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Nina Simone was blunt about hand-wringers advising Black of us to ‘go gradual’

Like most sane Black folks, I want Trump and his Republican Klan gone. Yesterday. We didn’t elect him. We are well aware that racism and white supremacy are deeply embedded in this nation’s foundation and we have been fighting against it since the time we were enslaved here, throughout Reconstruction and Jim Crow, and through the duration (ongoing) of the civil rights movement. We have had allies who were, and are, people of other races, and we are cognizant of the fact that unless white folks step up to the plate to correct what they have wrought, we’ll just have to keep on fighting. We are only 13% of this nation’s population.  

We are not, however, going to tamp down our struggle for equality in order to soothe the feelings of white folks whose family members and associates are willing to vote for a racist killer and his minions. We’ve heard that refrain before and rejected it. Martin Luther King Jr. heard it and rejected it. Malcolm X heard it and rejected it. John Lewis heard it and rejected it. The Black Panther Party heard it and rejected it.  

Why? Because we didn’t make this problem.

We’ll keep stepping up to the plate and are willing to die in doing so. 

We vote. We march. We protest. We have spanned the spectrum in tactics: passive resistance, petitions, self-defense, and voting. We agree on one central position about the ultimate goal: the elimination of systemic racism in this country we are both a part of, and punished by.

As much as I want to see Joe Biden and Kamala Harris elected and inaugurated, you will not hear or see me join the hand-wringing chorus of folks who want Black Lives Matter protesters to stop protesting. Those who are spouting this sh-t have bought into a right-wing narrative that makes protesters perps, and racist supremacists “victims.”

That’s bullshit. Plain and simple.

Nina sang it best.

Picket lines, School boycotts,
They try to say it’s a communist plot,
All I want is equality, for my sister my brother my people and me.

Yes you lied to me all these years,
You told me to wash and clean my ears,
And talk real fine just like a lady,
And you’d stop calling me Sister Sadie.

Oh, but this whole country is full of lies,
You’re all gonna die and die like flies,
I don’t trust you any more,
You keep on saying “Go slow!”,
“Go slow!”

But that’s just the trouble,
“do it slow”;
Desegregation,
“do it slow”;
Mass participation,
“do it slow”;
Reunification,
“do it slow”,
Do things gradually,
“do it slow”;
But bring more tragedy,
“do it slow”;
Why don’t you see it?
Why don’t you feel it?
I don’t know.
I don’t know.

You don’t have to live next to me,
Just give me my equality,
Everybody knows about Mississippi,
Everybody knows about Alabama,
Everybody knows about Mississippi, Goddamn

Were she still alive, her rant would also be about Oregon, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan … and every other damn state where we can’t catch a break as Black citizens. 

Don’t you try to tell me that folks voting for Trump are doing so because of economic resentment. Don’t you try to tell me that simply adjusting the incomes of Black folks will fix the problem, as if racism and white supremacy are purely an issue of social class. 

Don’t you tell me that Black Lives Matter, which is not and never has been a hierarchical movement organization, should back off and go slow as the list of the names of the dead grows and grows. 

This is an example of what I’m seeing from so-called “allies” who were part of the nasty group who made our lives worse.

x

Who are you talking to? Black people?

Yeah, he’s still the Tea Party white nationalist we came to know him as. All it took was a little unfounded panic for him to lose the ability to hide it.

— Plantsman_TX (@TxPlantsman) August 31, 2020

It’s not just coming from former Republicans. I’m hearing it from some doom and gloom Democrats as well.

At the age of 73, I have lived through cities burning across the United States, martial law, massive urban eruptions, COINTELPRO, and the deaths of partners, friends, and comrades at the hands of both the police and paid government infiltrators.  

I will suggest that young Black leadership step up, harness and put in check so-called allies who don’t understand the difference between confronting a racist power structure and trashing our community.

I will still exhort young folks to vote, because I’m walking in the shoes of Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer. I will not, however, tell any of those young folks to back off and go slow. If that’s what you’re doing, you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

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