The simple and obvious answer is: NO
Black folks have been surviving under the pressure of white supremacy for 500 years and even the most unaware, oblivious black folks feel the injustice and limitations. To be black and alive in this reality requires a certain level of #Wokeness. I think what makes this time so unique is how trendy it is to talk about racism. white privilege, microaggressions, black owned-businesses, and appropriation are just some of the buzzwords being used now more than even. People are talking about Nat Turner like it’s 1831. Black TV is at a unique peak of creativity. Black people are organizing and intentionally supporting one another. Being black has always been the shit, but in recent years, being black and Woke has become cool.
This moment of consciousness is a step in a multi-step struggle. Right now this struggle is similar to #OccupyWallStreet. Although #Occupy didn’t give ultimate power to the 99% like it hoped, it made “99%” a thing. It put “economic inequality” into the zeitgeist. Right now we’re at that stage. We’ve made racism, at both micro and macro-levels, a big part of the collective conversation.
I wonder if this energy and #wokeness will dry up like a raisin in the sun (hate myself), or will it bloom into something culture-shifting… has it already shifted things? Moving beyond curating conversations to actually changing our reality is the end goal. Our collective #wokeness can get us there, but there are several things that can keep us from reaching that end game.
The question is not whether Black consciousness is a fad, but whether we can make change in the moment. Places where we might get stuck in the struggle are:
1. Trying to wake white people up.
Black folks have to use their collective energy wisely. Spending all of it trying to teach white people about their privilege isn’t helping us. If white folks want to understand our need for self-determination and freedom tell them to look at their ancestors.
2. Fighting with each other on Twitter.
Fighting each other in general isn’t helping. Disagreements are fine and natural. When black folks are finally free we won’t all be on the same page on the reality we want to create, but in the beginning, we need to find common ground.
3. Keeping white people at the center of our universe.
Remembering that black liberation starts by putting blackness at the center of our universe. Everything falls into place from there.
If we are able to move past these things we can make this new Black Renaissance more than a moment in time. This new level of Wokeness is not a fad or a trend. It is merely another part of the black experience and the next chapter in black history. It is up to us to use this moment of collective consciousness to our advantage.