Today is September 11, 2015. This marks yet another anniversary of the attacks on the United States that occurred on September 11, 2001 where planes were flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan.
This year’s anniversary has proven to be no different than any of the anniversaries prior where a large number of Black people on social networking sites have made posts and pictures basically arguing that the terrorism that has been a part of the reality of Black people in America for centuries far outweighs any event visited upon this country. Whether or not I find the memes to be clever and whether or not I feel any resonance with their sentiments, you will not see me revel in or share them…
My reasoning is simple.
As I have previously and will continue to maintain, white privelege, as the reality under which we live, directly interrupts our humanity and our ability to connect to the humanity of others, even in the face of their immense suffering. When we are dealing with white supremacy we are dealing with power dynamics. The fact of the matter is: sharing these images and regurgitating these sentiments might sound like a revolutionary act but in fact it is actually reinforcing our powerlessness in status to affect our own circumstance, our social stratification and the very events that surround us in general as well as the conversations that matter most in this country. Even as we share these images and make these statements and jokes the only ones who are seeing them are those who are like-minded; other black people who either have no power to do anything about what it is that we are saying or actually take no steps to assert any power over the circumstances about which we are complaining. We are reinforcing the fact that we are of people who really know what’s going on but we just always keep that silent “knowing” and it really never amounts to much else and it still does not affect the mainstream conversation, let alone effecting any change.
In this time of #Blacklivesmatter and everything else that has been going on, I affirm that Black lives mattered to me yesterday, they matter to me today and they will matter to me tomorrow. In regards to 9/11 commemorations or anything else about it, I’ll simply remain silent, and stay on my consistent path, concerned with the state of my people. I assert that I understand the power dynamics with which we are dealing and that my people’s voices are marginalized. I attempt, in no matter how much of a small way to be one of the ones actively working toward changing the conversation with an understanding of what narrative creation actually is. Having said that, there was no need for me to make open displays online to basically reinforce the idea that my people are powerless. I would much rather teach them where their power truly lies… in the telling of our own stories, in the education of ourselves and in the protection of one another, even if only our psyches.