#32 Our Desperation To Be Dominant Will Fail Us
on class, disposability, and humanity
More individual black folks than ever before are entering the ranks of the rich and upper class. Allegiance to their class interests usually supersedes racial solidarity.” - bell hooks Class Matters
I had a long deep conversation with my best friend on value. How I’ve faced some realizations lately. Who we value most shows up during the hardest times.
And I asked a question I already knew the answer to, I asked this question in more of a tone of being hurt and sad.
Why are we quick to give grace and fight for people, friendships, and relationships of those who are wealthy and visible, then suddenly lose that effort for the people who don’t have those identities?
Our lack of effort, our lack of love, and our quickness to dispose of and form punishment for our community are based on who we value more.
My 10th-grade English teacher resembled William Penn, if you don’t have a photo of William Penn scarred in your brain lucky you, stop showing off! But think of the Quaker Oats guy who is not William Penn but you now get the idea. Anyway, we had a debate in class one day on whether we would get a better education at a private school rather than the public school we were attending, I’m not sure why he wanted a bloodbath of a debate in the classroom but he was always curious of our thoughts he’d sit back and observe each and every one of us rip each other into a new point to defend our stance.
I was on the side of public school and five other students out of let’s say around twenty kids.
I shouted at the entire class and said “ Rich people aren’t smarter they have connections they will achieve more because they know a guy who knows a guy.”
My teacher finally intervened and asked me-
“ That sounds like a good deal, you don’t want wealth you don’t want connections?”
While I hated being poor, I loathed the idea of being wealthy, I saw how wealthy people took advantage of my parents, and as I got older I couldn’t muster the possibility that I could one day lose my politics, my morals, that I one day would want to be seen by rich people to the point that I forget who I am. Where I begin to no longer value friends who aren’t rich. I could one day so easily choose a dominant system to align myself with and never critique it any longer because it serves me, because it’s kind to me, because it “ sees” me and it feels good to be accepted by the upper class doesn’t it?
And for me being Black and queer it can be even more alluring and draw my eye easily to rich folks that look like me.
I may even accept this kind of wealth and even deem it as safer. It is not.
Wait slow down to those who are panic-reading and just donated 500 dollars somewhere to feel better about being rich—money isnt bad, money is misused it has been weaponized it has been kept away, and hoarded. Capitalism, now that is a naughty guy.
Even with my close proximity to wealthy friends, mutuals, and former lovers, I knew I was still on the outs, and that was okay because I knew that I had to keep a healthy distance or completely remove myself because I could see the perks of being dominant, I see the perks of not wanting liberation, and what they don’t tell you in those how to get rich in thirty days webinar classes is those perks come with harming others.
I was always okay with not being rich, blaming it on my Marxist family members and my dad talking about socialism at the dinner table which I couldn’t quite understand at seven.
Hearing those conversations growing up left a stamp on me because now my number one fear is becoming something I won’t be able to reverse… like becoming a cop.
I don’t mean a badge and a 48-minute video on how to de-escalate high-stress situations and then suddenly I’m gifted with a Chevrolet Impala and a gun. That’s what the training class entails right? Am I wrong? Oh, cmon laugh!
I mean it’s hard, it’s hard to think about being aligned with a system that enslaves, it’s hard to think about being aligned to something that manufactors war. I reject any feeling that comes close to me choosing the side of colonialism/oppressor and let me remind you, that comes in all shapes, colors, and sizes.
I want to abolish the cop in my heart.
But let me be frank with our close-knit group here at really bad taste— the cop is inside all of us.
Policing others, wanting to punish when we don’t get our way, when we are told no, when someone stands up for themselves, for their people, their language.
Because the cop in our head is terrified of liberation, it has an anxious attachment to belonging to something sparkly and shiny no matter if it even compromises our own identities or our own solidarity with oppressed people, because it has a goal to be a part of a dominant class. It has a goal to harm.
The cop in my head will create a narrative that everyone else is the bad guy and that will be my excuse to hurt you, to police you, to dispose of you instead of loving you.
“Theory is cool, but theory without practice is shit.”— Fred Hampton
The irony of all of us lately discussing disposability politics when enacting the same practices to our friends who are not rich, don’t have online visibility, do not have access to wealth, have mental health issues, disabilities, have addictions, have children the list goes on and on.
