Originally published on Bookmark Chronicles on July 29, 2016
Today on twitter around noon (EST) the number one trending hashtag was #BlackWomenDidThat. After only a few scrolls there was already someone complaining about it. A white woman and she said, “So you start things like #BlackWomenDidThat and wonder why racism still exists…”
Here’s the thing. Starting this hashtag isn’t racist. What many people of the majority fail to realize is that we (people of color) are not taught about the accomplishments of people in our communities. We don’t know who were the mathematicians, scientists, doctors, etc. unless they were white. I mean, think about it….what did you learn about people of color when you were in school other than slavery and the civil rights movement? For most people the answer is nothing. We only heard the same stories over and over again (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman and not many more beyond that). I can honestly tell you that I never learned anything about Latinos or Hispanics, Asians and not even Native Americans really except that tons of tribes were wiped out).
POC start hashtags like #BlackMenBreaktheInternet and #WhatItsLiketoBeABlackGirl because we want representation. Look around you. In books and on television it is pretty rare to find people of color as main characters that aren’t portrayed as stereotypes. The reason that the #BlackWomenDidThat hashtag was started was to raise awareness about the accomplishments that black women have made to society that no one knows about because no one talks about them. I’m not saying that all of the accomplishment that white people are well known but I can guarantee that you can probably name more white inventors than POC.
What this really comes down to in the end….is privilege. A lot of people may get offended by that but then that just proves that you’re a part of the problem. Every single time that people of color start a hashtag like this to gain representation and celebrate themselves, white people try to derail it. Why? Do you feel left out? Are you upset that the top trend is something that you can’t participate in? News flash: This is something that people of color feel every single day of their lives. And actually you could participate, but you’re choosing not to.
With that said, in the future take a step back and reflect on the situation. Then, remember your privilege and the lack of representation that people of color have. Join in the celebration instead of trying to destroy it.