I am a person of color, but I am not Black.
I need to take a moment to address this because, 99% of the hate mail I receive is directed at Black people very specifically, which is a lot of why I do not usually publish it. Because why bother to intercept a killing arrow if you’re just going to continue throwing it at its intended target?
But I am getting the impression that lot of people believe that I am Black because of a mistaken assumption that anyone emotionally and/or intellectually invested in positive representation of Black people must be Black themselves. I find that very, very saddening. And it makes me angry.
It’s also a complex issue because I’m not qualified to speak for or over Black people about how they are represented in images, historical or modern. That is why I focus on making information accessible above all, because institutional barriers to access are openly anti-Black in nature in the United States, and my academic conclusions or assertions do not trump or negate anyone’s lived experience.
I’ve published hate mail that was anti-Black in sentiment two or three times since this blog’s inception, and I honestly wonder if I was right to do so. It’s my concern that readers will think that racist backlash against this blog doesn’t exist, or that it’s not complete racist garbage. But on the other hand, it’s wrong for me to claim that this kind of specifically anti-Black racism harms me personally, because it does not.
The very nature of my blog’s thesis requires complexity of thought and analysis, and it resist being boiled down for anyone’s comfort levels, including mine. The purpose of this disambiguation is not to distance myself from being perceived as Black; the purpose is to make it clear that I am absolutely accountable for claims I make.
I don’t derive some kind of megalomaniacal joy from being “right all the time”; some of you might have noticed I can be wrong as well. I am fine with that because I am in love with the dynamic, interactive and living nature of History as a discipline and Historiography as a dancing partner to accompany the stories we’re creating here.
That being said, anyone who upholds this blog as some kind of “example” of how to be polite or respectable needs to seriously re-examine their motives and nasty prejudices involving their entitlement to police other people’s behavior or responses to violence.
Thanks for reading.
This goes for this blog as well.
Non Black POC acting in solidarity without pretending to be Black is incredibly important. I’m glad to see this being talked about too.