BUT THERE WAS AN ATTEMPT
OF BLACK LIVES MATTER
Questioning the legitimacy of Black Lives Matter was Brietbart's true objective, in my opinion. And if you're still trying to avoid talking about Shaun King's blackness, color, and colorism as if that was actually the point, then Brietbart's mission has been accomplished.
I don't know how many black people were confused about Shaun King's blackness after looking at him, but that doesn't matter even a little bit. What does matter is that the ultra-conservative, republican, cro-magnon man once known as "Breitbart" and his followers were the ones that were NOT confused because Shaun King's blackness was never the real issue
The writer at Breitbart.com wasn't even feigning confusion over blackness. Pay attention. He was feigning confusion over whiteness. And if you've read more than a couple of items he's written, then you know confusion over *who is white* and *who is not-white* is impossible coming from somebody like him.
|Andrew Breitbart photo by Gage Skimore|
I've met Latinx and did not know that they were Latinx until I heard a surname or they volunteered the information. I've met Jewish people I didn't know where Jewish until they told me as well. However, the white person standing next to me each time? They may not have known what ethnicity the person was but many a white person was crass enough to ask, "What are you?" And that white person asked the "What are you?" question because, unlike me, a lot of white people can identify not-white instantaneously.
Black people, like me, may be confused by someone exceptionally pale, think they are white and not really care one way or the other. Latnix may be confused by someone exceptionally pale, think they are white and not really care one way or the other. Asians may be confused by someone exceptionally pale, think they are white and not really care one way or the other. But the vast majority of white people that I've come across---and I mean white people who are unquestionably white (WASPs and WASAs*) and especially overt white racists-- are rarely confused about not-white.
* WASP = White Anglo Saxon Protestant
WASA = White Anglo Saxon Atheist/Agnostic
Again, those at the Breitbart site did not look at Shaun King's birth certificate with two white parents listed on it, then look at Shaun King's face and assume Shaun King was another Rachel Dolezal.
I say this with such sureness because the ability to tell who is purely white and which kind of "white person" is accepted "as white" has been handed down from generation to generation in many-a-white family.
This ability to identify whiteness has to have been passed down from generation to generation in the dominant white culture because there are a few things in our collective history that couldn't have taken place if this weren't so.
More Jewish people would have been able to "pass" as white in this country in the early part of the 20th century and during the latter stages of WWII in Europe, wouldn't they?
There wouldn't have been an argument as to whether Italians should be accepted as white a century or so back if white people couldn't tell one set of pale people from another.
In a class I took in order to be an EEO Counselor years ago, the instructor stated that Cubans identify as "white" on census forms regularly. And, I'd be curious to see Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio identified as before being "Hispanic" became a political asset. But many white people who are unquestionably white don't consider Cubans to be white. And white people consider Cubans not-white by looking at their faces, not via checking their census forms.
And for sure there wouldn't have been laws put on the books in this country saying that anybody that with more than 1/32 black ancestry is black without white folks being able to discern white purity by looking into a person's face.
Race in general and whiteness specifically, is a social construct based on APPEARANCE.
Of course people have "passed" despite all these written and unwritten rules about who is allowed to claim whiteness, but in order to pass or construct racist laws you'd have to be reasonably sure you could question a person's ancestry by looking into their face.
And maybe I'm simply not paying attention, but I seriously don't remember anybody but white people asking another very pale person, "What are you?" Each time I turned to look at the pale person being interrogated, I wondered, 'How did she know he wasn't white?'
But I probably shouldn't have wondered. Whiteness requires purity. And hypodescent's creators know what whiteness looks like better than most people of color do. And if you don't think the dominant culture gatekeepers know who is in and who is out of whiteness, you haven't been paying attention.
Based on a lot of what Breitbart and followers have written, they ought to have "white gatekeeper" stamped on their foreheads in invisible ink.
There's simply no question in my mind that the Brietbarts of this world can recognize Shaun King's inability to join a Klan meeting from 3 miles away and blindfolded, much less from the usual 1/2 mile.
This conservative jackal was not confused. Breitbart set out to embarrass Black Lives Matter and Shaun King. Being proved wrong will barely put a hitch in his giddy-up because we're all talking about the wrong thing he wants us to talk about: Shaun King's blackness and his explanation of his blackness while hyper-ventilating about colorism.
Post Dolezal, Shaun King probably couldn't avoid answering the accusation that he is actually white. But it irks me that King's explanation likely gave Breitbart more garbage to play with before that ugly fan base of his.
By the way, this racist door of hypocrisy swings both ways. Do you remember a black person being repeatedly criticized, nationwide, for claiming blackness, for deciding to identify as "African American" instead of "biracial," until President Obama became the most powerful man in the world? I don't. And the hollering about Barack Obama denying his whiteness came at me loud and clear from the more overtly anti-black racists on the right. It's as if some believe that President Obama's white DNA is what enabled Barack Obama to be smart enough, good enough, and strong enough to become the President of the United States...despite having black skin.
The only thing we should do now, other than get over our touchiness in regards to colorism, is re-recognize this low-life Breitbart by his behavior and keep steppin'. Black Lives Matter and Shaun King will surely do the same thing.
But we should also celebrate. Because this latest failed attempt to embarrass and/or derail Black Lives Matter means Black Lives Matter is seen as powerful enough to effect change. And it has.
New York now has a special prosecutor to investigate suspicious deaths at the hands of police. Raynette Turner's death is being investigated by a special prosecutor.
California is getting rid of the secret tribunal process (grand jury process) when cops kill. Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation makes the whole indictment process public. No more mystery releases of known killers.
This is in addition to nationwide spotlight Black Lives Matter has been able to turn onto a number of black unarmed deaths---which is a necessary preliminary change that will eventually lead to more convictions of bad cops.
Hallelujah Baby! Black Lives Matter organization, including Shaun King, are rattling all the right cages. The cheap pot shots are the proof.
Updated 8/22/2015 9:56AM