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Boots Riley on Blac Bloc Tactics in Bay Area



In the wake of mass arrests during a Blac Bloc action on Saturday in San Francisco, Boots Riley, a revolutionary artist and Occupy activist, weighs in on the strategic wisdom of tactics being employed by Occupy Oakland and the use of Blac Bloc tactics in the Bay Area particularly. The following comment by Boots were posted on facebook.

“Most of the folks doing this don’t know anyone from Oakland, and- I believe- don’t plan on doing any sort of base building to find out where the pulse of the people actually are.”

So.  I mean, people often point to the window breaking as the issue.  That’s not it.  I mean, there’s local businesses that got fucked up, and that’s not cool, but that’s not the failure.

The failure is exactly what he’s saying in that sentence right there - there’s a group of activism tourists who roll through Oakland to do their rallies and shit, and often that ends up steamrolling or derailing what the actual people who are part of Oakland communities are doing.

For example, it’s no surprise to me that none of these Johnny-come-lately folks were there for the Terrance Williams support march in downtown Oakland…

And it says a lot when Oakland, often toted the child prostitution capital of the US has Occupy folks protesting a conference on ENDING child trafficking - claiming that it’s aimed at shaming sex work - as if you can compare sexual slavery to sex work by choice…

Meanwhile, the POC and the LGBT folks broke away from Occupy Oakland into Decolonize Oakland BECAUSE THEY COULDN’T GET THEIR VOICES HEARD IN GENERAL ASSEMBLIES.

When POC can’t get their voices heard IN OAKLAND, and LGBT folks can’t get their concerns addressed IN THE BAY, you know you’re fucking up.

This problem kicked off after Mehserle killed Oscar Grant - you had a LOT of Oakland folks roll out for that, and then the cameras arrived, and then all these other people who show up for the rallies but do nothing else for Oakland in between…  Since then, we’re the fucking activist Disneyland - come down, do a rally, smell some pepperspray, say you did your bit for the cause, and fuck the pigs.  Basically, you get to come to Oakland, break our shit, claim you’re helping us, and not there for the part after.

You could even tell who was on some bullshit by the graffiti - someone tagged, “Fear the Police” on the wall, clearly some white-ass “revolutionary” who a) doesn’t know what the fuck FTP means, and b) spraying the most obvious basic shit that is default for Oakland like “remember to breathe”.  When people started calling these folks on their bullshit, then we got all these flyers claiming that people were dismissing the voices of Oakland POC… except it was all written in othering 3rd person language… 

One of my friends saw some flyer for a “feminist take back the night” policing action.  Problem was it was posted up the night before the action.  By people who haven’t bothered to interact with the neighborhood.  When you got a bunch of white and white identifying POC rolling up in a neighborhood of POC claiming to be able to tell who’s trouble and who’s not?  Oh. Ok.

It’s not a matter of property damage/not property damage - it’s a matter of commitment and whether you’re here FOR OAKLAND or you’re just fucking passing through.  Gentrification works the same way - you’re here but you’re not here.  You don’t interact with the communities here - you supplant them.  

It always says everything to me that the idea of community improvement means replacing all the businesses, community centers and eventually, the people.

I mean, I guess that’s exactly what America is built on, but hardly anything revolutionary in that.


Welp.  Can’t even count how many friends I know who have done this struggle and seen shit fall down.
It becomes a point where you can’t just say, “I feel like your org is bullshit” without seeming like you’re on some conservative bullshit, when really, it’s because you can see the disingenuous exploitation getting pulled on folks.
It also says basically everything how dedicated people are to keeping their privilege, even as they “fight” for equality.


Welp.  Can’t even count how many friends I know who have done this struggle and seen shit fall down.

It becomes a point where you can’t just say, “I feel like your org is bullshit” without seeming like you’re on some conservative bullshit, when really, it’s because you can see the disingenuous exploitation getting pulled on folks.

It also says basically everything how dedicated people are to keeping their privilege, even as they “fight” for equality.

(via hamburgerjack-deactivated201404)


The Clean Hands of Hate & other passive aggressive bullshit


Time to point something out, again.

Here’s something that the extremists do.   Someone decides to be a mouthpiece- they say the hateful, inflammatory shit.  They point to targets and why they’re evil.  They often will even start trying to reveal personal information about the person - make sure their photos are up, where they work, and, if they want to get bold, phone numbers and mailing addresses.

