Coffee Rhetoric: 'Black Twitter' Takes on #BlackPrivilege

May 02, 2013

'Black Twitter' Takes on #BlackPrivilege

Written for and orig. published on Intersection of Madness and Reality


When racism rears its ugly head on social media, leave it to ‘Black Twitter’ to clap-back and upend rhetoric meant to denigrate black folks, and turn it into a clever and teachable moment steeped in the type of sardonic satire meant to make perpetrators of said racial insensitivity, feel stupid for having ever tried.

Last week, the #BlackPrivilege hash-tag gained momentum on Twitter, reportedly created as a response to the discovery of a (neglected?) tumblr blog and, perhaps, just being plain tired of having to ward off cries of "reverse-racism" whenever black people speak out loud about the lived experiences and daily microaggressions many of us have to navigate . “This Is Black Privilege” ... an anonymous tumblr blog comprised of a jumble of murky, awkwardly written non-facts that seem as if they were culled from the library stacks of Ignoramus University.


According to the answers for a set of Frequently Asked Questions, This is Black Privilege’s purpose is to “educate the uneducated” by way of “a compilation of black people privileges." According to the person behind the blog— a self-described nice, white 22-year-old "fairly well-known blogger", whose experience with dissecting race is purportedly relegated to: having grown up with blacks in Alabama listening to Hip-Hop, having  black boyfriends up until the age of 18, having taken a smattering of classes in the psychology of racism, African and basic  history, and anthropology—, black is “more prevalent than [you] think.” And “there are a lot of examples to back up and clarify this if [you] need it.” S/He also challenges, “If you’d like to refute each and every one of them, you’re welcome to try.”

However, none of the examples of  'black privilege' this person presents seem to be rooted in any actual facts. They seem more in line with the regurgitated donkey doo-doo one hears from Stormfront’s White Nationalist Community, pseudo-social science, or your standard Fox News broadcast. When challenged (repeatedly) to cite his/her sources for a lot of the asinine posts shared on the blog, the admin only offered a vague “sorry, I don’t have time to cite every source” response,  but credited the black women’s lifestyle and gossip site Madame Noire, as a prime example of “black privilege” and as the catalyst for the conception blog … because g-d forbid if black folks have the unmitigated gall to start their own media infrastructures and employ black freelance writers. How terribly… elitist and short-sighted of us to resource hoard, right?
Black privilege is expecting compensation for slavery from all whites, and it’s also ignorance about other types of slavery in the U.S.  
(…)Slavery of blacks was ended a long while before white child slavery was ended. The children would be worked 16 hours a day, without food, and would be beaten/mutilated. Also, slaves of color were more valued than poor white men.
   --Yes, because indentured servitude and serfdom is definitely the same as forced migration from the only home you know, chained, and packed at the bottom of a ship for grueling, seemingly endless, days like sardines; headed towards an unfamiliar destination only to be auctioned off, separated from your children, and sold into chattel slavery to work under brutal conditions for zero pay… and then raped, cuckolded, and murdered because you’re black and only 3/5ths of a human being. While child labor and the military use of children is a relevant human rights violation, this strikes me as a sloppy attempt to try to juxtapose the two issues against each other. So, bye.
(…) Slaves of color viewed themselves as better than poor whites because their masters did, too. Poor whites would have to take back entrances into houses while slaves didn't. Dust Bowl forced penniless white Oklahoma immigrants west.
--Right, because white Americans were the only people who suffered during the Great Depression and the
I've been at the receiving end of
ALL of this
Dust Bowl. And nothing is more reviled than an uppity Negro who wants to be regarded as a whole being and an equal, who just wants to be able to do simple mundane things like, oh, I don’t know… work for a paycheck to be able to eat, read, or sit at a counter in some diner and enjoy a milkshake with impunity. I guess elitist poor black folk and uppity slaves also explains the rigid anti-black laws enacted, during the Jim Crow racial caste system of the American south, and why poor whites were lynching black people left and right for being so damn full of themselves. I'm guessing the genius behind 'This Is Black Privilege' didn't learn any of this stuff during his/her African history, anthropology, or psychology classes. Or maybe those moments soaking in all that black privilege while hanging tough in Alabama, kicking it with his/her black boyfriend(s) while listening to rap, slipped his/her mind. 


Needless to say, not sure if ‘This Is Black Privilege’ was nothing more than trolling as a vehicle to complain about black people supposedly whining, by … well… whining about perceived threats to white imperialism; but ‘Black Twitter’ unleashed with a series of some of the cleverest, oh-so-real comebacks and dissections of race politics, in a purgative moment that resonated on a global scale.