Let’s be honest yall: shit is fucked up right now. As more and more Black people are being murdered left and right, more and more people are protesting, being jailed, harassed, and having their jobs threatened for speaking the truth. As chaotic as our world is right now, there is some good that has come out of it. Over the past week or so I’ve seen people I never would have thought even knew how to spell police brutality going IN on racism and white supremacy. Personally, I love it. People are realizing that these systems of oppression need to be challenged and I live for it. But while we all still swallowing the red pill, let's take some time to see just how far this rabbit hole goes.
First off, we have to realize that the phrase “Stay Woke” is a REAL thing. I know that people use that in the most hotep-ian ways (more on that later), but that shit is a LIFESTYLE. To Stay Woke you gotta adapt a whole new worldview; you have to constantly challenge not just everything they see in the media but everything they have been taught. When you Stay Woke you have to ALWAYS be looking at the ways that oppression slips into day to day life. Think about this, whenever something bad happens to a Black family one of the first questions asked is, “Do you forgive so-and-so?” If they say yes then all the rest of us are told “Well they forgave them, why can’t you? Leave well enough alone!” and if they say no we believe that “They just need more time to heal.” What seems like a simple question can be used as a tool to downplay Black people's pain, but most of us wouldn't realize it. To Stay Woke you have to be willing to confront that what you think you know may not always be right, and that you have to constantly learn and unlearn information to truly be against oppression.
That of course brings me to my next point. So, so, SO many people when they get “woke” slip into becoming what we know as “hoteps”. You all know the ones. The folks that become “conscious” and now they call women “womb-men” (pretty much saying that a woman is nothing more than a baby making machine), think that homosexuality is un-Afrikan (yes, you gotta spell I with a k) and usually talk like this. Now I know that when you discover something new you usually go to extremes first and then balance out; like how when you get a new toy you have to play with it all the time at first before you get tired of it. But in this day and age there is absolutely no reason or way why or how anyone can try to be pro-Black and think that 1) women can’t lead/make decisions and must always default to men, 2) Black queer people must choose a side and cannot be queer and pro-Black, and 3) (Real) Black men should always be at the forefront of the movement and its focus. Whether we want to admit it or not, Black women and Black queer folks have been at the forefront of this movement, and we must not let dangerous and divisive talks from Tariq Nasheed, Umar Johnson, or any of them fools erase that. This is hard, I know, because most of us are trained from birth that gay is wrong and women are lesser, but no one said liberation would be easy, and honestly, if you're not willing to do that work to unlearn that toxic behavior you may need to take the blue pill and stay sleep.
By now you’re probably looking at your screen like “Okay well Marcus what CAN I do?” I’m glad you asked! Turns out you can do A LOT. There are groups you can join, people you can follow, and plenty to do once you start to do the research (remember, Google is your friend). Raising awareness is a FANTASTIC place to start or even stay. I know people think that “hashtag activism” doesn’t do anything, but for each one of those hashtags there’s a group of people organizing, there’s a news article written, and most importantly there’s somebody who sits on social media all day who is going to see that and be affected. Think about it, how did most of us learn about #BlackLivesMatter or any of the murders of innocent Black people? Social media right? Everyone has a part to play in the fight against oppression, and it is our job to figure out what that role is. Some of us have the gift of gab and talk to people or teach others about issues (I personally think that’s my role, but I could be wrong), some of us are able to actually go out and march and lay our bodies on the line. Some of us may house others: giving folks shelter when they need it, food when they’re hungry and escape when they want it. Some of us may climb that corporate or political ladder to affect change from the inside. Some of us may give financial support, either by funding activists or just by shopping at and supporting Black businesses (*coughs*). My point is don't be convinced that there is a certain way you need to protest or show that you care. Just us existing, loving, and living life is a revolutionary act, so just about anything can be used or done to fight this fight.
It's important we remember that. No one has the answers for what is gone get us free. Some think it's fighting back and giving an eye for an eye. Some folks think it's economic freedom. Some think it's peaceful revolution and some think it's invading the system. None of us really know, so we need people willing to do it all. That's why you (yes you) are so important. Your voice, your actions may just be the ones that get us there. Regular people started this movement; regular people who want to live in a world where we don’t have a panic attack whenever we see police and where our kids (and friends) won’t be murdered for playing a phone game. All of our voices, our actions, and our existences MATTER and we can never forget that. So yes, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the others was a horrible tragedy that opened your eyes to the truth. You can see the Matrix for what it is, now what are you going to do about it?
What will you do to #StayWoke? What made you realize that you needed to be "conscious" in the first place?