colonial icons, including Winnie Mandela, Malcolm X, Che Guevara and Ella Baker, knew where to draw the line. From their example, we can learn how building solidarity with compassion is the only way #organizingworks.
Yours in Solidarity,
Robin J. Hayes, PhD