Right-to-Label

I can’t get this story out of my head. For another rundown of the White Guy Yells at Black Guy Questioning Why There Aren’t Any Black People at the Major Conservative Convention of the Year and Gets the Black Man Pushed Out, check DailyKos here. The man’s question is, of course, a canard. If he really was curious all he would need to do is check out video and transcripts from prior years at CPAC. People of Color are not welcome there. Largely, neither are women. (For more proof from today, check out this charmer here). But the point of asking questions isn’t necessarily out of curiosity as it is provocation. In a zone where minorities and women do not feel safe, provocation is a good thing. 

But what stuck with me among many, many other concerns was this insistence by the Arguing White Man that the Questioning Black Man isn’t “Black.” No, to AWM and other White Supremacists, the ability to label oneself is reserved for White Males. These same people who will argue that Obama cannot be Black, he is “Half-Black, Half-White” – despite the fact that he claims his Blackness. The same people who spent a good century arguing that a person who has a great-great grandparent of African descent is immediately qualified as Negro. The same people who had associated violence with a Spanish name for a color and are angry they are not allowed to use that term anymore.

The same people who try to apply the adjective “illegal” to human beings who are, in turn, dehumanized, detained under inhumane conditions, and deported under anti-family measurements. Yet many of these same people have the audacity to use the term “pro-life” on themselves. The same people who love to talk of dividing people into two groups: Good, Law Abiding Citizens and Criminals. Only the Criminals (or the “mentally insane”) would do something bad with a gun. Only the Criminals would or could rape a woman. Only the Criminals are suspicious and would steal from Good, Law-Abiding Citizens (they obviously don’t know how banking works). Only the Criminals don’t obey the law at every time and therefore have something to fear from the police. Essentially, even criminal behavior has been racialized. Or, in another perspective, non-whites have been criminalized.

But only they can tell us when and how to identify ourselves. Being mixed-race, I’m not cool with that. Nobody else gets to tell me who I am after I’ve been ostracized from every club there is for not being “pure” enough.

But being human, I’m also not cool with that.

Why is anyone?

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