Class is in session.
Please take the nearest available seat and pay close attention. You will be given a test on solidarity and systems analysis immediately following.
Now, we all know what victim-blaming is. But allow me to introduce the concept of victim-shaming. Victim-shaming, is a practice governments deploy when an informed citizen publicly details how said government is oppressive, thusly revealing its oppressive practices to an uninformed citizenry.
Knowing that a collective awareness of the oppressive practices of a government could result in revolution, said government mobilizes to neutralize the threat of an informed citizen. In this case, said government deploys its subsidiaries to rally uninformed citizens to invalidate and ostracize the informed citizen. When this happens, the informed citizen is ultimately made to appear unintelligent and undeserving of audience within the uninformed citizenry.
In the case of Kanye West, an informed citizen and Black intellectual/entrepreneur, the government, is racist capitalism, and the governmental subsidiary being deployed to invalidate him is the mass media industrial complex.
If you plan to be an “activist”, “revolutionary”, or “critical thinker” you’d be behooved to take notes.
The dilemma of being a Black intellectual, is that it is oxymoronic in a government/world that demands Black ignorance.
The dilemma of being a Black entrepreneur, is that it bucks the authority of a government/world that demands Black people consume more than they create.
So much so, that it methodically deploys all of its subsidiaries/industries/uninformed citizens to discredit that which is created by the rogue Black intellectual/entrepreneur. Examples of racist capitalistic industries are: the non-profit industrial complex, prison industrial complex, educational industrial complex, healthcare industrial complex and any other industry that is birthed via the consummation of racism and capitalism.
However, for the purpose of this lesson we will focus specifically on the mass media industrial complex.
The mass media industrial complex deploys the industries of music, film, literature, fashion, and the like to generate propaganda that supports racist capitalist ideology.
Stay with me class.
As an “ally” to oppressed people you will undoubtedly meet a Black intellectual/entrepreneur/person who will have had such a traumatizing and subsequently transmogrifying experience with victim-shaming and racist capitalism that they will often times be fatigued, dejected, and abrasive. But students, you mustn’t, I repeat, mustn’t allow this to deter you from being an ally. For this, is the work!
If you aim to “community build”. Understand! Community building is not easy, the people you build with will invariably have more experience with being oppressed than not being oppressed. However, you must remember that their accounts of oppression are valid and not to, say it with me class, “VICTIM-SHAME”. Well done!
Aight, I’se tired of talking a la Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds. This ain’t 94′, and I ain’t here to save yawl. I’m jus finna drop knowledge fa dose who want to do more than engage in cafeteria critical thinking.
So let’s get it.
Contrary to popular belief, activism and revolution are not the same thing.
Activism, is delegation of social awareness and influence into specific causes that oppress people.
Revolution, is delegation of change into specific governments/subsidiaries/industries that facilitate oppression.
Activism/movement is interpersonal. Revolutions, are industrial. Activism/movement happens amongst like-minded people out to effect change. Revolution, is how change is affected.
What do I mean?
Money equals access. Access equals resources. Resources equal power. Power equals freedom.
For my generation: “Money, power, respect. Dat’s tha key to lifeee”- Lil’ Kim.
To my elders: The Civil Rights Movement, was just that, a movement. The Montgomery Bus Boycott on the other hand, was a revolution.
Black/POC folk, the time has come. The time has come not to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, but to start buying stock in bootstraps, creating boots, and owning businesses that sale boots, or whatever equivalent to that you can create. Black people have been trained by racist capitalism to fear power the way a puppy fears a vacuum. White people/pet owners know that power/a vacuum is nothing to be afraid of. But to make sure Black people/pets never acquire/chew up the vacuum chord, they turn on the vacuum/racist capitalism, making the vacuum/power appear as a terrorizing monster/inaccessible reality. Power is made unsavory and impossible to Black people to racist capitalism’s perpetuation and our oppression.
If you don’t believe me research Black Wall Street. I implore you, watch the harrowing documentary on Youtube. Black Wall Street was an affluent and self-sustained Black neighborhood ran and operated by Black people in the early 1920′s. “Black Wall Street”, called that due to the sheer economic power and resources former Black slaves and sharecroppers amassed by creating their own economic and cultural oasis was burned to cinders by jealous white citizens in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
History offers the fight for integration as another merciless deployment of racist capitalism. Black people steadfastly fought for the right to have access to all things whites had access to via the Civil Rights Movement, particularly schools. And Black people got their “integration” sure enough. Integration merely came at the expense of a governmental divestment of funding to integrated schools across the United States of America, which is to blame for why the public school system today is so deplorable.
These examples are racist capitalism at its finest. And this is what Kanye West and every other Black intellectual/entrepreneur actively seeks to confront. Am I reaching? Look at it dis way. Since racist capitalism embeds itself in every aspect of our lives, one should be able to deduce that on this “freedom ride”, every seat needs a filler.
The prolific Audre Lorde keenly stated, “You cannot dismantle the masters house by using the masters tools”.
Thank you Mama Lorde! Can I ask you a question though? What if you jus wanna use da massa tools ta build a house fa yoself? I mean, after all you dun built so many houses fa massa as it is. Wat if you jus wanna build a house fa u, fa once and fa all? A house you can live in, raise yo family in, grow old in, den pass down from generation to generation, jus like massa.
Still with me? Okay.
