By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
Is it just me or has Black History Month become kind of a gross corporate circus lately? Just another banal commercial grab bag of Hallmark moments to peddle the superiority of the American experience. I feel like shit saying it out loud but I can’t be the first asshole to notice this. You know there’s something seriously wrong when poet laureates are subtly peddling Black consciousness for the war machine beneath wailing fighter jets at the goddamn Super Bowl. Where in the Black Christ is Colin Kaepernick when you need him? What’s next, a new Freedom Ride at Disneyland sponsored by Lockheed Martin? Please tell me I’m not the only one? This cannot be Doctor King’s dream.
The stars of this new corporate Blackanalia, naturally, are the monarchs of the New Black Renaissance, Barack and Michelle Obama, because nothing says racial justice like looking glamorous while getting away with war crimes. The new dream is apparently being woke enough to pass mediocre healthcare reform between murdering teenagers of color in Yemen with drone strikes. I need to sit down. No, I need to stand up.
All of this wouldn’t feel so goddamn personal to me if it didn’t all feel so goddamn familiar. I may be but a pale-faced faggot but I’ve witnessed this same damn shit as a Queer person with what those same corporate scumfucks have done to Pride Month. A holiday that began with my people kicking the Queer Christ out of a bunch of roll crazy pigs has been reduced to a photo-op for gangsters like Kamala Harris to pose in front of and cover up the stench of the Prison Industrial Complex on her breath. Maybe this is unfair, but I think all marginalized people, all the ones I know anyway, look to Black Power for guidance and inspiration, like a beautiful Afroed older sister to teach us how to crack wise and beat the man. It fucking hurts to see this badass domesticated into something of value to the people we fight.
I’ve heard it argued that this kind of banal assimilation is proof that identity movements like Black and Queer rights have lost their lethality and no longer pose a threat to the status quo. To this I respectfully say fuck you. If anything it’s the opposite. The American death machine wouldn’t dump so much cash and air time into filing down our teeth if the civil rights movement didn’t pose a threat to their sick way of life. The only thing more expensive than a full tilt appropriation campaign of this magnitude is a literal war and they literally already tried that. Assimilation is what white devils do when genocide fails. It’s why they built Christian schools in every Indian reservation, right next to the liquor stores. If you can’t annihilate, assimilate. Turn the savages into good capitalist soldiers just educated enough to know their place as mascots for the home team.