Permanent Black Man
"...Generations of Black historians and scholars believe that if they dig up the RIGHT historical facts and present them compellingly enough, it will make a difference. If we show them Emmett Till’s disfigured face. If we dig up the numbers of lynching victims. If we write in exhaustive detail about the intersections between capitalism and the rise of the prison industry and how it disproportionately ensnares Black and Brown people. If we show them the data. If we show them the cell phone footage of our deaths, then they’ll believe. Our words and truths have not convinced White America of our humanity, much less compelled collective action in the name of justice for us. But Black studies has existed for half a century, and White people have dissed it at every turn—scores of Black scholars who have dedicated their lives to producing credible evidence of racism, only to be discredited and devalued and pushed aside. Do we need 500 more years of racial fuckery before we finally get this truth?
There is not a single thing that White people do not understand about racism and white supremacy except the thing that we are addicted to believing we can somehow magically make them see: Our humanity and the suffering caused by living in a racist society. And if White people can pretend that they “don’t see race” or color, they can also pretend not to see racism. Not to see their own privilege, power, or culpability in maintaining an entire system built upon inequality. This game they play is a form of cognitive dissonance that they use to protect racial privilege and reproduce racism in dialogues about race. By faking ignorance, they don’t have to take responsibility for the things they do. By claiming naïveté, they absolve themselves of racist sins so they can turn around and sin again."