I became hip to Noname’s Book Club this past summer. Noname, a rapper and organizer from Chicago, started a book club to uplift voices of color by highlighting two books each month for online and in person community members to read. February was the first time I was able to read along. I choose to read a collection of poems by Morgan Parker called “Magical Negro”. I’ve always loved to read books, especially work written by Black people but poetry is a whole other realm for me. I feel as if some poems go over my head and I have to read over and over until I force meaning out of it. I felt that way about some of the poems in “Magical Negro” but the majority of them I could relate on a level I didn’t realize would connect with me, especially pertaining to my experiences as a Black woman.
One poem in particular titled “Now More Than Ever” really struck a chord with me. Parker writes about the way in which people use the saying, “now more than ever” to talk about social issues and politics. This phrase has been utilized so regularly by the privileged after 2016. They say, “Now more than ever, it is important that we stand together to fight against hate” or “Now more than ever, we have to uplift the most marginalized,” and so on. I’m tired of hearing this bullshit.
So many people have obliviously walked through the world thinking things were getting better, more tolerant, and accepting. Clinging so dearly onto the Obama presidency and the legalization of gay marriage while turning a blind eye on the increases of deportations, lead-poisoned water in Flint, MI, and the lack of administrative change being done to stop police violence towards Black citizens. Activists of color, especially Black activists and organizers have been saying these things for decades.
You think Trump becoming president is surprising? When you say, “How could people vote for someone so racist, sexist, and hateful?” it shows me that you haven't been listening to our pain and demands. You didn’t care enough to believe us when we said we have so much more work to do. Parker says it perfectly when she writes, “it seems to be uttered in moments of “Aha!” or more bluntly, “I straight up did not believe you before,” wherein before = “ever.””
This kind of hate didn’t start with Nazis rioting in Charlottesville. It didn’t start with the xenophobic pleads to build a wall at the southern border. The white supremacy that you think magically appeared four years ago is the white supremacy this country was built upon, on the bloody land of Natives and the bloody backs of Africans.
Morgan Parker’s words resonated with me because she expresses this emotion of fatigue and ‘are you kidding me right now?’ when I hear someone say, “now more than ever.”