In my last article on the blog, I set the stage for why I would be avoiding the Black side of Clubhouse. I would like to jump straight into that story, highlighting more reasons as to why I will be keeping the ratchetry out of my timeline, and how this relates to my journey at Beyond Black and White.
Low Vibrational Content
I have seen a trend on social media. No matter what the platform, there is always a clear black section on the app. Again, there is nothing wrong with specific groups congregating and building community, but I do notice that we have a specific line of content: religion, relationships, babies, celebrity gossip, collective trauma, social justice and more. It is mind-boggling to me that with an app that features business magnate Elon Musk, real estate mogul Grant Cardone, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke, and others, speaking directly to us, we have space for the most degenerate content on the app. Black people continue to complain that we built the app, but the app is not creating equitable spaces for us.
I personally have seen rooms that feature people discussing shooting their shots, wifey tryouts, if strong women scare men, how good people can perform sexual acts and more. I have had people tell me that they have stumbled into rooms where people have had blowjob contests via audio. No, I am not kidding. At the end of the day, these apps are businesses that run based on a financial model. While Twitter is still struggling to create monetary value, Clubhouse is steadily researching how to avoid that mistake. If you think that angel investors and shareholders are going to put their hard-earned money towards moaning contests and diaspora wars, you are here for a rude awakening.
All credit goes to Kendall for that word. It was a new one for me. Essentially, it relates to how people are looking to make other planets like earth, given our current climate and other crises), so that they can be hospitable to human life. In the case of black people, we want to make every single app a backyard barbecue or a BLM protest. No one is saying that you can’t enjoy what you want to enjoy on your time. What I am saying is that you do not need to create a space for EVERY kind of content on EVERY app. If you can enjoy that content on Twitter or Pornhub already, why bring it to Clubhouse?!
Now, I told you about the situation in that Clubhouse room called “Not All White People Are Racist – Change My Mind.” After everyone dispersed, I noticed that another room was started with some of the people who had been in the previous space. This new room was called something to the effect of “Shut those CH rooms down!!!” A gentleman who decided to connect with me had been in the room, so I decided to hop in and check it out. I recognized that some of the people in the room had not had the chance to speak up while we were in the room, so I decided to sit in the audience and hear them out. The speakers soon saw me in the audience and invited me on stage. Now, I will try to be fair as I speak about the situation. They were definitely more orderly than when we were in the other room.
(As an aside, since I know someone from the room might find this post and bring it up, I did state in this second room that the first room was like a zoo and that this room was much more orderly. The other speakers got very offended, and I apologized multiple times in the room for that statement. All I intended to imply was that things were completely out of control in the first room, and the second room was not like that at all. I was in no way comparing black people to animals. I expressed that to the room as well.)
I spoke with them for hours. It mainly consisted of them volleying multiple questions, me starting to give an answer; someone cutting me off with other questions, a snide comment, an accusation or a monologue; me clarifying things; wash, rinse, repeat. Despite some of the interruptions, comments and overall tension, the speakers did try to keep things polite, until closer to the end. I found it interesting that the rudest person to me in that room was a biracial woman with a white mother. The speakers quickly decided that I was not “really black” as I was Canadian who thought differently from them, (big surprise there!) but, somehow, a biracial woman with a white mother was considered to be more black than me, allowed to tell me to shut the F up and call me everything but a child of God, all the while trying to check me on my blackness. I will be clear that I did not return any of those insults her way.
Now, you all know from past articles that I do not have a big issue with biracial people being considered black. That said, I do believe that there are some times when they need to know when to take a back seat in the black community. This instance was one of them. I am still flabbergasted at the idea that fully black people on stage were allowing a biracial to constantly try to check me, a black woman, on my blackness. Yes, Rachel, I am sure Mama Rebecca taught you how to be down for the cause. This is why other races do not take us seriously. The mere idea that someone with less black blood in them can lecture me on my blackness or lack thereof, is complete clownery. Anyway, I digress. We went into circles for a bit, but we seemed to tackle some of the same issues over and over again. I will touch on that below.
How Dare I Not Stay On Code?
Essentially, my very presence in the “White People Are Not Racist – Change My Mind” room was a complete affront to them. At first, they were trying to approach things as if I was tricked into going into the room. I was not. I knew what I was doing, I wanted to be there, and, if given the choice, I would do it again today. Their stance was basically that just staying in a room that debated an issue connected to them and their lived experiences was white supremacy. Also, I was expected to loudly disrupt any conversation that came forward, if it disagreed with my personal views or made black people look bad. I personally believe that being a disruptor as a guest in discussion is the height of rudeness, and is one of the worst ways to impact change.
