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White fear and the unbearable reality of Black perfection

December 15, 2016

by Jacqueline Bediako

On Sept. 16, the entire Garfield High School football team in Seattle took a knee during the national anthem, and a month later thousands of Seattle public school teachers wore “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts to school to show solidarity and support for Black students. – Photo: Seattle Times

I ain’t gonna front – I shed tears when Trump and his minions were elected. It was the kind of crying that happens when your eyes get bloodshot and your veins pop out of your forehead. The impending doom that is a Trump presidency is the result of a white America unable to swallow the conspicuousness of Black perfection, and a corollary of white rage.

You got Beyonce calling out police brutality while summoning the ancestral power of Malcolm X and MLK; Kendrick Lamar demonstrating the social control embedded in mass incarceration during a historic Grammy performance; Black people up in arms about unemployment, voter suppression and lack of access to health care; people jumping on police cars, looting shit and disobeying curfews during necessary uprisings.

You got Black intellectuals elaboratin’ on Black freedom, Black power and anti-Blackness. You got people condemning militarized police, low wages, gentrification and other systemic evils. You got Black women functioning as skillful creators – unitin’ marginalized citizens to demand justice.

The impending doom that is a Trump presidency is the result of a white America unable to swallow the conspicuousness of Black perfection, and a corollary of white rage.

You got leaders of the movement reachin’ back to the works of Frederick Douglass, Fred Hampton, Kwame Ture, James Baldwin, Angela Davis and others; people talkin’ about building wealth, buying Black and reparations; Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem, big burgeonin’ afro insulating his complex mind.

Then you got Jesse Williams talking about white supremacy and “just because we’re magic doesn’t mean we’re not real.” You got a Black president all up in The White House – a symbol of Black advancement – unashamedly releasing his intellect and telling people what to do. You got Michelle Obama, Black royalty in heels who is effortlessly articulate and has the confidence to challenge the rising beast.

You got teachers understanding that Black lives matter and filmmakers confronting the ugliness of America’s past.

You got Black people rising from the dead – their voices heard on muffled speakers and their imagery everywhere, Black figures roaming the halls of Southern mansions and Brooklyn brownstones searching for children, lovers and overdue freedom.

You got masses of people talkin’ about how America needs revolution, and an unrestricted Black resilience operating in spirit and physical form.

Jacqueline Bediako

Black people have been shot, burned and lynched, but we did not die. Our hearts and minds have been subject to unspeakable trauma, and still we got back up. Persistence and lightenin’ spits from our fingers and truth is our ammunition.

This is all too much for white America.

Maybe they will come for us while we sleep (wrapped in white sheets with holes cut out for eyes) hoping to obliterate our gifts, but we will dream them out of existence.

Our perfection is our savior and it should not be feared.

Our perfection is our savior and it should not be feared.

Jacqueline Bediako is a Ghanaian writer, teacher and organizer who was born in London, England. After completing her undergraduate studies in England, Jacqueline moved to America. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and has called New York City home for the past eight years. Her work focuses on race, politics, feminism and the education of students with disabilities. Follow her @jb2721.

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