This morning marks the fourth time I've been accused of racial self-loathing within a Gawker Media forum. Let's examine why.
Some time back in the days of Kinja 0.0, I critiqued Issa Rae's acting abilities and the overall production value in Awkward Black Girl. I supported the web series but wished it could rise the to level of unassailable goodness because naysayers will always cite flaws such as these as justification for the industry-wide failure to greenlight POC-focused productions. By making this critique, I was deemed "part of the problem."
On a notable/quotable featuring some Miley Cyrus word salad, I remarked that musical artists, more than any other brand of celebrity, tend to be undereducated and inarticulate, particularly those who begin their careers young. I named four celebrities as examples, two of whom happened to be black. This, I was informed, was unacceptable and clearly indicative of my crabs-in-a-bucket mentality.
On a recent article on Kyosuke's forum, a commenter lamented a case of bystander effect. I replied that empathy can often be a liability in impoverished urban areas. It's viewed as a weakness and sets one up as a future target. Therefore, the onlookers not only failing to help but also laughing and taking video as two women are assaulted was an example of this unfortunate culture dynamic being taken to its inevitable conclusion. I was then promptly whitesplained about being a "self-loathing Negro" and spouting unfounded, prejudiced liberal claptrap. Even those less extreme in their dissent seemed to be begging me to reel back my position, volleying up softer rhetoric in my direction ("It's a mainstream culture issue connected to the patriarchy!") in the hopes that I'd spike it. No, actually, I'm describing a more esoteric phenomena, but thanks for playing. Also, have you never seen The Wire? How do you not even have an inkling of what I'm talking about? They could've chosen to probe the issue deeper with me but reactionary silencing was the preferred position. Why?
Before you dismiss these lone commenters as demagogues, every single one of these people were established and (I assume) regarded well enough to not be considered trolls. The common thread seems to be that shining a light on certain negative aspects of POC culture or leveling even the mildest criticism at specific POC people is strictly verboten —even when they come from the mouths of POCs themselves. Why are those truths so fucking uncomfortable for people to hear? Do non-POCs assume that they fail as allies by even letting these subjects hit their ears? Do POCs reject these examinations because their made in mixed company? Why must we act as the Beygency every time race is mentioned? Can we cut that shit out and just be real?