If you ain’t never been black, don’t ever try to be black

**(Today’s post is from FEMWOC member, LaShawn Williams-Schultz.)**

…because you wouldn’t understand blackness, stay the F out of black culture.

A twist on the end of an old hip hop song. Think we should #askrachel what song it is?

Before we make any decisions, though, a few words.

To all my non black friends with the “what’s the big deal, she was *helping* black people” opinion of Rachel “extra bronzer and Justice braids” WhateverTF her last name is (I can tell you it’s not a black name, that’s for sure), please envision her doing the same stunt in your cultural group. Seriously, sit for a second and think about what it would be like for you to see her

– dressing up in your ethnic clothing to show her “roots”
– lying in public and private about herself and her history
– opportunistically over reaching herself into the oldest civil rights group in the nation for your culture,
– pretending that her adopted siblings of your ethnic background are her children to further legitimize herself as a strong, yet abused and harassed, woman of your ethnic background,
– working her way into people’s hearts and homes in your community,
– gaining a place for herself in academe through one of the first historical colleges for your ethnic group in the nation, via scholarship
– tapping into the colorism of lightness and darkness in your culture to ensure that she is positioned exotically in places for her personal success
– potentially planning her own hate crimes for attention
– proclaiming herself the expert in all things of your ethnic background but all she did was read about it in college.
– She attempts to live your culture by choice, not by birth.
– She puts it on like a costume. Your language, your knowledge, your culture in its evolutionary phases.

Would you still feel not violated? Used? Exploited?

Remember, Rachel can go back to being white in a nanosecond. She has an escape route as I mentioned earlier this week. She’ll be fine.

Black culture, however, will be ok too. We will laugh our way through yet one more deep violation of the one thing that continues to be stripped from us and exploited as we define and redefine our identity, our language, and our culture.

We’ll laugh our way through and educate other people of color as to why this is “such a big deal”… as long as we have the energy. We always seem to find energy despite being so tired of having to use it on everyone’s behalf while we’re injured…again.

And even when Rachel goes back to being white and then is celebrated for her messiah complex due to her work for the black community (because now we’ll be seen as inept and incapable of doing our own work) we will have Fox News and social conservatives to contend with.

Why?

Because she pretended to be a successful black woman and “got it right” without affirmative action/handouts/welfare/an Obama phone/ whatever their disdain for blackness gives them to work with at the time.

Blackness will be a joke. A white lady John Griffith’d the Pacific northwest in 2015 and nobody could tell? Why does race even matter now? Don’t you see that we’re truly post racial? I can see it on the Hannity show right now.

You don’t get it though, either.

This is another remnant of white supremacy’s impact. Black people have been the culture to accept anybody who says they are black. Why? Because, slavery made it necessary for survival. When white men fathered and sold their own children as slaves, there was no world for them to identify. Blackness became home. Everybody can always find a home in blackness if they

1. Want it and
2. Claim the one-drop rule.

We don’t kick people out or disown them for claiming us. Does that work the same way in your culture or do your kids get taught that it’s not good to be like black people? Is blackness a negative trait in your culture? Is it a phase of behavior? Is it an association as opposed to an identification?

If you don’t see this coming through as the writing on the wall (in permanent marker) that it is, it’s because you do not identify as black and you, just like Rachel, will never understand.  So please keep your uninformed-because-you-don’t-have-the-lived-experience-though-you-mean-well opinions closer to your heart and further from your keyboard.

I love many of you dearly and I respect you enough to call you on your insensitivity toward my lived experience as a black woman.

This is why solidarity across the color spectrum we inhabit feels impossible sometimes, because every time black people cry FOUL, with video evidence and other legitimately lived experiences, other people of color use the same escape routes that white people do in defense of their own ignorance.

Miss me with it.

One response to “If you ain’t never been black, don’t ever try to be black

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