The past weekend was pretty amazing for me. Friday after I got off work, I went and got my hair did (no, not done — did) and celebrated my beautiful Aunt/Godmother Nedra’s 65th birthday party (shawty actually looks half that number). Saturday morning I got my makeup done by my girl Verlena before doing a photo shoot with my dope photographer-friend Justin Milhouse (I’m so excited for my pictures!). After my shoot, I spent some time with my relatives who came into town for my Aunt Nedra’s birthday celebration. Then Sunday I pretty much spent the entire day writing while watching B-list black movies on Netflix. So like I said, my weekend was pretty amazing. But unfortunately, for numerous people across the world in Paris, their account of the same weekend was tragically different.
For those of you who may not have heard, a series of terrorist attacks took place last Friday at several locations throughout the heart of the French capital. This included restaurants, a concert hall and the Stade de France soccer stadium, which was hosting a match between France and Germany at the time of the attacks. As with every other terrorist-related incident that has taken place recently — with the exception of white cops killing innocent black folk, of course — the government and media have once again unhesitantly pointed the finger at ISIS for the 132 untimely deaths caused from last Friday’s attacks.
Per usual, this tragic event has been plastered and replayed all over the media, to the point where we can damn-near lip sync the news reports. The hashtag #PrayforParis instantly went viral across the Internet. Zuckerberg whipped up the latest edition of his custom profile filters in honor of the Paris attacks. Now, millions of Facebook users have enhanced their traditional profile pics with a French flag-replica filter, as a display of solidarity and sympathy for the victims of the attacks. *cues in the Facebook wars*
For the past few days, I’ve witnessed a myriad of social-media reactions to everything I just mentioned above. Some were angry, some were ignorant, and some were an even mixture of the two. I’ve read statuses/commentary about how the Paris attacks were meant to distract everyone from the countless, ongoing atrocities that have been taking place here against black people. Or how people who choose to sympathize with the victims of the Paris attacks are obviously being brainwashed by the media to value white lives/deaths over black lives/deaths. Or how we need to stop allowing Islamic people into our countries because they’re all terrorists. Or… I’ll just stop there because my brain hurts now.
With that being said, I’ll just dive right into my personal views on a few things pertaining to the recent attacks on Paris:
- On the new Facebook profile filter: Mr. Zuckerberg, this one is for you. I assume you have the best of intentions when you create these profile filters, and I commend you. After all, they were designed to promote solidarity in controversial issues such as gay rights, and now, a ton of innocent lives that were lost due to the Paris attacks. But unless, “gay rights” and “Paris” are the only key phrases you have set up on your Google Alerts, I’m sure you know that there’s a lot more ish happening in this world. Take countless Black people being arrested and/or attacked and/or killed for no apparent reason, for example. Where’s the filter for that? Or numerous girls and women being drugged and raped every single day. Where’s the filter for that? Where’s the filter for domestic violence? Racism? Discrimination? Poverty? Curing terminal illnesses? All the other crazy ish happening in this world? Don’t get me wrong, the profile filter idea is cute and all — you’re just missing a few.
- On certain Black people’s reactions to the media coverage: Y’all do know the media is pretty much run by rich racists, right? You can tell simply by how we are portrayed in television shows and films that this is fact. So why do we constantly seek validation from a source that is run by people who are already against us? Why do we exhaust ourselves with anger over every little thing they choose to broadcast, based on their own personal bias and perspective of us? Why are we allowing the media to control so much of our minds and emotions? Do you realize how much power we have as a people? Do you know that if we actually took all of our dollars, put them together and actually invested into our own people to create news stations, TV networks and other businesses, we would be flourishing? Maybe if we stopped wasting our time, money and energy trying to change a system we were born to fail in and instead invested all of that into supporting our own people, we wouldn’t be so frustrated. Let’s stop yelling at the TV and start figuring out some real solutions.
- On certain Black people’s reactions to other Black people showing support for the fallen victims in Paris: Do y’all know what compassion is? If not, look it up and then get some. Yes, our people are killed in droves everyday, and yes, we do need to continue to bring light to this issue and seek justice, but does that discredit the many innocent lives that were lost this past weekend? Does this mean that we turn our head in apathy to every other person being killed who isn’t Black? Absolutely not. Despite everything we’re going through, now is not the time to be callous. Our hearts and minds are too big and too limitless to be boxed into ignorance and hatred. We have enough of that coming at us already.
- On stereotyping Islamic people as terrorists: I recently saw a post of Facebook that read: “ISIS is to Islamic people what the KKK is to Christians.” That ish is deep. Because what so many people fail to realize is that a lot of these extreme hate groups were created by religious people who misinterpret and manipulate religious doctrine and principles to fit a corrupt agenda. But those people are not ALL people. Yes, we must guard our hearts and use wise judgment when dealing with others, but we must constantly check our perspectives and the way we treat people.
- On everything else: Stay prayed up and woke. That’s all.