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Op/Ed: George Floyd Is Not The Beginning OR The End

I got time today.

And I got coffee.

I got tangents.

A most dangerous mix.

Topic?

George Floyd.

Chauvin is on trial here, NOT Floyd!

For those that claim I’m mad?

Correction.

I’m WOKE.

Buck-eyed, wide open cognizant, aware, and unafraid to say what should have been said by the UNmelanated decades ago.

Every time this happens, we go to our corners and lick our wounds and either spout off or clamp down.

Which one are you?

Let’s start with the obvious…

I am Black American.

A proud one at that.

And as I have traveled the world as an artist, journalist, and activist, what I can report back is that people by and large, they – as in white people – are ALWAYS asking about Black American culture – about Michael, Diana, Michael (all of them), Janet – all of these icons of American culture that are known mononymously for their contributions to national and international society. I prefer not to discuss other topics with non-Americans as they are typically wholly ignorant about Black Americans if it doesn’t involve sports or entertainment. They tend to overlook what these sports and entertainment stars had to endure TO reach the pinnacle of success. They fail to realize that these very people were not only on the screens and stages as performers and athletes, but they were also pivotal in many instances in the civil rights movement. These very stars they admire and wish to emulate presented both style and substance, but it is clear that only one was being consumed en masse.

It is clear that they don’t want to hear about the abuse at the hands of white people these famous Black individuals have been exposed to. It is obvious that they have conditioned themselves to sidestep their pain and trauma to get ‘to the goods’.

Did I stutter?

* sips *

Are you ready for a tangent?

I have lived across 4 continents and the prevailing notion is that racism is a distinctly American problem and is not within their borders.

Mrs. O in peak #Karen mode…

If countries like England – where there are PLENTY of Black people – still cannot see the rampant racism regarding The Duchess Of Sussex, for example, then what do you think the rates are in countries where you can count the Black population on your hands?

The textbook racism exhibited by Sharon Osbourne recently?

T-E-X-T-B-O-O-K!

SHE is the one being attacked.

SHE wants to be educated.

SHE is the abused party.

Excuse me, Saltine of Sorcery?!

It is not the job of Black people to teach ANY white person about what is or is not racism.

When white people want to know about Black culture that pertains to entertainment and sports, they will Google and research that into oblivion, but they have no time to research WHY the word ‘n*gger’ should not be used, or ‘exotic’, etc. They get upset when Black people calmly explain to them why they should not use certain words and doth protest.

Oh, protest they do!

If white people are not willing to put in the work, I am not usually wasting my precious time on the willfully ignorant.

And yes, white people, my time IS precious.

Just as precious as yours.

Megyn Kelly = peak #Karen

Mind The Microaggressions

The microaggressions I have had to endure overseas as a Black person far exceed what I EVER had to contend with in America. The death by a thousand cuts I experienced in America easily involves a few commas once I decided to cross the Atlantic, and it was not unexpected. I did my research. But to actually LIVE it, breathe it, day in and day out is another matter.

Then white people wonder how Black people are so strong?

The answer is we – by and large – have no choice BUT to be.

The amount of armor Black people must put on just to get through a day filled with microaggressions, death by a thousand cuts. That we are able to do so, day in and day out, without cracking white skulls in abundance is a testament to US, whether or not you want to admit it.

Just a reminder, white people?

We were not slaves.

We were ENslaved.

There IS a difference.

Ask Siri to clue you in!

* sips *

Black people are more than just Beyonce. Get a goddamn clue!

If you have time to google Beyonce’s ‘Black Is King’, I’m gonna insist that you google Martin Luther King – and something more than his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech.

MLK is far more than A speech.

He is far more than typically everything white people care to consider. It must be nice to be able to whittle down a man to one speech when we as Black people still remember how vilified he was as he lived and breathed.

Until you murdered him.

And we remember more leaders that you seem to have amnesia about.

Ask Siri. She’ll #LetYouKnow.

The Color & The Shape

Life is shaped by experiences and what you encounter.

I have come across many a Black person living overseas that will extol the virtues of white people they call ‘friend’, their lives in white spaces, but behind closed doors are crying and whining to every Black person they come across. My question is this:

What are you afraid of?

The fear of holding on to a fake friend simply for the sake of having one?

This fear of not being real is a detriment to both sides of this equation. White people that feel betrayed by their Black friends for not having the real discussions that need to be had. Black people that are don’t want to rock the boat or be labeled defiant.

As for me?

What I KNOW is that being called defiant, militant, hostile are all just ways in which white people attempt to silence Black people. It is an act as old as time and I was raised from an early age to see it for what it is and call it out without hesitation. At the end of the day, what is left unsaid can cause harm in a myriad of ways. And as a provocateur, know that I don’t provoke nearly as much as I could.

I could easily list the white people that have attempted to contact me the last few months as the #WhiteGuilt kicked up in their asses. I could easily screen shot and post the many white people I have known over the years that felt guilty about what they’d said to me in the past and are looking for a blessing to carry on with their racist lives. But they will not get either.

They get silence from me, because their silence in the past was violence.

And they KNOW it.

They knew it then and they know it now.

The only difference is the tide has changed and they don’t want to be called the R-word.

Racist.

Or Republican.

Take your pick.

As far as I am concerned, they are the goddamn same!


* sip *

George Floyd Is American, But George Floyd Represents a Global Problem

I have reached my boiling point with white people living outside of America exclaiming that the #BlackLivesMatter movement is an American phenomenon as Black people march in their very neighborhoods. It is clear they still don’t get it and don’t really want to. To admit what really is happening would implicate their actions – or lack thereof – in the equation.

