by Mia McKenzie
In my recent piece about Ferguson and so-called “violence” of protestors, I touched on the fact that racists, both liberal and conservative, who don’t value the lives of black people, love to quote Martin Luther King to us, in feeble attempts to silence us when we get too radical for their liking. In that piece, I explained why Martin Luther King’s views on “riots” were complex and why, regardless of what he thought or said, I and many other black people, including many of King’s own contemporaries, simply don’t/didn’t agree with him on many, many things. You can check out that piece, if you haven’t, for my thoughts on so-called violence. Here, I want to talk more about the practice of quoting famous black people to me and other black women to shut us up, and why it’s not only violent in itself, but is also steeped in cisheteropatriarchy.
Yesterday on Twitter, a clueless, melanin-deficient dude wandered into my mentions asking me if I thought educating white people was important. “Don’t you want me to understand you?” the mayo-complexioned man asked, though it was less a question than a statement, really. In his world, making him understand me is obviously something I really, really want and will put endless energy into, no matter how futile, because he, as a random white man, is super important to my freedom or something. He’s the obvious and necessary center of my universe and so on and so forth and etc. My response: “I don’t really care what you understand or don’t understand.”
I told him to go away now, and he did, and that seemed to be the end of it, but psych, no, of course not! Another rando wandered in behind him to quote Mandela (it’s usually King, but this troll switched it up!).
LOL white people.
Now, let’s put aside the fact that that quote isn’t about black people, and certainly isn’t about ME, being obligated to teach random white people stuff at their beck-and-call.