I really should not even have to write this post. I doubt that most would ever understand what makes this post necessary.
In fact, whenever I have to explain the stuff that happens on social media to people who spend little to no time in that world, they express a sense of puzzlement at best. It is almost as if I have told them that the oceans are purple, or that I have a third eye in the back of my head.
So you can imagine the time that I have had explaining the stuff that has happened to Rania Khalek — a journalist that is committed to anti-imperialist struggle both here and in Palestine, as well as a dear friend — over the last few days. Rania made the dastardly mistake of lightly questioning an organizing strategy being forwarded around by luminaries in a section of Twitter popularly known as Black Twitter. Because there is nothing that the social justice set online hates more than having to actually defend the completely bonkers crap that they come up with, Rania was met with round after round of hate and condemnation for the crime of disagreement:
I would say that these people should be ashamed, except I learned a very long time ago — after popular folks in Black Twitter used their own bombastic language to defend a white woman who race-baited me — that these people know no sense of decency, shame, or guilt for the rotten things that they perpetrate. They only know the path to building their own brand and whipping guilty white liberals into submission and performance of impressive feats of rhetorical contortionism. And right now, these people are breaking limbs across social media giving themselves pats on the back for another attempted character assassination.
Their attempt will fail. I would stand by Rania Khalek even if she were not my friend. She makes the kinds of connections that we should be talking about: how methods of crushing protest in the United States have been perfected in Israel, or how American media has been complicit in covering up this fact, or how state institutions that are meant to encourage education and understanding are stifling both when it comes to connecting anti-Black racism and anti-Palestinian violence. That sounds kinda weird for someone who has been called anti-Black on social media so resolutely as to denude the term of any actual meaning, right?
For those who might be sitting silent on the fence about this or engaging in handwaving to appease these people, know that you will never succeed in your quest. The thing about cliques and cults is that they demand increasingly public feats of loyalty which, because most people have a mind of their own even when they agree with people most of the time, you will never be able to satisfy. These folks will turn on you, too, and there will be folks like me who remember when you did not do the right thing for a colleague, comrade, and friend.
I will dissect the piece that started all of this in a couple of days; the post’s advocacy of race-segregated organizing clownish and its implications for solidarity and movement building dire. For now, though, this is in support of someone who has dedicated their life to the liberation of communities of color here and abroad. And it is support of one simple concept: if we do not have good-faith debate and discussion, then we do not have successful movements. And without those, we have no change.
I support Rania and the spirit of debate and disagreement within the American Left. If you care about changing things more than you care about your personal brand, you should do the same thing. Period. End of story.