I have already posted before about Mercy Morganfield, the former head of the Women’s March DC chapter, and the daughter of famous American blues singer-songwriter Muddy Waters. She wrote a glorious post ripping Linda Sarsour, only to delete it later for some unknown reason.
I follow her on Facebook now and while there are things we won’t agree on, I find her to be intellectually honest, true to her beliefs, and possessing a real way with words.
And her latest post is another instant classic.
Palestine and Israel
We are going to have a real conversation about Israel and Palestine in this country. It is the political elephant in the room these days. A topic filled with so much misinformation and sheer ignorance being discussed by people filled with such misinformation and sheer ignorance.
We are going to need to talk about criticism of Israel and separate it from antisemitism. It is not antisemitic to criticize a country’s policies and actions. But it is antisemitic to feed negative stereotypes about a culture of people. And if you know very little about the conflict, if you are getting all of your information from Facebook posts, if you are not vetting your sources and don’t know enough to properly vet your sources, there is a pretty good chance you will cross the line from denigrating a country to denigrating the people of that country.
The best people to initiate these conversations are people who have an understanding of the history, geography, politics, and cultural nuances of each country or at least one of the countries. If you have never been to either Palestine or Israel, it is best to sit back and absorb the conversations and not pop in with info from a biased source that you don’t even know is biased.
I have seen so much discussion on the topic from people who’ve never left Chicago? Who are you getting your information from? How are you vetting it? Are key words being used to play on possible biases you may have or may be likely to sympathize with.
Most of us have a paucity of knowledge about our own geography yet we talk about the geography of a country that we’ve never even visited with great authority.
Can you answer these questions without googling them:
Who is the president of Palestine?
These are the four regions of which country: Jordan valley and Ghawr, coastal and inner plains, Mountain and Hills and Southern Desert?
Who is the President of Israel?
What is the split of the Fatah and Hamas governments? Where does each operate? Which one is the official government and why the split?
What exactly is Zionism?
Which country is bound to the north by Lebanon, the northeast by Syria, the east by Jordan and the West Bank, and to the southwest by Egypt?
What is Arab-Nationalism?
What was the cause of the 1948-1949 war between Israel and Arab States? What was the outcome?
In what year did Jewish people start talking about the reestablishment of a Jewish nation, and why was it important?
Who is the Prime Minister of Israel?
How much money is allocated for Palestine aid in 2018? What are Trumps proposal for cuts in humanitarian aid for the country and what would be Congress’ impetus for backing or denying those cuts?
What is BDS? And why do American politicians back it or denounce it?
What type of funding is proposed for Israel?
What are the demographics of Israel? Palestine?
Do not answer these questions below—even if you know the answer. My point is for all the people offering vehement opinions on the topic, you can’t even answer simple questions about the history, geography, political structure, and the relationship the US has with each country.
You have allowed social media manipulators to drive a conversation on a topic you know very little about. Here are some questions my community, (black folks) also need to answer:
How long has Flint, Michigan been without clean water? What in the environmental state laws allow this to continue?
What other cities in the U.S. have dangerously high levels of lead in the water? Which communities are most impacted?
What percentage of the U.S. population is African American? How many people?
What percentage of immigrants are black? Where are most coming from?
Black households have only 10 cents of wealth for every dollar of wealth held by white households. (True or False)?
What are the leading causes of death in the black community?
African Americans are more likely to die than white Americans at almost any age for almost any reason, what are some of the causative factors?
What is the racial and ethnic makeup of American prisons and why do the rations differ so drastically from the demographics of the U.S. population?
What are the contributing factors to the rising mortality rates of black mothers in childbirth?
Why are U.S. schools still largely segregated and unequal? What laws allow this inequity?
Why are tampons taxed as a luxury item in most states and how does this impact impoverished communities?
Why are there taxes on groceries and not stocks?
What is Capital gains tax and how many Americans have to pay capital gains?
What are the most common reasons black students have to drop out of institutions of higher learning?
How is systemized and racially-precision driven voter suppression impacting our ability to participate in the political process.
What threats do Trump’s federally appointed judges pose to black communities around the country?
If you are in the black community do you know the answers to these questions without having to google them? These questions are the ones that should be driving our discussions, they should be igniting our passions, we should be posting and tweeting and discussing them at every given opportunity.
Yet our discussions remain rooted in ignorance. Our intelligent discussions are being hijacked by conversations about middle eastern countries. Our own community is suffering in the next state over from us and often in our own state. We have been placed on the back burner while we talk about Palestine or Israel or Trumps spray tan or his latest incoherent tweet.
So yes, we need to have a discussion about Israel and Palestine, since the two topics have made their way into our living rooms, sat on our couch and refused to leave.
I posted about Kaepernick’s victory yesterday only to have three women come in and hijack the post making it about Congresswoman Omar Ilhan. When I slammed their asses for doing it—I was a bag of bitches and a sack of fuck yous.
On the flip side Linda Sarsour made Women’s Rights all about the rights of Palestinian people and not even a good discussion about the atrocities the Palestinian nation imposes on women. This conversation, Sarsour is driving has dominated Women’s Rights discussions for 2 years. In the meantime, Serena Williams, a black woman from the U.S., almost died in childbirth due to disparities in treatment for black mothers in birth in the U.S. we spent two minutes talking about that and then back to what Sarsour wanted to discuss.
That is using a platform meant to bring awareness to the issues plaguing black women in the U.S. to talk about what matters most to Sarsour.
Police brutality if not highlighted by Kaepernick this year would never have been highlighted by the wide-scale women’s movement in the U.S.—we were too busy talking about religion, exclusion, and bickering. We spent more time bickering about the Unity Principles in a white women’s movement than we spent talking about police brutality in the black community, infant mortality rates, education, and economic empowerment.
We must stop people from hijacking the conversations we need to have in the black community and centering themselves inside those conversations—from both groups.
What we talk about matters. Make sure we are having the conversations that most impact the community and if you know nothing about the Middle East sit back and listen and learn from those who do.
Do not post about Congresswoman Omar Ilhan or Linda Sarsour as a response to this post—it would show not only did you not bother to read the commentary but you missed the whole goddamn point. Thank you.