A round table of brilliant, opinionated women discussing diverse matters from the U.S. elections to the Oscars, ABC’s daytime talk show The View is an important platform for contemporary conversations. Over the years I have been given about 101 reasons as to why the show is spectacular and have even watched some interesting segments on Youtube but have never actually completed an entire episode. Today I finally did. They discussed many topics I’ve been playing over in my mind: is Trump really going to win, what is going on with the UK and Brexit, I am so excited to watch Absolutely Fabulous the movie, why do people still not understand the purpose of Black Lives Matter, Leslie Jones is a boss lady and haters need to stop hating. I am paraphrasing, but these were the issues on the table.
A key moment for me was when Whoopi Goldberg, award winning actress, singer, comedian and one of the five panelists on the show, gets up, leaves the table and walks over to the television screen behind them and points to a photo of peaceful protestors from a Black Lives Matter march and says those people are black, white, everything. And they were, because Black Lives Matter is not saying only Black lives are important, or only Black lives matter but that entire communities have and are perpetually placed at a disadvantage economically, socially and politically simply because of the colour of their skin and that needs to change. Despite decades of research and discredited stereotypes, racism is still alive and strong and only as a collective community can we overcome the injustices that arise from racism.
As Whoopi pointed at that wall I and I stared at all those diverse faces, I was comforted and disheartened. I began to think of all the diverse faces in my life, my friends and family. Where do they stand on Black Lives Matter? Would they march with me and defend equality? Who would march and who wouldn’t. I began to go over the different conversations I’ve had with each of them where I think they fall on the spectrum of upholding equality amongst all skin shades.
First I thought of the black faces.
The proudly black advocates, natural hair, comfortable in their skin, never use the word nigger and never say things like “I don’t know what’s wrong with us Africans/Black people”. The ones that are in line or are waiting to be served and notice that all the white people are being served first and speak up.
Yes, they would march with me.
The ones who want to be proudly Black but are so complexed and perplexed by all the mixed messages of what it means to be Black or African that it really depends on the day. If Lupita Nyong’o just won an Oscar they’re most likely to be Black and proud, but if another white person just snagged another successful rapper then not likely. The ones that pull out statistics like Nigerians are the most successful diaspora in the United States, and then say things like I honestly don’t think I see myself marrying a black person.
Honestly it’s a coin toss, but most likely not.
The Black people that simply want to belong and are not concerned with the well being of the masses. The ones that have not and will not ever date someone Black, but have Black friends, blast Black music and say things like “They don’t treat me like I’m Black because I’m not ghetto”. The ones that think we still have house slaves and field slaves, and have mentally classified themselves as house slaves: better than all the other black people and more like white people. They have forgotten that these classifications were false divisions created by white slave masters whose sole focus was to maximize profits by maintaining free labour in a time when Christianity made white on white slavery taboo, and most importantly who still considered all black people to be property. Modern day racists whether blatant or not, probably do not see all Black people as property but certainly think Black people are inferior. Except in a scenario where you have more money, success or fame and then your almost equals until you no longer have those material thing. Truth is, by continuing to adhere to historical and racist practices we as a community only perpetuate racism for everyone: all people of colour.
Most likely not, but if it served their self interest then potentially.
Then I thought of the white faces and all the faces in between.
The ones who really don’t see race, they see colour but understand that we are all equal human beings, different but equal. They try all kinds of cuisine, aren’t scared to travel to Africa and when they do specify which country and who jump to my defence when someone is being racist towards me before I get a chance to say something myself. Who sometimes say racist things but understand that they are a victim of centuries of indoctrinated racism themselves and actively work to change their biases.
Yes, I believe they would indeed march with me.
The coloured person that isn’t black but is just as complexed as the proudly Black person: so complexed and perplexed by all the mixed messages of what it means to not be white and blonde that it really depends on the day. They celebrate diversity, date Black, eat Black, dance Black but are very grateful not to be Black.
Perhaps they would, I honestly think it depends on the day.
The ones who pretend like racism doesn’t exist, or that it does and I am some sort of exception to the rule. Are mostly politically correct but jump at the chance to use the N word. The ones that say things like “But you’re not really Black/African” because to them being Black or African means you are not intelligent, successful or attractive and when you are any or a combination of those things you are now something else, one of them.
No, I do not believe that they would.
The ones that aren’t at all political, haven’t given race much thought, have expected biases that come with living in a world that condemns Blackness, but love you so much that they be happy to give you a few hours of their day.
Yes, I believe they would…well most likely.
Please note that I do not actually believe that people can be categorized so simply. It’s honestly all in good fun, to get us to think about who we fundamentally are as people, our beliefs and what we would do to defend those beliefs. Writing this article got me to think. If an issue arises that does not directly affect me but rather a loved one, neighbor, or someone in my community, I hope that I would march with them. At the end of the day this world is all OURS and supporting each other is how we will make it a better place for ever