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Mad About the Faux Sistah in Spokane? Really, White People? (White Hypocrisy and the Appropriation of Blackness)

I haven't been following closely the story of the Spokane NAACP president who is allegedly passing for black.  I'm not bothered by it, not at all.  As long as she is working for the greater good of black people in America --- and Lord knows, I wish more people would -- how she identifies is of no moment to me.

What is bothersome is the hype and outrage by the predominantly white media that this white woman is passing for black.

Really?

Here's where the hypocrisy and/or lack of self-awareness comes in:  White people have been appropriating blackness for their own for decades, and not necessarily for the betterment and advancement of black people.  At least this sistah faux sho' is trying to do something positive with it.

White people, here's a small list of all the blackness that white people have appropriated with little or no benefit to black people:

You appropriate our language.  Hell, you even trademark it.  You trademarked or appropriated "Let's roll," and "24/7" (talking to you, CNN) and now you're quoting black rappers on the cans of Sprite.  I ain't mad, but just be honest about what you stole.

You appropriate our hairstyles.  From Bo Derek in cornrows and beads running down the beach in "10" to Kim Kardashian trying to wear braids, you covet what you appear in public to disdain -- the versatility and style with which we go from rocking a 'fro to a bob.  Deep down, you, too want to be happy, nappy and versatile with your hairstyle.  Just own it.

You appropriate our physical attributes.  You inject collagen into your lips, implants into your asses, and spray tanner on your skin.

You appropriate our music.  Back in the day, you straight out stole it -- robbed creative geniuses of their copyrights. Hell, even the Master of Funk himself, George Clinton, doesn't own his own music.  What you couldn't steal, you pimped.  You corporatized hip-hop.  I ain't mad because at least Jiggaman got paid.  But at least admit what you did.  And although I'm appreciative that you cashed out Dr. Dre for his Beats empire, I'm getting a little tired of mediocre white singers trying to appear more talented than they are by being backed up by a faux black gospel choir, choir robes and all.  Black Man Not Blogging (BMNB) has a big problem with appropriating black religious symbolism for corporate gain.  It's the Baptist in him.

You appropriate our achievements.  You credit Matthew Henson as sharing in reaching the North Pole first when in fact he got there first.  I don't even have the time or the space to chronicle how many black achievements have been claimed by whites. 

You appropriate our men.  Oh yeah, you're afraid of them on the street, but not between the sheets. I've always believed that love knows no color, but for some of you, let's just say you're just curious, fetishizing, and not loving.

So at least this faux sistah is appropriating black identity for a black purpose.  Perhaps she hasn't been honest about it, but the lack of honesty is at least balanced out by her work on behalf of black people, which is more than what I can say about other cases of white appropriation of blackness that did not benefit black people.

What I find really offensive is the question, "Why would someone white want to pass for black?"

Here's why:  Because we're awesome.  Despite all that has been done to us, we're still here.  Battered and bruised, perhaps, but we're still here in our nappy, creative, persistent, undeniable genius in shades from off-white to blue-black.  WE'RE STILL HERE.  You stand on the economic foundation we laid for this nation, yet you still deny our humanity and question why anybody would want to be us.  Really, white people?  Really?  If you question why anybody would want to be us, you need to do an inventory of all that you copy from us and enjoyed of us.

For those of you in the white media harping on this story, I think you need to have one of those awkward moments of self-awareness and count all the ways white people have and continue to appropriate blackness without any benefit for black people.  And then go on ahead and write out a check to the Spokane NAACP.




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