A professor of literature at SUNY Old Westbury says it makes him happy when he sees poor white people on the street begging for food or money.
Nicholas Powers writes in Race Baitr (the article has since been deleted, apparently) that “white people begging us for food feels like justice. It feels like Afro-Futurism after America falls. It feels like a Black Nationalist wet dream. It has the feels I rarely feel, a hunger for historical vengeance satisfied so well I rub my belly.”
The professor is cognizant that this isn’t a “good look”; however, when he thinks about Martin Luther King Jr.’s invocations of “be [thy] best self” and “show compassion to those who spite you,” he retorts “go fuck another secretary Martin!”
White people, Powers says, are a Rorschach test: “I see in them the history of colonization, slavery and mass incarceration that makes their begging Black people for money ironic—if not insulting. You wasted your whiteness! Why should we give to you?”
Here is a descendant of murderers who killed our ancestors now begging us to save their life. So let’s turn the other cheek! But it’s not always honest. It is the trick of internalized racism that Black anger is transformed into showy altruism to show the “white gaze” that we’re safe—good Negroes. So we aren’t attacked by more powerful whites—instead rewarded by them. …
[…] when a white person begs, maybe a white woman breastfeeding or a young white boy whining like a broken flute, I feel better. Good. It’s not just us. I feel happy. I feel like the scales of justice could shift.
The other day I jogged up the subway stairs and saw the homeless white boy again. “Can you get me something to eat,” he barked out to the river of people passing by. “Someone stole all my shit!” Scabs covered his mouth. He was sunburnt and thin. I ignored him but thought “Baby, you stole all mine.” I glanced at his blanket, shopping cart and books. Who is he? Why is he here? Where are his people?
According to his faculty webpage, Powers’ research interests include African American aesthetics, surrealism, Marxism, and feminist theory. His “personal website” is actually a page full of his writings for The Indypendent, a “free, progressive monthly newspaper and online news site.”
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