By: T. Olajide
Some might say that since Trump’s swearing in, many argue that there has been a great social awakening. I would like to disagree, I describe our current social climate as ingenue hashtag activism that once again reaps the fruits of black labour without tilling the soil. What I see is the romanticisation of black resistance, minus the blackness of course. I see a lot of hypocrisy, falsehood and lukewarmness from the majority.
There is a lot to be said about the impact of the black resistance of the past and present, black resistance laid down the blue print for most movements we see cropping up today, for instance, the Woman’s March on Washington. I had mixed feelings towards the march — while I was endeared by the parade of solidarity, I was angered by the pussycentric, white middle-class female protestors. It was laughable (to say the least) that there were so many white women calling for unity from Pipeline defenders, Black Women, the Latinx community, immigrants, the LGBTQIA etc. when they are in fact the very machine we have been fighting against. It infuriates me that in 2017, when man has walked the moon, A.I. is reaching it’s peak the celebration of minority voices and narratives is still the stuff of legend. White women and the few delusional minorities who chose hubris at the detriment of Muslim lives, Refugees, People of Colour, Reproductive rights etc. I am vexed to intergalactic ends by the worlds sudden affinity for intersections, I mean that’s all we’ve been asking for — but now because this presidency poses a threat to you, intersectionality is worth a shot. How honest is your resistance when it’s only activated after your safety bubble pops? There is such a dissonance with the black plight and POC resilience, society loves black intellect and strategy but constantly cheapens blackness — by screaming over it, whitewashing it and gas lighting it. In the words of Jesus Christ, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”.
I refuse to accept the schtick that is white guilt and false equivalencies that rationalise intolerance, not every immigrant has to be Steve Jobs to deserve dignity. I am infuriated by platforms being abused and privilege being left dormant. Privilege in our world, commands respect, power and results. So many of my favourite nerds (Phil Noto, Jamie McKelvie, Jangle Monae, the entire Nerdy POC team, Black Girl Nerds etc.) have utilised their platform, privilege and voices to actively protest and educate — and not just when it suited them or their sales. Champagne socialism is destructive, it tears at the moral fibres of society, at least at the scraps we’ve got left. Don’t cast POC to cause a social media stir, don’t create ‘light hearted’ social ‘critiques’ to make no point at all (I’m talking to YOU, Nick Spencer), the world needs a shit-ton of raw honesty, we’ve had enough of you reducing Trump’s administration to punch lines, stop normalising terror (Gatekeeper’s behind Bannon’s Islamophobic film) — speak up for what is right, what is true and what must be or forever hold your peace.
At a time like this, it is more apparent than ever that there is power in the voice and formation of POC, I address my fellow POC today, and charge you to remain firm in your resistance because the world will continue to deny your importance but just look around you and see that everything you endorse and speak into existence permeates the world at large. With or without validation, know that your voice is powerful. You don’t need a pulpit, a soap-box or a seat in office to make a difference. As nerds, we can craft narratives that edify, inform and relieve the hardship of reality. As an academic, you can cement ideologies and theories surrounding POC and shun elitist rhetoric. As a Law student, I am emboldened every day — I know that with my qualifications I can literally prevent miscarriages of justice and serve as a check and balance to corrupt powers in high places.
I hope that this week if nothing else you appreciate your potential to save the world. Not all heroes wear capes.
Editor: Han Angus