It is tough being Black.
Half the time, you want to act like you don’t know these people…
But because of racism and White supremacy, it is all for one and one for all.
What am I talking about?
I’m talking about this YouTube video making the rounds allegedly showing a Black employee of San Francisco State University harassing a White student over his dreadlocks.
Here is the video if you haven’t seen it yet:
Both Bonita Tindle, an aspiring filmmaker and Cory Soulr Goldstein, an aspiring DJ, have both been identified as the people in altercation. And as it turns out, neither of them are actually employed by the University. However SFSU officials have confirmed on its website that the university has launched its own internal investigation into the matter.
“We are aware of the video made of an incident which occurred on campus yesterday afternoon. University police were called to the scene of the incident when it occurred. The two individuals involved in the incident are not San Francisco State University employees. Further, no criminal charges have been pressed at this time to the University’s knowledge.
San Francisco State University promotes the rights of the campus community to engage in free speech, but does not condone behavior that impedes the safety or well-being of others. We are taking the matter seriously and will promptly and thoroughly investigate this incident through applicable University channels, including our campus student conduct procedures.”
And on his own Facebook page, Goldstein has added:
“Hey all so i wanted to mention that I am not filing any criminal charges against the girl who harassed me yesterday. I did file a formal campus police report and I decided to let the education system deal with her.”
Well that’s good. And there is no doubt in my mind that he will receive swift justice.
Yet, this has not stopped our folks from working overtime to explain things or even take sides.
There are folks going in on the Black woman for hurting “our cause” with this silly confrontation over a White boy with dreadlocks.
Then there are others who are going hard in the paint in defense of her, citing the need to confront the cultural violence that is committed every time someone appropriates another’s culture.
And while both sides may have a point, I don’t know why we Black folks, in particular, feel the most compelled to speak about any of it.
Like, why can’t we be ambivalent too?
I mean, clearly the conservative right will use this incident to try and prove the existence of reverse racism – better known as “…but Black people are just as racist…” But, nope. As if a Black girl tugging the sleeves of a White dude in dreadlocks is remotely comparable to all the discrimination, aggression and micro-aggression Black people face daily in this country. Proportions do matter.
And honestly, girlfriend might be as wrong as two-left mittens in the Spring and I will still refuse to get myself worked up over this incident – not to the point that I am dragging her like I am watching some us do online.
And that is because on too many occasions, I have also watched White folks online, act dormant and unbothered as Black folks go through all sorts of emotional changes trying to make sense of racists acts directed at us.
It doesn’t matter if they are friend, foe or ally to the cause. When we get into these large debates on our timelines guess whose voices are noticeably absent? Guess who ain’t denouncing the act publicly? And when they do speak, guess who is trying to make us see all angles and not be in a rush to jump to conclusions?
Yet, it is the collective “us” who feels guilty, responsible and the need to make things right when one of us allegedly does something bone-headed.
Let’s call it, Black guilt.
This is not to say that there aren’t White folks who feel guilty when it comes to matters of race. And this isn’t even to say that there are some White folks who are generally concerned about race-relations and the oppression of Black people in this country.
But generally speaking, I just don’t see White people making a habit out of debating what effect an individual act of racism means for the reputation of the entire White community – not quite like how we do it.
They don’t hold their entire community responsible when grown adults riot and act a fool at Pumpkin festivals and Easter Egg hunts meant for children. Whereas, we kinda do hold ourselves wholly responsible when riots and foolery happen involving us.
And they don’t hold their entire community responsible when an individual White man goes on a shooting spree in a movie theater killing and maiming dozens in the process. Whereas, we kinda do.
But let something race-related happen in this country, guess who always feels compelled to speak out on it? They don’t. But we kinda do.
Somehow racism has become a Black person issue – and our issue alone. If something race related happens and the alleged perpetrator is Black – we speak out on it. But even when we are the victims, we feel compelled to speak out on that too.
Heck, the incident or issue doesn’t even have to be specifically race-related. Even the most universal things like street crime and our crumbling schools compel most Black folks to have a race-specific opinion on it as well.
It’s how our conversations are set up. It’s how our timelines are set up. It’s how most mainstream media punditry and journalism is set up too.
I’m willing to bet that in all of the accounts you will read about on SFSU incident today, very few will ask the “White victim” what part White-on-White crime played in this. Nor will you see a panel of mostly White men – both pro and con – debating the legitimacy of White boys wearing dreadlocks.
Generally speaking, I just don’t see White people feeling compelled to be accountable for those things.
In fact, Goldstein doesn’t seem to be all that bothered. In fact, he is using the limelight to promote his new mixtape:
See. He isn’t bothered. So why should I be?