Is it just me, or do my people seem to go out of their way to find something to be pissed off about? Why do we insist on being angry? Is it some badge of Black authenticity or something to constantly be complaining and talking and posting and sharing about the wrongs done to us? If I dare to see the positive aspect of any given situation am I less Black or something? Not aware of the plight of my people? What is wrong with us being satisfied with something once in a while?
I mean, even in situations where there is obviously positive change happening we seem to find a way to criticize it. Case in point, the recent attention given to the Confederate Flag. Here we have a situation where something we’ve hated all our lives is finally receiving national attention for what it really is. The real history of the Confederate flag is being published and shared and acknowledged all over the nation. And not just by “us”, but by everybody.
Companies are dis-associating themselves from it. States are taking it down. Nascar has made an official statement stating they will no longer support it. Even the executives of the show “The Dukes Of Hazard” have reportedly stated they will no longer allow the Confederate flag on the iconic red car that was made famous by the show. Yet in all of that we can find nothing to be positive or feel good about.
All I see is Black people complaining about how insignificant and meaningless it all is. HUNH? So, if this one move doesn’t completely wipe out every instance of racism, oppression, police brutality and anything else we’re complaining about, it means nothing? It’s something to be angry about, not something to see as a positive move?
That’s one of the most glaring examples I’ve seen of late, but it’s definitely not the only example. We complain about the police to the point of absurdity. So much so that we absolutely refuse to say or see anything positive in anything they do. When the teen-age girl at the party got slammed to the ground, we were all upset; and rightly so. The officer was out of control. He handled the situation badly.
But then we see another video of police officers handling someone humanely and doing their jobs correctly doing what we said they should have done in the last video- and we get angry because they didn’t also slam them to the ground. I mean, what do we want exactly, y’all? If the police offers had slammed the 21-year-old white guy who shot 9 people in that church (who basically surrendered peacefully without a word, unlike what usually happens in our interactions with the police, but we don’t want to make those kinds of comparisons) would that have made us happy?
Almost certainly not. It would have pissed us off. You’d be seeing derogatory posts and comments about how awful the cops are and how wrong and unnecessary their actions are. But they didn’t do that. It was peaceful and they did their job according to the letter of the law, to insure that nothing was done that would hurt their chances of getting this man the punishment he deserved.
So let’s review. The black girl at the party was thrown to the ground by an officer. We were out-raged by his actions, as we should have been. We posted our rage non-stop. But then the chief of police came out and made a statement that his actions were inexcusable and undefendable, and fired him. I saw nothing in my feed about that. Too positive? Nothing to be pissed about, perhaps?
Then the white guy who killed 9 people in a historically black church was almost immediately caught. We see video of him being taken into custody by officers following protocol to the letter. Good, right? I mean that’s how we want officers to act, right? NO. Not good enough for us. Instead we’ve chosen to compare that to the situation at the pool. That way we can continue to make EVERYTHING about race. We couldn’t even take a moment to celebrate the fact that they caught the guy before we started making comparisons to the other incident.
But the hypocrisy of it all is that now suddenly we’re angry that the officers did NOT do what the other officer did to the Black girl…which, if you remember, we thought was appalling. So let me get this straight. Do we want police officers to treat people better in general, or do we just want them to treat white people WORSE? Do we actually believe, or never see video of white people experiencing injustice at the hands of bad police officers? Or Do we really believe they’re ALL bad? Have none of us every had a positive encounter with and officer? Or is it really just about finding ways to stay pissed at law enforcement no matter what they do?
I could go on and on here talking about all kinds of situations where we seem to go out of our way to find the wrong or the bad in every situation. Even when something goes as well as it possibly could for us we look at it and say things like “yeah but if that had been a black person”, or “yeah but that doesn’t mean anything. They just did it to save face.” Or “they just did it because they got pressure to do it”. Ok and?? Isn’t that the point of all protests, marches, movements? Wasn’t that the whole reason MLK’s movement was so successful? So basically when something happens that is a step in the right direction for us, like the recent attention to the Confederate flag, our job as black people is to avoid seeing anything good about it and instead criticize why it happened? Or how it’s still not enough?
Are we afraid of being less Black if we’re not finding and complaining about injustice in every situation? Are we concerned that people will see us as blind or not conscious of our plight? Naive, maybe? Is it even possible for the world we live in to get to a state where we as a people are completely happy and feeling at all times like we are receiving all we are “owed”?
Honestly I don’t’ think so. Because at the end of the day we are you are responsible for your own happiness. I mean, aside from the last video you saw on Facebook when was the last time you personally experienced racism? I can’t think of an incident recently. That doesn’t mean I’m unaware of its existence. But in spite of its existence I live a pretty good life.
I’m at the point now where, while I don’t intend to go through life wearing rose-colored glasses or pretending real issues of racism and inequality don’t exist, I just want some balance. I don’t feel the need to go out of my way to find things to be angry about. They aren’t hard to find. It seems to me my energy would be better spent finding things to be happy about, or feel positive about. Stuff to laugh about. How ‘about sharing more of that?