To white liberals who don’t care

By Ahmad Greene-Hayes

We still don’t know what happened to Sandra Bland and the other Black women lynched in jail cells last July. One year later and we are not celebrating independence. We are mourning. Jai Lateef Solveig Williams was executed by police on Saturday in Asheville, North Carolina. Delrawn Smalls’ was killed by an off-duty NYPD cop on Monday. Alton Sterling was murdered in Baton Rouge, La. on Tuesday, and less than 24 hours later, Philando Castile was killed by Minnesota police as his girlfriend streamed the aftermath on Facebook Live.

It is open season on Negroes, and that copy of Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow that you keep tucked away in the drawer next to your bed won’t get you any cool points. Nor will binge watching Orange is The New Black, or quoting bell hooks, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ta-Nahesi Coates back to the same Black people from whom they came.

That one class you took in undergrad on social justice ain’t enough either. In fact, all the times you skimmed the readings, denied white supremacy and structural inequality, and failed to put your money where your mouth is, you were doing what white folks always do: making light of Black folks’ pain and suffering.

That one Angela Davis talk you attended on America’s prison nation and that free screening of Eyes On The Prize made you feel good, but truth be told you went to those events and didn’t bring what you learned back to the racists at your dinner table or the ones who call Black folks “nigger” with both comfort and vehemence at your church.

You’ve been baptized and made over and over again in the sea of whiteness. You love it, you crave it. But “the liberal” in you won’t let you admit that. You see folks like Donald Trump and, in some weird, sadistic way, you like him. You claim your obsession with him is out of disdain, but it’s only your fancy for political correctness that won’t let you nod your head in agreement as you prove you can’t get enough of him.

How do I know this? You’re loud when Trump says and does those *extreme* things like taunt Black freedom fighters and Mexicans. But you are disturbingly quiet when we are gunned down in the streets with impunity. Your Facebook timelines go from talking about climate change and Bernie Sanders, to defending gorillas and alligators, to complete silence when Black folks are crying out for the bullets to stop.

Where you at?

My guess is that y’all are at the secret gathering of “white allies,” where you talk about all the white folks in history who aligned themselves with the Black liberation movement, only to keep reminding Black folks that individuals like John Brown died in defense of Black humanity. Does that make you feel good? It sure did make Tim Wise  grin when he boastingly situated himself among white abolitionists of the 19th century in his documentary, White Like Me. And yet, folks like Tim Wise plagiarize Black people’s thoughts, monetize Black women’s intellectual labor, and regurgitate all the things Black folks been saying forever back to Black people and white audiences.

Folks like y’all love your vegan diets, your yoga mats, your mass incarceration car stickers and your “Black lives matter” t-shirts, and some of you even enjoy naming your pets and children after Black revolutionaries (stop that ish!). But what you don’t seem to love are the Black folks who suffer and die daily.

If you truly loved us, you would fight for us without us having to demand that you wage war on the demonic powers that be. But when you worship in private the very same gods that our oppressors worship in public, you can’t denounce the evil you serve. If anything, those gods fuel your white liberal ideology even as they set flame to the wayward actions of the Klan, the police, the vigilantes, and white Neoconservatives who profit and false prophet off the backs of Black folks every damn day.

Your ancestors’ blood runs through your veins, and you have never really confronted the evils of your legacy. If we gon’ be real, you don’t know who you really are. All you know is that you’re white. And some of you don’t even understand what it really means to be white. You just know that you can be as flagrant as you want with the police, and they will still make sure that you get home safely to mommy and daddy after also stopping to get you food at the Burger King down the street.

That’s what whiteness is for you. It’s a free ticket that never expires, and yet you keep stealing Black folks’ seats to Beyoncé concerts and taking up space in our historically Black neighborhoods. We’re tired of working for the crumbs from your blood-stained tables and waiting in long lines at our soul food restaurants and chicken shacks because you can’t cook.

So when Black folks say “we all we got,” we mean that. And you better trust us enough to know that we don’t trust you. We don’t trust Bernie, we don’t trust Hillary, and we don’t even trust Jill Stein. You’ve betrayed our trust for far too long. The poplar tree, the rope, and the lynch mob speak louder than many of you ever will. Y’all used to smile in those lynching photos, but won’t allow us to even snap a picture of you at a Black Lives Matter protest for fear that your white friends might disown you. Save it.

King did say we coming for our check.

Ahmad Greene-Hayes is a Black ass writer.

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  1. Readers might be interested in this 1964 interview Robert Penn Warren recorded with Malcolm X. The archive contains 40+ such interviews with US Civil Rights leaders that Warren conducted and recorded in 1964.

  2. Alma Busby-Williams August 25, 2016 — 9:52 pm

    This says everything–thank you for this piece!

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