As you might imagine, I get a lot of people accusing me of hating myself because of the nature of my work. Somehow, telling black women they are beautiful and worthy and have options beyond those who share the same level of melanin means I hate…myself. Calling out the absurdity and destructiveness of the near 80% out-of-wedlock rate in the black community means I hate…myself. Telling black women they shouldn’t grade on a curve when choosing a mate also means I hate…myself. Waking up every morning and not wringing my hands about how the white supremacist power structure keeps black men down means…you guessed it.
So apparently, if you have anything critical to say…anything at all…about black folks, that means you hate yourself. Some of the Guardians of All Things Dark & Lovely (GAT-DL) think that if you don’t embrace and/or defend any and all things black culture, ratchet or not, destructive or not, counter-intuitive or not, then you secretly want to kill yourself.
Once a for all, let’s put this ploy to make you feel shitty about your choices to rest. Here’s the definition of self hatred:
Look here, GAT-DL, I like myself just fine. Despite many of your best efforts, I love the hue of my skin, the kink in my curls, and the little gap in my teeth. I love my full, perfectly shaped lips. I love my nose. I think it’s cute. I love my high cheekbones. I love my naturally strong and shapely legs. I love everything physical my African ancestors gave to me.
I also love and respect all the sacrifices my ancestors made for me. But here’s where I’m different. Instead of focusing on how they suffered, I celebrate how they have overcome. I respect their cunning, ingenuity, pride in themselves, poise, and intelligence. It’s why I can marry a white man without allowing you to make me feel like I’m betraying my ancestors. No guilt trips here, sorry.
To love yourself doesn’t mean you have to embrace all forms of ratchetry, and I’m sad to say that many educated and affluent black people do. Instead of turning away and denouncing poor behavior that reflects badly on the black community, they defend BoonQuisha and Tyrone’s right to be as ratchet as they please. Many of us fully embrace and perpetuate the soft bigotry of low expectations upon our own people, and that’s why we stay losing. For example, prominent talking head, Melissa Harris Perry champions black single motherhood at any and every chance she gets, and opposes No Wedding No Womb, even though these destructive behaviors are not only detrimental to the black community, they leave black women vulnerable to violence and prisoners of poverty. Yet she is highly educated, married, has a child conceived in wedlock, and lives well. In my mind, only a person who has an “intense dislike” for you would advise and support such behaviors, amiright?
Admitting that current sorry state of the black community doesn’t mean I hate myself, it just means I hate the ratchetry that many of my opponents insist I should either embrace or apologize for if I really loved my people. At to that I say, GTFOOHWTBS.
I’ll admit that the current shenanigans make me embarrassed for my people. But that doesn’t mean I embarrassed to BE my people. There’s a difference. Recognize it.