While you might shut down the conversation for the moment, you may lose the chance to have those critical conversations at all. For example, I ended up watching a YouTube video on a lady who left the Westboro Baptist church. One catalyst for her departure was her fierce conversations on Twitter. She was speaking provocatively on behalf of the church, and people started responding in kind. Their ongoing conversations got them to understand each other, and gave her the strength to leave the church. Megan actually ended up marrying one of her Twitter trolls. She said something very poignant about having these discussions on extremists and others. I would highly recommend you watch the video.
Maybe these people are not used to having charged conversations and participating in debates, but the typical format is to allow for others to speak and to wait for your turn. In addition, the main person that they were expecting me to speak over and interrupt was not only the host of the room but also the person who invited me to attend the session. Did I think her opinions in the situation were wrong? Absolutely. Do I think that she took a general discussion and made it personal? One hundred percent. I also did not appreciate her making charged remarks and then leaving the room when things got too hot for her. If you are going to open a room and have a controversial debate, you should be prepared to hear alternative perspectives and defend your position. That said, I wanted to continue the conversation, and, as a moderator, had resolved to support maintaining order within the room. Screaming back and forth was not going to change anyone’s mind. I was determined to wait for my time to speak.
I shared my thoughts on the room title and the state of black America in the previous article, and in paragraphs above, so I will not belabour the point. I spoke within that room to advocate for black Americans and to share my insights about the effects of racism on an individual, institutional and systemic level. At the end of the day, white privilege is real, and many black people face racial issues on different levels. That said, having conversations about race in mixed company is not an endorsement of white supremacy. At the end of the day, I see an interesting divide between the way that I think and this group’s ideas. This conversation was just a Clubhouse conversation and a debate. For them, this conversation was an act of violence and a direct threat to their very existence. It was very enlightening to see. It was also interesting to hear their perspectives on interracial dating and how that impacted their lives.
How Dare I Support Interracial Dating?
For the record, I did not enter the space to speak. I came into their room strictly to listen to those who did not get to speak in the previous room. Even when I was invited onto the stage, I specifically chose not to discuss Beyond Black and White, and the work that I do. We managed to avoid that conversation until one of the speakers decided to look up my Instagram account. I was asked why I chose to only feature black women in interracial relationships on my page and told that I needed to feature black love, as well as black men swirling. Now, my perspective here is simple: I am the Supreme Dictator Overlord of my Instagram account, as well as all of my other social media. No one has the right to tell me what I can and cannot share. If you do not like what you see, please do not let the door hit you on the way out. Our perspectives differed.
That said, I realized that the more I answered questions on this topic, the more I was being accused of manipulation, gaslighting, condescension, arrogance and more. While I know that emotional intelligence is definitely an area that I need to work on, I do not think that I said anything particularly awful. I shared that I write for a blog that highlights Black women dating interracially, I align with those views, and I see my life going in that direction as well. When asked repeatedly, I stated that I have no issues with black love and I celebrate it for others, but it is not for me.
I stated in that room that I did not need to put my hand in the fire to know that there was a risk of being burned. While they were curious about my take, they were quick to shut down anything that I had to say about the state of the black community. (As we all know, my MAC NC45 skin and 4C hair don’t qualify me as black, as I choose not to live my life as a social justice warrior.) While they may want to pretend that there are no issues in the black community, or that Dwight Man was responsible for all of our problems, that is not the case. Personal choices still have an impact within a society rife with racial tensions. No one who can see the state of the black community is blind. There are huge risks with dating within your own race. (Trigger warning for anyone reading the bullet points below. They discuss the traumatic experience of black women.) The fact of the matter is that:
Beyond all of these statistics surrounding black experiences and black love, there still remains an issue that stays untouched within the black community: this ongoing trend of humiliating black women publicly. From pulling off their wigs in public, beating them with skateboards, throwing them in dumpsters, and other acts of real violence, slandering them all across social media, degrading us in rap videos, and more. Do I hold every black man responsible for the actions of a few? No. However, I do hold you responsible for your silence. We do not see men of other communities slandering their women on mass or allowing this abuse to continue.
