So I got a question for y’all, you know cause I be questioning ish.
Are these “woke” Wypipo really WOKE? Or do they just love White-peopling Black cultural events?
Disclaimer: It’s Wednesday and well, umm, somebody gon’ get this work. It’s only right I do it.
One of my favorite pastimes is doing Black things with my Black friends. I’m talking like, really really really Blackish y’all. Maybe a lil bit of culturally responsive Martin Lawrence reruns while I enjoy a 3 piece from Popeyes, type of Black. You know, a sturdy Milly Rock (I’m from Brooklyn so I love to Milly Rock y’all) to a Bullet or a Ballot, type of Black. Maybe even some DMX (the it’s dark and hell is hot X) or Kendrick Lamar, while I check out the newest Ta-Nehisi Coates article in the Atlantic.
Basically, anything that affirms all the ways that BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL.
My positive identity development, growing up in this racially charged White supremacist country that is always ready to shit on Blackness, while simultaneously appropriating every ounce of our culture has always been central to my life.
That was a mouthful. With that being said….
Y’alls ever pull up to a documentary screening, speaking engagement or book signing of some iconic intellectual Black figure and think, DAMNNNNN there’s a lot of Wypipo here? Or when you line up for Jordans and see 100 Wypipo ahead of you.
Like not just a lot. But A LOT, LOT of Wypipo.
I mean, in my experience, Wypipo don’t generally convene where Black folks be. As a rule of thumb, Wypipo tend to stay away from places Black folk be that haven’t yet been gentrified. But at intellectual Negro shindigs there always seem to be a mass overflow of Wypipo; maybe because they love to swagger jack Black people so they can appropriate our culture for monetary gain.
You know it perplexes the fuck outta me when I go to such Pro-Black events or spaces and there’s more than the few dozen mandatory Wypipo that is expected to be in the crowd. No, I’m talking hundreds and thousands at times. Sometimes so many that they outnumber the Black folk in attendance.
Earlier this year I went to see the James Baldwin film “I’m not your Negro” at the BAM theatre. Now granted, if you know BAM, then you know it’s a really REALLY White space; and so I expected to see a lot of Wypipo. But even knowing that, me and my Black counterpart were like damnnnnnnnn.
I mean we get to the theatre dripping Black boy joy and Black girl magic. I’m talking uncle Jimmy T-Shirts and clean kicks type of fresh, and we were met by droves of Wypipo in Skechers. (idk if they all had on Skechers, but those are the Whitest shoes I can think of LOL! Wypipo love Skechers almost as much as they love their pets.)
This trend continued a couple of more times this year. From trips I made to the Schomburg (Wypipo love gentrified Harlem), to my trip to the African American Museum in D.C. during the summer (it was more European Wypipo there. Guess they were scouting it out for the rest of the Wypipo), and it even happened at my new favorite spot, Sweet Chick in Brooklyn (the chicken and waffles be LIT!), where one day I swore the massive crowd of White hipsters were infiltrating solely to steal the chicken recipe.
In the end I just chalked it up to Wypipo and their incessant need to eavesdrop on Black folk and our business (mainly for fear that the revolution really won’t be televised, and that they need time to escape.)
LOL! I kid. I kid.
Even though I was used to all of this infiltration, imagine my surprise when I pulled up to Kings Theatre in the heart of Flatbush Brooklyn for an event, and who do I see? You guessed it. A lot of damn Wypipo. White women. White men. White babies. And a shit load of White cops. Just a lot of Wypipo.
Kings Theatre is located on Flatbush Ave. Flatbush and Tilden is so Flatbush, so Caribbean that I’ve never seen more than about 5-10 Wypipo there at any given time, unless they were DT’s (that’s what the hood calls detectives y’all)
So I’m at Kings Theatre to watch Ta-Nehisi Coates speak about his new book 8 Years We Were in Power, and a host of other things regarding our political climate and the status of our country. So you got Coates x Kings Theatre x Flatbush Ave.
Ummm… where do Wypipo fit in this equation? Upon arriving to the theatre it was clear that they all fit in the first 15 rows. LOL! (Even though I peeped Khalilah in the 3rd row.)
Again I’m thinking, why the hell are all these Wypipo here? And who put them on in the first place?
As Coates sat on the stage engaging in a conversation with his moderator (who was also his editor at the Atlantic. Oooh he’s White too. Not that that matters, but I wanted to say it) I had yet again more damn questions.
- What exactly are these Wypipo in the crowd taking away from this conversation?
- What were they internalizing about the status of Black America and our discontent with White supremacy and White people?
- Was this conversation shifting them to become anti-racist White people? Or were they just bullshittin and trying to infiltrate yet another of our spaces in order to pathologize us?
- Why do White people think a pinch of salt and pepper is enough seasoning for any and everything they cook?
- And still, why are all these White folks even here in the first place?
On Monday, Khalilah, Erin and I, in the recording of our latest podcast episode, talked about the ways White educators harm Black students by not acknowledging their humanity, and not seeing them as people who deserve the same treatment as themselves. We spoke about how at the very core of White supremacy, White fear, White hate and White guilt is anti-Blackness.
Disclaimer: I know I’m asking y’all (when I say y’all I mainly mean Wypipo) a lot of questions and such. But on this matter I really draw some blanks. I’m pretty adept at understanding the minds of Black folk. But you Wypipo more confusing than Vegan fried chicken. (yup, that’s a thing y’all.)
I feel like until we answer a lot of these questions posited in this and a host of other think pieces on the way Whiteness and White supremacy affects every part of our existence, then Black people will continue to question and seek receipts from the so called “woke” Wypipo.
I wanna know why you’re at all of these Black cultural events because I wanna know what you plan to do afterwards? I wanna know if I can trust you?
I thought about making this a piece where I listed the top ten reasons that Wypipo attempt to position themselves in such proBlack spaces. In the end I’m left with this:
- Please don’t think that because you are here WE (Black folks) trust you. A White person walking around an event that highlights Blackness, makes us almost as leary as when White people aimlessly walk around our neighborhoods.
- Understand that while you may be here and may be inspired, that ain’t enough. I look at pictures of banging bodies, and while I’m inspired, I don’t be running to the gym. I want to know what you actually get out of these experiences and if you use the information towards the dismantling of White supremacy.
- If you attend these engagements as a measure to gauge Black people’s accomplishments against your own Whiteness. PLEASE STAY AWAY.
Ask Khalilah and she’ll tell you I hate the term “woke” when describing conscious Black people who understand that White supremacy is real and that it is killing Black folks. But I’m even more judgmental and harsh on so-called “woke” Wypipo and their ish.
As Baldwin said in his eloquent essay, A Letter from a Region in my Mind:
I do not know many Negroes who are eager to be “accepted” by white people, still less to be loved by them; they, the blacks, simply don’t wish to be beaten over the head by the whites every instant of our brief passage on this planet. White people will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this — which will not be tomorrow and may very well be never — the Negro problem will no longer exist, for it will no longer be needed.
SHOW ME YOUR RECEIPTS SO I KNOW IT’S REAL.
Don’t be good my people, BE GREAT.