I have been far more harassed by police in Europe, The Middle East, Asia, and Australia than I ever was in America. I have never had my nationality questioned in America. I have COUNTLESS times living overseas. I have never had to worry about finding capable legal representation in my own country when it pertains to my civil rights as Black person. Try finding a decent lawyer to handle distinctly Black issues overseas. Try even finding a Black psychologist to discuss trauma specific to Black people outside of America.

Go ahead.

I’ll wait.

Perhaps you should ask Siri.

Twenty years ago when I told my white European friends that they were not ready for the Black experience and everything now was basically unicornization, they scoffed and proclaimed that Europe was light years ahead of America when it came to race.

I knew better.

And now?

White guilt has kicked in with a vengeance and they are running back to me apologizing for their blind spots and many of them I refuse to engage with anymore. Because the thing they fail to realize is that telling me how to feel about what I experience is in and of itself racism. Interestingly enough, when the #MeToo movement started and the ‘Believe All Women’ banner start trending, it became the thing to do. There weren’t too many people saying NOT to believe all women.

And why was that?

Because #Becky and #Karen were being centered. #Becky, #Karen, and #Millicent (no, I didn’t forget your geriatric ass!) have passed down generation after generation how to cry on command and get the attention they believe they so deserve. They know their crocodile tears of f*ckery will have them protected with the snap of a well-manicured finger.

* sip *

Does anyone really think the result would have been the same if mainly Black women were centered? Even though they started the movement in the first damn place?!

I REFUSE to allow white people to easily accept the worst parts of people that look like me, yet feign ignorance and jump through hoops to not see the vast contributions to society Black people have made. The receipts have been piling up for years and as a Black person that gives a damn, I make sure I have more than a few on hand and on the ready for those that attempt to drag an entire race of people down based on their own insecurities and shortcomings.

Remember Breonna too

Step Out On Faith and Through Fear

I don’t need to be told I am strong. I do not need to be reminded of who I am and where I come from. I live fully in my own power, my strengths and weaknesses, and my truth. I don’t have to wonder if I am willing to die for my beliefs because I have already put that to the test on a few occasions.

Did I want to?

Not necessarily.

But?

I would rather DIE for what I believe in than concede to anyone attempting to subjugate me simply because they believe my life is less than based on the amount of melanin covering my body.

more unity is needed between POC

The Others Under The Umbrella

For the Asian-Americans that want Black people to stand by them and for their civil rights now as they are beaten in the streets?

Let’s have THAT conversation:

WHERE have you been when we as the OTHER people of color did the heavy lifting?

WHERE have you been when the chips are really down and we have asked for assistance in dire ways?

HOW has trying to align yourself to whiteness worked out for you?

At the end of the day, what is happening on the streets now is just a reminder that white people – by and large – are for white people, and no amount of capin’ and kissin’ UN-melanated ass is going to get you to the next level of acceptance.

I need Asian-Americans to talk to their spouses, friends, family members, and parents. Challenge them as to why they feel that they can ask for our assistance and then just brush actions under the table as they see fit. I need Asian-Americans to not take Black dollars and look the other way when the going gets tough. We have always been there for Asian-Americans. For those that fail to understand, POC stands for ‘people of color’ and Asian-Americans fall under that umbrella whether or not they want to.

And for those that believe this is not happening?

YOU have not been paying attention.

Oh, did I stutter?

Are you mad?

STAY mad.

White people:

You do not get the carte blanche approach of applying your feelings to OUR very dire reality.

Not anymore.

It’s a new goddamn day.

For any white person to tell a Black person how they should feel about a specifically Black problem is the very definition of what oppression is and where racism lives.

I am an empath, and the feelings that resonate within me are not resigned to merely one race and they never will be. Underneath this couture, I wear my heart on my sleeve unabashedly and with immense pride. What I will NOT allow white people to do is to confuse privilege with luxury.

Some may argue that I am privileged to be American, but I do not have the luxury of not speaking out. I do not have the privilege of turning a blind eye to atrocities that continue to pile up against my people.

So I will NOT wipe these tears away. I will NOT pretend that Black lives are not precious. I WILL speak ALL of their names as I see fit.

Breonna Taylor.

Sandra Bland.

Botham Jean.

Philando Castile.

Tamir Rice.

Eric Garner.

And countless others killed for just breathing, living, EXISTING.

#SayTheirNames.

We are all in this together and for anyone that refuses to get with the program, know this:

There will come a day of reckoning when you cannot escape the growing reality. There will come a day when you will not be able to sidestep the truth. There will come a day when you will have to answer when someone asks what you have done to challenge the status quo.

What will you tell future generations about your role?

Triston
Triston is an American jetset performance artist, writer, event organizer, and activist based in Europe. As a freelance journalist, he has covered both the underground and mainstream aspects of the arts, culture, music, entertainment, travel, fashion and Fashion Week in several cities, including New York, London, Berlin, Istanbul, Sydney, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Tokyo to name a few. He has been published in The Huffington Post, Trespass (London), Adaras Magazine (Miami) as well as featured in publications such as the New York Times, Vogue Italia, Washington Post, Turkish Huriyet and other on-line and print magazines in the U.S. and internationally. He recently released his memoir on life in Europe, 'Heaux Confessionals'. As a solo performer and with his band $kandal Du$t, he has toured in some of the world's most renowned clubs, simultaneously maintaining an underground renaissance, blurring the lines of all that is traditional and leaving his indelible, and ultimately unforgettable impression. There is no divide.

Brace yourself.


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