, 31 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
Since we’re on the topic of reconciliation and reparations, I have some thoughts...
I briefly chatted abt reparations with @RickSmithShow a few weeks ago, and the cliffs notes takeaway is that policymakers and stakeholders have to come to the table to lay out ALL the disparities and determine which policies are necessary to mitigate them.
The other thing I said was that what a meaningful reparations discussion looks like ISN’T a bunch of 70-80 year old White men and women deciding the shit on Black people’s behalf without actual Black people LEADING the discussion.
This is an area where someone who vilifies “identity politics” is instantly disqualified. The idea that people who live/breathe a marginalized identity can’t be trusted to clearly see the impact of systemic oppression and the keys to unlocking freedom and equality is BULLSHIT.
Which brings me to Kamala Harris and the scurrilous attacks on her career as a prosecutor/the idea that she somehow can’t earn the trust of Black voters simply b/c she dared integrate herself into the CJ system w/the aim of dismantling institutionalized oppression from within...
Better yet, let Kamala tell it to you in her own words: instagram.com/tv/BurAeUklqZl…
I’ve gotten this same flack for choosing psychiatry as a specialty and no shortage of initial distrust from my own people who rightfully hold a certain degree of skepticism towards a medical system that routinely discriminates against and abuses them.
But here’s the thing, it’s my identity as a Black woman plus my experience in a Black family/community *in synergy* with my command of the craft that disarms their skepticism and distrust. They stay because I’m there, they learn and heal because I’m there. The point is I’M THERE.
Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to revise diagnoses for Black, Latino and Asian patients simply because a previous interviewer presumed them psychotic or manic all because they didn’t understand the cultural aspects of their emotions and behaviors.
Likewise it’s my identity and command of the craft that grants me proximity to not only the glaring disparities but clarity about the systemic roadblocks to hope and change. I’ve always been taught we have to be in it to win it and don’t hate the player, change the game.
It’s one thing to complain about how fucked up the system is but it’s an entirely different notion to educate oneself then climb the ladder to become high enough within said system to change it. Why do we mistrust marginalized people who exhibit that degree of courage/dedication?
How do you do reparations without first acknowledging that Black people can be leaders/deciders? How do you reform a society that wanted a rabid White supremacist to make up for 8 yrs of the 1st Black POTUS? How do you repair if you don’t even want the aggrieved at the table? 🤷🏾‍♀️
We don’t want a measly check, we want POWER/FREEDOM. We want a fucking seat at the table, the one at the head of it. We want to control the conversation and our own destiny and we’re sick and fucking tired of all these White people doing it “for” us. Repair and reconcile *that*.
I don’t care how woke you think you are, if you haven’t walked a mile in a marginalized person’s shoes you can’t even begin to imagine all of the ways in which the system is oppressing them and you need to sit down and shut up the second you think you can speak for us without us.
Stop assuming that every marginalized person who’s acquired a seat at the table did so by compromising their identity or commitment to the cause of fighting oppression. Start asking how they’ve used their power to make incremental change despite the inherent obstacles they faced.
Stop expecting marginalized people to accept cis het rich White male remedies, analysis, resistance and representation as our own.
Identity politics weren’t an issue until everyone who isn’t a straight White man/woman started demanding (and winning) a seat at the table and the power/privilege to make policy.
We’re not only being told that our identities render us unworthy and unfit to lead, but also that we shouldn’t dare integrate ourselves within historically oppressive systems b/c they don’t want us to change those systems in ways that might benefit our marginalized identities.
Re-read that and let it marinate...
The gist is not just you “can’t” be a psychiatrist, cop or prosecutor, it’s that you also can’t be president. You can’t be a decider and you can’t use your power to do something different than all the White men who came b4 you. You just can’t b/c of who you are. Listen closely.
You “can’t” get a seat at the table because your freedom, survival and equality necessitate flipping the table over and burning it to the fucking ground then dancing all over its ashes.
So you have to be distrusted and disempowered b/c not allowing you a seat at the table means not having to relinquish the privilege & power that belongs to those who’ve routinely chosen to marginalize you. They try to convince you you’d marginalize your own self w/your new seat.
Bottom line is you can’t even start a conversation about reconciliation and reparations without first acknowledging that Black folk inside and outside the system are the experts on the topic and accordingly so must be at the head of the table on this issue. Identity is required.
Everybody who’s trying to take Black folk out of a conversation about helping Black folk is bullshit.
Everybody who’s trying to automatically disqualify Black folk who’ve ventured into the belly of the beast and learned how to kill it is bullshit.
I’m just calling it out now because it’s already on my last nerve and is a barrier to progress. They did the same shit with Obama and even MLK to varying degrees. America fears Black folk at the head of the table b/c it doesn’t actually want ANY of these wrongs to be righted.
We already know what the disparities are and have proposed remedies to them for centuries. No wheel has to be reinvented for reparations to be made. The crux is power has to change hands from the oppressor to the oppressed, marginalized identities have to be recognized and heard.
People need to understand that reconciliation and reparations aren’t just about cutting a check and throwing some arbitrary amount of money at the problem. Laws have to be changed, policies have to be rewritten, systemic habits have to be systematically rehabilitated.
What good is the check if you can’t cash it and how can you spend it if the cops harass you out of the store/neighborhood or shoot you dead because they thought you were high on weed and your wallet was a gun? Seriously.
What good is the check when you don’t have the equal right to vote and choose your representation in government? What good is the check when your water is lead poisoned by the folk you didn’t elect and who won’t clean it up?
Either we want the broken systems fixed by people who intimately understand how terribly they’re broken or we just want to pretend like we give a shit but never truly fix anything by throwing money and more cluelessly privileged White dudes at all our problems. Choose wisely.
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