"At the ugliest times, the politics of respectability—the idea that individuals can defeat systems of oppression by modifying their behavior and/or presentation to be more “acceptable” or “deserving”—reared its head and diverted our attention from real people’s pain and suffering. Children were being shot dead in the streets, and we were debating whether their pants sagged too low. Their schools were being closed, and we talked about whether they had good father figures in their home. They were stopped, frisked and beaten by police, and we somehow managed to chastise them for littering.
This is the current state of discussion about racism: one that places the onus on those who are oppressed to comport themselves according to the rules that oppress them rather than eliminating the system. The problem is that there is no escape. You can do everything “right,” obey all of the rules, be exemplary in every way, and racism still does its work. Respectability politics are not rooted in fact or reality, only in a false notion of individualism that upholds structural oppression."
no i’m not gonna lend you my pencil because if i lend you my pencil then you’ll want my calculator and then you’ll want austria and czechoslovakia and then you’ll end up invading poland and i will not have that shit