Tweets by Stephanie Younger
By Stephanie Younger •
During a movement in defense of Black life calling for the abolition of the police state and the carceral state, it seemed that liberals who were saying ‘Black women matter,’ were solely speaking in reference to Black women who do the labor of ‘saving our Democracy.’ Recently, liberals who ‘thank Black women for saving our Democracy’ have made it alarmingly clear that the only Black women that matter to them are the ones who maintain policing, incarceration, deportations, and imperialism. Deciding on behalf of Black women as a whole that the victory of a Black woman who is an exploiter and oppressor of other Black women is somehow a ‘win’ for us is not ‘intersectional feminism.’ Specifically, silencing Black women who are abolitionist feminists to put a Black woman who is an incarcerator of other Black women on a pedestal, in the name of ‘intersectional feminism’ is a victory for the existence of a police state and a carceral state. In October of 2020, I wrote an article about the ways liberals have silenced Black feminists, specifically those who are abolitionists, for critiquing Kamala Harris and her complicity in maintaining the prison industrial complex.
“More recently, white liberal feminists have been bullying young Black feminists into conveniently glossing over Biden’s actions, and they even expect us to do so when they tokenize Black women who are maintaining what we’re fighting. I see it as a type of feminism that idolizes politicians like Kamala Harris, who has bragged about sending Black youth through the school-to-prison pipeline and locking up their parents, and who has degraded people who advocate for schools, not prisons. I see it as type of feminism that silences the critiques of Black people affected by Kamala Harris’ actions and who are fighting for the abolition of what she maintains, which is the prison industrial complex.”“Black People Can’t Wait Every Four Years For Our Liberation,” by Stephanie Younger
Recently, liberals have been silencing the critiques of Black abolitionist feminists by demanding that we ‘just let people rest and enjoy things,’ after toppling one white supremacist only to replace him with another white supremacist. It is not an act of revolution to ‘rest’ and ‘enjoy things’ at the expense of Black lives. Demanding that Black women let people ‘rest’ and celebrate those who advocate for state violence, while robbing us of our agency to rest and grieve Black folks who have been murdered by the police is an act of violence. In June of 2020, I did not have a lot of time to rest and grieve when my inbox was filled with messages demanding that I do the emotional labor of ‘educating’ those who believe that I exist for their consumption. I also did not get to rest when the best ‘solidarity’ white liberals extended to the fight for Black lives was a black square on Instagram, let alone going to one protest for a photo op.
Seeing the black squares, and the performative ‘protest pics’ on Instagram was when I realized that so many people see Black trauma as a trend. This was followed by TikTok users who made memes about Black women who have been murdered by the police, and then Instagram accounts who co-opted and watered down the radical language of Black liberationists for their pastel-colored infographics. Some have used murdered Black people’s names to put two architects of the prison industrial complex on a pedestal. By weaponizing the language of Black liberationists against other Black liberationists to shame them into seeking freedom from the electoral system, liberals embody the white conservatives who weaponize the language of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to shame Black protestors.
The co-optation of Black grief and Black radicalism continued into November 2020, when liberals co-opted Black revolutionary spaces that honor Black people who have been murdered by the police as a venue to celebrate the victory of two architects of the prison industrial complex. The co-optation has continued when the same people who claimed to have supported the fight for Black lives said that “America is better than this” in light of the capitol riots on January 6, 2021. The same people who claimed to have supported protestors are now idolizing the police who assaulted, surveilled, arrested and imprisoned protestors. The same people who quoted MLK’s warning of the white moderate last Monday have spent the past two weeks embodying the white moderate, by continuing to set the timetable for Black liberation. They have done so by advising Black abolitionist feminists to refrain from critiquing Biden and Harris for protecting the police state and the carceral state, and to “wait” until they’re finished ‘enjoying things.’
Given the fact that many liberals spent the rest of 2020 telling Black abolitionist feminists in our own spaces that the “stakes are too high right now” to critique the white moderate and to show up for Black lives, I was unsurprised to find that they were not actually going to “hold them accountable.” In April of 2020, I wrote that a Biden presidency would be my biggest fear, in the sense that many folks are now becoming complacent, and therefore comfortable with not showing up for Black lives. They are becoming comfortable with the existence of a police state, a carceral state, and imperialism. Liberals who only “listen to Black women” who are exploiters of other Black women will continue to silence Black women who are abolitionist feminists. Liberals who spent four years claiming to have cared about Black lives will continue to disrupt Black women’s agency to grieve Black people who have been murdered by the state, by suggesting that “things could be worse.” Black women deserve so much better, and more, especially our space to root ourselves in keeping us safe, beyond seeking freedom from the electoral system or the architects of the prison industrial complex.
Stephanie Younger is 18-year-old student who created Black Feminist Collective in 2017, and fights for a world abolished of prisons, police and systems of policing, and is passionate about its intersections with womanism.