Listening to TWiB Prime this week has reminded me of one of the things I have always had a huge problem with – which seems to be an increasingly more frequent occurence as of late: the policing or re-prioritization of other people’s concerns.
As an example, if I express outrage about police brutality against Black folk, do not dismiss this outrage and tell me I should be [also, or more] concerned about “Black-on-Black crime” or crime in Black communities. One, that would assume I don’t already care about crime in Black communities. Two, that would assert I have to prioritize my outrage based on what some one has deemed more important or relevant. How I feel, think, or opine about any given situation is entirely up to me. I decide on what issues I will focus my energies on at any given moment and what issues I will call attention to. I decide what causes I fight for and when I fight for them. I do not tolerate other’s dictating what I should or shouldn’t care about.
This outrage-policing never seems to end. Especially when you’re brazen enough to say anything as it relates to race. Because, ya know, using the word “race” or any of its derivatives or synonyms automatically makes you a racist. Duh.
I’ve recently been re-reminded how much I can hate some humans with the recent chatter over Patricia Arquette’s comments made backstage after being awarded an Academy Award for her Best Supporting Role in the film Boyhood [video]. What could have been a learning opportunity for many people to understand intersectionality and why it’s problematic for Patricia to have stated that it’s time for “…gay people and people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now” essentially ended in the policing of Black feminist concerns by mostly white [so-called] liberals. You should just be happy this celebrity mentioned wage equality. Oh? Fck you.
In moments like this, which happen oh so often, I’m so happy to have the reasonable voices of the independent media space TWiB: This Week in Blackness Nation to help me process it all. Two of the unapologetically Black (an oft unapologetically angry) TWiB Prime show hosts – Elon James White and Imani “Angry Black Lady” Gandy – have been in the thick of the Arquette-gate debate drama, and it’s been really refreshing to hear them (and reading about them) articulate their views, which are very much like my own. And it’s not just because I agree with them that I like them. There are plenty of people I fundamentally agree with but can’t stand and would never willingly allow their soundwaves to penetrate my earholes. But I appreciate that Team Blackness (as the hosts are collectively called) is willing to be critical of the issues they discuss and spend a lot of time presenting concepts that shape the way in which they view the world.
And in case you were wondering, TWiB doesn’t only deal with issues around Blackness, or race in general. Shocking, I know. TWiB discusses a wide spectrum of news, politics and pop culture – filled with a little shade throwing, a bit of rage (against the white people TM machine), and lots of laughs. TWiB is actually the place where I learned a great deal about transgender issues, for instance, and my own straight cisgender privilege that I probably never would have considered on my own before, as well as ways in which folks can be more inclusive around identity. You never know what and how much you don’t know until you are in a space that is constantly confronting and unpacking such issues. I find it really refreshing to witness these types of discussions around marginalized groups because the only way we can truly progress in this society is if we intentionally work to understand and respect each other. Each one reach one and teach one!
And cmon, who can’t appreciate that?
TWiB is undoubtedly true to their motto: Real talk. Real awesome.
I’ve been listening to TWiB Prime for at least 3 or 4 years now, way back when PhD-seeking Dacia Mitchell was a regular host and Imani was hosting the morning show, AM TWiB, with L. Joy Williams. I still vividly remember the day I sat on a plane back to Portland from DC, with tears streaming down my face, listening to Elon, Dacia, and Aaron discuss the Zimmerman verdict, opening the phone lines to let people call in and process their raw thoughts and emotions on air. I remember TWiB studios moving to Berkley, California and the campaigns to help them finance this incredible endeavor. I remember listening to Elon report straight out of Ferguson, in the thick of the protests. I remember Elon’s response to James Manning posting a youtube video calling him “Ellen” and a host of insufferable insults. I’m still shocked at the time Elon called (for the first time) his estranger father of 20+ years live on air. I enjoy the guest appearances by Joyce (Elon’s mom), Lizz Winstead, Feminista Jones, Anthea Butler, Blair Kelley, Rod (The Black Guy Who Tips), and many others. I am always on the ready for any new content they put out and I follow closely on twitter any ongoing discussions, shenanigans or tomfoolery. I am a TWiB groupie, basically.
TWiB Prime was and still is my favorite podcast. And I highly encourage you to give them a listen! If you have already listened, what do you think?