". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Friday, November 18, 2016

We CANNOT Safety Pin Together This Shredded Republic

     AS IF the Republic can be pinned together!  Then we call it rebuilt -- while the secret midnight trains roll, and the after-midnight coffles with their shackles muffled by rags to not awake the precious sleeping (white) babes and their precious (white) mommies see out the window by chance, clanking their way to the slave cars.  Shades of Reagan -- give something a different name and it's all fixed now yah!

Nightime coffle in D.C., capital of the brave and home of the free, being shipped further south for sale into the Cotton Prison Camps of the Deep South.

      . . . . In the meantime some bennies may trickle down (for white people), which makes it all the more difficult to see, hear, speak, write, while the rest are ever more marginalized and the midnight trains roll.

That we may even be dithering about whether to safety pin or not to safety pin ought to tell us just what a risible, useless, empty gesture it is.

If you don't believe me, read this, from The Root:


Let’s call these safety pins what they are: an empty gesture. Of the white people who actually voted in the election, the majority of them, including white women, voted for a man who rants about banning Muslims and building walls to keep immigrants out and who thinks all “the African Americans” live in inner cities and will be shot going to the store. This same man jokes about grabbing women by their vaginas. And because of that vote, white people are being called out—again—on their racism, this time with actual numbers to back it up. Oh, voting for Trump doesn’t mean you’re a racist? OK. Let me quote you a popular and accurate meme making the rounds: “Not all Trump supporters are racist, but all of them decided that racism isn’t a deal breaker. End of story.” 
These pins—not the wearing of them or the pictures posted of folks wearing them—are not about safe spaces. They’re about not wanting to be perceived as a racist. Like, “I might be white, but I’m not like them, over there. I’m enlightened.” 
No, you’re not. You’re trendy. These safety pins are the 2016 version of a 2004 “Live Strong” wristband. No. Wait. The money spent for those bracelets actually benefited cancer research. Who is benefiting from your safety pin purchase? Wal-Mart? CVS? Rite-Aid? 
Look. I’m all for safe spaces. Don’t get me wrong. But how does your little pin really help someone like Ernest Walker? How does your trite pin help a young Muslim woman who’s forced to remove her hijab or else be set on fire? How does your trendy pin soothe a kid who shows up to school and his teacher tells him his parents will be deported because Trump is president now? 
These are the things happening to disenfranchised groups, and you think they’re gonna turn to you? You? Not their mom? Or their partner? Or their clique? Or their church? To you? You who just realized Tuesday that the racism and bigotry that people of color have been complaining about forever is actually as bad as we’ve all been saying it was? You? You, who finally got informed half a millennium late and showed up $14 trillion (reparations) light and bought a damn pin? You? If this ain’t some white-savior-complex mess, I don’t know what is. 
Like, a pin. A pin? Really? Not even an actual pen, which is said to be mightier than a sword, to write to your local congresspeople demanding that they vote in favor of actual justice and equality for all or else you’re voting them out in the midterms in two years? Not even a figurative pen, like a Facebook screed calling out your grandmom, and hell, your mom, too, about the casual racism of people who continue claiming, “I’m not a racist”? 
Just a pin. The solution for fastening a baby in his nappy or keeping a blessed-in-the-chest girl from busting open her button-down is the same solution you’ve applied to fighting racism, sexism, homophobia and religious intolerance. 
The only time your little pin might maybe mean something is if you’re wearing it to an anti-Trump protest rally or one that supports black, LGBT or brown lives. Extra points if you hold a sign and post the picture on your Instagram so all your friends and family know you’re about that life. Your shiny pin shines sparkles if you put on your big drawers like Brad Pike and call out your racist family members on Facebook. Bonus points if you go HAM over the ham at Thanksgiving. You can relieve the white guilt of your whole bloodline if you film that moment and submit it to WorldStar. 
Your pin will actually count for something if, the next time you see something bad happening to a person of color, you speak up and intervene instead of staring wide-eyed and silent and then writing about it in a status update that’s all about how you were traumatized by witnessing a terrible thing that happened to someone else. 
You want to help? You want your little pin to matter like black lives? Actually create a safe space instead of cheaply designating yourself one because you fastened a piece of malleable metal to your sweater. 
It's more than time for we the people of this nation to put away childish things and grow up.  WE BROKE IT.  WE OWN IT.

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