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Ten Things You Should Know to Be #TeamWoke

Ten Things You Should Know to Be #TeamWoke

  1. Reverse Racism Does Not Exist

Just because you got picked on once for being white does not mean that it was an act of racism. Whiteness equals autonomy and power meaning that you will always be treated as an individual and not as a representative of your race. It also means that you are born into privilege—not necessarily economic, so don’t start— allowing you a leg up simply because of your whiteness.

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  1. Cultural Appropriation Is A Very Real Thing

Yes, this means that if it is not a part of your own culture you are not allowed to take part in it. So that means no cornrows, no locs, no box braids, no henna, no bindi, no dashiki and so on and so forth. I do not care if the Kardashians did it, or whether you liked how it looked on Kylie—appropriation is not cute. The only exception to this rule is “white culture”. One cannot appropriate white culture, one can only assimilate white culture, because it is the dominant culture and what is necessary to move through everyday life.

So, if you are thinking, “Should I do (insert culturally appropriative action)” here’s a gif of Beyoncé telling you not to.

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  1. Non-Black People of Color Can Be Perpetrators of Anti-Blackness

Now, just because we are both oppressed does not mean you are exempt from perpetrating anti-blackness, so do not act like it is only white people committing acts of anti-black racism. Also, anti-blackness is a worldwide problem, and erasing that fact is disrespectful of Black diasporic peoples in other parts of the world.

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  1. Black People Are Not A Monolith

We are not all the same. We have varied interests, and can have opposing views. Also, we are everywhere in the world and we have different cultures and backgrounds and varied physical appearances. So stop with the “Are you mixed?” and the “You don’t look/act Black though?”

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  1. Gender Is Socially Constructed

However someone wishes to express their gender identity is their prerogative. So, stop mis-gendering people, and getting angry because someone isn’t expressing their gender the way you want them to.

Why were you so pressed in the first place? Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

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  1. Accept If A Black Person Calls You Out On Some Racist Mess

There is no need for the backlash of “How was that racist!” and “But that’s not racist!” Yes it was, and you do not get to determine what offends another group of people. It’s just like you hitting someone, then them saying it hurt, and then you saying it did not hurt them. It’s their body you do not get to determine. If it happens apologize, unlearn and continue unlearning.

Be like this:

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Not like this:

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Note: She cannot twerk.

 

  1. Hillary Clinton Is Not Here For Us

She has been on record calling Black children “super-predators” and “dangerous”. She supported the 1994 Crime Bill which led to the solidification of the prison industrial complex in our current system of government. She also caters to the interests of the elite who fund her campaign.

Do you really want this in office?

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  1. The First Amendment Does Not Protect You From Consequences

You can say what you want, but know that if you decide to call someone a slur then do not be surprised by whatever happens next. You are fully capable of exercising your free speech, but do not delude yourself into thinking that it allows you to be a bigot without expecting consequences. So, what would be best is if you refrained from using any racist, or otherwise problematic language. Just don’t do it.

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  1. Mass Media Does Not Properly Inform

A large amount of it is sensationalized, and delivered in a way to demonize people of color—especially Black people. The larger news networks do not deliver unbiased news; it is often colored with racist undertones and coded language. Nearly all major networks are owned by five larger companies, so any information distributed by these news networks are only what they want you to see.

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  1. Do You Have Ties To A Black Person? Okay, You Can Still Be Racist

The “I have a Black friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/cousin/neighbor/dentist” argument is dead. You can have a Black friend and still be racist. There are things called covert and internalized racism, so having relationships with Black people does not in fact preclude you from being racist. When you start with this argument, all it does is exhaust the both of us. So, again, just don’t.

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With all of this being said, if you understand these things and agree (for the most part) great! Continue unlearning the lies that the white-supremacist cisheteropatriarchal powers at play taught you.

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Note: This list is not an end all be all list. There is more to being socially aware than what was discussed above. Moving through the world with an inclusive and intersectional queer Black feminist lens is vital in the work of deconstructing the oppressive systems that were formed to prevent us from prospering.

 


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  1. Cal

    15 April

    You lost me at #2. “If it’s not part of your own culture, you’re not allowed to take part in it”? I guess that means I’ll have to stop eating Mexican food and doing yoga. I guess that means I’ll have to stop cooking various non-European cuisines in my own home. I guess that means I’ll have to stop patronizing non-white arts. So much for cultural transmission and exchange — it sounds like you’d prefer segregation to multiculturalism.

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