We are still deeply in the throes of the COVID-19 outbreak while human beings all over the world are protesting against police brutality against the Black community. We as Black people are experiencing a double whammy of intensity and pressure as we are dying at a faster rate because of the pandemic and because of the savage violence of some of our nation’s police officers. Our Black lives are being affected not only physically but mentally and emotionally.
There has also been a major influx of support from white Americans and corporations along with worldwide protests and support.
What do you need as a Black culture during this time? I’m sure some social media savvy Black creatives have received some money and job offers, I know I have, but at the same time, I overslept until noon today (something I haven’t done in many years) due to the pressures, the psychological toll of the social media and news cycles and insensitive allies.
It’s important that we avoid overzealous allies who are passionate about a trending cause but are also uneducated in Black history and philosophy and lack long-term Black friends. It is honorable for our community to be thankful and moved by the show of global support but when it comes to our country, our white allies do not know when to say when at times. They are not trained on when to knock down our doors to offer us treasures of their privilege and when to leave us alone to process and heal from the inundation of rhetoric about lives no one can understand but us.
Let us work together, but also be cautious that we are not aligning with people who do not understand the human condition, which is that there needs to be an ebb and flow of support and space. There should be a balance of allocating money to our culture and its activist organizations and making sure they are taking diversity training from Black professionals and not from “knowledgeable” white allies.
There is no such thing as a white “expert” on Black life. They can take a million Black history classes and know James Baldwin and Audre Lorde books inside and out, but they will never know what it feels like to be in danger just for stepping out of our front door, and many times, just for going to sleep.
White people can sleep, unlike me for the past two nights.
So, let us be excited about this time of international support from this newly found compassion and assistance from the world, but let us also remember that it has been 200 years. Let us remember the 1960s, let us remember that we are unique and the only experts on our realities and no one should assert anything different
We do not need to know the minds of allies during this time, but they should be sensitive to the state of our minds and bodies, and make sure they are not hurting us while believing they are doing everything they can to help.