It takes a lot more than a T-shirt with empowering words or symbols to convey just how painful the hard-knock reality is, that black people endure on a constant basis. A T-shirt you can take off, heck when it gets dirty you can even wash it, make it clean; pure, crisp again. My skin, not necessarily? I can’t really scrub off my identity and start afresh each day. On some bad days I wish though, but we all have those, right? Songstress Solange wrote a psychedelic-jazzy song called “My Skin My Logo”: that would suggest a fitting analogy lending to the casual commoditisation of black culture without giving due credit. That’s what history has taught black people to do: to accept and take it like a champ. Side note: Jesus was unwillingly nailed to the cross and took it like a champ. Sorry but I’m not Gods chosen Son who divinely resurrected—I can’t simply pray discrimination away (but on the other hand every prayer helps). Realistically, In order to cope with each day you need an imaginary reset button to gloss over all the BS you’ve been enduring and are sure to continue lapping up. But in the end does it really work?; Has that button not been overused?
Recently the reports of designer stores being vandalised and looted came across my news timeline. The victims were the ushz, – brands which make T-shirt’s that cost enough to pay a months rent. There is nothing more interesting than the fear surrounding the breakdown of capitalism as it coincides with the dismantling of racism. The same t-shirts that we wear of breathable-modern-high-tech cotton at one point in history was delegated as work to people not considered even a ¼ of a human being. Jarring imagery I know, but its 2020 and I’m bemused that we are more concerned about trivial consumerism that has seeped negatively into our psyche manifesting all types of socio-economic-historical inequalities. Don’t get me wrong I love a clean crisp T-shirt, Alexander Wang makes great styles but even they had to speak some truth:
And lets not forget the toppling down of slave trader Edward Colston’s statue in the UK: a visual emblem for the restless feelings of the past two weeks. I’m not going to lie that seeing that viral video didn’t give me immense pleasure, yet there have been some minor backlash, that this was an act of vandalism… destruction of property… crime. Boris Johnson said “These demonstrations have been subverted by thuggery – and they are a betrayal of the cause they purport to serve”. It seems that no matter what approach is taken the respectability sentiments and “unconscious” biases recycle the insidious language that continues to fuel anti-black propaganda. We can’t win.
… What I do know is that discrimination has been around for longer than I have been alive and it won’t end today or tomorrow or in the next 5 years. It’s going to take a lot of work to break down all the inequalities (Sexism, Classism, Xenophobia, Homophobia, Transphobia… Police Brutality…) that are either side by side or under the umbrella of racism before we can take a breath! On the plus side it looks like we are all finally ready (at least most of us) to acknowledge the past by accepting the resounding truth and enact real change. So, I say take down all the statues because acknowledging the history of British Imperialism in relation to oppression is already part of the everyday systems we exist in. To see some sort of widespread change would be refreshing for once (put the statues in a museum for those who wish to observe, make notes and “remember” because black history is more than just slavery).
So in conclusion enjoy your shopping with all the unlimited shipping you can handle. Yet those -isms and biases have reeked the havoc that our social currency can no longer afford to ignore. The times when it’s been important for black people to show up for ourselves seems futile similarly with the times when society has truly shown up for us. Now is the time to show up for all black lives because they not only matter but they have been key in moulding the society that we have been enjoying today. Mostly at our expense. Like a cruel Joke.
Uses amazon prime to order books by Bell Hooks, Toni Morrison et al…
How you can help :