With the same energy that you have for disrupting and dismantling white supremacy and acts of violence against black men, you could channel that to support the women in your community. I am tired of black women screaming with their mouths open and fists in the air, transmuting their personal trauma fuel for black activism. Black women have been abused and misused by the community for years, but any time when we try to advocate for ourselves and craft the best life for ourselves, and go where we are celebrated, not tolerated, we are accused of being an active threat to the future of the black community.
To them, just existing as black was a political statement and black love was a political act. No matter what happens to black women, racial liberation is still the most issue to advocate for. I have seen everything under the sun. Black people promoting polygamous relationships, dating felons, dating bisexual men, and more. Everything instead of encouraging women to expand their options and take a chance somewhere else.
Am I saying that I hate black men? That they are inferior? While the community track record is less than stellar, no, that is not what I am saying. Horrible men exist in all races, and everyone needs to be vetted. I critique YOU ALL as I am in fact black. I am saying that I do not care for the odds of the game in-house, so I would rather play elsewhere. Again, I say that if you want to stay open to dating within your race, I am happy for you, but I will not join you. Why should I look for a needle in a haystack, when I could just go to Fabricland (the biggest Canadian fabric and supplies distributor)? Christelyn says things even better than I do. I would highly encourage you to check out her latest video:
How Dare I Not Trauma Bond With Them?
At the end of the day, this whole encounter boils down to drama, trauma and monolithic gatekeeping. We love holding on to our collective and childhood trauma, as well as the drama that births from these unaddressed issues. It does not matter where we are, what we say and what we do, we must continue to view the world and every interaction in life through the lens of trauma. Maybe if more of us embraced therapy, and doing the inner work to heal, the community would not be in the state that it is in today. (By the way, I would love to write an article on my therapy journey.)
The question still remains: are we a monolith or not? We claim that black people are not all the same, yet, if anyone decides to veer off onto The Road Not Taken, everyone else is quick to police their actions and accuse them of being an agent and a threat to the advancement of black people. At the day, you need to decide for yourself: what is revolutionary for you? Muling for the black community or living the best life for yourself? Continuing to fight the system and reproduce children in a white supremacist world, to feed to the permanent underclass and the prison industrial complex, or taking a different path to ensure a better life for you and your children?
This is the last point, I promise. People in the group started calling me a divestor and asserting that I was using their platform to poison the minds of pro-black and Pan-African people. While I guess that I walk like a duck and talk like a duck, I have never personally taken on the “divestor” label for myself. One man’s words stuck in my mind: “Black women who are divested are just angry at black men. All you have to do is talk to them and tell them that you understand, and then you get them on your side.” He basically said what I have been saying for the past few months.
This divest movement started out well but has turned into a freaking joke. There are too many women in the movement that are not actually divested, but are suffering from hurt feelings. You are ruining the movement to individual better our lives into turning a project to center black women and their upward mobility into the Doja Cat’s NAS track. I hate to sound like a broken record, as Nicole and I have covered this on the blog, but it’s time for us to stop talking about that life and being about that life.
Many people outside of the divest movement tend to think of either Christelyn’s swirling rhetoric or Kendall’s views on abortion. While these issues might be involved in black women’s decision-making process, and overlap with divestment, these ideas do not comprise the entirety of the divestment movement. As my woke friends from the Clubhouse room would say, “Educate yourself!” I’ll include some useful links below.
Why Did I Stay In the Room So Long?
This is the golden question. Have you ever spent so much time away from something that you forget what it is actually like? I guess I have been so far removed from black groupthink that I forget that there are people who actually believe that all white people are racist, black people cannot be racist, swirling is a threat to the black community, and divestment is a black female temper tantrum. In a weird way, I know that we fascinated each other, as we could not wrap our heads around how the other thought.
Moving forward, this kind of conversation will not be taking place. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. There is no need to talk to brick walls. I will share more about protecting the Clubhouse algorithm in a future post, but anyone bringing my Clubhouse algorithm down will be promptly blocked or unfollowed. Nothing personal, just keeping my hallway clear. I know that there will still be people who misunderstand what I have said. We are of two different minds and on two different trajectories, and that is completely okay. (To the rude people on Clubhouse who helped to spur on this post. I will repeat some of your words back to you: not everyone can come with us. Some people have to be left behind. I would also like to dedicate to you the infamous Chris Rock skit, and bid you adieu.)