An obsession with narratives of oppression
I recently emailed the VP of my school this: “Furthermore, educational societies are obsessed with black narratives of oppression. There are always lectures, discussions, or events on race, crime, capitalism, gender, etc…Emmanuel College is obsessed with discussing black misfortune without an action plan to make structural changes on a campus or societal level. As we continue conversations about making changes at EC, I hope action-oriented diction will come out of our mouths and fill up our ears.”
Indeed, society is obsessed with black narratives of oppression. I can’t access the world wide web without seeing Tamir Rice’s face on posters and pins. I can’t access the internet without seeing black uprisings on college campuses. I can’t turn on the television without seeing black bodies being convicted, brutalized, or hypersexualized. Media, arguably, shapes our reality. How do we resist those narratives and images if we’re readily internalizing them? Even as we are being oppressed its imperative to continually produce a critical mass of black joy, black pleasure, black beauty, black magik, black excellence, black comfort food for long periods of time. The dilemma is appointing who gets to represent black misery and who gets represent black joy? One minute I’m posting a killing of an unarmed youth. Next minute I’m posting about a black teen with a college degree. The emotional instability from having to do this on a daily basis has seeped into how I communicate, engage and relate to others in my everyday life.
Adebukola Ajao is an undergraduate studying Political Science and Africana Studies. She is an avid blogger and co-founder of We Are the Ones, a coalition of young people striving to create positive social change in communities of color.