The black community has always had a severe lack of positive control over their residual collective image. This residual collective image has largely been, and always been defined by whites in America. In the year 2015 we have witnessed a new era of activism, a Civil Rights 2.0, which largely found a mainstream media that isn’t embedding itself into the protester frontlines like they did for Martin Luther King Jr. and the Freedom Riders. Black people have learned that we cannot depend on mainstream media as MLK did in the past. With protesters using social media to document the times, the black community as a whole realized that we can define our own collective image and experience — by having a little more power with social media.
Looking at this from a social-political standpoint, this Thanksgiving meme serves the same function as a comedy-drama family movie; it makes everyone laugh as well as feel good about the shared good experiences with family. Out of the hundreds in circulation, there’s a least one of them that you can relate to. One must keep in mind the socio-political strife taking place concerning institutional racism (e.g., police accountability/transparency) by the time of this publishing. Social media not only gave the black community to means to share pain and traumatic experiences which need to be documented, but also to share love, warmth, compassion and fun experiences as well.
Strange enough, there is a significant backlash from white people, who, as always, act as if they are left out of something. The white fragility note on this is interesting to observe, because from a professional standpoint it looks like they really don’t like it when black people do anything that all group identities do (or seek to do), which is merely SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES being that they are different than everyone else. It’s similar to the “all lives matter” shout from whites, which seek to erase cultural identity situations that white people have largely created in the first place. Any action that seeks to pretend different experiences don’t exist because of race only serves the racial hierarchy that’s in place; in this case, that’s white supremacy. You cannot continually ostracize, ignore, anathematize, sideline, persecute, silence, dismantle and destroy black people and expect all experiences between whites and blacks to be the same.
Interestingly, white people love to bring up black on black crime — while claiming colorblindness at the same time. Other times whites spend copious amounts of time suggesting black families don’t exist or dysfunctional, which is minotaurian fecal matter. Even further: instead thinking “wow, we are all alike after all” or “I can relate to black people” they go, “why are they saying ‘black’ all the time?” Why? This nation called America would be a better place if whites spent more time relating to nonwhites as they stand instead of engaging in erasure politics.
Pretty much when white people do this, they seek to define black people all while hating the notion of black people defining themselves. White people, at large, define themselves. But for some strange reason they don’t think that black people — or other nonwhite peoples — should also be afforded the ability to define themselves as well. This all plays into the theory that black people infinitely seen as something that serves whites only. If your whole purpose is to serve whites only, then you don’t get to have an identity. You don’t decide who you are and what you are, or what your experiences are. Unfortunately white people — yes, including the “I am not racist” whites — have long lost that slave contract.
While having minimum means in this world in regards to mainstream media platforms, black people will continue to define ourselves. A white person is most certainly invited at that Thanksgiving table… But they are going to have to remember that it’s a black family regardless.