A couple of months ago, I made a Facebook status that ruffled a few feathers. Well, honestly, most of my statuses ruffle feathers, but this one was particularly controversial. “ALLIES DON’T EXIST. FOCUS ON THE MARGINALIZED NOT THE GOOD OPPRESSORS.” Expectedly, white people rushed in to tell me how I was wrong and that there are good people who stand up for what’s right. And if you follow and know me, you know how that ended for them.
What was a little less expected and a lot more disappointing was how many Black people flipped their shit because a Black woman was publicly denying the existence of allies. It’s always jarring to realize that so many Black people are more invested in lauding white people for not being as racist as most of their counterparts than they are in supporting other Black people in confronting and fighting racism. Their ovens are always hot, set to 350 and ready for the next batch of ally cookies.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news (really I don’t because I don’t give a fuck about shattering illusions of adults), but AIN’T NO ALLIES, BIH! Anti-Blackness is global currency. It’s stronger than the dollar and has remained steady for more than three centuries. So depending on or expecting non-Black people, especially white people, to harness the power of whiteness and their proximity to it to dismantle a system which benefits them at our expense is not only futile but absurd.
Now, calm down. Don’t burst a vein yelling about your good white friends who protest and support you. I’m sure Connor and Liz have been there for you and they probably have been enraged to the point of protest about a few murders of unarmed Black people by the police. That, however, does not negate the fact that you conferring the beloved title of “ally” upon them is some pandering bullshit.
Any person with any semblance of a moral compass should not only be outraged by injustice, whether it directly affects them or not, but moved to do something about it. If ever there were an example of injustice, the last 300 or so years of Black people’s existence on this planet is it. Recognizing and raging against instances of blatant discrimination and state-sanctioned violence against other humans is not something that needs or deserves lauding. And tweeting #blacklivesmatter or composing a witty status about how other white people don’t recognize privilege damned sure shouldn’t be earning cookout invites.
We’ve become so accustomed to white people being overtly and actively racist, that any sign that a white person recognizes racism, however minimal, has become cause for championing that person over the plight of the Black people they’re being exalted for defending. Too many times I’ve written about white people without qualifiers — And I will never qualify my writing about the oppressor with “some” or “all” because fuck that shit! — only to have Black people charge in to admonish me for alienating allies, as if doing what’s right earns irreproachability and eternal gratitude, centering so-called allies and their feelings over my oppressed Black ass.
Perhaps if we spent all the time we do baking chocolate chip pecan toffee ally cookies on creating space for each other, some of us would be freed from the delusion that we need white people. Yes, white people should dismantle their own regime, but I ain’t walking on egg shells to urge them to do so. Nor am I offering them an ally force field which protects them from the criticism of the marginalized groups whose equality — not equity because I have yet to hear these “allies” talk about the redistribution of wealth to those whose ancestors built — LITERALLY BUILT — this empire — they claim to fight for and want.
As a general rule, if you need the 3c treatment — cajole, coddle and cover — to be halfway decent, you ain’t about that life. But even if they are about it, even if they are out here doing everything right and dedicating their lives to seeing Black liberation actualized in our lifetime, you still need to put away the fucking flour and sugar, and turn off the oven because even if we were to celebrate those who aided liberation, that ceremony should only happen at the finish line. Now considering how racism is ever-looming, crushing and consuming most of us at nearly every second, that finish line is nowhere in sight, obstructed by gargantuan hurdles set on a road filled with barbed wire and quick sand.
During World War II, allies sent troops to fight and die to defeat Hitler and stop the genocide. That’s an ally. Now unless I’m mistaken, I haven’t seen these white folks who call themselves and are called “allies” employing strategic violent attacks to bring about the destruction of the system they administer, so none of them are fit to be called such. Alliance is a myth.
Stop throwing confetti and listening to acceptance speeches from these people who claim to be fighting racism. Pour the energy you expend reminding other Black people that there are good white people (allies) into assisting and affirming each other. Focus on the prey not the friendly predator.