Pro-Black Isn't Anti-White
Last night, we posted a photo on Instagram with two beautiful Black women holding up a sign. With the terrorist threats against Black students on college campuses around the nation and the growing use of Twitter hashtags to create solidarity around our experiences, it was important to disseminate a message of clarity: Pro Black isn’t Anti White. Under it, the trolls were at work. Perhaps, their day jobs didn’t keep them on task or their determination to spread their lack of information was stronger than their need to, let’s say, give their loved ones a call. But, they were working—and hard, might I add.
Generally, we don’t feel the need to respond to certain positions but given that we had to delete over 300 comments and block a number of users, it felt necessary to respond to just some of the retorts we received. Please see below.
What if there was a White Entertainment Television or a White History Month, etc.
There is a White Entertainment Television; it’s every other channel on television. Being a part of the majority means that you and your experiences are at the epicenter of all things, that includes television. With or without the racial tag, magazines, television, hair products and the like cater to your interests and your experiences. There’s also no need for a White History Month because the history of the world has been prefaced on what you have accomplished and no one else. There is no need for a White Essence Magazine because every other lifestyle magazine features you on its covers and throughout its pages. Our creations are tagged “Black” because we are the other, treated as the other and must address our otherness. Feel free to participate though; it’s not exclusionary.
Pro means better, so you’re saying Black is better than White.
“Pro” simply means you’re for something; it means on the affirmative side. “Pro-Black” means that one is in favor of the uplift, economic freedom and overall independence and sovereignty of Black people. It does not argue that Black people are better or superior to any other group of people.
Note: You do not need to be Black to be Pro-Black.
Slavery happened so long ago, Black people need to get over what our ancestors did.
Firstly, no we don’t. Secondly, even if we took a fundamental numerical approach to this argument, it still wouldn’t add up (see what I did there?). Black people have been “free” in the United States for less time than we’ve been enslaved. It has been 150 years since the abolition of slavery (and if you want to be technical Alabama didn’t ratify the thirteenth amendment until 2013). Take that 150 years and subtract it from the 246 years of slavery as an institution. If in every year existed the passion and determination to undo the previous years of slavery then we would still have about a century to go. As we all know, though, in the years following slavery there wasn’t a concerted effort to do so. And, yes, I’m including the years of Reconstruction. Thirdly, an event having occurred centuries ago does not mean it is no longer relevant. The United States signed the Constitution centuries ago, it’s still relevant. The United States fought and won its independence centuries ago, but Great Britain cannot exactly make the argument that it happened so long ago and therefore we should “get over it” and become their colony once again. History brings along with it legal, educational, and economic implications. The ideology that allowed slavery to persist still exists and was born centuries ago. That same ideology informed laws and policy that only evolved with time; they did not die.
Also, please keep in mind that slavery is not the only egregious institution created in opposition to the freedom of Blacks and Black Americans in the United States. See sharecropping, Jim Crow, Black Codes, red lining, the Reagan Years, liquor lining and of course the school-to-prison pipeline. Unfortunately, that’s just to name a few.
Dearest Trolls, please understand that we wish there wasn’t a need for a Black History Month or the need to be pro-black. We wish we were treated equally and didn’t have to withstand the over-policing of our communities or the microaggressions from our professors. We wish our bodies weren’t associated with threat and that the response wasn’t so often fear and hate. We wish that we weren’t treated as a monolith and that our individuality was foremost in any conversation. We wish that our humanity was acknowledged and that we didn’t have to yell from the top of our lungs that we loved ourselves, because you know, we wish that wasn’t a conscious task we had to address everyday of our lives. Sadly, that’s not our reality. We don’t get to live independent of our race and the experiences that are borne from it. We don’t get to flip through magazines and see ourselves so we create our own magazines. Our history is deemed inferior so we have a Black History Month to remind us of the greatness that is our past. As a direct result of our everyday lives we have to remind ourselves that there is nothing wrong with our melanin, that we are Black and we are proud of it. We, too, for reasons already stated, have to remind you all that our love of self is not married to a hatred for you.
Black Girl Fly Magazine
Ruth Jean-Marie is a recent graduate of New York University where she received her Master’s of Science degree in Global Affairs with a concentration in human rights and international law. Dedicating her life to the alleviation of misery around the world, her greatest goal is to become a superhero. Her interests include fashion, equality for women and Black people--that real equality, not the surface level stuff, traveling around the world and writing. She's excited about life and intends on living it. She also has a mild obsession with shoes, shopping and sharing her opinion. You'll hear all about it. Follow Ruth on Twitter at @lesocialnomad and on Instagram at @lesocialnomad and @toharrietwithlove.