Anti-Blackness in Non Black People of Color communities
While it might be a wish for many of us who join QTIBIPOC spaces to organize on issues that effect us and create spaces of solidarity and care, there is still something that lurks deep in the grains of these spaces and its AntiBlackness and the erasure of Black people and their contributions to these spaces.
As Black people we have had a long history of making our movements inclusive for other non Black people which is why it crushes us when Non Black People of Color dismiss us from the conversations, dismiss our experiences, and when they chose to appropriate our struggles but refuse to acknowledge our accomplishments.
We have seen how history has played out and how many communities and ‘races’ along the way have chosen to align with whiteness and creating discourses around Black inferiority and evermore distancing themselves from Black struggles. Therefore it hurts even more when these structures are mirrored in spaces we chose to organize in and spaces we choose to call communities.
Everytime a Non Black Person of Color uses their voice or presence to ‘speak’ over a Black Person they are implying that what they are about to say or do holds more importance and value than what that Black person has said especially when it comes to issues of Blackness.
I’ve been in spaces where Non Black People of Color seem to know what’s best for Black people or feel they have to ‘translate’ what a Black person has just said because they assume they will say it in a more palatable manner. Or just preferring to ignore that a Black person moments before has just said the same thing.
I have witnessed on many occasions Non Black People of Color dismissing a Black persons experience in private conversations only to use this persons experience in an open space/ open discussion as a tool for social gain and or as a way of them claiming to be the one to have noticed the injustice in this persons experience.
It does make me question a persons solidarity in these spaces when they continue to refuse to recognize how these actions perpetuate Anti-Blackness and the complete silencing of Black people in these QTIBIPOC communities.
It is not necessary for non Black People of Color in these spaces to center their experiences and voices around Blackness but they do. Solidarity in these instances is checking in, and stepping back when needed. It is not necessary to award your self with ally credits on the backs of Black people in these spaces.
It is easy to believe that we join these communities with a shared experience of racism and a need of healing from these wounds created by white supremacy. But there is still a lot of work to be done for Non Black People of Color, to see how Blackness has shaped their own histories and cultures and how Anti Blackness is perpetrated in their same histories and cultures.
Of course its also important for Non Black Queer Trans Inter People of Color to have spaces and communities where they can share their individual and unique experiences of oppression and `speak out` on the injustices of white heteronormative structures.
However, we should be more critical about the benefits from gaining a proximity to whiteness in our spaces and not neglecting to see how white passing and or lighter skin privilege plays a role in who takes up more space and who’s voice is centered more in QTIBIPOC spaces. And how these acts retraumatise and silence the Black and Darker skinned people in these spaces.
Why is it so often that the Black people in these communities are rarely recognized or celebrated? Black people are not allowed to celebrate their accomplishments in the way that Non Blacks are as our cultures and accomplishments are not ours for the keepings, they are free to be borrowed used and ignored at will. We are highly criticized and yet forced to be highly self critical. The proximity to whiteness establishes how to manipulate and reinvent histories and vocabularies it erases and replaces the ‘we’ and ‘I’ when it feels best to do so. Darker skinned people get erased constantly from collaborative projects as the passive others. While these contributions are getting erased this also raises doubt within ourselves of our abilities to contribute. In these instances contributions from all involved should be recognized equally.
Why is there still social capital over ideas and ventures in our communities?
Darker Skinned people are taught to internalize their contributions and not verbalize it as much as lighter skinned or Non Black People of Color. Darker skinned people are constantly told either, verbally or from their treatment to not take up so much space and downplay any achievements.
If we don’t honor ourselves who will?!