Disclaimer: This is not for the faint of heart and is very much an opinion piece from a Black woman.
My car rides usually consist of podcasts or music. When my partner drives, I never know what I’m going to encounter. Yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised that for once, he had something playing that I enjoyed. Now, I’m not really a fan of rap music, but I’ll listen to Wale (who we happened to be listening to on the way home) and a few others from time to time. During our ride, Wale’s song, Sue Me, came on Spotify. If you’re not familiar with the song, in the course he raps, “Sue me, l’m rootin’ for everybody that’s black…” I immediately thought of Issa Rae on the Red Carpet at the Emmy’s when she said she was rooting for everybody Black.
I was glad she said it. So many times, Black people are expected to shrink and always be careful of what to say so we don’t upset anyone. Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t be respectful. What I am saying is that we should be able to support Black people and not apologize for it.
It’s been my experience that we’re often made to feel it’s shameful to be too supportive of other Black people. When we plan events or create things, we have to be careful that it’s not “too black” or that we’re being inclusive. I don’t want you as a reader to think I’m being anti-other groups because I’m not. But think of times where either you or someone else had to tone down blackness or be mindful to include others when planning events/projects that were initially intended to be for Black people. Were you okay with it being just for Black people or did you feel other groups had to be included so that whatever it was didn’t present as “too black”?
Ponder on that for a second…
Really reflect on the thoughts and feelings you experienced after reading the previous questions and statements .
Do you feel excluded or do you feel it’s unnecessary? Do you find yourself getting uncomfortable with some raising their voice to proclaim they’re Black and proud? Do you understand why Black people have to make such a proclamation?
Now that I’ve presented those questions, I’d like to return to my first point about rooting for Black people when they’re recognized or nominated for a position, role, or other accolade. For YEARS, Black people have been made to feel inferior and like second-class citizens when attempting to accomplish anything from academia to being business leaders. Most of us were told that we had to work ten times harder than other Americans just to prove ourselves worthy.
So when Black people are presented with the opportunity to excel or be recognized for greatness, you can believe that I will definitely be rooting for them. It’s inspiring that we, as Black people living in America, are able to rise above obstacles and achieve accomplishments for things that have been implied, or told, that didn’t belong to us. Less than 100 years ago, Black folks weren’t allowed to occupy counters at restaurants, had to travel travel during the day because they feared for their safety, were denied leading roles in movies, artists had album covers changed to reflect whiteness, had to march just for the right to be seen and treated as a human – there are so many more examples I could list. But this!!! This is why I root for Black people. Because there are few spaces in this world where we can exist and NOT think about the color of our skin.
I root for Black people because we’re not expected to win. There were systems and institutions created to keep us oppressed, but we keep fighting! We may not be at the top, but we’ll never stop climbing. Despite challenges, racist policies, oppressive systems – we keep fighting. So I’ll keep rooting for everybody Black!
Check out Wale’s “Sue Me” on Spotify