So let’s start from the beginning.
Ancient Greek philosophers learned Mathematics, Science, Language, the cornerstones of intellectual thought, deduction, and reasoning in Egypt… from Egyptians… in Africa. They wrote of this in the history of their philosophical manuscripts, but that’s not apart of general education. You can’t subjugate and marginalize people if they know you learned everything you claim as the basis of your superiority from them.
Similarly, the oldest human bones were discovered in Africa. Lucy is everyone’s ancestor. Yet that’s not apart of general education. You can’t mistreat and brutalize people if they know your racial categories are just made up tools of classic, racism, and supremacy, and they are the original beings from which everyone else descended. Lucy is humanity’s guiding star. We all see through her eyes… a collection of history and tragedy and triumph that shifts and changes colors like a kaleidoscope.
But let’s fast forward to modern day, during the most racially tense time we’ve seen since the Civil Rights Movement… where Black people are told to go back where they come from, that they come from shithole countries, that them living amongst the majority is understandably unwanted, and that their dead bodies being laid out in city streets like urban snuff movies… when images such as the one above permeate the media as a joke. But in reality it is our thoughts, art, music, style… cultural intellectual property… that is stolen and used like it emitted from their fingertips like pure magic. This can be especially true in the professional dynamic between White women and Black women. We are sick of Melania. We are taking control of our own credits!
I work as a public servant. I’m underpaid and overworked and could make much more money in the private sector… but this is the path I chose. I have a law degree and upon getting my job where I decide, analyze, and write legal decisions for federal service, I knew as the only legally trained officer I’d fare well. And I did, at first. I moved to more complex and autonomous cases quickly, leading to my first promotion training other officers. I helped develop a program used nationally to help prepare new officers learn the law in a practical setting. And then our office got whitewashed. All the minority leaders were pushed out, and my Black face didn’t look like success. So, they found a way to push me aside and hire White women to benefit from my work and take credit for it. But nope… I keep all the receipts. You won’t cheat off my paper and get an A while I get a B.
So here it is… put your name on it. Add your spice to it. Pour honey and cocoa on it. Make the shit yours, so nobody can ever mistake that it belongs to you. Be Beyoncé with it. Put on your leotard and nude stockings, bling it out, and Black it out. So when they put on them dukes, holographic fringe boots, and cropped sweatshirt… you know it’s appropriated cuz it’s missing your tag. Make sure everybody knows it’s yours. Make them work for their own if they want the credit for excellence.
Similarly, be your own voice, and make everyone else have to use theirs if they want the credit for change. How often Black women are allowed to put themselves on the line and speak up for the mistreatment of women because we have experience speaking up for mistreatment because we are Black… with no support on the front lines. Then in the mess hall everybody wants to big up you for saying what needed to be said. Nope! Speak for you until White women, Asian women, other women of color join you as an ally. Talk in the office instead of in the conference room. Don’t kneel for anyone who wouldn’t even stand up for you! Take fierce ownership of your intellectual property.
Michelle Obama is a national treasure. Melania Trump is the President’s wife. We ain’t all the same. Some of us make history, others of us just want so badly to be great again. Some of us are Lucy, and ain’t nobody fucking with our clique!
“Picture yourself on a train in a station
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties
Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile
The girl with the kaleidoscope eyes… Lucy in the sky with diamonds” -The Beatles