After four-hundred years of hoping White people finally do the right thing, I’m re-examining where I invest my hopes.
Black People Are Tired of Hoping White People Do Better
Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me over and over again for four-hundred years and counting, well…I’m gonna call a spade a spade. You’re stupid to keep getting fooled by the same person or people. I feel stupid. So do a lot of Black folks.
We feel about racism in America hoping White people will finally do the right thing where Black folks are concerned, especially Black/African-American descendants of slaves (ADOS) or what some people call foundational Blacks. The direct descendants of the first Black enslaved people.
I’m talking about the Blacks folks like my daddy and my late grandma and great-grandfather who were sharecroppers who hoped America would change and life would be better. Freedom in America is slavery by another name for many of us Black folks. Black folks are hoping to be free — we’re held and against our will, literally terrorized by White people daily.
Blacks in America continue to wait on White folks to do right. We keep hoping. We have 400-years of hope banked.
We are the Black folks who keeps watching America put other groups’ needs and concerns before ours. Black folks always gotta wait. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. We watch election cycle after election cycle the most recent immigrants being put to the front of the line as we lay dying in the streets. As we’re ostracized and cast to the side. As we’re told it’s not our time — again.
America never has time or tolerance for its Black folks. Racism is the primary reason we’re not a priority. Asking Black people to continue waiting and hoping is racist. It’s in humane and cruel, but that’s so American. Black people are tired of delaying their disappointment. I know I am. We’re tired of being put to the back of the bus.
America likes to lump all us Blacks into one pot so that it can continue to neglect us, forget about us, ignore our individual concerns, confuse the world, and deny the harm they’ve done to ADOS Blacks so they can continue mistreating us, skirting justice, and denying us the reparations we’ve been hoping for for so long.
Hope for Black people is delayed disappointment.
Black People Hoping Is Like Believing In Santa Claus
Hope when it comes to racism is one big joke. Hoping White people will give up racism, privilege, and resources they gained by cheating us for centuries to do right by Black people is nothing more than delayed disappointment. It’s like asking a bank robber whose gotten away with robbery to return the money. Who does that?
Hoping White people give up racism is like telling your kids there is a Santa Claus bringing toys. As the kids get older, the truth is eventually revealed. Most kids are disappointed. A few kids may reveal they already knew the truth. They just didn’t tell their parents because they didn’t want to hurt their feelings. We’ve put White feeling before our own. In part because they force us to and in part because we’re just good caring people. We put other people before ourselves. White folks ain’t gonna do right. The closer White people of all persuasions get to November, the more they try to justify to us their racist decisions. Many White folks are even lying to our faces. We know.
We already know.
But bless our few allies for continuing to fight the good fight. I think you even underestimate the White resistance sometimes. Black folks are sitting around planning, wishing, and hoping White people would finally reward us for waiting and being good underlings like we’ve been for so many centuries. The fact of the matter is that waiting, hoping, or planning anything that our Black lives depend on is delayed disappointment.
Hoping White people do the right thing, stay focused, stay reformed, and stay motivated is nothing more than delayed disappointment. Hope is yet another burden placed upon the shoulders of Black people that I’m unloading this year. White people collectively have disappointed me enough to know my hope is misplaced when I make it about them.
We are exhausted. Black people are literally exhausted living every day year after year, and generation after generation with racism and hoping thing get better. We’re tired of teaching our children to live with it and we’re tired of trying to make White people care and understand our plights.
White people have the luxury of learning about racism instead of experiencing it first-hand. That’s part of the problem.
White folks don’t experience racism because they have fixed the nation’s system, structures, and institutions to keep them insulated and ignorant of White Supremacy, so they continue perpetuating it. They place the burden of their learning about their role in our oppression as if we did all this to ourselves. We must hope they listen, and then hope they decide change. The we gotta hope they do what they said they would do. They don’t.
Our hope leads to delayed disappointment.
With Racism, Hope Is Delayed Disappointment
Racism is so pervasive and so problematic for Black people in America that continuing to hope it’s going away is just delayed disappointment.
Continuing to hope America will finally give Black people justice for all the Black men and women who were wrongly hung, shot, sexually mutilated, raped, and robbed of their land/wealth is just delayed disappointment.
Hoping America will finally dismantle White Supremacy in 2020 is just delayed disappointment.
Hoping White people carry their own burdens, take responsibility for their own roles in upholding and sustaining White Supremacy, and changing enough collectively to make life better for Blacks is just delayed disappointment.
Hoping the Democratic Party puts us finally puts us first instead of using us a diversity tokens in delayed disappointment.
