Food 4 Thot, hosted by Dennis Norris II, Joseph Osmundson, Tommy Pico, and Fran Tirado, usually talks about race, identity, sex, relationships, and what they’re reading, but they put together this special episode to specifically address the Black Lives Matter protests. They get into what exactly it means to be anti-racist, roast a few prominent brands for performative allyship (with receipts), give a brief history of the police, address the looting and rioting that have accompanied some of the demonstrations and give an historical context for why that’s an important part of a protesting strategy, discuss protesting-in-a-pandemic protocols to help us stay safe in the streets, and much more.
The distinction between being “not racist” and being “anti-racist” is action, the hosts tell us. Many times people who feel they aren’t racist believe that racism is a strictly personal matter, something they can distance themselves from. But racism is much more than a personal belief system – it is baked into every aspect of American culture. There are plenty of examples of overt racism, such as burning a cross in a Black person's yard. But there are also covert versions of racism that are completely socially acceptable, like having only white people on the board at your company. Anti-racism work means taking action to dismantle the “systems, organizational structures, policies, practices, and attitudes so that power is distributed and shared equitably.” Another key distinction is that being anti-racist is uncomfortable. You have to speak up and speak out and have incredibly tough conversations when you’re anti-racist. But “everyone needs to take part,” they say. “This is a marathon, not a sprint.”
They briefly get into the history of policing in America, which was always about protecting property, not people. In the North, the property protected was goods sold by wealthy merchants; in the South, the property was slaves. With this context in mind, they get into looting and rioting. Destruction of property may not be very popular, but historically, it’s an effective tool for change in a capitalist society. In fact, when Martin Luther King, Jr. led his first non-violent protests, nobody cared. They weren’t covered in the news and no change came from them. So the strategy changed; the marches and protests would happen in places nearly guaranteed to incite white violence against the protestors. Suddenly, the civil rights movement was worthy of headlines. And because it was happening at the same time as the Vietnam War, these globally televised images of citizens being brutally suppressed “became a national political embarrassment.”
They urge the LGBTQIA+ population to be actively taking part in these protests as well, noting that without a Black trans woman starting a riot at Stonewall (as a direct result of police brutality), there would be no Pride parades, labor protections, or marriage rights. So even if taking to the streets isn’t your thing, “ask yourself how else do you plan on protesting?” Fran asks. “What reps are you calling? What funds are you donating to?” Because "allies are long overdue to show up." Hear the whole powerful episode on Food 4 Thot.
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