I am a 36 year old disabled woman who has been variously labeled "fat", "crazy", and "a hippie weirdo." I now try to embrace labels that others use in an attempt to "shame" me into being someone more "acceptable". I am passionate about issues of race/racism, criminal (in)justice, fat acceptance, and mental health advocacy. I blog at My Name Is JuJuBe and I am on the team at The Intersection of Madness and Reality
OK, so one thing I will never understand…. How is it that people can call themselves “counter-racists” and claim that they want to “replace white supremacy with justice” AT THE SAME TIME that they are parroting all of the negative images of Black people trumpeted by the folks over at websites like “Stormfront”?
I was on the COWS (Context of White Supremacy) Facebook group a few days ago. Someone had posted a video of V-Nasty, a member of the “White Girl Mob” who likes to throw around the N-word like it is going out of style. She takes pride in the fact that she has been arrested multiple times for fighting, claims that she is “real” because she has done prison time, and works closely with Kreayshawn, who is the “mastermind” behind the materialistic anthem “Gucci Gucci”. One of the members of the group made the comment “wow white girls think they are black and trying to take hip hop over”.
Well, I made a comment back in the group, that reflects my way of thinking about the concept of “acting Black/acting white”. I said “those girls do not "think they are Black"... they are promoting an image that they want people to believe is what "being Black" is about. Acting like a person without any morals, values, or class is not about "acting Black".... it is about promoting an image of what the white supremacists want ALL PEOPLE to believe is "Black". Think about it... if these girls were discussing issues that many Black people consider important and choose to speak on, issues which white people almost always ignore or pretend do not exist... they would not be looked at as "acting Black"... it is only when white girls act in a way that white people do not consider "appropriate" that they are deemed to be "acting Black"..... in truth they are acting in a way that the white media chooses to identify as "acting Black" based on racist stereotypes and programming..…” I really thought that a group full of people who are dedicated to ending white supremacy would understand the relationship between racism/white supremacy and the adoption/promotion of stereotypical images of Black people among white youth. I thought it would be obvious to the people who listen to COWS that the “White Girl Mob” is nothing but a modern day minstrel show. Apparently, I was wrong.A member of the group commented back: “Sorry they are acting black this is black culture (self destrudtive behaviour) what issues do black ppl beleive are important tv music sports fashion etc? I strongly disagree with ur comment however i could be wrong” Although I should have known what to expect from the adherents of the COWS (codified) philosophy, I was quite surprised by this response. I should not have been, because the whole underlying theme behind being “codified” seems to be “Black people ain't shit…” “Codified” people say over and over that “the problem is white people” but STILL seem to be buying wholeheartedly into all of the white supremacist notions of what Black people are all about. Just because you modify your “Black people are retarded” with “but it is white people’s fault” does not mean that you are not still drinking the white supremacist’s Koolaid.
So, I followed up with the comment: “I believe that the idea that "Black culture" is synonymous with "self destructive behavior" buys directly into the white supremacist agenda. White people love to show examples of destructive behavior by Black people to enforce the notion that Black people are innately bad. This web page is full of notes from people who are attempting to counter white supremacy. Are they not "acting Black" because they are not behaving in a self destructive manner? Was Malcolm X less of a Black man because he was not acting in a self destructive manner? Are Black Nationalists not "acting Black"? I could be wrong, but I believe that what you call "black culture (self destructive behavior)" is an invention of white supremacists that some VOR (victims of racism) have unfortunately bought into.”
Now, far be it from me to claim to be an expert of “Black culture” (or any other culture) but I simply do not believe that you can highlight the (negative) behavior of certain Black people and claim that their actions are synonymous with “Black culture”.
Shortly after I made my comment, the gentleman who claimed that “this is Black culture” asked if I was white. When I said yes, he seemed to believe that I had nothing more to contribute to the conversation. Which is a bit confusing to me, because as a white person, I can be considered an "expert" on how white people think. Yet, here I am, pointing out how this statement equating Black culture with "self destructive behavior" feeds white supremacy and I am looked upon as if I have no clue what I am talking about.
A few minutes later, the same man posted a video called “Dick Slang” under the heading “More Black culture." Since I am not the type to keep my mouth shut when I have something to say, I had to comment again. I said “Do you believe this is ACTUALLY "Black culture" or what white supremacists WANT PEOPLE TO BELIEVE is "Black culture"? Because frankly, I can imagine this same video posted on "Stormfront" under the heading "some more black culture".... maladaptive behavior adopted as a result of the global system of white supremacy DOES NOT EQUAL "Black culture" Just my opinion! I am not an expert on "Black culture" but this, to me, is not "culture" it is simply white supremacy in action.”
The original poster than went on to post links to various definitions of “Black” as well as various definitions of “culture” He then commented to me “ For the record I strongly suspect u are practising racism white supremacy however i could be incorrect as i am a victim” To which I responded: “I strongly support the idea of suspecting all white people of practicing white supremacy. However, I will state again that my opinion is that "culture" is NOT synonymous with "behavior" especially when that behavior is a result of racism/white supremacy.”
I then discontinued my participation in the conversation, which went on to call nonwhite people the N-word, and asserted that “Non white people are under a system of RWS (racism/white supremacy), all behaviors whether constructive or non constructive can be considered "n-word culture" until RWS has ended” (Word edited out by me)
Perhaps I have a very different definition of what “culture” is, but in my opinion, negative behavior adopted under the influence of white supremacy IS NOT synonymous with “culture”. How can you choose to highlight ONLY negative behavior under the heading “Black culture” while totally ignoring every thing else that Black people all over the world are doing? If anything, self destructive behavior is WHITE SUPREMACIST CULTURE that has been forced upon Black people.
I am not one to tell anyone how to fight against racism/white supremacy, especially if they are a nonwhite/Black person, but after spending months reading and hearing the “Black people ain't shit” message from the folks who believe in the COWS/”Codified” philosophy, I just could not bear to listen any more.
Seriously, this whole exchange could have easily taken place on a neo-Nazi/skinhead website. The people who are adherents to the COWS way of thinking seem to have a very negative view of Black people. How “constructive” is that?
To me, all you are doing by called Black people “retarded” claiming that they have “offspring” instead of children and saying that Black people are incapable of forming families is providing fodder for white supremacists. If a Klansman read the exchange I just discussed, it would, in his mind, reinforce all of his negative feelings toward Black people. Heck, he could even use this exchange to legitimize his claims against Black people by claiming that “even THEY feel the same way I do…”
One of the things that Gus, the host of the COWS has mentioned is that if a white person genuinely wants to end white supremacy, one of the things they can do is report the truth about what white people are thinking/doing/saying when there are no nonwhite people around. Yet when I do exactly that, I am either ignored, not believed, or dismissed as not knowing what I am talking about. But I KNOW how white people think. And, I KNOW that white people LOVE when Black people talk negatively about other Black people. I KNOW that they grab on to any example of a Black person criticizing the behavior of other Black people as “proof” that they are correct, because “even Black people say the same thing…” So, by claiming that Black culture is synonymous with “self destructive behavior”, the person who I had this exchange with is actually feeding white supremacy.
Maybe it is none of my business to get involved in these sorts of conversations, but frankly, as a white person I see very clearly how these sorts of messages pushed by the “codified” individuals who listen to COWS can be used to further the white supremacist agenda, and I feel like it needs to be pointed out. If that makes me an interloper, and garners accusations of “practicing white supremacy” than so be it…. It is the truth as I see it, and I feel it is my responsibility to speak my mind.