Hoping this year will be the year White people prove they are capable of making decisions to save and protect all people, not just White people is delayed disappointment.
Hoping this year is the year enough White people finally have enough of their daddies, uncles, brothers, neighbors, pastors, and other White men who hate Black people to do something drastic about it is just delayed disappointment.
Hoping enough White people will do the right thing over and over, year after year, and century after century after 400-years of them proving they won’t do right by us — when they can do right by us — and when they have all the power, resources, and authority to do right by us is just delayed disappointment.
Hoping about racism is foolishly believing our best choice to save us from racism is a man who doesn’t even know he’s racist is just delayed disappointment. Pretending he’s something that he isn’t is delayed disappointment too.
I’m tired of being disappointed. I’m tired of everything like so many Black people are. I’m just tired of America. How can our own country be so hostile towards us for no other reason than the color of our skin?
After 400-hundred years of this, White people should be ashamed to continue asking us to place our hope in them. It’s an insult. At this point White people, it’s put up or shut up. In 2020, we will learn just how racist and sexist America is. After this year, White people will no longer have the right to insist we wait on them to get it. This is ain’t that hard. Either you wanna change or ya don’t! White people are more than capable of doing so if they wanted to.
If nothing changes in 2020 it’s because White people don’t want change. It will finally be time for Black folks to stop dealing in hope, platitudes, and empty promises. Reality must set in, and that reality will be that most White people in America aren’t going to change to save us, protect us, give us the justice we deserve, or provide us with reparations for all the harm they’ve done to us collectively. And even though the election hasn’t happened, most of us Black folks know White people like we know the sunrises and sets. We know the outcome of the election before it even happens. We knew this would happen before that orange possum got elected. It’s White people who don’t believe shit stinks until it starts stinking.
White people can afford to keep hope. They ain’t losing nothing. Not even sleep.
If our words can’t convince them; if videos of us dying in the streets can’t convince them; if our national history doesn’t move them; if their own racist histories can’t convince them; and if the state of America today can’t convince enough White people to reject White Supremacy for humanity and equality, well…what in the hell are Black people continuing to hope for. Our hope is like putting good seeds in bad soil. Nothing is going to grow, and even if something does grow, it’s likely gonna be bad fruit.
We Black folks can hope for good fruit all we want, but if we put those seeds in bad soil, we should be expecting bad fruit.
America is bad soil.
It’s stupid placing our hope in people who have so much to lose by giving up racism. I’m already hearing White people talk about how tired they are of talking about racism. So much so I’ve concluded there is no reason to hope they’ll change, at least not much. Hope is for the disadvantaged. Those with White privilege and White power don’t need hope. They must to keep Black folks oppressed. They need to keep Black folks hoping.
Hope is a Black man’s delayed disappointment.
Obama’s hope and change platitude was nothing more than more delayed disappointment for Black people. Every time I think about the punishment we’re getting for hoping I regret he ever ran for office. Our wanting brings violence. Hope brings back peace. Hope means we sit. Hope means Black folks will wait on White folks to get their shit together a little while longer.
Hope is the Black mother’s delayed disappointment.
Black people need to begin to defend and protect themselves from racism, and they need not feel guilty about doing so. Anyone asking us to hope White people and not defend ourselves is either foolish, delusional, racist, or all the above. We have no reason to continue hoping racism gets better in America. There are too many White people who are perfectly fine with it even as they see injustices committed against us daily. And even though they believe us, they have a hard time trying to figure out what to do next. It ain’t that hard. And if it is hard for ya, your moral compass is broken. People are suffering, they are living on hope — hoping that White people will do better.
Hope is delayed disappointment and death for our Black children.
Hope is Awaiting Grief
Black folks have zero reasons to have faith in White people, so stop trying to make us feel guilty when we express it. Seeing White people disregard our being to stay comfortable is like experiencing the same death over and over again. Black people are constantly experiencing the stages of grief because of racism.
Black folks are experiencing denial again. Every four years we get our hopes up thinking White people think the way we think, see things the way we see things, and desire the same things we Black folks want for America. We’ve been let down time and time again yet we continue to expect White folks to do the right thing. That’s denial.
Blacks folks are angry… and well, we stay angry because shit never changes. We have a right to be angry at White people in America about racism. It’s a natural emotion of grieving people. If you’re Black and you aren’t on the angry bird roller coaster, I’m worried about you. If you’ve learned how to cope, share your secrets to success.
Black folks have bargained with White people and their racism more times than we can shake a stick at. We’re always compromising, willing to do almost anything to alleviate our pain and suffering — including putting our hope and trust in White people who keep giving us their asses to kiss as they retain their White privileges and power. We continue to bargain with White people in an effort to avoid the pain of our numerous delayed disappointments.
