A lot of the time, Beyoncé is for everybody. Her music about feminism, love, and partying is for all women, and really for anyone. Her music about heartbreak is for the heartbroken. But what Beyoncé has done with “Formation” is momentous because in its rejoicing it is, unmistakably, by and for black people—especially for black femmes.
If you expect your kind of vegetarianism to be perfectly represented by one individual’s, you’re bound to end up feeling a little attacked, a little left out. But if your kind of vegetarianism genuinely, validly hurts people and their identities, you’re not doing it right either.
Maybe this time you’re not just pretending. Maybe you sing the theme song on the way to class and the trees and the bricks and the stained glass start to feel like home. And all the brown people, all the queer people, even the ones you don’t get along with, even the ones who you’re intimidated by, even the one’s you don’t know and who don’t care to know you, are here to save the day.
If you don’t ever have to think about the thing, how can you not spend all your time feeling thankful that you don’t have to think about the thing, instead of telling other people they are silly for thinking about the thing? But still, how could you?
When black people get killed, my white Facebook friends from home get to be upset about riots. They get to post videos of black people weeping, and shouting, and setting shit on fire and call it foolishness, quietly tsk-ing their tongues and shaking their heads from the safety of their dorm rooms. They get to believe the newscasters and feel bad for all those poor, poor windowpanes and police cars and doorknobs that are clearly the main victims of police brutality. Meanwhile, I’m starting to look a lot like my grandma, rocking silently in front of my laptop as she did in front of the radio, or the stove, waiting for all her babies to come home.
I do know that creating safe spaces is important, contrary to a recent New York Times article professing safe spaces as a continuation of the desire of the hyper-sensitive college student to prevent themselves from experiencing “ticklish” conversations and aid in their own “self-infantilization.”
The South can be hilarious. The South can be terribly, terribly racist. And so can the rest of the country. Harvard gets away with passing as a perfectly progressive institution when it simply is not, laughing at those idiotic and shameful “others” all the while.