Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Op-ed: Allyship is a short fuse

Nickolaus Mack urges readers to be wary of white liberal allies

Op-ed: Allyship is a short fuse

When I last wrote, I implored fellow African-Americans to claim their Blackness and argued that doing so was the blueprint to the temples of tomorrow, a testament to the many giants that walked before us. I said that our condition of Blackness, of tainted, of unwanted, of misunderstood, could be overcome one generation at a time. I proclaimed that our promised land was just over the ridge, that I could see it, that we could become the United States of America that Senator Barack Obama spoke about in 2004. Rest assured, I have not swayed.

I see the promised land. I see this shining city upon this rock. We are the temples of tomorrow. Brother, stay strong as we know how. And in doing so, I urge you to observe your allies, particularly some of your fellow white college liberals. Watch how quickly their allyship turns to critique. How fluidly they espouse Nixonian “law and order,” a rapid adoration of law as a veil for their problematic beliefs. They will smile at your face and shake your hand just as they will tear the flag from your hand and wrap themselves in it.

Because, it never has had to do with the burning of the flag. They know burning the U.S. flag is a federally-protected form of free speech. So, you ask, what is their contention? I’ll tell you, for these are the exact, cognitively dissonant liberals that Martin Luther King wrote about from his jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama.

"I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes."

Wholly uninterested in addressing the focal subject of why you burn the flag, their disagreement is rooted in their vision of America. And how dare you, a n*gger, symbolically burn that white-centric vision. Their allyship is a fuse, a fuse that only burns for so long.

“Stop crying! Stop protesting! Go home!”

Identify these people in your life, because, when the time comes, do not expect them to be beside you. Do not be surprised to find them on the opposing team. Do not be alarmed by their deafening silence. Let it speak volumes, and be indelibly recorded in history.

As we endure the results of this whitelash election, I remain steadfast in my belief that, in these deeply troubling times we can still move forward, still go high when they go low, and still possess a strive for a change that is going to come. It is a change that we can believe in. It is a change rooted in the audacity of hope. The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Nickolaus Mack is a sophomore in the School of Public Affairs and the Assistant Opinion Editor for The Eagle.

nmack@theeagleonline.com


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