Black folks are depressed right now. Most of us are in a constant state of depression. I’ve never seen anything like this in my lifetime. We are watching videos of police treating us the way they’ve treated us for centuries. We’re nauseous at our choices for this coming November. We’ve watched White folks secretly and enthusiastically install a special needs, Mussolini, into the highest office in the land. We’re preparing for the race war and trying to figure out what that will look like. We’re watching White people get weak, faint, and forget about Black folks still suffering and dying because of racism. We are seeing White people on television say they had no idea things would get this bad after we told them it would. We’ve lost jobs. We’re dying from COVID-19 unnecessarily, and we’re dealing with all sorts of national dysfunction.
White people did all this. All of it. Every drop of it.
Black people are depressed. We can’t sleep. Reality is setting in again, and denial about and bargaining with White folks is likely not going to be an option for us after November. You can’t bargain with hostage takers, that’s our national philosophy, right? Black people are the hostages we’re hoping White people care enough to save.
Hope is delayed disappointment for Black people.
Many Black people are finally coming to a place of acceptance about racism in America. Racism isn’t changing. Many of us are accepting the fact that nothing will change in America until White people die off or Blacks and people of color collectively gather to push White people out of power. Black people are no longer engaging in the emotional survival tactics of denial, bargaining, and anger. Banking on hope is delaying our collective disappointment. We’re accepting the things we cannot change and moving on.
Hope right now has little to do with us and everything to do with centering Whiteness. Hope is about massaging White egos and boosting White morale because they need that to keep up the good fight of us. It’s a privilege to be educated on racism and not have to experience it. Black folks having hope when it comes to racism ain’t about Black people these days, it’s about making White people feel good about finally taking their blinders off after decades of ignoring our suffering, maltreatment and their history of neglect.
Hope in 2020 is asking Black folks to hold their breath waiting for White people to make the decision of our lifetimes and the lifetimes of our Black children and grandchildren.
Hope is asking us to wait on White people…again. Food me twice already. I want receipts. I want to see tangibles, the kind of changes I can believe in, not empty changes that are one someone’s to-do list in an effort to pacify us. We’ve seen White people and we cannot unsee them. They will need to work for the next 400-years to undo the damage done to us and this nation. Until I see change, I have no hope. Hope is delayed disappointment, and I’m not getting disappointed by racism anymore.
We’re Not Giving Up Hope, Just Changing Our Focus
I know many White people reading this will interpret this as giving up, or throwing in the towel, but it’s not. Only people who have never experienced grief or racism would make such an allegation. Black people are no longer settling for delayed disappointments waiting on White people. We’re moving on. It doesn’t mean we’re abandoning our fight, we just know we’re all we got. We are processing our grief by enacting self-care. It’s the same thing any reasonable person or animal does when they’ve been injured.
It’s time for White people to stop asking Black people to continue hoping things will get better — to keep hoping enough White people will do the right thing for humanity’s sake. Likewise, it’s time for Black people to stop investing their emotions, energy, and time trying to convince grown White people we’re valuable, we’re worthy of dignity and respect, and that we are human. Hope is delayed disappointment.
In the same way White people must unlearn centuries of White Supremacy, colonization, and racism, Black people must also unlearn hoping for White people to change and conditioning ourselves to forgive them for racism when all parties know full well there is little likelihood of White people changing.
Faith without works is dead. Spending our hope on racist White people who have shown us who time and time again they don’t care, they don’t wanna know how to make things better, and aren’t interested in the harm their actions and apathy cause are is stupid.
I’m a realist. I’m a planner. I’m a risk-management assessor. I’m a giver. I’m supportive. I’m a teacher. I’m an advocate. I’m a Black mom and grandma. I’m a friend. Sometimes, I allow myself to dream. Sometimes, I even allow myself to hope. But with racism, I’m old enough and wise enough to know better. I’m also real enough and honest enough to speak the truths other will not.
I know White people ain’t gettin ready to do a 360 degree turn between now and November. In fact, half of America has already dug their heels in and said they aren’t interested in changing. That racist half is the half already in power now. I’d be stupid to allow my hopes to get high when White folks have already told me and showed me who they are. I spent my hope already. Hope is delayed disappointment, so I’m reinvesting my hope. I’m letting myself down easy — and early.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame you, fool me twice, shame on me. I’m not getting fooled by White people anymore.
Marley K. in Quarantine 2020
This piece is dedicated to and inspired by @MistaG22 on Twitter.
If you enjoyed this story, please read this essay for context: