Being oppressed, no matter what demographic you fall within, is a dehumanizing experience. Like all traumas, we all process things differently. For some of us, when we experience being oppressed, we actively do everything within our power to stop it from happening to others. Because we understand what it does to you negatively as a person, we would never inflict that on another and actively engage in destroying systems of oppression. However, there are some of us that choose to take a different path; the path of actually wanting to become the oppressor.
I posted this on one of my social media channels on August twenty-nine of this year, and the reception it received was as expected during that time of evident political turmoil in North America. However, the momentum of such a significant movement seems to be lessening substantially.
In a tumultuous week in Irish politics, Hozier, among others, criticised the Irish Government on Twitter in the days following the controversial vote which inadvertently ‘seals’ the archives detailing the abuse suffered by Women and Children “tantamount to human trafficking” at the hands of the Catholic Church and The State. The Bill which brought an end to the Commission Investigation has left a nation with whiplash, and as we try to pick up the pieces of what happened - it is probably easiest to start at the beginning.
Rebuttal to a more or less open letter from a dear friend and fellow right-leaning politico. Without further ado:
22OCT2020; 0415, THU
What was your new years resolution? Maybe you wanted to get fitter, start that diet you’ve been putting of for a while (or maybe a little more than a while). Maybe 2020 was the year you told yourself you would get that dream job, embark in your scholastic pursuit, or get your money right (dollar dollar bills y’all). But alas, something foreign and unexpected happened. If I told you that in 2020 some virus that originated in the east and basically travelled at the speed of light, to be a threat in virtually every corner of the planet, you would probably tell me, ‘get your head out the clouds homes’. Well my head is still in that cloud, and so is yours, a cloud of fear, anxiety and uncertainty, lightly shrouded by a mask (surgical, or if you fancy yourself the fashionista, a bedazzled piece of cloth). Yet as if that wasn’t enough, another head was pinned down by a life ending knee, sparking a global movement the lights we haven’t seen in a long time.
On October 20, 2020, the Nigerian government sent armed forces to dissipate protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos. There is a 24-hour curfew in Lagos in response to the outbreak of protests happening across the State. This means Nigeria is officially under martial law. Nobody is allowed outdoors for the next 24 hours, which started on 10/20/2020 at 4pm. It is reported that when the armed forces showed up at the toll gates in Lagos they immediately started opening fire on the hundreds of youth gathered there. There is no number as of right now to the number of deaths and injured but people are taking survivors and the injured in their homes to help save lives.
It was a dark day in Nigeria.
Early evening of Tuesday, October 20, 2020, we started hearing reports about shooting at the Lekki Toll Gate.
I was listening to an interview that Sean Combs a.k.a. Diddy recently did with Charlamagne Tha God, in which he was reflecting on how no matter how successful people like Jay-Z, Oprah and himself are, when they walk into the rooms of corporate companies, they are still treated like N*****. He referred to the few Black people that make it as “an illusion of inclusion,” that he was afraid that the Black community would potentially fall into because they see the Oprah’s and Tyler Perry’s, Dr. Dre’s and Jay-Z’s of the world and think we’ve made it as a people. This made me reflect on my time in the corporate world and how this definitely applied in that setting.
A few days ago, I witnessed a horrific car accident, where a bus ran into a car that turned into its lane while making a left hand turn at a major intersection. The bus spun the car completely around and then jumped a curb, rode a sidewalk and took out the main stop light pole. This all happened right in front of me while I was stopped at the red light. I immediately jumped out of my car with my phone, ran to the car that got hit, made sure the occupant was alive and then proceeded to call 911. A number of first responders, including police, ambulance and firefighters arrived on the scene within minutes.
Being a Black woman right now is one of the hardest things in the world, mentally and physically. Having to deal with the visual, physical, verbal, emotional and psychological trauma of seeing Black people’s lives continue to be taken with little to no accountability or justice is gut wrenching. Seeing Black women be put on the back burner time and time again while they continue to be murdered without thought or care for their life is mind numbing. But it’s not just that. It’s single mothers having to be both parents to their kids, while trying to stay sane and healthy themselves. It’s single women having to deal with sexual abuse by themselves because they feel there would be no point in reporting it or worse, little to no real consequence even when they do. It’s women in abusive relationships with men that don’t call the police because they know what the outcome would be. It’s trans women, specifically, being harassed, shamed and degraded in public…yet sought after in private messages on social media.
Chris Rock is one of my favourite humans. He is in my top 3 funniest comedians (Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy are my one and two, respectively). I was listening to an interview he did with The Breakfast Club in New York, where he was talking about a myriad of great topics, one of which was him being asked about his thoughts on Jimmy Fallon’s Black face incident 20 years ago. Chris said something that made me take pause. “All things racist aren’t racism.” At first, my initial gut reaction was confusion, to be honest. Then I repeated what he said, and there was something in me that knew I completely agreed with this statement. But to be sure, I wanted to have a full and complete definition of the word so I could carefully process my thought and belief that this was an accurate assertion.
The concept of systemic racism seems to be for some (mostly white people) a point of contention in terms of believing in and understanding it. I’m actually not really surprised at that. Why would a people who have had everything in their world catered to making them comfortable and reflecting their own self image ever see injustice in another marginalized group of people? This is not only directed to Caucasian people, although they are the primary focus of many conversations on race due to white supremacy.