How y’all feeling? Last week was… something, wasn’t it?
January 6th is going to go down in history, as the day a bunch of homegrown American white supremacists and terrorists, emboldened by sir Cheeto, infiltrated Capitol Hill.
People fucked around, found out, and died. American police and military were found to have assisted and participated. It was a MESS.
But I’m not really here to talk about what happened. We all saw it.
Instead, I’m touching on something that has been confusing for some non-Black folks. And that is all of the posts, comments and memes, about the Capitol attack, coming out of Black Facebook and Black Twitter.
Obligatory quick definition of Black Twitter and Black Facebook: It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s the Black sections of these social media sites. Got it? Good, moving on.
Like all cultures, we have our own cultural norms, references, views, humor, etc, and almost nowhere does it shine more brightly, than on social media. Because one thing Black people gon do is laugh about stuff – especially stuff that isn’t necessarily considered appropriate. Roasting, joning, whatever we call it based on geographical location, we do it.
We enjoy laughing and we also laugh to work through pain, so yeah, we laugh a lot.
We put a Black twist on everything. We make sure ya know where we’re coming from, how we see it, how things would be different, if we did it.
Add all that together, plus January 6th, and you have a ton of content being produced by Black Twitter and Facebook.
As always, some of the content seeped out of Black spaces and were caught, so to speak, by mainstream America – causing mass confusion. Here is some of them:
“Please know Black folks don’t necessarily care, we just laughing at the hypocrisy.
Y’all can burn that shit to the ground honestly.” Raveenthedream
“Also Black people stay at
home. This ain’t our fight.
Let this country deal with the
monsters they created.” monetxchange
Then there were the memes. The memes pulled pictures and quotes from Black references and added some humor. So there were Friday memes and Boyz In Da Hood memes about insurrectionists getting shot. Faces of insurrectionists superimposed on Jordan crying memes, lots of “sips tea” and “unbothered” posts, and any and everything in between. Content was being put out every few seconds.
And some white and non-Black people were appalled. They didn’t understand all the posts where Black people were saying this isn’t our fight, they didn’t understand the jokes, they didn’t understand the clear callousness and indifference. They just didn’t understand ..a lot.
So I’m here to kind of explain. I’m going to briefly pull from a couple of my past IWW’s, first up is AAVE.
AAVE is African American vernacular – our dialect and language.
Codeswitching is how we change up the way we speak, when we are around or talking to white on non-Black people. An example? The way that I write these IWWs is different than how I speak to fam and friends, because my audience is mixed. Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t throw in nods to how I normally speak here and there, but the vast majority is different.
The cultural divide is the immense disparity in cultural knowledge between mainstream culture and Black culture. An example I’ve used previously, was that Black people are pretty much all aware of white cultural things, like music, TV and all-around media. But very few white people are knowledgeable about the Black versions (sans the things that have become more well known like rap music) of these things. There are entire celebrities, references, views and community deemed important people/things/places in Black culture, that mainstream and/or white culture is unaware of.
Now take all of these descriptions, and then think about how that translates to major events, and how Black people communicate with each other.
When we’re speaking to each other, we don’t have to think about how we formulate our sentences and how it’ll be perceived. We can be completely honest. We can keep it 100.
How does this relate to the memes and content that I mentioned earlier? Let’s call back to the first one: “Please know Black folks don’t necessarily care, we just laughing at the hypocrisy. Y’all can burn that shit to the ground honestly.”
There were hella white folks who were upset about posts like this one. How could Black people NOT care?? This is their country too.
History, hypocrisy and ever-present experiences, are the answer.
As much as there are those of us who teach or lead or whatever it is you want to call it, Black people, as a whole, are very much aware of what things are “our” fight and what things aren’t. Sure, white supremacy and its followers are constantly a problem for us. But that’s just it, it’s constantly a problem for us, so January 6th was just another drop in the bucket. And if we’re being honest, this was white folks mad at other (mostly) white folks.
Black people clearly have a lane, and the events of January 6th, didn’t really involve us – not directly, not on that day, at least.
I mean, white supremacists were simultaneously in cahoots with AND fighting against the police. Insert wildly popular meme of two people fighting, aptly titled “the police” and “white supremacy,” with a third person in the back, looking on and smiling, titled “Black people.” That sums it up better than anything I could say.
As for any reference/post/meme to the terrorists who died – for those who asked if we truly were indifferent and found it funny, let me clear that up for you…Yes, yes, the laughter and indifference were genuine. I hate to disappoint you (not really), but that’s just what it is.
We see the difference in how we were treated during BLM protests and how the terrorists were.
We peep how the terrorists are spoken about favorably in the media, and we have how murdered Black people are spoken about, to use in contrast.
We instantly picked up on how the police WEREN’T shooting everyone on sight. How they showed discernment and restraint. Imagine that. They DO know how not to kill people. Well, as long as they’re white. If you’re told to back up several times, while trying to jump through the window of the House floor, results may vary.
We had a different reaction to the Black police officer, who saved the day and led the terrorists away from the open House door. We knew, that he knew, that his best defense against them, was his Blackness. That their hatred for him, would override their main mission. He was right.
We noticed the white people, who are saying that this isn’t our country – how even Joe Biden said that we’re greater than this, this isn’t us. To which Black people collectively said LMFAO, GTFOH, and “you a lie.”
As Childish Gambino once said, “this is America.” No, America is not “better than this.” Yes, America has always been like “this.” It just depends on whether you’ve had your eyes closed to who America really is and whether you’ve ignored how they’ve treated certain groups of people.
If you thought this was going to be a post where I soothed your worries, said “no, no, Black people don’t mean what we’re saying,” I’m not sorry to burst your bubble.
We laughed (are laughing), were indifferent (immensely so), sipped tea (in the spirit of “oh how different it would be, if it were we), watched in amusement (the petty was in full force) and underneath it all, the sobering truth of how massively different we’re treated in this country, consistently hummed in our head.
We said (and posted) what we said, and we meant it.
When JanayB isn’t posting memes, scrolling through “wokebook” posts, ordering food and otherwise being your typical millennial, you can find her here destroying white tears and basking in her unapologetic blackness. Get in touch with her at JanayBsays@gmail.com.