you can’t just throw white people on me and expect me to be okay with it.
people think i can with white people. but i really, really, just can’t.
the way i see it: if your my friend (non-white), and we are hanging out and you put me in a situation where the whiteness levels are uncomfortable, you have failed me as a friend.
its not that i can’t be around it at all. i’m from orange county (i can deal), its that i deserve fair warning. because you and i both know, chances of some wild shit being said or just happening are quite high. i should be given the chance to emotionally prepare.
and yes, i work with and for mostly white people. but thats an exchange i’ve agreed upon for a (somewhat) comfortable salary, to live out a (somewhat) comfortable lifestyle. if i’m not on the clock, i tend to want to avoid wild white shit.
im having drinks with a group of people i’ve just met. i was there because my friend kendra (i won’t call out her tumblr name), knows them by way of mutual friends. the group is mainly together because a girl from new york is in town visiting for the weekend.
i’m talking to this girl from new york. a minnesota white girl transplanted to new york city because of her graphic arts education and career. in group settings with folks i don’t know, particularly white folks, i’m usually pretty quite. again, if i’m not being paid to speak, why even? apparently it was my turn for her to figure out what she had in common with me and how we could make a connection. now, if i were offered $100 right now to tell y’all how we got on the topic of property and her friends money, i’d miss out on that $100. all i remember was this being said at me:
"Oh my gosh, my friend got an inheritance when her grandma died and she was so smart about it. I mean, we all thought she was stupid when she did it, but now we see. She got the money and went way out to the hood, like the ghetto in Bushwick and bought some house for super cheap and just started renting it out. We all were like, what the hell? But after sometime condos started being built around her place, and cute little stores and coffee shops started opening up, and now she is making mad bank"
i sipped my cocktail and stared at her in disgust. my friend kendra noticed what was going on, and she quickly jumped in the “conversation” (or assault on my leisure time) and changed the subject.
situations like that one, are why i really just can’t with white people. i mean, the poor girl didn’t mean any harm. but the leisure, twinkle in eye, and proudness, she attached to her story of gentrification, economic violence, and i’m sure displacement, didn’t really catch me off guard, but i think i should be paid for dealing with that shit.
perhaps i’ve written myself into a post about reparations. instead of 40 acres & a mule, or some lump sum that would equate, being black should be a salaried position. not necessarily for the direct violence done against us (for that, money just doesn’t solve the problem), but for having to put up with the wild shit that enters into mundane, leisurely conversation. just a thought.
"i’d probably fuck your daddy if your mammy wasn’t player hatin"
i haven’t quite figured out the proper medium or ocassion to use this magnificent lyric by Trina. but im trying.
its quite powerful because its how i feel when i’m at my best. if you follow me on instagram (you’d have to know my government name for that), that quotation will probably accompany a photo of me in some short shorts and backless tank-top. as soon as the weather permits. and yes, its june 5th and chicago’s weather has not permitted me to be free in what i wear. i type this wearing a sweater and contemplating light weight scarf.
my soul misses the california sun.
and there i stand. on michigan avenue waiting on my ride. white folks leisurely strolling. to leisurely spend their leisurely money. and i stand. pressed to pay my bills. holding some left over chicken my partner fried the night before. and he tried. to fry it right. i told him a brown paper bag and some flour was the way to do it. season it real nice. but he ain’t about that life. tossed it in a bowl. and cooked it too low. wasn’t crispy. but it was alright. and there i stand. waiting on my ride. and i’m thinking. what would it be if i took some of this chicken out and ate it on the avenue?
and i did. i stood there. on the avenue. black man. black queer. black with chicken. and they all passed. and it was so damn good. the taste was alright. but the fact they was doing their leisure thing. and i was doing my leisure thing. it was so nice. and the chicken. and the black. we were.
vagabondaesthetics asked: would you ever wear a cape as part of your outfit?
it depends. i’m known to just be wearing the most random shit. top hats, elf like shoes, scarves wrapped around my body like a baby should be on my back, three piece suits and a head-wrap. SO, if the cape is dope and i’m feeling like i need to do some spins in my day (gone with the wind…), i’d probably wear one.
beyonce stay making my anthems.
— negrosunshine, (#shameless) “A Question of Beauty”
Stevie Wonder improvising Coltrane’s “Giant Steps”. I SAID Stevie on Coltrane’s “Giant Steps”. I SAID goddamn.
Anonymous asked: Who is Negro Sunshine?
a Black queer writer. an activist with a southern california style. a Black intellectual. and a boy who dreams of Revolution. currently hiding out, or making way, in chicago.
oh, and i borrowed my name from glenn ligon’s work.
Intersections: Narratives of Queer Students of Color at Oberlin College
When the racism becomes so ordinary. And the response to the racism becomes mundane. The response to the response becomes expected, humorous, and enraging—a certain routine of course.
