Microagressions and macroagressions against Black people in this country are both symptoms of the same disease: racism.
Police brutality, unequal wages, the lack of justice for the murders of Black people at the hands of law enforcement, educational funding that is determined by property taxes, mass incarceration of Black people and unequal sentencing, housing disparities… those are the forms of racism we are used to hearing about. These government and legislative oriented issues that we know are major impediments to Black success, but things many of us see as factors we have little influence upon. These are macroaggressions… large scale injustices towards a group of maginalized people to further restrict their progress. These are the things we protest against and write books about.
But it’s those smaller, more prevalent, daily and incessant indignities that communicate hostile, discriminatory, and prejudicial slights against us that really eat away at our peace, emotional stability, faith, self-worth, and truths. Microaggressions are those things that happen across our intersections… sex, race, sexual orientation, religion, class, educational level… to weaken us in our social spaces. They are often harder to identify and certainly harder to prove. But they are nonetheless the most fucking exhausting form of racism.
We are in the midst of some sort of paradigm shift. Our kids care not about Black, White, gay, straight, rich, or poor. Hip hop concerts are filled to the brim with White kids who know every word of Kendrick’s “D.A.M.N.”. Black boys blasting Jack Harlow, a white boy rapper who looks like an extra from Dawson’s Creek. Black girls rocking creepers and Hispanic girls rocking baggy jeans and crop tops in reverence to Aaliyah. They march together for Black Lives Matter. The protests boasting as many White faces as Black ones. A majority of people in America recognize and speak out and about white privilege and it’s affects in the lives on non-White Americans. Yet, the shift hasn’t quite happened yet. And the shift is in the macro.
Ask any Black woman about microaggressions. It’s in the comments, the slights, the looks, the 911 calls trying to report Black people for being, impeding people of color in social spaces, and the social media comments that don’t exactly promote racism but somehow justify behaviors that slap the hands of Black people for touching the glass objects, their fragile ass egos. It’s at work when the White supervisor accuses you of something with no proof, at the store when she clutches her purse, at the restaurant when she asks to speak to your manager because you gave her three and not four ice cubes. It’s a use of power, white privilege, to demote you to a place lower than where you started. It’s racism. It’s bullshit.
The same way we do blackouts, shout and share on social media, protest and engage, and mass call and demand for arrests for the murderers of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor… we have to expose this shit in the same way. Don’t just videotape and share Black deaths. Videotape and share White ignorance… show and tell that fool calling the police on a man minding his business at the park or at his house. Then let’s go en masse to the police station with their names and addresses to demand their arrests for filing fake police reports. Let’s call out folks at work and file mass EEOC and Title VII complaints. If she stands behind your car to impede your movement, call the police, lay on your horn, videotape her and post it everywhere. Yell out loud… I’m being harassed and stalked!!!!
In 1988 Donald Trump put an ad in the New York Times demanding that New York bring back the death penalty, particularly in the case against the Central Park Five, Black males all of whom have been exonerated of their wrongful convictions of the rape of a White woman in the park. The racists use their money and access to continuously attempt to dismantle our communities, success, families, and businesses. We have to employ the methods available to us to fight hatred and fear. We also have to expose all forms of racism.. but especially those that eat away at our individual and collective psyche.
Microaggressions are used to weaken us so we submit to macroaggressions… too exhausted to fight or fight back. Imagine how many time Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown had heard themselves, their friends, or other young brothas called thugs, uneducated, stupid, violent, or worthless. How many times had Sandra Bland and Korryn Gaines heard they were bitter, angry, less refined than their white counterparts, needed to straighten their hair, lose their hips, or calm down their attitude. How many times have you been told you are LUCKY to have your job, you can easily be replaced, you are too sensitive or angry, everything isn’t about race, you have the chance, opportunity, ability to come so much farther than your ancestors… as if it’s a gift, as if our ancestors were ALL born into slavery, as if we voted George Washington and his 123 slaves having ass into office.
These microaggressions are not just being mean, being an asshole, ignorance, fear, because leadership positions are hard, because you reacted wrong, or because it’s your job to educate or change the minds of the ignorant.
It’s RACISM! These actions are a systematic part of the same systems that are written into our governments and made legal by our lack of legislation.
Call a thing a thing.
Call it what it is OUT LOUD!
Signed, a Negro with Attitude