For Harriet: Black Communities Must Strive for Solidarity not Respectability

I recently read a post from a friend on social media which read “Michael Brown isn’t a horse I want to hitch my wagon to.” Phrases like this are predictable given the increased racial tension following Darren Wilson’s non-indictment in early December. However, when they come from Blacks themselves, they underscore an insidious commitment to respectability politics which leaves no room for the humanity of Black victims of police brutality. Further, they signal the need for dialogue on systemic oppression not just with White Americans but within Black communities.

Many Whites maintain that the election of President Obama signaled a collective movement beyond the issues of race and racism in this country. According to them, America being post-racial means any remaining disparities are attributable to individual and community failures rather than institutional racism. However, the lived experiences of Blacks in the US proves otherwise.

Black male teens are twenty-one times more likely to be killed by police than White male teens. Black women, too, are frequently killed by law enforcement, but we just rarely hear about it. The false pretense of the saintly redeeming power of the Black First Family hasn’t signaled forward movement for Black Americans. Instead, it has acted as a cloaking device for racial hatred while perpetuating the mounting tensions between Black citizens and the authorities meant to “serve and protect” them.

Read the full article at For Harriet.