Then they sit back and the crowd they gathered says even more hateful shit, not coded, not hidden.  The crowd gives threats.  The crowd sends hateful letters, starts harassing, making violent overtures all the way up to acting in violence.

And the mouth piece sits back and goes, “Oh, it wasn’t ME.  I didn’t say any of that.  I didn’t DO any of that.”

And, it’s true, to a degree.  But here’s where that shit is twisted and tells you everything about this person.

Let someone who is targeted call them out, cuss them out, express anger.

Now suddenly you can step up and say the victim is the victimizer, now they’re the violent ones, the irrational, the hateful, the abuser?

After the mouthpiece just let all sorts of hateful, and clearly violent comments go by, now they find this one moment of response to be “beyond the line”.

If you can work up the energy to call this out, but not the other shit that was x1000 times worse?   

You’ve just revealed you’re not about rational discourse, you’re not even about this “line” of decency you suddenly draw in the ground - you’re OK with one group abusing another and not with the target defending themselves.   You’re an enabler and a supporter and instigator of everything you’re condoning at this point.   You’ve moved from “not-involved with the responses” to “supportive of the hate”.

This ain’t new.  It’s why an unarmed child cannot have self defense but a violent racist who chases him down with a gun, can.  It’s why women can’t say “vagina” without offending someone as they pass laws to make vagina’s the property of anyone except the person who it’s attached to.   It’s why “kill all muslims” can be said without breaking any laws but “get out of my country” puts you on a terrorist list.

And yeah, it comes down to stuff like fandom and personal circles.   Because it’s never about WHAT is right.  It’s always about who is always CONSIDERED right, regardless of the actual situation.

If you tell me a 5 year old child punching an adult is just as bad, or worse than an adult punching a 5 year old child?   If you can’t comprehend that power differences make for different situations and considerations?   

I’d say you’re stupid, but that’s not true - you’re just a disingenuous liar and a coward- too chickenshit and dishonest to say what you really feel, and desperately trying to find some conniving ass bullshit way to promote hate.  

Welcome to the world of protecting abusers, oppressors and the hate filled shitholes of the world.

Hope it feels good to be a champion at something.

(via deliciouskaek)


If the only time…


…any words come out of your mouth about the value of Black lives, or the struggle of Black folks is when you’re trying to make some kind of comparison to pump up some other thing (animal rights, anti-reproductive freedom, gay marriage) get Black people to do something you want them to…

…then you reveal that you don’t give a shit about the human lives you’re talking about, just expecting servitude.

It’s always so obvious when the concern troll pundits come out and talk about Black on Black violence, or the need to fix “Black Culture” or all the 1001 things that always, inevitably, demand Black people change in ways that demand more than is asked of anyone else in a similar situation, even when the CORE problem is external to them.   

That is, you don’t see the right wing white people going on and on about Black on Black violence say anything about white supremacist violence, or police violence against Black people.   You don’t see the anti-reproductive freedom people talk about Black women’s health care, safety, or survival outside of the demands they be denied control over their own bodies (much less what happens to those children after they’re born…).    You don’t see the people who blame Black people for all the homophobia talk about the issues of upper class queer folks used as spearheads of gentrification, LGBT communities and activism that engages in racism and destroys alliances with QPOC, or how the issues of voter disenfranchisement might play a role in how those votes swing (or, what is says when white gay men ally with white people, even though it was white organized religious groups that wrote and bankrolled the bills and laws going into effect…)

You only see them talk when it comes down to, “Boy, go do this.”

… and adding, “It’s because I know what’s best for you” doesn’t actually change the core sentiment, though.





sexgenderbody: [Content Note: Scottish and ginger stereotyping, Othering, racism, misogyny.]



I will also briefly note that if you think this post is just about Scots, or whether Scots are/should be offended, you have misread the post. The post very clearly elucidates how the particular stereotypes being evoked play into a…



That was one of the funniest, weirdest posts and threads I’ve read in ages. I haven’t really read any of those WhiteProgressive™ blogs in years, but I just decided to dip my toe in the water to check it out. Wow, that was worse than I remembered. So the key to dismantling white supremacy is fighting against the stereotyping of Scottish people because Othering among white ethnicities is the same as the Othering of people of color. Good luck with that, I guess?

