Since NegusWhoRead debuted, I have received countless private messages, comments and emails accusing me of racism, and spreading divisiveness. These accusations do no upset me.
I objectively respect the fact that there are opinions and ideas different from mine. I can even understand that there are some people who do not believe that race is a problem in America, or that when I mention or reference racism, it feeds a narrative that breeds divisiveness. I don’t believe that, but understand those who do. My only disagreement is towards those who believe that forums such as this are racist , or that NegusWhoRead somehow fuels the brutality, conflict and oppression that Black people face every day.
It might. But I don’t care.
Yesterday, in response to an article I wrote for The Root, I received a beautifully-written email with the following text. I discovered the text previously appeared here from a writer who wanted to comment on the Ferguson uprising two years ago, and “gifted to me. I will not paraphrase it, or dissect it for my own devices, as I thought it was a perfect example of how pervasive this argument is, and why I think the existence of of a smart, funny, unapologetic presence of Blackness on the internet is not only relevant, but necessary. Here it is in it’s entirety.
The media is twisting this, portraying a poor, oppressed people calling for justice. A call has gone out for the black man to rise up and cast off the chains of oppression. To seize the country he built in the first place.
You think you built this nation?
Our Fathers conceived a dream.
Our Fathers denied an empire.
Our Fathers cast off the shackles of foreign dominion.
Our Fathers soaked this soil in their blood.
Our Fathers envisioned this great nation.
Our Fathers made all of this happen.
You did none of these things.
You labored under the lash of our whips. You labored according to our Will. You were the crude tools used by our Fathers to realize their dream, your efforts directed by minds greater than your own, by visions of destiny you still today cannot understand. The Brothers of YOUR Fathers put them in chains and sold them to US as property, so little was the value they placed on their own kind. And had they not, there is no reason to believe that you today, should you even exist, would not be living in mud huts baking under the African sun in a parched, disease-ridden shit hole of a continent where more Africans are today enslaved by their own kind than ever crossed the Atlantic in chains. You did not build this nation, this is not your nation. Your condition offers you no claim to what is not yours. This is OUR nation, and it is by OUR good grace that you today enjoy a quality of life greater than that of Negros anywhere else in the world.
We have indebted the children of our grandchildren so that your children might eat. So that your mothers, your fathers, your brothers, and your sisters might have homes. We tax our middle class and our wealthy so that you have medical care. We educated you so that we might be equals. We sacrificed our racial identity so that you would be comfortable in yours, and we turn on our own who wish to hold onto that identity. We uprooted and changed what it meant to be an American so that you would be able to enjoy the privileges and benefits of our society, so that you would no longer have to beg for our grace. We gave you our dream.
And what do we receive in return?
You kill one another in the streets, but turn on us when we defend ourselves as the violence spills into our neighborhoods and affects our families.
You rob us, and then scream that we take everything from you while enjoying the benefits provided by our taxes.
You rape our women, and then call them racist when they fear black men.
You create “the knock-out game”, and rage when we call you violent.
You scream when your own are not able to meet the standards set forth by our society, and you demand we lower ourselves.
You commit the lion’s share of violent interracial crime, yet claim we do not value your lives.
You can yell through a microphone that the problem with white men and women is that we do not fear Negros anymore and no one will blink an eye, but should we express anger that our children are killed by your children and their still warm body stuffed into a trash can, all for the bike they were riding, we are racist.
You have license to be degenerates without shame, your actions justified by social justice, but every time we defend ourselves your dead thugs become child saints gunned downed like animals in the street.
Our dead are a statistic so that your dead can be a tragedy, ignored by the media at large.
Any time we suggest that maybe you should try to elevate yourselves instead of demanding we tear ourselves down to lift you up, you call us bigots.
Is this how you thank us?
You claim after all we have given up, after all we have endured in your interest, that the fact that it is just business as usual in the Negro community is really us trying to deny you some imagined inheritance, to keep you down?
You lay blame for all of your problems at our feet when you refuse to improve upon yourselves, and you expect us to continue to be sympathetic?
You deny everything we have done for you, insisting that you seized these things by your own hand when you had no power to do so?
You tell us that by virtue of being white men and women, we are racist and oppressing you?
We should let you starve.
We should let your children be homeless.
We should let your sick grow weak.
We should cease our attempts at affirmative action.
We should pull out of your ghettos, let you rage and riot and burn your community to the ground. And maybe when you come crawling out once more begging for our help in solving your problems will you finally appreciate all we have tried to do for you.
And you wonder why racism against the Negro is rising in America?
In the interests of improving interracial relations, allow me to offer you a few simple suggestions. Do not act as an animal if you do not want to be treated as an animal. Do not behave in a savage manner if you do not want to be treated as savages. And do not snarl, snap, and bite the hand that has sacrificed so much to feed you if you do not want to be treated like a dog.
Rise above or get back on the fucking boat.