“It’s been said that racism is so American, that when we protest racism, some assume we’re protesting America” – Beyoncé
This quote really stood out to me regarding the Breakfast Club interview because it talked about race and the consequences of not addressing race in an appropriate way. At the moment, on social media, I have seen problems that white people have with suppressed groups protesting “American” culture. Specifically, when looking at NIKE endorsing Kaepernick, people expressed their anger by saying that NIKE endorsed someone who didn’t care about the country or the people who fought for the country. What no one wanted to address or pay attention to however, was the problems with “our countries” corrupt police officers (who are supposed to be safe spaces and places) abusing their power. No one wanted to address how the officers were, and still are, targeting people, abusing them, even killing them and getting away with murder. No one wanted to address how these corrupted cops are protected by a justice system that deems them saviors and the black people they’re killing, thugs who deserved to die. America has been so instilled in our capitalistic society that encourages divisions and violence, that we have failed to realize that the “home of the free” needs to be rebuilt. Nationalistic white people get so offended by this idea because they hate to think of a change from the very system that they thrive on. This is why when someone protests something that is so wrong, there’s so much anger, because racism has been and most likely will always be America.
When watching the interview on the Breakfast Club with Michael Dyson, I was extremely elated by the idea that Mr. Dyson not only addressed race in America, but the intersectionality that many Americans face on a day to day basis. The interview starts off by talking about how Beyoncé doesn’t get the recognition she should, not because she isn’t talented or has the range to be the best, but because she is a black woman. The example they go off to support this is Adele getting picked for a Grammy, over Bey. What was interesting to me was not that Beyoncé didn’t get the Grammy, but the conclusions that came from this. They talked about platforms that white people have that they choose not to use. Furthermore, Mr. Dyson goes into depth about platforms that many privileged people have but refuse to use because of the fear of being shunned from a society with divisions they thrive on, or just apathy at the thought of engaging in something that doesn’t affect their personal lives. This privilege and platform take on more than our race, but our sexuality, our economic status, our age, our religion and much more. I feel that people that have been oppressed by their race don’t acknowledge their privileges as much because we only focus on the ways that we are oppressed by things we see mainstream. We don’t focus on the way that we oppress another group because we don’t want to see ourselves as a negative person or someone who is anything close to an oppressor that we have grown up learning about. This situation brings me back to Audre Lorde who talked about the obligation of the oppressed teaching the oppressors. We are so caught up in how we must educate a race that deems themselves “superior”, that we forget about learning about people inside of our communities! One example of this would be the black humans apart of the LGTBQ+ community, who constantly have to educate black people in the community on their sexuality and yet, most black people don’t see them as people, but instead as objects for sexualization or shame. Some don’t even want to be educated on what’s going on in a group that’s deemed “deviant” because they don’t fit in with the societal approval that society has created as a norm. In this way, even though black people are oppressed as a group, we are oppressing and ignoring someone else’s intersectionality and truth. The truth of the matter however, as Mr. Dyson says, is that we don’t have the power to suppress other groups of inferiority, when we are already a suppressed group. You can’t support black lives matter as a whole, but not pay attention to the black women who are being brutalized by police officers. A white woman can’t call herself a feminist, but only pay attention to gender equality regarding her oppression, without regards to how a black queer might go through different experiences than them. We’ve been engrained to embrace capitalistic concepts with everything we do. This spans from the pedagogy of the oppressed and learning in our schools, to the social implications that are socially approved and stigmatized in our communities. Although I feel it is amazing that we are challenging white people to do more as a privileged group, we need to start challenging black people to be more acceptable of intersectionality in our communities as well.