“Whiteness is not a monolith.” True, whiteness is a fluid strategic ideology of power, with various ethnic groups sliding in and out of favor as required by circumstances and with anti-Blackness as a foundational organizing principle. That’s been one of my taglines for years. White liberals still can’t even spit something that simple. They think it’s a revelation to even consider inter-ethnicity and don’t know how to intersect it with race.

Some of the comments are priceless, like this one:

As a half-Spanish/half-West Virginian who’s spent the past 21 years living in Catalunya and Wales, I cannot tell you how grateful I am for this post. I have had to listen to the supposedly progressive give me the “it CAN’T be bigotry/stereotyping/etc.: [group in question] are WHITE!” One of the biggest weapons the English have in their (yes, still ongoing) campaign to obliterate the Welsh language and culture is the fact that the “Welsh are white.”

First of all, you know a speaker is lost when they enter a discussion about ethnicity by identifying as “half-West Virginian”, because what the fuck is that? WASP? African American? South Asian American? Those are all possible West Virginians, asshole. West Virginia is a region but not an ethnicity. Gotta keep these things straight.

Second, oh yes, the biggest weapon used against victims of cultural genocide is their whiteness. Brilliant! That explains everything!

Finally, there’s McEwan’s absurdly pompous head-up-ass commenting on her own post, in which she aggressively shuts down Scottish commenters who don’t share her view of Scottish oppression. “There are advanced social justice ideas in this post” seems destined to become internet-classic. She also writes:

The post very clearly elucidates how the particular stereotypes being evoked play into a tradition of racism that upholds white supremacy.

Is there such a thing as elucidating something unclearly? No? Oh okay, that explains why you added the “very clearly” in front of “elucidates”, because you actually know that your post in no way elucidates how stereotyping Scottish folks upholds racism and white supremacy, because it doesn’t.

Cut out and bolded for truth:

“Whiteness is not a monolith.” True, whiteness is a fluid strategic ideology of power, with various ethnic groups sliding in and out of favor as required by circumstances and with anti-Blackness as a foundational organizing principle.


Asian Privilege



So we understand men get male privilege?

We understand straight folks get straight privilege?

We understand cisfolks get cis privilege?

We understand white folks get white privilege?

We understand colorism gives lighter skinned folks color privilege?

So can we step to Privilege 102 and understand most privileges aren’t always a binary?  They’re a hierarchy or a spectrum based on how society views and treats you.  And that can shift based on circumstances and situation.  Is it possible to comprehend that the oppressions are not the same in type or necessarily degree?

Do we get how people can, and do USE THEIR PRIVILEGE against people who are lesser privileged on a given axis?

So what is it when Asian Americans cosign on antiblackness, anti-latino bullshit, anti-muslim bullshit?*  What do you call that?  (example: Michelle Malkin)

Does it mean Asian Am’s ain’t getting stepped on, ain’t catching shit?  No.  Just as much as White Women can be oppressed in some ways AND oppressing others at the same fucking time.

Do you want to end the system of injustice?  Include your own privilege.  Observe it, check it.  Call out your communities when and where they inflict the privilege you share.  Don’t be silent, don’t defend it, check it and stop it.   Stop shitting on the people below, stop others from shitting on the people below in these hierarchies- that’s how you be an ally, and make a space for alliances to build.

But for fuck’s sake - if you can’t figure out how someone can be oppressed and privileged at the same time, you going to catch some really hard times when it comes to white women or gay white men, or men of color patriarchy or any of the other million fucking ways shit can intersect.

Either we all get free or no one gets free.  Start by stepping off the necks you stand on.  Get other folks to stop standing on people’s necks.  Don’t demand the people you’re standing on to help you before you help them.  

This concept is only difficult to people who are invested in trying to hold on to the oppressor’s promises that you’re worth more than “those people”.

*”What about dark skinned muslim Latino Asian Am folks?” Yes, they exist! If you are one, you fucking know what I mean about Asian Privilege, because you’re seeing the Asians who get it for fitting White conceptions of what Asians are supposed to be, and all the ways you’re not it.  More importantly, you see how those folks often are the first to buy into, and support the system, and inflict their privilege on everyone else…


Why I’m Not Going To Pride



by Mia McKenzie

It’s almost pride weekend in San Francisco. Preparations are being made for any number of festive activities. Marches, parades, parties. Right now, countless dykes are painting signs that read, “Dykes united will never be divided,” and such. Countless drag queens are deciding which wigs to don for the big day. Glitter is sold out everywhere.

