Black people in this country have gone by all kinds of “official” names over the years – Negro, Colored, African-American, Black.
We’ve never been just American…there’s always been a qualifier of some sort, good or bad. That’s because the plight and the history of Black America has had a unique trajectory. It is unlike that of any other minority population in the world. In fact, Black Americans have been so utterly effective in their struggles to be seen and afforded their God-given rights that it opened up the rest of the country to other minority populations from around the world.
We are a “melting pot” not only because of immigration, but because of how Black people made America a desirable place for all people of color.
And that’s what leads me to this op-ed. Since the “Broad Squad” came on the scene we have been incessantly barraged with rage rants about “people of color” and “women of color” and “brown people.” I myself have come to use these terms more than I care to, only because they are now a part of the vernacular.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t resent it.
Being a “woman of color” is not the same thing as being a Black woman, and yet the progressive Left has decided it is. A woman of Indian or Mexican heritage may possibly find herself coming up against some kind of discrimination here and there but it is not, nor will it ever be the same thing as what Black women have faced in this nation historically and to this day.
Not even close.
I resent having to tie my heritage to that of other people who may have no history in this country prior to 40 or 50 years ago; people who don’t have communities that still deal with the fallout of slavery, Jim Crow, and the bloody civil rights struggle. Why should Ayanna Pressley be forced to share the national stage with three other women whose communities and ancestors have absolutely zero ties to the struggles of Black Americans?
It isn’t fair and when I see Pressley standing with the rest of the Broad Squad I think she knows it…and I think she resents it. She is by far the most articulate and intelligent member of that crew, and the only one with actual ties to the minority community that literally built this country on their backs. Yet she’s standing in the background, only getting the mic when AOC decides it’s time.
It is erasure of the saddest kind.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m fine if other minority groups want to lump themselves in with each other with this whole POC thing. There’s a shorthand in it all that’s valuable and I get that. I just don’t think Black Americans want or deserve to be tied to their watered-down version of “the struggle.”
Because that’s what this is – a naked attempt to hijack the unique civil rights struggles of Black America in order to hitch a ride to Victim Town. When women like Pressley are forced to lump her heritage and American experience in with those who are not “African-American/Black” she is being forced to pour water into her ancestral soup. She is forced to be brown instead of Black.
There is so much power in blackness that these women and others like them on the Left are desperate to pretend they know the struggle to siphon off even a little bit of that power.
They have no right, and I won’t participate in it.
Maybe people like Rashida Tlaib experience discrimination, but she doesn’t experience the legacy of discrimination. Black America is still digging out from a legacy that began in chains. Sometimes we’ve helped ourselves and sometimes we’ve hurt ourselves, but the reality is that roots matter, and Black American roots are deep.
No other minority community in this country has experienced the same rates of poverty, unemployment, broken homes, under-education or incarceration as the Black community. How dare anyone try to pretend that being “brown” is the only thing you need to be able to tailgate on the Black experience? It is an offense of the highest order. That the progressive Left keeps getting away with it is infuriating.
What is worse, they’ve only made things worse for the Black community they’re using as a stepladder. They’ve been playing the POC race card so often and so easily that the term “racism” has become nearly meaningless. It is still a term that has deep meaning for the present and past of Black America, but now it’s been reduced to a hashtag, weaponized for the use of people who have neither the experience nor heritage to understand what it truly means in this country.
Keep your WOC, your POC, your whatever. I don’t care.
Leave Black folks out of it. At the end of the day, the “POC” crowd is no better than the “white supremacists” they claim to fight…they’re just erasing Black representation and calling it “help.”
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