2019 is the much-needed restart we all need. I believe this year will bring us clarity and lead us to the greatness we are destined to achieve. I can’t speak for anyone else when I say this, but I feel as though, 2018 was the year that people showed their true colors. 2018, in my opinion, was the year everyone’s hidden agendas were revealed. Some issues we’ve been facing might habe started years ago, but 2018 was the spiritual breaking point for us. Even within my life, I can say, there were numerous events and people in 2018 that made me step up and say “no more”. 2018 (and 2017 to be honest) was the year I had to turn my savage up and hurt some feelings. People got a little too comfortable being disrespectful in multiple aspects of life and that includes the work of activism.
For those who know me personally, been reading my blog, or following me on social media, you know that I’ve been vocal about my activism for human rights, especially for black people. I’ve attended or helped organize some of the biggest marches and rallies, I’ve frequently promoted (and still shop) at black-owned businesses, and supported organizations whether they were big or small. It started in college and I continued it after I graduated. It was fun and cool being a part of something that made a difference and changed lives. It was cool seeing organizers and politicians I worked with make the front page of known newspapers. It was great networking with people who had the same love for black people as you do, to be apart of a community that would support your endeavors and much as you support theirs, but little by little I realized their love for black people wasn’t the same as mines. At first I thought maybe I was being too dramatic or too into my feelings, but I realized your feelings are your feelings and you shouldn’t ignore them to make others around you comfortable.
It started at first with small stuff, snide remarks, unnecessary shade, catty drama, things that most people would ignore or just clap back. Then it grew to the generalization of generations and typical “we did it first” arguments and talks. Then it just became insults, questioning my character, questioning my education, being homophobic, being a misogynist, and gaslighting generations. Then it became victim-blaming rape victims, defending celebrities who’ve been known to commit acts of sexual assault. That’s when I knew something had to change.
In 2018, I spent a bulk of that year around people who questioned my blackness, my sexuality, my education, and my character all because I defended and fought for people that often forgot about. In previous years it has happened but 2018 was the year the tension and the problem grew. It started when I worked with black-owned businesses who indirectly called me lazy yet didn’t pay me on time, underpaid me, and question my work ethic. While working in these same spaces, I would often hear conversations about “the gay agenda”, the media trying to “make kids gay”, and how shows like Empire, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder only promoted dysfunctional black families, black women being “bed wenches”, and steers black women away from black men. In person and even online, I’ve come across people in this circle who vehemently denied the struggles of black youth, black women, and black LGBT members. They denied the financial struggles and the financial gender gaps people experienced even within the black community. They denied the black experience of dealing with homophobia. They constantly told the youth to watch their tone but would talk to people any kind of way. From my own personal experience, I’ve had people talk to me in a disrespectful manner but was reprimanded for reacting, as if I'm supposed to let people talk to me any kind of way.
It’s was weird, seeing men and women defend people who were open and honestly homophobic, yet ignore women and queer people of color who are actually making strides in our community. It was surprising to see women agree with men who blatantly degrade and disrespect them, and blame them for the problems in the black community. It was definitely crazy to do so much work and put so much into action for people to just label me an emotional, entitled millennial. I, along with other people in my age group, we're constantly being told we have work to do...we are doing the work, we’re doing the work you were supposed to do years ago. We’re doing the work you all claimed you already did. The closer we got to 2019, the more I grew tired of fighting struggles within a progressive-claimed community.
It all went downhill when multiple people spoke about the Kevin Hart controversy. The conversation, again, turned into a conversation about the “gay agenda” and how this is an “attack on the black man”. Then the conversations got deeper and more outrageously incorrect; not only were people using textbook definitions of homophobia to justify their logic but comparing homosexuality to zoophilia (the love of animals) and pedophilia. I was stunned; I had to reread some comments and to make sure I wasn’t imagining things or misreading what I saw. So many emotions ran through my mind, the first one was obviously being, “what the fuck?!”. When it all boiled down, I was truly disgusted by these comments because it came from people who I looked up to. It came from people who preached about research, getting the facts, getting the knowledge, and yet still blatantly ignorant issues and not wanting to be held accountable for their actions.
After a year of defending myself, unfriending those who are prejudice, and even asking for refunds and not attending events due to other people’s actions, I decided to take a break from activism. I need to take a break from being pro-black. I’ve learned the hard way not everyone’s definition of pro-black is the same as yours. There are people who are just pro-black man or pro-black cis-gender heterosexuals. I’ve also learned that no matter how many dashikis someone owns, quotes from famous activists someone has memorized, or how many black-owned businesses someone has supported...if your fight for justice excludes others, you’re not fighting for justice or freedom; you’re fighting for privilege.
I need this break. I need it to reevaluate who have I been working with, and who was really fighting the same fight I was. If your community and fight is based on the hatred and turning a blind eye on others, I can’t be a part of it. I will still use my other platforms (including this blog) to speak on social issues, but will I ever get back to activism fully? I highly doubt that, at least not in 2019.