I’ve gotten Facebook invites to more events than I can keep track of. There is something pride-related to get into every hour of the day from five on Friday to Sunday at two a.m. It’s all very exciting. I guess.

This whole “pride” thing…I don’t get it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, when I was younger, when I was first out, when the newness of gayness in public made the idea of parades and pride festivals really tantalizing, I was into it. I attended pride parades in many of the cities I lived in, including Philly and Denver. But after a while, it got…you know…old. And not just old. It got…pointless.

I needed pride parades when I was just coming out, I guess. I needed just to know that other “gays and lesbians” existed. And I guess I needed to spend a Sunday with all of them once a year? But very quickly what I needed, as a young, queer person, changed. Today what I need has nothing whatsoever to do with parades. Nothing whatsoever to do with Bud Light sponsorship.

What I need, and what most of the folks in my community need, is access to education, and health care, and food that isn’t slowly killing us. We need for our tax dollars to not be spent killing other brown people all over the world. We need the police to stop using our black bodies for target practice. We need…shit, we need a lot of things. And very few of them involve hot pants and feathered floats.

I know what some of y’all are going to say. “It’s a parade! It’s fun! I like it! Why do you hate everything?” To you, I say, Please stop hearing only what you want to hear. Thanks.

I don’t hate parades. And I find glitter to be all kinds of wonderful. And, yeah, wear those hot pants, guuuurl! AND ALSO, I have a brain and a sense of justice and a heart that connects to the suffering of other human beings. K?

I just wish some of this “pride” energy (and a LOT of this Pride money) was being spent demanding justice for Brandi Martell. And Cece McDonald. I wish all the people who care about after-parties cared about Rekia Boyd. (I realize that some people care about these things simultaneously. Most people, however, do not. Please don’t talk to me about how you know five people who do, and how that makes my argument null and void. Thanks again.)

I do not identify as “gay” or “lesbian”. The reasons are myriad, and it comes down to the fact that my association with gays and lesbians is with marriage equality and Subarus and we are just like straight people once you get past all the butt-fucking. I identify as queer because that term, for me, is about the ways in which I do not want to conform, the ways in which the idea of being “just like straight people” makes me want to watch paint dry, or something else that sounds equally interesting. More than that, though, being queer, for me, is about understanding the intersections. About being able to see how sexuality and gender and race and class and a whole bunch of other things are all tools used to keep the same machine in tip-top shape. And you know what? I have never heard anybody talking about that type of shit on a stage after a pride parade.

So, I’m opting out. (This is not me telling you that you should opt out. This is me saying that I am.)

Because, despite what today’s LGBT mega-organizations want you to think, Stonewall was a RIOT, y’all. Not a parade.

Like this blog? Feel represented here? Then please support queer, trans*, and gender-non-conforming writers of color! Watch this video and then GO HERE!

Black Girl Dangerous Writing Workshop Video from Black Girl Dangerous on Vimeo.

Mia McKenzie is a writer and a smart, scrappy Philadelphian with a deep love of vegan pomegranate ice cream and fake fur collars. She is a black feminist and a freaking queer, facts that are often reflected in her writings, which have won her some awards and grants, such as the Astraea Foundation’s Writers Fund Award and the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award. She just finished a novel and has a short story forthcoming in The Kenyon Review. She is a nerd, and the creator of Black Girl Dangerous, a revolutionary blog.

LIKE Black Girl Dangerous on Facebook.

I’d be happy if the Anti8 folks who were all up and running a few years ago, and turned away support from QPOC groups, would turn around and start seriously addressing why they didn’t want to build those bridges… and build them.

Also bonus: if my friends don’t come back telling me how they got double carded at places up in the Castro, or had slurs thrown at them.


Uh, Mehreen….



Girl, you’re being facetious. 

This image:

is not the same thing as the criticism Cornell West gave to Obama:

You have Martin Luther King’s statue in your office, but you are sending these unmanned drones out, and bombs are dropping on innocent people. That’s not a small thing. That’s not a small thing. We know from historic examples that if you engage in a certain kind of foreign policy it eats at your soul on the domestic front.