And we talk….And we cry…. Some laugh, while others reach for bricks, or sticks—certainly metaphorical here in this time and place. Oh, but what if just once it got all physical! A certain physicality to match the rhetorical, emotional, and always unrecognized (not to be mistaken with unrecognizable) violence found in the mundane (or to switch it up: routinized, to be interpreted as a routine, their routine, our routine, the routine). A video here…. Ignorance…. A cry there…. Protest…. A meeting then…. Strategy. Round about we go, where suffering is institutionalized, much like it is naturalized.
I remember sitting in a room at the University of California, Irvine with the Black Student Union executive board shortly after the chicken and waffle fiasco at Pippen commons. [Y’all remember that? The MLK Day special. UCI was always good to us Negroes.] I glanced around a silent room ailing from the pesky question, “what do we do?” A perplexing question on multiple fronts for the Black student activist: a forceful sincerity toward engaging the demand always met with constricting doubt. For how does one compete with the violence of the institution on an individual level? How does the Black student body (in all its definitions) enter a battle with a contract over its head [or tied around its neck as the campus of UCSD painfully reminded us in 2010], a contract of work in “exchange” for degreed success later in life? As a former Negro ‘occupying’ space on the campus I sit back and laugh (through tears, debt, and unfulfilled triumph) later in my life. Further, the frequency with which the question must be engaged is perplexing in and of itself. The routine of violence and response, aggression and reaction, day in and day out, or ‘sunup until sundown’ is enough to make any reasonably minded Black student walk away, or “shut down and turn off.”
But there we were, sitting in a room pondering which version of the routine we would carry out. I turned and looked at my closest comrades in the space, three Black queers actively working through an afro-pessimist framework (earnest theorist in the classroom, the four of us made for unruly and at times misguided student activists in community organizing spaces), and I put on the table, as a serious plan of action, a fleeting joke made between the four of us at an earlier time, “How ‘bout the Black student body start carrying around 2x4’s?” The majority of the board either laughed or looked on in fear while my comrades nodded their head in what was either sincere agreement or a courtesy nod for a faithful brother-in-battle.
I reasoned: in an environment where racist acts directed at Black bodies are as normal as racist acts directed at black bodies, and our forms of protest have a trajectory of solving nothing and repeating themselves, why not simply arm Black students and make the environment scared of Black bodies? Did I truly believe it would work? No. The Panthers were armed, the BLA went buck on the system, June Jordan waxed poetically about killing a cop for every Black boy killed, and Toni Morrison conjured a group/event called the Seven Days. And still, there we were plagued by the question. And did I actually plan on using a 2x4 on someone? Not really, I was still plagued by the desire of degreed success. But what if we were to enter the routine slightly altered: the visual stimuli of defense, perhaps a deterrent to open assaults steeped in a historical/utter fear of the Black body and a modern shallow fascination with Blackness? Is there a way to make people think twice (or at least once) before acting on/or against Blackness? Perhaps then the demand shifts from an awareness of Black suffering (which is a naturalized entity) toward an engagement with the daily violent/violently daily activities—the mundanely anti-Black repertoire of Human hobby.
That rage, worked out through a certain theoretical formulation searching for a proper course of praxis was quelled by “things just ain’t quite there yet.” My thoughts of shopping the wood section of Home Depot were dashed by reasoned practicality, were we as the Executive Board prepared to suffer the consequences of arming our constituents? Negroes warding off the racist front-lash of students and administrative policy sounds romantic, but the crushing blow of police and administrative backlash was perhaps a price too high to pay. A breach of contract for hopeful Negroes.
I recall sitting in that room, pondering the question, not as a clarion call for violence (at least not an outright one), but as I look from afar at the situation back at the University of California, Irvine, I can’t help but wonder, what would have been different if 2x4s were present on Ring Road from the first day of fall quarter. Or would my friend Kala, who I’ve watched step out of a quiet “first year bright-eye/skeptical” demeanor into the proud and (rightfully) raging Black activist, been the target of passing rhetorical violence had a 2x4 been sitting with her at the bus stop [or perhaps a brick for easier use against a car]? And I watch the protest, the rage, and the routine coming from UCI. And guilt consumes me as I realize the assault is painfully familiar and I wish I could have done something more, and further I wish my hands and rage extended from Chicago back to Orange County to help, console, and incite (further) the Black students at the University of California, Irvine. “But, further?” Many will ask. Where do we go from there/here? The language of the protest is skillfully sophisticated; the work at putting events and spectacles of racist violence into context of anti-Black institutions is nuanced and forceful. But the routine remains. So where does my meditation, this writing, go while anticipating that pesky question enfranchised in the reader and breathing through my last few sentences, “what do we do?” Are things there, yet?
I stand with the Black Student Union at the University of California, Irvine. I stand, sit, pace, shake my head, and write my words. I meditate on the Black Student Union at the University of California, Irvine. I fear for the Black “students.”