I've been slowly reading Malcolm X's autobiography over the past couple of months, and it's pushed me to take a huge step back on how I view life. He was a revolutionary that was demonized by white America (along with other pro-black individuals and organizations) and because of this, I never learned about him in my history courses.
It's clear that history erases Indigenous and Black contributions that don't directly benefit the perception of white America. And it's often that those who claim they want to work towards being an ally and liberating Black and Indigenous folks don't always recognize this issue (and issues that stem from this). They'll often jump through hoops to find a plausible excuse as to why this is. Maybe it was "too divisive." Maybe they "went about it the wrong way." (All poor and invalid excuses).
Malcolm X refers to these individuals in his book as the "good white people," aka the "liberal" white friends. The ones interested in discussing decolonization, racism, inclusivity, etc., until the finger is pointed back towards them; until it's time to put action behind the words. I've found it frustrating to have discussions with these people because their responses are typically that "race is brought up too much" or "it's too harsh/divisive." It's weird having the mentality of "wanting to learn" but shutting down when it's time to hear that racism is ingrained in every fabric of this country.
Before I continue having and contributing to these conversations with friends and strangers, I've decided to focus on learning what it means to find inner liberation, where I can be my true self in a world that looks down on my identity. I'm learning that this liberation is linked to the liberation of Black folks everywhere. And that to liberate Black folks, we must also fight for the liberation of Indigenous folks. After all, these are two groups whose cultures are constantly commodified and matter to people's 23andmes but still aren't important enough to be fought for and protected.
I'm continuing to learn that America forces us into centrist ideologies. The idea that we must always meet in the middle, which is ultimately an open space with a trap door leading to a revolving door where no progress is made. I don't like the middle - as I've just illustrated, I think it's an illusion for progress. I don't think there's a middle between wanting to continually create policies for working families to suffer and housing for all. I don't believe that I should compromise on policies and ideas that revolved around protecting those that look like me. This is the colonial mindset - handing out freedom on a leash.
I plan to buy several more books (once I finish the large stack of books I swore I would finish last year) on topics surrounding what it means to truly liberate POC from the oppression they suffer in America, specifically Indigenous and Black people, as well as Black liberation on a global scale (surprise, most of it is tied to capitalism and imperialism). I'm excited to keep learning and moving forward. To feel comfortable with who I am and the world I experience while moving towards liberation and joy.
P.S. I think I'll end each blog post with an album I've been loving recently.
The Score (Expanded Edition) - Fugees, Ms. Lauryn Hill, & Wyclef Jean