I’m Not Your Blackface
By Teka Lark (January 31, 2019)
I think one of the most important things to know is who you are and the second most important thing to know is who others think you are.
I like to think of the world and my life as a journey, but I am aware that many people, entities, systems, view each individual as a game piece.
As a younger person I ignored this, as I felt self awareness was enough to not get “played.”
Though I was raised around Black people and in a Black family, I have always had the ability to talk to anyone, to connect with anyone, regardless of race, class, nation, sexual orientation and/or religion.
I am in some ways a performer, as I view writing, especially online as a performative act. I have always been aware of my audience. I live in the US, the biggest audience in the US (by the numbers if you want to break down by race) is white. I am aware of that and while I write from a Black point of view I know that white people are the predominant race of people who are reading what I write. This isn’t the case for all Black people, but it is the case for Lark.
There are certain things I do not say owing to that, people say, “It shouldn’t matter.” But see it does matter. I have mostly written for predominantly white leftist publications. When Obama was president these leftist publications would ask me specifically to write about Obama. I would always refuse.
Never in my life have I ever made the problems of capitalism, injustice, and institutional racism about one person. You probably have noticed here that I rarely talk about Trump. The reason I do not talk about Trump is because I do not believe that removing Trump will remove the problem of injustice in the US. That is not to say I support him or I would stop you from expressing your opinions on him, but for me I have limited time. I will never turn my issue with capitalism into a one individual person issue.
Most of my white friends on the far left agree with this EXCEPT when it has to do with Black politicians, for some reason they are often obsessed with politicians with Black skin even though the night before we have all just had intense conversation that it is the system not the people in the system which is the problem.
So if you’re waiting for my thought on Kamala as a leftist, well why are you not waiting on my thoughts on Elizabeth Warren or Tulsi Gabbard, no one is waiting for this, because within this game my job is supposed to be talking about the Black people. That’s my role in the game. I understand that role, but that is not who I am. Who I am is a person who looks at the bigger picture. I do not believe that within this system there is a magic bullet politician who can solve it all, because my belief is that this system that is rooted in stealing and murdering Native Americans and kidnapping Africans to work as slaves is not a system that can be fixed.
My role will never be to call out only the Black players in the system, especially not for a predominantly white audience, who cannot see this system beyond the paradigm of Black and White.