America, Bye: Why Black America Is Leaving While Staying Put

America, Bye: Why Black America Is Leaving While Staying Put (Source

If the five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, it was clear that we as black people are firmly at acceptance-level TNT. Not acceptance as in capitulation to white supremacy, but acceptance of the idea that African America has spent precious brainpower explaining, cajoling, protesting, pleading and, yes, begging for white America to recognize our humanity—and, ya know, that we just might have to stop doing that. White America ain’t listening and, more importantly, doesn’t care about the pain of black people. In essence, as TLC once told us, it might be time for us to stop chasing waterfalls. The way I read it, African Americans around this country recognized that we’re in an abusive-marriage dynamic with white America, a marriage in which killing the Tamir Rices, the Mike Browns, the Sandra Blands, the John Crawfords, the Eric Garners and the countless others is part of the American equation. Until proved otherwise, such as through a drastic increase in the percentage of police convictions for the deaths of black people, black people are slowly coming to the realization that the current system of justice is working as it is supposed to for white America. And that’s why we get pushback when we say, “Black lives matter.” White America says “All lives matter” as a way to tell us, “Nah, kid. They don’t, and they never will.” The fact is that most of white America has a mental block that it can’t get past when it comes to recognizing the humanity of black people. They’ll proclaim to the high heavens that they’re not racist and that they love everyone (including all the purple people!), but when it comes to systemic racism and fixing the institutions that disproportionately affect black people, they’ll turn around and say, “But why would you want to focus on that?” Maybe it stems from the fact that we came to this continent as chattel slavery, human pack animals that were supposed to work until we died, and find freedom in heaven—a segregated heaven, I presume—just like the cemeteries. Centuries of looking at black skin as being worth three-fifths of a white human being’s has had a psychological impact not just on the black people who are unfairly burdened with that sophistry, but also on the white Americans who grow up thinking that their lack of melanin gives them a two-fifths superior advantage that any Negro can achieve, if only he or she works a little harder. Black folks see through this—have always seen through this—and that’s why we fight against it. It’s a trade-off some are more than willing to make. But for others? Acquiescing to white supremacy ain’t in the cards. Black folks are talking about leaving America. That it’s time for a divorce, an annulment, something that would allow us to escape from an America that’s quite literally trying to kill us. Some writers have humorously declared that black people should hold a referendum like the United Kingdom’s Brexit, and have a #Blaxit from America, taking Beyoncé and our potato salad with us. Others, like Melissa Harris-Perry, write poetically about their own private Walden, a mental space that they and other African Americans struggle to visit—a place of peace and tranquillity, where we can pursue our own happiness.




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