In the face of prominent black voices advancing the global agenda to do physical, psychological and spiritual harm on the black body, through collusion, denial or silence, MS. NOZIZWE VUNDLA reminds us that Radical Black Love demands that we love those – among our people – with whom we most disagree.
Even while we recognise that Judge Thokozile Masipa’s judgement indicates that she is steeped in White Supremacy, Patriarchy, and Misogyny. Even while it was black police officers who shot and killed the Marikana miners and Mr Andries Tatane (acting on orders from elsewhere, yes, but they still pulled the triggers).
Even though Stacey Dash insists on trashing Jesse Williams and other woke black people, while supporting Mr Donald Trump. Even while President Barack Obama authorises the dropping of bombs on other Brown and Black people around the world in the name of the entirely discredited “War on Terror”.
Even while Mr Tumisho Masha and Ms. Lorna Maseko condoned the patent White Supremacy, Historic Revisionism and Historic Denialism of Pastor Andre Olivier. Even while Mr Mmusi Maimane, Ms. Patricia De Lille, Mr Herman Mashaba and others are members of a patently anti-Black, anti-poor political party that is vested in maintaining the race based unequal status quo. Even while most black men we know recognise the reality of White Supremacy and Racism, but are inexplicably either steeped in Patriarchy, Homophobia and Misogynoir; or are woke to these issues, but are too silent and /or inactive in the face of other Black men in their midst who aren’t. I still know this:
Even while these problematic black people frustrate me to no end, if I am serious about doing my own inner work towards Consciousness, I must love them still, even while I critique their complicity in these various systems and structures of oppression.
Consciousness, and specifically, Black Consciousness, demands nothing less than an all-encompassing, unconditional, radical Black Love – love of self, and love of other black people, ‘even’ or especially when we/they are hard to love. A tall order? Yes, of course it is. But no one said Black Consciousness was easy. Striving towards any kind of Consciousness is always tough, painful work. Therefore striving towards Black Consciousness in a White Supremacist world will inevitably be excruciatingly hard, gruelling work.
Consciousness, and specifically, Black Consciousness, demands nothing less than an all-encompassing, unconditional, radical Black Love – love of self, and love of other black people, ‘even’ or especially when we/they are hard to love.
So let’s critique the actions of problematic black people. Yes, let’s challenge, and ultimately dismantle the systems of oppression that they have bought into, that they uphold. But for goodness’ sake, let us understand that the only antidote to the actions and omissions of our brothers and sisters who uphold the violence (physical, psychological, spiritual) of White Supremacy and other forms of oppression, can only ever be a radical Black Love. A Black Love that questions, challenges and rages against the oppression that they have internalised; but comes out on the other end loving them still.
If Black Consciousness is not about black people unlearning White Supremacy and hatred of Blackness in all its manifestations, not only in problematic Black people but within ourselves – because even the most woke among us carries residues of that poison – then what is it about?
We can’t take issue with our black brothers and sisters who have internalised all forms of oppression, while we ourselves harbour hatred or ill-will towards them. Because all we are doing is replicating the pattern, and sticking to the script of White Supremacy and anti-Blackness ourselves. In fact, loving problematic black people is possibly the single biggest blow we could ever inflict on White Supremacy and anti-Blackness. Because if we love even problematic black people, imagine how much more we will love not only ourselves, but other woke black people who are infinitely easier to love; and how all of that will manifest as Black Consciousness (which is ultimately Black Love) in the most authentic, powerful way imaginable?
So let’s love them, in spite of everything. And who knows, one day maybe, they’ll see the Light, and love themselves and other Black and Brown people in a radical Black Love kind of way.
A version of this piece was originally published on Ms. Vundla’s Facebook page. Used with permission.
Images: Politique Economique Afrique; Twitter; AFP; IMDB.