I have been on a “race” discovery journey. This is how I sum it up:
- Birth to Teenage years. All was good. A diverse neighborhood meant that my friends were from all over the place: Laos, Vietnam, the Caribbean, Israel, Turkey, etc… I was also shielded by the crest of ignorance, not realizing what was happening around me.
- Teenage years. Changes started to happen. People hanged out more within their communities but still with long term friends.
- College. First step change. I went from a diverse neighborhood to a wealthy monochrome environment. Still my education was telling me that we are all French, and all had the same chances to succeed. When you trust that, there are no reasons to challenge why France is not capturing any statistics related to race e.g. Maghrebians unemployment rate, Blacks in prison, diversity in colleges.
- First job, first shock. A racist joke in the office. The joke was not about Blacks, but if I had not been in the room it could have been.
- Expatriation to the UK. I suspect that British diversity in the Financial industry was for the love of money. Plenty of diversity in high paying positions. But I could not help to notice that Maghrebians were salespeople for other the Middle East, Blacks for wealthy Nigerians investors. Oh well, that is still progress I told myself.
- Expatriation to the US. $hit hit the fan. Black MBA associations at Columbia, The Black elite clubs in New York. Real data about how communities thrive but also the areas where things seriously suck. It was rough to digest, but it felt good to take the red pill, be aware of the real situation. Be woke and contribute.
- Today. My friend posted this article called “black girl responds to “Straight Black Men Are the White People of Black People”. That article explains how Black men are mistreating Black women, and it is convincing!
Confronted to my own bias, I decided to research the topic and process all that information through this blogpost. I did some research and found another article that made me wonder if I confused the red pull with the blue pill, “The 4:44 Effect“. That article shed light on how Jay Z 4:44 and its footnotes reinforces the views of cishet Black men and their abuses of black women.
I praised Jay Z for its footnotes in my previous blogpost here, here and here. I believed that he was pushing the woke agenda, talking to Black people the way they we could relate, bringing other influencers to contribute. All that was true. I just failed to see that only cishet Black men talk in the footnotes. And if you only elevate their views, it automatically means that you belittle Black women, in one way or another. Just like white men do to Black men. Pause there for a second. It killed me. I do to Black women, what I advocate against. All that unconsciously.
What to do?
- Don’t deny the issue, own it. If you do not know how to fix the problem, at least do not deny that the problem exist. Imagine if you broke your arm and someone told you “get over it, this is life”.
- Engage Black women. I do not know the answer. But I know that we are starting from such a low point, that if you genuinely try that will be a huge improvement.
- Don’t be silent, advocate. Someone makes a bad joke about minorities, the minimum you must say is “this is offensive to [fill in the blank], you should not belittle people that way”
At this point in the post you should feel a little uncomfortable. If you are not, read the post once again and read the links. And if by miracle you still believe that this does not apply to you, please enlighten all of us and leave a comment.