Dr. West has been vocal about criticizing Obama’s domestic and foreign policies, and has done so by evoking Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy. (See: Dr. King Weeps From His Grave) And its legitimate for him to do so, because you are right, Obama doesn’t shy away from invoking Dr. King’s words when it suits him — which, by the way, is something every American politician does — while simultaneously endorsing policies which would horrify the civil rights leader. 

But this image…. it isn’t good criticism. Would anyone make this macro with George Bush? With Bill Clinton? Since when has an American president even tried to live up to the political ideals that Dr. King enunciated? Why is it expected that Obama would be any different? The answer, of course, is race. Obama and King are both black; its shocking that they’d think and do different things.

This image takes a valid criticism and reduces it to a lazy, racial argument. It doesn’t matter if that’s not how YOU took it — in context (and context is important!), it is about race. If you have been paying attention to how Obama is spoken about, it is ALWAYS in terms of his race. Obama is seen as a Black President — not just… the President. It is not out of line to assume that we are going to see this image and think to ourselves, “this is making a dig at Obama, because he is Black”. In fact, it would be illogical to NOT see that subtext. 

You chalk up the criticism you’re getting as the simple defensive mechanism of Obama supporters getting angry when anyone anywhere criticises “their savior” — that’s not what’s happening here. What your critics are saying is: this image promulgates the idea that Black leaders have to be homogenous in their ideas, and that its surprising when they are not. That is racist. No one here is defending Obama or the drone attacks. For you to imply that they are is profoundly disappointing. 

You are being criticized for posting an image that is racist, not because you dared to speak up against Obama. 

All that said, those who are attacking you by saying that your suffering and the suffering of the Pakistani people is irrelevant, is minimal compared to the suffering of Black people in America….. well, that’s bullshit. And its derailing. And it does nothing to further their arguments. Black people do not have to be the Most Oppressed in order for anti-black racism to be something that we should combat. 


(via hamburgerjack-deactivated201404)

Pictures from Tiananmen [warning: violence, gore, blood]


April 18th. During Hu Yaobang’s memorial, a couplet on the wall of the People’s University lampooned the communist bureaucracy: “Seeking not accomplishment, but faults free, one shall achieve immortality”; “Be an obedient bureaucrat rather than a bureaucrat of integrity and has one’s young life cut short”.

April 20th. The first march organized by the Beijing University Student Union Preparation Committee, protesting the violent acts of the army and police the night before at the gate of Xinhua Men. The Beijing University Student Union Preparation Committee was formed only a day before.

April 22nd. Students from various universities of Beijing participated in Hu Yaobang’s memorial service held on the Tiananmen Square. Afterwards, they issued a petition of seven points. This picture shows students from the University of Public Administration and Law participating in Hu Yaobang’s memorial service. The backdrop shows article 35 of the Chinese Constitution and Hu’s picture.

The April 27th march was a protest to the April 26th editorial. More than a million students and citizens took part in this march. The impact of this march was so high that it was beyond anyone’s estimation. The Chinese authority was forced to reconsider and to avoid violent suppression. Banners among marchers include: “Long live democracy, long live the people”; “Long live to the integrity of the Chinese Communist Party”

May 4th. In Shanghai, all universities jointly launched the grand demonstration in commemorating the May 4th anniversary, with tens of thousands participating. Up to ten thousand students started sit-in, following the demonstration, in front of the Shanghai municipal government, demanding dialogue on “Students’ Manifesto”, with Jiang Zemin, the Party Secretary General of Shanghai. A female student was shown in the photo announcing the “Manifesto” in front of the municipal government.

May 4th. A senior professor, who participated in the May 4th Movement seventy years ago, was speaking to the crowd in support of the students’ petition in front of the Shanghai municipal government.

May 15th. Students on the Tiananmen Square in the morning next day after the hunger strike began. Participants of the hunger strike rose swiftly from 800 to 3,000.

May 15th. “Mom, I am hungry. But I can’t eat” as read on a tent on the Tiananmens Square.

May 15th. Pupils went to streets to supporting the just actions of big brothers and sisters, and they carried signs that read “down with corruption”.

