The viral video clip of a Black student-athlete standing as a white woman cuts his dreadlocks off — so he can compete in a high school wrestling match — is utterly enraging because white supremacy is always trying to shear Blackness.
On December 19, 2018, Andrew Johnson, a high school student in New Jersey, had to choose between his expressed identity and the opportunity to compete.
The referee, Alan Maloney, enforced a standard that said Andrew Johnson’s hairstyle and headgear did not fit the regulations. It’s possible Andrew Johnson didn’t comply with the rules. It’s also clear from reports that the referee had been comfortable with the n-word, and he could have handled this situation differently.
But the designated and self-deputized officials in life selectively enforce their rules, and they create their rules without Black people.
Those calls by the ruling class in society are clear assaults on Blackness, Black identity, Black being, Black beauty, and Black expression.
Whiteness, as a supreme construct of domination, demands assimilation and conformity. It insists that Black people can only compete in a white way or forfeit so whiteness can win, anyway.
No one should face those dilemmas, but white supremacy loves to force and reward such dilemmas. This type of whiteness requires that the only hints of Blackness are skin tone alone if allowed at all.
The shearing of Blackness cuts more than hairs, and hair is more than hair.
The shearing is in language — as the sharp scissors of supremacy cut a strict and fixed pattern of language. White America ridicules and rebukes African-American Vernacular English until enough white people use it and then it’s added to dictionaries.
The shearing is in hiring — as hiring managers cut the “Black names” from their short list of interviewees.
The shearing is in the workplace — as performance appraisals claim the Black associate “has potential” but isn’t ready for the next level because they need “more grooming” or they aren’t the right “cultural fit.”
The shearing is in interpersonal interactions — as a call for civility, or an “attitude” adjustment, or to tone down the rhetoric.
The shearing is in politics and social issues — as white America snatches and strikes through slogans, movements, and hashtags to erase Blackness.
I hate how white America requires a dressed-up Blackness for white America to be halfway decent sometimes. I won’t wear the cloak white America has for me because it puts daggers in my back.
Blackness “as is” — is good enough.
Assimilation must not absorb and obliterate every difference. That’s not melting, that’s meddling and menacing.
The refusal to dissolve isn’t just for a nice and colorful society. Black culture is a necessary means to resist white supremacy. The attempts to knife Blackness are attempts to blunt Black resistance and maintain the engulfing state of whiteness.
This is still about the racist concept of ownership and property. The word “proper” is in the word “property,” and the white definitions of both applied to Black people must end.
The constant running at us with scissors can force some Black people to take the “high road.” The high road is for those who practice the politics of respectability for survival. But there’s no time to bargain and negotiate with terrorism.
Why do we have to go through this at all?
It doesn’t matter how many terabytes we have to catalog the terrible ways of whiteness because — the same biting shit happens repeatedly.
Whiteness is always ready with a desensitized hard-on and a bold determination to have its way in every moment.
As it makes a bloody mess of constricted lives, whiteness is willing to suffer the consequences of its actions later because — there are no enduring consequences for white people wielding whiteness.
White people getting fined, suspended, fired, being subject to investigations or public humiliation, and even white people going to jail — is a shallow and a slow justice. White privilege is still a parachute, and GoFundMe is still a bailout fund financed by the mob of whiteness.
The deformed arc of the moral universe has been bending so long it is limp. A wise man once said, justice would roll down, but people have died while waiting for the trickles of justice.
There is a righteous war against the culture of white supremacy. Blackness is a revolution against whiteness.
So, Black outrage must roar with hot tears, clenched fists, and hoarse voices.
Whiteness has no interest in peace for all. The shearing by whiteness must cease for there to be any peace. People are trying to live their lives, go to work, go to school, and fight the battles they already have — in peace. But the white shears keep coming and cutting.
The saying, “no justice, no peace,” it is true.
But justice is not the only way to peace. As with wrestling, peace also comes from a total defeat.
That’s why, in the face of whiteness, I push for Blackness to be the one standing on its feet.
Damn and down those shears.