I think I may know why white people are so upset about this Dr. Seuss/cancel culture thing. I was reminded of this story today.

It goes back to the second-most devastating day of my life:

The day I found out the Hardy Boys were white.

A thread
Some people know I was homeschooled until I was 12. I recently found out my mother was conducting an experiment. She told me she doesn't believe "a black child fully realize their humanity in the presence of whiteness."

A lot of people think that's racist. Here's why it's not.
I was raised in a Black neighborhood, in a Black church, and in a Black family. But it's not that I didn't know white people existed.

The guy who delivered fresh eggs every week was white. My grandmother sold Avon and her plug was white. I saw white people at the Piggly Wiggly.
But my mom did other things. When my sisters and I were really young, she would read bedtime stories. But she would change all the names. When she worked at night, she recorded cassettes of her reading for us to fall asleep to.
She even removed covers from books with white kids on the cover. We also couldn't watch reruns of "Sanford & Son," "The Jeffersons" or "Good Times" until we were older.

I'll explain why in a minute. But just know that our TV habits were very limited
It's not she woke us up every morning with "Lift Every Voice" or told us "Beware the whites" before we went to sleep. But this was my normal. I had seen Diff'rent Strokes and Sesame Street. I liked Arthur Fonzarelli.

I knew white people were a thing.
But, if you had asked 8-year-old me, I would have told you that MOST people were Black.

And so, never having seen them, I assumed the Hardy Boys were 2 niggas from the suburbs of Detroit. Same with Encyclopedia Brown.

Black was my default.
I also grew up in a family that didn't celebrate Christmas. We didn't eat pork. But I had a cousin who was raised as my sister, and HER mom ate bacon and gave Christmas gifts.

One year, she came back with something incredible.

A Dr. Seuss book.
See, a LOT of Black parents always knew Dr. Seuss was lowkey racist. It's WHITE people who are just finding this out. My mom forbade him.

Now, I assumed my mom was against the book because of his repeated references to pork. But, So when Robin brought home Green Eggs and Ham...
It was OVER for mom's cassette tapes. I hid that book under my mattress and Robin and I read it every day.

To this day, my sisters and I can recite every single word of "Green Eggs and Ham."

Then I started going to public school. And the school was mostly white.
Sometimes, I'd be reading a book and the plot would seem vaguely familiar. That's when it clicked:

"This is just white Encyclopedia Brown!"

Oh shit! The Hardy Boys are white, too? I was devastated.

One day I came home from school, and my mom was sitting in the yellow chair
She NEVER sat in the yellow chair. It was my grandmother's chair. The ONLY time she ever sat in that chair was for one reason:

House Court.

Y'all, we had WHOLE ASS TRIALS in my house when we got in trouble. There were juries and everything. Even the neighbors would get involved
But on this day, my mom was just sitting there, rocking in that faux leather Lazy Boy with a copy of Green Eggs and Ham.

Technically, it wasn't my book. But I kept it under my mattress because my sisters were all snitches. So I know, if it was ever found, they were GONNA tell.
My legal team (my sisters) prepare my defense. We couldn't come up with anything, so I confess and plead my sentence down to 2 weeks punishment (the max sentence)

Doing time in the hole wasn't that bad, because it gave me an ace card:

For 2 weeks, I had a servant (Robin).
For months, I held that over their heads. If it was my turn to wash dishes, I could blackmail Robin with: "What if mama found out about Green Eggs and Ham, tho?"

I had forgotten this story until today, when my sister texted:

"Remember when you got in trouble for Dr. Seuss?"
I had totally forgotten about it. But I've actually had this conversation with my mom about insulating us from whiteness like this and she explained why.

The belief that a Black child cannot realize their humanity in the presence of whiteness had nothing to do with white people
She had nothing against Fred Sanford or George & Weezy. Or the Hardy Boys. Or white people.

The few representations of Black people on TV & in books were WHITE PEOPLE'S versions of us. Not necessarily negative as much as they are stratified...Sassy or subservient. Poor or lucky
The criminal or the hero. Our existence is defined by how white people see us.

As an adult, I realize what mother went through for this experiment. Checking every book, teaching us at home, checking our TV habits.