May 17th. Medics rushed a student from Tiananmen Square after he collapsed on the third day of their hunger strike.

May 17th. Common ground could be found between the most traditional and most modern Chinese on the Tiananmen square. A monk was shown in the photo making a speech in support of students on the square.

May 24th. Voice of the Student, the broadcast station at the base of “the Monument of the Martyrs”.

May 26th. Student leader Zhang Jian, from Beijing College of Athletic Education, fell in sleep out of fatigue at a rock-n-roll concert performed by Cui Jian. Zhang was shot with three bullets while he was at the northwest corner of the Tiananmen Square at the dawn of June 4th. He was rescued and survived. He hid his identity for twelve years and went a long way finally abroad to France. There still is one bullet left in his body.

On May 28th, Chinese marched globally. Students in Beijing commemorated the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, demanding the government to dismiss the implementation of the martial law and removing Premier Li Peng from his position.

May 28th. Hong Kong students joined the grand march in Beijing.

June 4th. In the Tiananmen Square, students were carrying their bullet wounded classmates to hospitals for emergency resuscitation.

June 4th. A rickshaw driver fierce y paddled the wounded people with the help of bystanders to a nearby hospital. Soldiers again fired hundreds of rounds towards angry crowds gathered outside Tiananmen Square.

Many June 4th victim died of being shot by Dumdum bullets, which were prohibited internationally. Recently military surgeon Dr. Jiang Yanyong confirmed that the troops used the Dumdum bullets in the crack-down.

Where there is oppression, there will be revolt. The morning of June 4th, 1989, soldiers were still shooting on the Chang An Street. Citizens of Beijing fought back heroically. The picture shows a few bullet wounded citizens lying in the Chang An Street and others were helping the wounded.

June 7th. Crowds of curious Being residents gather to look at the military hardware in Tiananmen Square Wednesday.

On June 9th, Deng Xiaoping, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, met with army and higher commanders from the martial law enforcement troops, showing that the situation was under his control.

(via bankuei)


Theory over Lives



It took some deep breathes and a minute to really think about everything that’s wrong about that fuckyeahmarxismleninism picture of the armed child soldiers of the Khmer Rouge - and what it is, comes down to this:

Someone is SO about their socialism as a theory, that it’s totally irrelevant that 2 million brown people were killed as a result of it.  Like, the idea of socialism and fighting against US Imperialism makes it AWESOME compared to the genocide that followed.

And it says so much about how this person clearly hasn’t spoken with any Khmer folks, or even Chinese about the Cultural Revolution, and the ways in which not everyone can be “Yay Socialism!” because, fuck, it meant a lot of people dying and being imprisoned or tortured to fulfill some idea that when we look at the actual things that happened didn’t do anything to actually spread the wealth or establish equality, but instead were points when the doors were opened for a group of folks to take out their violence and worst inclinations on the people they’ve always had to “tolerate”.

I feel this same way when white folks proudly talk about science and medicine and casually sweep over Anarcha and the slaves experimented on for gynecology, or Henrietta Lacks and cancer research, or the Tuskeegee or Guatamalan syphilis experiments.

The attitude that an ideal is more important than lives - correction, lives risked willingly and with consent, but instead, it’s more important that THOSE PEOPLE’S lives, and often at your own profit.  (and yes, the hardcore “socialist” activists who are like this are out for a profit- usually status and getting laid).

Like, how are you going to erase history of people killed, celebrate that horror, and glorify it as a monument to your ideal?  Isn’t that what colonizers do?  Isn’t that the opposite of improving lives?  

The NDNs didn’t willingly and gladly give this land.  Black people’s lives weren’t “enriched” by slavery.  But this is the same kind of erasure, where you stand tall and proud and fucking miss all the history of how it got to be that way and always, always, the cost in POC lives and blood.

I will never trust anyone who says they’re fighting for my freedom when they can so casually and with glee tell me how great their ideal is - while valuing the lives of millions (or really, even one) POC at the price of a quick post and the ego stroke of a dick rub about how down you are for your ideal.

If you can’t care about our lives, you have already told me you aren’t my comrade, ally, or friend.

There you go again making sense with facts and shit, bankuei. Now you know when it comes to history, folks don’t ever want to acknowledge the bad shit POC had to go through. They just want us to thank the white folks for being nice and letting some of us barely survive.