Written and Illustrated by Koriander Bullard
Okay, it’s time to dispel another internet hoax. White people, read carefully. You’ve been the mass victim of a misunderstanding turned viral threat, and we need to clear the air.
Under no circumstances do we colored folk want you to be “ashamed” of your history as you have tried to make us.
Don’t make that face, it’ll stick that way. You know what you did.
Every time a Black person tries to achieve something great, you quickly remind us of thugs on drugs, who shot who and Kanye West. You bring up rap stars that glorify breaking the law anytime we try to celebrate Rosa Parks, and then you act innocent when we ask you to stop that.
It’s not like we bring up Lindsey Lohan’s criminal record every time one of you does something nice in the media, or Adolf Hitler every time you want to celebrate a strong, White figure, but believe us, we know what you are afraid of. You’re afraid we will turn out just like the man running your favorite, conspiracy happy, pro-Republican, anti-woman, fake news website.
But let me remind you that yes, you do have White people to be very proud of in your culture’s history. Franklin Delano Roosevelt for example turned this country around after the Great Depression, and helped jump-start the Social Security platform your current presidential choice wants to steal from your grandparents. Abraham Lincoln is always a favorite, George Washington, and without Queen Victoria you probably wouldn’t think about punching children at K-Mart to get to that pretty Christmas tree. Jimmy Carter has helped get tons of families off the streets through his charity, which also provides on the job education in building homes.
In celebrities, you should be proud of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which sadly, has been misused and misrepresented by the media for a century. She took her pain from losing a child and transformed it into the act of writing a novel that forced people to talk about slavery in a new light, that’s a very strong figure you should be proud of. Paul Newman and Dave Thomas both went to their graves establishing businesses that not only provide us with tasty junk food, but also keep kids alive, educated and sheltered. As far as White men in history go, those two should be canonized for sainthood. Want someone current? Dolly Parton! This beautiful angel has done more to save children than most anyone you can think of.
These men and women are important figures in your history, and you should be very proud to call them your own. As you would say about our heroes, they are all a credit to your kind.
So then why do we get angry when you scream out “White Power” you ask? Simple.
Most of the people stamping their feet, beating their chests and exclaiming “White Power” are usually hiding under white bedsheets, wearing questionable red arm bands or otherwise referring to President Obama as the n-word. Let’s face it, the only people using the term have been racists.
“White Power” is not a term that elicits friendly images of saintly characters in White history. It is instead a term linked with the images of grown men lynching little Black boys, separated water fountains, burning crosses, water hoses and old, usually fat, racist, Christian men, throwing public temper tantrums, spouting out misinformation and waiving the flag of a defeated confederate army.
And no, you can stop pretending this is “just about slavery” as you wrongfully dismiss us as being uppity Negroes. It goes deeper than that. But you know what? Let’s talk about that for just a second.
True, we aren’t exactly thrilled that you chained up our ancestors, gave us Christian names, whipped us, beat us and made us do the labor now reserved for illegal immigrants, but slavery didn’t stop there. You sold apart families. You raped us, produced mixed race babies, and then what did you do with them? You either killed them at birth, mated them off like cattle to the darkest of your “property” as soon as they hit puberty, or you sold them as sex gifts, because a “High Yella Negro” was considered to be an exotic present. You beat children until they couldn’t walk, just for the crime of trying to learn how to read, used them to fetch your cotton and tobacco, and then threw the world’s biggest hissy fit when we wanted our freedom.
But no, slavery was not the end. Not by a long shot. In fact it’s only been within the last 50 years that most of you have finally decided we were people too. Until then? We were a “thing” in many ways, we still are just barely more than objects the way you expect us to be grateful to you after one of your cops has gone and shot a child under the age of nine because he felt “threatened” by “it” being at play. We had to deal with Jim Crow laws, dealt with you telling your sons that our daughters were the kind you “play with” and not the kind you marry, dealt with you pelting our children with rocks for going to integrated schools, dealt with you burning anything we touched so the color wouldn’t wear off, watched you post signs showing which fountains we could use, which church seats we could sit in and just how far back on the bus we needed to sit to make you feel better.
Now? We have the internet, where you send rape threats to six year old mixed babies who appear with their White and Black parents in Cheerio ads. We watch you insist Beyonce and Jay-Z force their daughter to kill herself because you aren’t happy with her Black features. We watch you disrespect and hack Black celebrities for the nerve of being in mostly White productions. When we are murdered without provocation, and we march in the streets to remind you that our lives matter too, you demand that we stop fighting for our rights to mollycoddle your feelings, and then praise you for it.
Don’t lie. You do hate us. I know you do, because as soon as we had a half-Black president in office, you immediately went to find the most racist, sexist, intolerant wastes of space possible to replace him. You elected Trump and Pence because you want to erase any and all progress done by someone not the same color as you. And the more you lie, and play this make believe that Obama was some sort of tyrant, the more we point out how many things he did like Reagan, Roosevelt and all of the other White men you elected.
You even do this in the media. You white-wash Egypt in almost every film about the country in Africa. Disney couldn’t have a Black princess unless her mother was working for her White best friend’s father. Most of the Black Barbie friends sold to our daughters don’t even have names, and almost every “I have a Black friend” production has to have said Black friend spout some stereotypical rap, catchphrase or have the character be a “bitch” or a pot head, but you only want the “street life” on your terms of course.
And please don’t let a Black wrestler be proud of his championship, unless he gives equal praise to John Cena.
Do you see yet why we’ve been angry for so long? We don’t scream “Black Power” or “Black lives matters” because we want to erase your history as you have done to ours, it’s because we have to remind you that we are people too and that we deserve to have our rights, our history preserved the same as yours.
We have to remind our children that they are allowed to be proud of their Black heritage. We have to remind our children that they have any power at all.
You never will.
Your children will always be reminded of “White Power” as long as they have access to television.
Despite what you like to pretend, your children will never have to be told why they should be proud of their heritage.
Koriander Bullard is an author, cartoonist and human rights advocate. Keep up with her on Facebook!