I’ve Never Been Quick to Call Someone Racist, But I’ve Had Enough of This ‘Monkey’ Business

Outrage: We’re Not Your Monkey, Nigger, Niggah or Nigga

I want to believe that everyone who “accidentally” says, “nigga,” “niggah” or “nigger” because their favorite rapper says it, is sincerely apologetic. That maybe my people are being a little too sensitive. But then something happens and I’m drop-kicked back into reality. Like this. https://twitter.com/deray/status/1034806592179515392 This is not OK. In an interview the other day, Florida’s Republican gubernatorial nominee, Ron DeSantis, threw two shots. First he called Andrew Gillum—his Black Democratic challenger —“articulate.” Then he followed up with, “The last thing we need to do is monkey this up,” referencing Gillum’s style of governing and its potential to interfere with Florida’s current progress. If you don’t know what’s wrong with that then you’ve probably been hiding under a rock since the Civil War or just willfully ignorant. But to help you out, Ron’s statement sounds like, “Andrew is articulate...for a Black man” as if Black people are incapable of being articulate. And you should never , ever put “Black people” in the same sentence with “monkey!” Now, I’ve never been quick to call someone racist— some of us are less forgiving. But Ron DeSantis’ intentions are definitely up for debate. At the very least, using language that has and is being used to degrade Black people is irresponsible and ignorant as hell. Now when someone like DeSantis—who has two kids—walks around his house or gives a national interview talking about other ethnic groups in a negative context, his kids are going to soak that right up. Then, because father knows best, they take these idiotic home lessons to school and use them to bully other students. Later in life those kids become educators who perpetuate oppression and racism in their classrooms. Or maybe even politicians who use their biased lens to guide policy. And because people like DeSantis fail at being good teachers and role models to their kids and others across the country, the cycle of racism persists in America. So nah, we’re not being overly-sensitive. Y’all just need to do better. Because in case y’all didn’t notice, we’re teachers, too. And these kids are watching our every move.

Hope: Black Democratic Nominees All Summer ’18

Black people, mark this date. Hell, I’d suggest playing these numbers in tomorrow’s lottery, LOL! https://twitter.com/RevJJackson/status/1034432532979359745 And let’s also add Andrew Gillum’s historic Democratic nomination to this list of important events that have happened in the history of Black people in this country on August 28. While August 28 is an eerily important date for us, I have to point out that this summer has been so politically dope for us—one that may go down in the history books. Moving forward with Andrew in gubernatorial races across the country are Stacey Abrams in Georgia and Ben Jealous in Maryland. And let’s not forget about Jahana Hayes who’s running for Congress. So far we are winning! But [pullquote position="left"]what I’m extra excited about is how these wins could change education for Black kids in America. These candidates are standing on platforms that endorse the improvement of areas that, for some reason, have been an extreme “challenge” for educators and policy makers to overcome— early childhood education, parent empowerment and equity and mental health services for low-income, underserved communities. And while we may have seen high school graduation rates rise to 74.6 percent and more Black women earning college degrees, there are still significant achievement and opportunity gaps. There’s still a lot more work to be done. Again, these are not endorsements. And I’m not so naive to think that things are going to change over night. But I am hopeful that we will get people in office who look like us, actually represent us and lead our kids to a better education.
Tanesha Peeples
Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work—“If not me, then who?” As the former Deputy Director of Activist Development for brightbeam, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for change in the public education system. Her passion for community and relentless mission for justice and liberation drive her in uplifting and amplifying the voices and ...

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