Thursday, June 5, 2014

RANT/Bring the NOIZE: Rachel Jeantel is NOT A Project and Respectability Politics is Some BS

Take a gander at Today's Washington Post's article featuring a one-year Where Is She Now update on Rachel Jeantel, the young black woman who tripped America's racial nerve as she sat on the witness stand during the Trayvon Martin trial. This article was so disturbing to me that I went full tilt into one of my loud brassy curse word laden Rants. I haven't featured my rants very often on this blog but I was so moved by this article that I figured this was an appropriate time to introduce you all to Poltrixie UnPlugged. I am Unapologetic this is me unfiltered!! (Shacondria I love you!!) So welcome to my new column RANT/Bring the NOIZE, This particular gem I left in the comments section on Son of Baldwin's divinely radical blog, centered around race, pop culture and all things socio-politically oriented from a proudly black LGBTQ feminist perspective, in response to the Washington Post's profile of Rachel Jeantel.
Rachel Jeantel's High School Graduation 

(And I can't say enough about how mind altering and utterly deep I find SoB's daily commentary without sounding pure stan so I'll chill. But it's serious recommended daily reading for everyone wanting to check they're own privilege, learn about stuff you ain't know about before, and to intellectually immerse oneself in challenging commentary on  social and cultural normatives. I've been a Ph.D candidate in the Ivory Tower and feel like I could learn more sitting at Son of Baldwin's knee that I'd ever learn within the Ivory Tower's gilded and glass cage.)

Caution: The contents of this rant are very hot and may burn your eyes....if you are a Respectability Politician in which case I have no sympathy for your plight...

RANT/Bring the NOIZE....about the Young Woman Rachel Jeantel Who Is Not A Project and the BS of Respectability Poltics

The thing that upsets the F-U-C-K out of me about this article like D---- who responded above is that all of a sudden you have the black intelligentsia and other Respectable Negro types flying out of nowhere and demanding that she now conform. This whole thing of up at 4am working until 6pm with personal trainers, tutors, lawyers, aesthetic coaches, life coaches, Negro Uplifters etc almost feels like a punishment. Its not! I know that if she can stick with it then there is obviously a major benefit to the "Project". But for a young girl who's already suffering Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome I feel almost as if they're dangling prizes in front of her -- as long as she jumps thru their hoops. Hoops that are in place, mind you, because they want to "help" --- but also mind that the tone of the article and the "helpers" is very much in the vein of "Ohh Rachel Jeantel got out there and embarrassed black folk so we better be seen to be DOING something "about" her" Sentences like this disturb the hell out of me:

"At first, Jeantel tried to buck the control and Vereen grew frustrated with what he saw as her unwillingness to “put in the time to overcome her shortcomings.” He made it clear that if she did not get with the program, the spigot of support and occasional perks would be turned off."
Umm... how many people would be able to go through the trauma she's been through, and then be expected to have their entire worldview changed, be shifted to utterly different work/school environment - one far more demanding than anything she'd ever been exposed to -- for SIx DAYS A WEEK **PLUS** BONUS LECTURES from all these uninvited Freedom Riders who are regularly "instilling" in her "Success mandates"??

 I know how the script goes in this kind of bullshit because I've worked plenty of mentor programs serving "underprivileged" children and I've quit many of them because I can't stand how people talk to young folks  with such condescension, and Rachel is spot on...NO ONE IS LISTENING TO HER.

This is about the Fancy Negroes looking good! They are co-opting her "cause" and issuing threats!! Frightening dizzying heart pounding threats

"See what we'll give you if you do This!"

"Now if you don't want to get with The Program you can go back to your little poor ass illiterate life and we'll let The System do the work! *sigh*

"WE TRIED! She just wouldn DO RIGHT" they'll say if she falls.

Instead of taking her on a paced journey and worrying as much about her human development as her status they're rushing her around in a continued media blitz that benefits them -- at this stage -- more than her.

I am THRILLED that she has mentors who are plugged in and capable of pulling her up ...but if she wants to go to fashion school then why can't they pay for fashion school?? I watch me plenty of LA Hair and it's not true that she can't be successful and social upward as a fashion/beauty consultant!! Why not be giving her all the tools she needs to be a good person, with good ethics and a happy life than pulling her in directions that she's not sure yet that she wants to go?

 Because that is the easiest way to "fall " as a black person when you're led by the nose by "helpful" whites and blacks:

"You need to do this to get here by X time." 

"You have to look this this way..."

Bottom line is that there's a terrible poisonous vein of hypocrisy beneath this village, and sooner or later the consequences will be Rachel's to suffer. Sometimes it's OUR people who can be allies or enemies, and within this camp of "Helpers" I guarantee there's star-fuckers in it for themselves who can create enough stress and drama to damage this young woman.

Let me be clear: I am for Rachel to be successful and to at least know that she has options in the world. I am glad that this village has offered her membership. But if she decided that she isn't ready to take on the commitment at this level then I won't judge her! Plenty of white kids take a few years before attending college not for the sake of rest and recovery of PTSD but just to do drugs and fuck off a few years.

I extremely dislike this sort of threatening edge to the article and the few comments made by the Viliage elders in the "Project". I hope to God there are a few sincere people in the VIllage whose job it is just to LISTEN.

Black women don't have voices in America. Black women have BODIES....bodies that are meant to work, haul, lift and balance the black community.... black guilt.... black sins. Bodies that don't conform, so they are beaten into submission at work... at the hair salon... at home where we learn "discipline". (Read: Fear)

My gut feels like there's a lot of bullshit involved in this Project and it worries me. But I'm not in her life so I don't know. I hope all the best for her, I felt Soo connected to her anguish when she was put on trial....but I don't like this article and what it suggests.

If she wants to go to fashion school and maybe do hair for a few years or learn to design, and maybe just work for some time to  get a sense of her potential, what life has to offer, THEN if she decides she wants more LET HER!!! OMG!!  I HATE NEGROES WHO TRY TO SHAME YOUNG BLACK GIRLS ABOUT THEIR GOALS!

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