Look how easy carcerality is in our hearts. How mad we are. We want liberation we want freedom but we refuse it in our interpersonal lives. Punishment cannot exist where liberation wants to grow.
How are we going to handle freedom? As soon as it brushes near us we are going to abuse it and shoo it away like a pest because we don’t even want it in our own personal lives and relationships.
We should all refrain from posturing ourselves as people who practice love when in reality we are confrontational, ego driven desperate to hold on to anger without conversation, wanting to not let go of the little power we feel, to enact what has been done to us and inflict it on to others. Because we want a chance at how it feels to be the one who has the whip. We were beaten so now someone else must carry the same pain I feel. As long as it isn’t me. Right?
Everyone lately is looking for humanity in each other, and I have to say, we are in fact human, I mean there are a few bots here reading this, hello, hi. But we are very human, we haven’t lost our humanity, as it is very human to destroy, to exploit to dispose, to ruin.
Tell me a time when that didn’t exist, that you remember. When it didn’t exist in our systems of power and when it didn’t exist in our own personal relationships.
We learned what being a human was through the eyes of European expansionism. We learned who is allowed to be human and who isn’t. We learned that we could take and enslave millions of Africans and strip them of their language religions, gender, and separate families. The carcerality that we are quick to use when we don’t get our way, that is our humanness. We are built with predictive policing in our DNA.
We all don’t see each other as worthy, or valuable. We have shown one another that can only be appointed to a few. Only some of us will be deemed as human in this lifetime.
And where there is a lack of love, worth, and value we not only strip away our humanity but someone else’s.
I know I’m being a buzzkill I will try and make you feel better about yourself just give me a second.
We are programmed and indoctrinated to mistreat one another.
I am not questioning or looking for humanity in each other, I know we exist, we are here, and alive, my question is what are we doing with our existence? What are we going to do with our humanness as opposed to what we already have been doing?
I read the news this morning, and it is reported that 3 million children were displaced due to the ongoing civil war in Sudan, this is the highest number in the world.
I want us to see how simple it is to enact disposability politics, within small communities, and small social groups, the more power you have, the more money, and the more social media followers that you can shove in your Chevrolet Impala the bigger the echo chamber the easier it is to enact the disposal of others. It is within us, within our small communities, so when our governments, our systems, and our environments do it bigger and better it should not surprise us…
Valuing people with wealth over people who are poor should not surprise you
Seeing oppressed people choose the side of the oppressor should not surprise you
War towards oppressed people should not surprise you,
WE HAVE BEEN HERE BEFORE.
We are here now
We have never left
This is our brand, this is our national anthem, this is the fabric of the American dream, this is our humanity.
I eventually answered my 10th-grade teacher’s question in an essay two years later, and for my senior year, he wrote me a letter of recommendation for college.
My essay was titled “ If I Was Rich Would I Need to Write This Essay”
I was accepted into my school of choice, and then later dropped out, I had to work full-time.
Our desperation to be seen by a dominant caste will triumph over our personhood, our politics our identities, and the fight for freedom will become a distant memory. And when we are chewed up and spit out, freedom will be further than it was before because you will have learned to repeat the practice of the dominant caste, and you will participate in a revolving door of people all eligible to dispose of.
You and me, us, WE must insist on life, on our aliveness, on love and grace. Dispsosability cannot exist here, and I know it sounds cooky and yes I may have just left a yoga class that I snuck into.
But we need to rebrand our humanity, and find something new because who we are currently, will not serve each other well. It hasn’t. We’ve been throwing so much at the wall and it is not sticking. Carelessness and individualism can no longer be our love language.
“Conversion empowers; judgmental assaults alienate.”- bell hooks
Care is a practice, love is a practice, and choosing not to be a cop is a practice.
I have failed, and when we see that moment when we haven’t been practicing we can pivot, we should pivot and not judge ourselves or others.
Interrogate our hypocrisy, interrogate why we adopt the practice of the dominant caste, why we do its bidding, and interrogate why punishing each other is easier than love.
We must insist on living, choose one another, even in our anger our rage there is space for that in practicing care. It is those emotions when used in a healthy manner that push us to love harder.
I have seen James Baldwin's quotes surface on the internet and like Dr. King’s quotes it has been taken out of context, maybe to fit our narrative maybe to support our views but the message I hope doesn’t get lost, the message is to us… a reminder that we are also them and we have to fight the monster, the cop inside of us.
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