Black Lessons for White Suppression (BL4WS)

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I had the privilege of watching an online streaming concert experience.  I will never forget the verse prophetically spoken by Detroit’s finest band, Mollywop! 

If you got my back 

Then I got you 

If we’re gonna make it out

Here’s what we gotta do

You cover me and I’ll cover you

Stand firm my people hold on

Keep your eyes on freedom be strong. 

Mollywopjams.com

Mollywop’s lyrics are a powerful educational tool.  I recommend that all White people in the Americas and globally take these lyrics to heart.  Applying the lyrics will support you in releasing the DNA traumas derived from your history of implementing oppressive measures such as the Black Code and Jim Crow Laws.  I am writing this piece as a tool of loving, authentic support for anyone who chooses to do the hard-ass work of openly and privately healing from white supremacy.  I am an ally in your efforts to educate your white circles.  Removing institutional, systemic hatred of BIPOC from your psyche and lifestyle will make you uncomfortable and put you in uncomfortable situations. 

The hatred shown by Whites towards BIPOC may be signs of your resentment of the decades of success achieved by Black/African Americans.  There are many accounts of white racist sabotage that altered and impacted the upward mobility of Black/African Americans. The visual artwork entitled Red Black Green Resentment (see note below) depicts the contributions we make continually in our neighborhoods — in educational systems, art, architecture, sciences, engineering, fashion, music, agriculture, divinity, and politics — in spite of the angry presence of white supremacists, white privilege, white assimilation, white by association, and white justice. Many Black/African Americans continue to reinvest as volunteers, making the contributions mentioned above, in order to manifest economic development for all.  They have the heart to demonstrate what Black Love for country entails.

However, even in today’s racist climate in our society, some who identify as Black/Melanated/Afro/Moor/KMT/PanAfrican/Negro/Nigga/Colored continue to support white supremacy by acting out the negative behaviors prescribed in the “Willie Lynch” theory and methods, creating a false narrative/illusion that discredits the degree of educational achievement, community life, leadership experience and development of BIPOC.  They discredit us while calling us out for “disrespecting” or “violating” the white code by publicly questioning the motives, authenticity, leadership, methods, processes and practices of Whites.  Then white supremacists respond by setting themselves up as the victim and pointing to the BIPOC group or individual as the wrongdoer.  A door of opportunity is opened up for other supremacist Whites to build a collective voice of attack.  

This creates a lynch mob mentality that is aimed at silencing the Black/African American voice/thought/ideas/leadership, forcing Black people to dumb down or leave/quit in order to remain sane, safe, and not “ruffle any feathers.”  This model of suppression of Black people is prevalent in anti-Black racist groups/organizations and municipalities.  According to Carter G. Woodson, the founder of Negro History Week and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH):  “In our so-called democracy, we are accustomed to give the majority what they want rather than educate them to understand what is best for them” (ASALH –Detroit, 2020).  Some say White Suppression Syndrome (WSS) is based on a cultural deficiency or racial incompetence. 

Whatever the underlying causes, uprooting racism requires intensive justice training, which is offered by some local Detroit organizations.  The diversity and inclusion model (D&I) is being used, with its focus on materialism rather than race, class, and gender.  Dr. Robbya Green-Weer, of Florida A&M University, explains: “Everyone needs to be addressed in order to understand the perceptions each holds about different races. There is a lot of hate held that goes unchecked.”  Dr. Green-Weer and Dr. Marilyn French Hubbard are delivering D&I training based on their extensive work with social entrepreneurs and executive level leadership. 

Lastly, an issue that gets overlooked/ignored through White supremacy lens is racial equity. In implementing diversity and inclusion policies, city officials often fail to ensure racial, class, and gender equity.  They emphasize diversity in the kinds of businesses that receive support, rather than diversity of owners and patrons. “Racial equity is the fair, just distribution of resources, explicitly targeting and prioritizing racial groups who have the greatest need due to being systematically disenfranchised, and using these resources to address both historical and contemporary injustices and their consequential burdens….” Furthermore, “racial equity is not the same as racial equality. Equality means everyone has access to the same resources. Equity, in contrast, means people receive resources based on their needs and their potential to benefit” (Equicity.org, 2020).  It is up to all of us to speak and act authentically to demand an answer to the historical and contemporary injustices experienced by BIPOC in our society.

No matter where you are — in Dearborn, Detroit, the suburbs of Metro Detroit, or abroad — we have to end the decades of institutional and systemic white hatred toward BIPOC in order to bring reckoning, healing, and transformation — for a true manifestation of “free at last, free at last….” 

Artist Statement

RBG Resentment is part of a 30-piece art exhibit in Downtown Dearborn’s City Hall Artspace.  It includes works by Andre Batts, Rozenia Johnson, and Lia Rose. RBG stands for the red, black, and green, liberation colors known throughout the African Diaspora and championed by Marcus Mosiah Garvey. RBG Resentment uses shapes, lines, and layers to visually tell the story of the Black contributions we make continually in our neighborhoods, in educational systems, art, architecture, sciences, engineering, fashion, music, agriculture, divinity, and politics —  despite the angry presence of white supremacists, white privilege, white assimilation, white-by-association, and white justice.