Black sisterhood embodies a certain je ne sais quoi. There’s no defining or explaining it, but you know it when you see it. Think of the moment during the 2015 Emmy Awards when Taraji P. Henson presented Regina King with her Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress and she met her at the stage with genuine excitement. When Taraji’s own history-making Emmy category was announced and despite losing the Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama to Viola Davis, she met her in the aisle and embraced her, then continued to stand and give her the ultimate ovation. Many black women always try to have each other’s backs because we are the most vulnerable, least protected, and least respected beings on Earth. Our strength defines us, even when violent attempts to silence our voices and our presence are hurled upon us. When we raise our voices in unison to drown out white noise, we’re often met with deflection and salty tears. Because of this, we have learned to rely on each other even more. Allies are great and appreciated, but there’s something about that virtual dab, that black Twitter clap back, or that comment section high five from another black woman, a sister, that can make all the difference, especially when our struggles and heartbreak far surpass the latest trending topics and popular social media hashtags.
We’re used to being accused of perpetuating racism for simply discussing it. White privilege allows our struggles to be whitesplained by well-meaning white folk or altogether ignored by white feminist. We’ve gotten used to calling out “Becky”. We can shut her down verbally and navigate our way through social media like only black women can. Not everyone is as aware as Gloria Steinem so it’s much easier to ignore fragile white supremacy wrapped in faux all-for-one feminism. But what happens when the person cappin’ for the entitled and privileged looks like us? What do we do about the “Beckeishas” of the world?
We’re weeks into Black History Month, and every time I come across a blurb, post, or online article meant to celebrate and highlight our history, I’ve been met with trolls, fragile racists, and Black Beckys. Yes, you read that right. Black Beckys. I’ve dubbed them “Beckeishas”. They are lost, deluded, and sad souls cappin’ for white supremacy. They’re telling us to calm down and that Stacey Dash is right. They, too, believe Martin Luther King ascended to heaven due to old age, and have seemed to forget he was murdered. They’re probably also from the same “continents” in Africa as Raven-Symoné.
You know a Beckeisha. We’ve all known a Beckeisha. She’s come over for Thanksgiving Dinner and complained about the traditional soul food, that until recently was her favorite food (or even worse, she never ate it because she’s not “that black”), she’s the loudest one complaining about Blue Ivy’s natural hair, and probably can’t remember the natural texture of her own. And don’t even think about asking her to go the club. She probably saves her dancing for Donald Trump rallies. But now, like you and I, Beckeisha has social media accounts and Aunty Ruckus is taking that disappointment worldwide. Now, I can’t hate on the fact that we could have led very different lives and had different experiences; black people are not monolithic. I don’t and won’t tell black people how to wear their skin, and I won’t tone police.
That’s what makes us unique. But, the glaring problem with Beckeisha’s perspective is that she does not see her own color, nor the color, history, and legacy of the faces of women who look like her. Herein lies the problem with the black Becky thought. Often “nigger” registers on her tone deaf ears as a historical euphemism that’s antiquated and not often heard or is only used by black rappers. Police brutality is brought upon us because we don’t comply with the law and discrimination is a reality only because we demand it through frivolous things like Essence Magazine and the NAACP Awards, thus encouraging white people to segregate us. She often hasn’t been called a “nigger” and may have never had a family member be wrongfully convicted, brutalized, or beaten by the police. It’s not that Beckeisha hasn’t dealt with racism up close and personal or fully strips systematic racism of validation, it’s just that she believes racism is no longer a factor because its consequences don’t impact her day-to-day life. Or so she believes. In Beckeisha’s mind, those things are of the past and she doesn’t seem to understand why we won’t let go.
So we find ourselves clappin’ back at Beckeisha, delivering reads all across social media to no avail until we finally realize that she’s never going to get it. She believes life is grand, white supremacy has been dismantled, and much like White Becky, she believes we need to get over it.
What do we do about Beckeisha? Maybe there isn’t much that can be done. On one hand, we can just shake our heads, save our breath, and remind ourselves that our feminism is intersectional, our activism fierce, and we have bigger fish to fry. But sometimes the best way to enlighten and educate other black women about the historical disenfranchisement that many of us are still suffering because of our sex, ability, gender identity and class amongst other things, is to just keep doing you. We’re under no obligation to cape for toxic and problematic people just because they happen to be black women. Maybe one day she will wake up, maybe not. In the meantime if you keep spreading your woke #blackgirlmagic, people will have no choice but to take notice—even Beckeisha.