The mass media industrial complex is basically telling Kanye West and every other Black intellectual/entrepreneur that you can’t be Black and intelligent. You gotta choose.
Why Kanye? Why? Why can’t you just accept the statistics we’ve amassed that scientifically prove all Black people are only genetically capable to do is aerodynamically propel themselves through mid-air and slam-dunk, or enrapture us with the ancient African negress art of weave choreography? And oh yeah, give birth to more Black children. Black children racist capitalism and its subsidiary, the mass media industrial complex can then brainwash! Brainwash into becoming uninformed citizens who consume more than they create and fear power the way a dog fears vacuums.
Please don’t get defensive. I’m not a middle-aged white man who teaches sociology and economics. I’m a Black transwoman intellectual/entrepreneur who just knows poverty and racism quite intimately. Also, please don’t bill me for the computer you no doubt involuntarily just vomited unto upon said revelation.
“Delusional” “Egomaniacal’ “Narcissistic” “Walking contradiction”
Why does “mainstream America” lambast Kanye West for being a Black intellectual, but herald Macklemore and other non-Black intellectuals for reiterating our sentiments.
Kanye West, just like every other Black intellectual/entrepreneur, personifies the, “double consciousness”. The depressing and inescapable reality of knowing that who you are, and what you can contribute to the world will always be intercepted by your blackness. In short, Kanye West is oppressed and he knows it. He may not say it in the most eloquent of manners. But as a person who was sexually abused, I too often times lack the delicateness required whilst elaborating on my experiences of being fuckin raped. So who are you to tell the hurt how to holla?
Kanye West, just like all Black intellectuals/entrepreneurs actively seeks to shift the paradigm of racist capitalism. Racist capitalism, you know, the form of government that legally declares all Black people as chattel, denouncing their humanity, then forces them to worship God. I don’t know about you, but who teaches their pets religion?
North America, the land of the free, that just so happens to have the largest prison population on earth. You can say people don’t have to become their environments, but I ask you? Can a fish swim without getting wet?
Class isn’t dismissed!
Now, now that you’re thinking critically, ask yourself this. How is a Black person expressing discontent with the mental and cultural ghetto racist capitalism has forced them into contradictory? If it is, to what? Black people across the planet are summilarily caged by oppressive governments, but placed on pedestals for our cultural influence and bodies at the same time. So are all Black people walking contradictions? Isn’t being contradictory a part of nature anyway?
Yin and yang anyone? Cis and trans? Would you care for a drink of fire and water on the rocks?
To be a Black intellectual/entrepreneur, is the psycho-social equivalent to being a dog walking on its hind legs. So Kanye West is indeed a “walking contradiction”. All Black intellectuals/entrepreneurs are. Furthermore, being a “walking contradiction” is part of being human. And why is a Black person being human, so irritating to you? Can we discuss that? If you’re not prepared to discuss the history and practices of racist capitalism then don’t start a discussion at all. When you pathologize Black intellectuals/entrepreneurs/people you acquiesce not only capitalistic racism but ableism as well.
While we’re on the subject, why do we victim-shame Black people? Why does the idea of a Black man being a victim flabbergast you?
Kanye West is actively disproving the stereotype of the unambitious Black man, emotionally unavailable Black man, and dead-beat dad Black man all in one fail swoop. And all you can say is, “We don’t care about yo rich nigga problems”?
Gwendolyn Brooks astutely purported that, “We are each others harvest”.
So watchu sayin son?
Ignorance may indeed ensure happiness, but it doesn’t guarantee security. Wanna know what does? You guessed it. Revolution! You can work 200 hours a week on the non-profit plantation if you want to. But as a Black transwoman intellectual/entrepreneur, I’se been dere, dun dat, and got laid off.
An inability to comprehend that freedom isn’t free, can be either naiveté or obliviousness, but it damn sho ain’t realistic.
I understand Kanye West and his recognition, not “feeling” of enslavement. Why? Because Kanye West reminds me of myself. As a Black transwoman, I am enslaved by laws in a world that repudiates my right to exist on even the most minute of scales. I am systematically shut out from every form of financial and cultural institution and relegated to the margins of life. Why? Muthafuckin racist capitalism, that’s why! As a Black transwoman, the world can only see me as a sex worker. As a cis Black man, the world can only see Kanye West as a rapper. And as cis/trans Black intellectuals/entrepreneurs/people, the world, refuses to see any of us as important, let alone visionaries. Which is unassailably what Kanye West is. Which is what I am. Which is what Harriet Tubman, Cesar Chavez, Sylvester, Malcolm X, Squanto, and many more were. No, not in the same way, but in the same movement, battling the same racist capitalism.
We create space for racist capitalism everyday, known or unbeknownst to us. When will we create space for Kanye West and every other Black intellectual/entrepreneur? When will we make space for Black/POC that doesn’t require merely our submission to racist capitalism but corporealizes our collective economic potential within said system? Cuz like it or not, that is the “revolution”. Ase.
This piece is a prelude to KOKUMO magazine. KOKUMO magazine launches May 2014 exclusively via KOKUMOMEDIA.COM. KOKUMO magazine will be a digital quarterly magazine dedicated to all things black, trans, and revolutionary. KOKUMO magazine will hosts guest contributors from Laverne Cox to Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler and much, much more. What does KOKUMO mean you ask? KOKUMO is Yoruba for, “This one will not die”. Get it?