T minus 27 Hours Before Black Lives Don't Matter as Much

 Image Description: The words "Black History Month" are laid out in the shape of the continent of Africa. "Black" and "Month" are both in red, "History" is in black. The "i" in "History" is a forearm and hand, reaching up.  All the other letters seem to each be a different font.

Image Description: The words "Black History Month" are laid out in the shape of the continent of Africa. "Black" and "Month" are both in red, "History" is in black. The "i" in "History" is a forearm and hand, reaching up.  All the other letters seem to each be a different font.

We’re at the very end of Black History Month, and within a few hours it’ll be over, and for another 11 months Black Lives will not matter as much as they do today. February is the shortest month of the year, but this year we get an extra day, as if society is telling us “if you’re good, we’ll give you a little more time.” In my head this is said with a wink and maybe a slap on the ass, just another reminder asserting that we don’t own our bodies. Of course we don’t have control over leap years, but one wonders. When you have learned that everything you’ve ever known was designed to draw you out and end your existence, you question even the smallest details in the genius of a system.

Before I move on, I’d like to say that I am not Black, something anyone would point out. But much of the privilege that I have comes from NOT being black, as if my entire self-worth is based off of others more unworthy of that privilege.

There is privilege in being ‘lighter than’, as if anytime I’m around anyone darker I win the privilege lottery. I hid behind the ‘lighter than’ privilege for years. I hid behind it, and used it for all its worth, hiding in a world where the market for social acceptance does not exist. I was in denial of the market, denying its currency of privilege and that this market dictates almost everything within our lives. Most people believe we live in a materialistic world, but I disagree, we live in a world where currency dictates our lives, each of us seeking more and more privilege and the things that hurt the most are the ones that cause us to lose some of that privilege.

But now, I’m stepping back, meeting that wink with a glare and taking that hand off my ass and saying “No, Thank You!” I will use that privilege that you have given me out of fear of what I can do standing with my black brothers and sisters, to not only be ‘not racist,’ but anti-racist.

I will lose privilege every step of the way, as I become black-balled from certain communities and called an ingrate for turning my back on my privilege, as I become ‘blackified’ according to society, and as the summer sun inches closer and my skin becomes darker and darker, until many assume there’s something wrong with me because I got a dark tan, as if being one or two shades darker changes what I am.

And it does. It strips some of that privilege away, leaving me bare and naked in the sun, getting darker and darker until they can yell out that they knew it all along, that I was an imposter and they expelled me for my betrayal. The privilege, the unnatural order of things, and the injustice are my entire fault, as if they haven’t been there for over 400 years. As if I deserved this, and asked for it.

 Image Description: A red, wooden small-tipped paint brush with some white paint on tip hovers over a white-on-black painting of Malcom X.  Malcom has a serious look peering out through his glasses, and a finger to his temple as if in deep thought, or trying to project his thought to the object of his gaze.. This painting is a creation of Lina Abojaradeh, her signature is on the bottom left, in white.

Image Description: A red, wooden small-tipped paint brush with some white paint on tip hovers over a white-on-black painting of Malcom X.  Malcom has a serious look peering out through his glasses, and a finger to his temple as if in deep thought, or trying to project his thought to the object of his gaze.. This painting is a creation of Lina Abojaradeh, her signature is on the bottom left, in white.

But this is Black History Month, a history we forget began over 100,000 years ago, with kingdoms and empires that every single one of us called home.  Black History Month is not ‘their’ History, it is Our History. This is where we all came from, a history stripped from us because we believed we are better than our ancestors. Why? Because of the color of their skin? Are we so anti-black that we denounced Our own history?

Keep that in mind the next time you feel uncomfortable celebrating a month to celebrate each and all our blackness, and the oppression and injustice many still face.  Think about what you’re saying when you turn your back on this history.

-Ahmad Abojaradeh

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