It sounds like a LOT of labor. And it was.
Most white people can't comprehend what that's like. I honestly believe that the reason a lot of white people think I'm "the real racist" is because I never learned how to care what white people think. There is a subtle, subconscious deference to whiteness that MOST of us have
But here's the thing: I understand why they can't understand it. Who cares if Dr. Seuss was racist one time in that one book? Should he be canceled?

They don't realize that the ONLY time a Black child saw themselves in a Seuss book was in a racist illustration.
They can't comprehend because, even if there's 1 bad characterization of whiteness, there are ONE HUNDRED other characters in the book. Even when the villain in the TV show is white, so is the hero...And the hero's sidekick...And the lawyer...And the cop...And judge...
And the anchor on the news...And the weatherman...And the QB...And the commentator...And everyone except the ONE Black person.

The point is: THEY GET TO CHOOSE!

The only way to stop a Black child from ingesting this inescapable harm is to LITERALLY insulate them from whiteness
The ONLY way to prevent them from looking into society's mirror & seeing a white man's caricature of their reflection is to build a white people-free cocoon.

But it's hard for them to imagine what it's like when books, TV, movies, etc. have predetermined how the world sees u
My mom manufactured a bizarro world where white people were the minority, they did not control the narrative and Black was the default.

The whites are absolutely right about one thing, though. Y'all canceled Dr. Seuss.

Trust me, I know.

I was today years old when I realized:
I grew up in a "cancel culture."

Thank you
Thank you
Black, I am.

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More from @michaelharriot

Jun 19
Yall wanna hear how the fear of Black ppl's freedom led to a plot to establish White Wakanda, Trump's impeachment, Jan 6, congressional stagnation, the crack epidemic, mass shootings, the South almost winning the Civil War

And what it all has to do with Juneteenth?

A thread
First, let's get rid of the idea that there were "very few white slaveowners." It's just not true.

One in 3 white Southerners were slave-owners.

How can that be true? Well, 75% of whites are homeowners. But there 230 million whites & only 83 million owner-occupied homes. How?
Just because your name isn't on the mortgage, if you live in a house that's owned by a parent, family member or spouse, you're a homeowner.

That's the only way 400,000 ppl can control 4 million slaves. For instance, on James Island, SC, there were ~1500 ppl.

1200 were enslaved
Read 35 tweets
Jun 3
I thought I’d answer the numerous emails & DM inquiries bc it seems like a lot of people with American flags emojis in their profile pic are very interested in hearing a response.

Here’s why I haven’t “politicized” or condemned shootings by gangbangers or Black guys

A thread:
First of all, I'm lactose intolerant.

Every time I go to McDonalds, I tell them that I don't want cheese on my Quarter Pounder AT LEAST 3 times. It's not because I like repeating myself, it's because 50% of the time, they will do it REGARDLESS.

This never happens at BK.
Now, I don't think BK hates me. I don't think Mcdonald's loves me. I don't even think Mickey Ds has better burger fixers. There's a very good reason why this happens.

See, the default Whopper does not come with cheese. If you want cheese, you have to tell them to add it.
Read 25 tweets
May 21
I’m in Buffalo and—having reported on TOO MANY of these kinds of tragic incidents over the years, there are some things that still fascinate me.

A thread.
1. There is a “Black Community”

In tragedy, Black people find solace in coming together. I’m don’t mean the vigils, funerals or organized events, I’m talking about the place where gather all night eating & listening to music (there’s ALWAYS a grill, bag chairs & music)
2. You can ALWAYS count on…

If there IS a formal vigil or community event, some people will ALWAYS be there

-at least one spoken word poet
-someone selling fried fish
-the Hebrew Israelites
-the local Black motorcycle club
-a white acoustic guitarist
-t-shirt vendors
Read 12 tweets
May 21
Sometimes I sit back with a buddha sack
My mind in another world, thinkin':
How can we exist through the facts
Written in school textbooks, Bibles, et cetera
Fuck a school lecture, the lies get me vexed, yeah
I'm a block away from hell
not enough shots away from stray shells
An ounce away from a triple beam
Still using a hand-held weight scale
You're laughing, you know the place well
Where the liquor stores & base dwell
And government? Fuck government,
niggas politic theyselves
It's parts of Manila like the video for "Thriller"
But the US Embassy is reminiscent of a villa
If poverty is chocolate & privilege vanilla
Then what's the flavor of the preacher's pedophilia?
Cash rules everything around these niggas
As classrooms everywhere around me wither
Read 4 tweets

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