Emily Ladau: Hi, I’m Emily Ladau.
Kyle Khachadurian: And I’m Kyle Khachadurian.
Emily Ladau: Today, you’re listening to another episode of The Accessible Stall.
Kyle Khachadurian: Another quarantined episode of The Accessible Stall. What are we going to talk about today, Emily?
Emily Ladau: We are going to talk about the Black Lives Matter Movement and because it is absolutely not our place to give our thoughts and opinions on it. We have enlisted one of our actual favorite humans to join us. I would love to turn it over to said favorite human. Can you please share a little bit about who you are and why you’re such a total badass?
D’Arcee Charington: Sure. Thank you. Happy to be here. My name is D’Arcee Charington. I am a second year doctoral student in English and Rhetoric. Yeah, I have cerebral palsy and I live in the land of low ambition and endless dairy, otherwise known as Columbus, Ohio.
Emily Ladau: How do people feel about calling it the land of low ambition and endless dairy? Is that a thing people embrace?
D’Arcee Charington: I mean, no say to the people of Ohio, but like… I should also state that I was born and raised here, but I don’t claim it. I claim North Carolina as my raising place. Because when I was six, I used to live in Youngstown and it’s really funny because if you ask anyone, even in the state of Ohio, if they ask you where you’re from and you say Youngstown, they’re going to say, “Ssss, ooh, mmm.” That tells you everything you need to know. The clan destroyed my house when I was like six, which I was actually having surgery. I was in Erie, Pennsylvania, and we weren’t there. I was five, I turned six, and came home and discovered our house destroyed and swastikas all over our garage and racial epithets painted everywhere. They took my Nintendo and I was–
Kyle Khachadurian: How dare they?
D’Arcee Charington: — so salty, so salty. Yeah, basically, the craziest part for me, we learned years later from our parents that my dad had called the cops, these white people and they came to the house, saw the devastation and was just like, “Aha. So what do you want us to do?” They were like, “Yeah, we knew about this.” They were like, “The people who did this, they had been casing your house for three weeks before you left.” My parents were like, “Wait a minute, you knew and you didn’t do anything to stop them?” And literally their response, they looked at my dad dead in his face and said, “You’re the only black family in an all-white neighborhood. What did you think was going to happen?” Yeah, after that, we moved to North Carolina.
Emily Ladau: That is the realest possible example of everything going on right now. Also, I need to know, did you get a new Nintendo? Racists do not deserve Nintendo.
D’Arcee Charington: The sad part was no. The funny thing is, I moved to the North Carolina when I was like eight. By the time I really got back into gaming, the world had progressed. We were up on us second Genesis at that point. No, the only time I’ve ever returned back to the original Nintendo was on my Nintendo switch, like 25 years later via the Nintendo online virtual console, which still makes me feel very weird every time I see Super Mario Brothers. I understand other people don’t have racist [00:03:29 twinges] behind it, but I do.
Emily Ladau: Oh my God, that’s infuriating. I’m not a gamer, but Kyle’s a gamer.
Kyle Khachadurian: Yeah. That just speaks to such a larger issue, because when I think of Super Mario Brothers, I’m four years old sitting on my dad’s lap and he’s showing me Super Mario Brothers.
D’Arcee Charington: Of course, I just wanted to know why Mario would never jump. We need him to jump very specifically at a very particular moment in time, and it just never happened. That’s what I remember in the brief span of time that we got to play it because we actually owned it for about two seconds before it was taken.
Emily Ladau: Jokes aside, F them for taking your Nintendo, but that also really does point to a disparity in childhood experiences. I think that right now, because of these disparities, so many people are like, there’s so much to process. There’s so much I need to understand, and information is coming at us from every direction. I don’t know who to listen to you. I don’t know what to think. What is it that you want people to know about what’s happening in our world right now? I’m not talking about the like six o’clock news sound bites. I’m talking about the real nitty gritty situation that I think a lot of white and non-black people of color are just suddenly having revelations about right now.
D’Arcee Charington: Yeah, that’s fair. I can understand why people might be confused. Mainly just because it seems… the funniest part of all of this is that it seems like it came out of nowhere and being on social media and looking at social media and Facebook and Twitter, it always astonishes me how like white people, they’re just like, “Oh my God, we had no idea.” Becky, you are lying your ass off. Yes, you did… You knew. You knew because Black Lives Matter has technically been around since the death of Trayvon Martin. That was 2014, 2012? I think it was 2012. Trayvon died in 2012 and then Mike Brown died in 2014, and that was the official beginning of Black Lives Matter.
Today, I just saw an article from the New York Times where they said this is year seven. Yeah, but long before Mike Brown in 2014. The bottom line is that black people in this country have been pretty much a broken record. We’ve been a broken record about this particular issue, not even about all the other stuff. Yes, I could sit here and argue for days about the fact that… like Garnier Fructis commercials don’t have black people in them. I’m tired of looking at how wonderful it is to blow your blunt hair in the breeze when that’s the only reason I grew dreads, that is literally the only reason I grew dreads about my head, because I was so tired of watching white people be so happy for like 20 years of television, and I was just like, I want to experience that joy.
I finally did do it to experience it, but it took like seven years and like thousands of dollars of my own money. That being said, this isn’t even about all the other things that racism bleeds into. In regards to police brutality exclusively, just that one issue, it has been pretty much the bane of our existence since the time that we set foot on American soil in August of 1619, courtesy of a Portuguese mercantile ship known as the White Lion. The bottom line is that from day one, black bodies on this soil have been seen as a commodity that can be openly used, discarded. You can monopolize how you feel about them when you need to, a.k.a the Democratic Party or you can just ignore them.
Because the reality is, I know that people seem to think that we dominate all of TV and all of entertainment, but people need to remember that as of the 20… I wouldn’t say the 2010 census, but just from projections of last year, we only make up 13.4%. I think that was the most updated number, 13.4% of the US population. That’s less than Latinx folks. That’s certainly less than white folks. We’re about third or fourth down on the totem pole in terms of population numbers. Only bigger than Asian populations and of course, native populations. We’re like third from the bottom. But in terms of economic prosperity, we are the bottom, the bottom, period. It has everything to do with police brutality. Just today, there’s been posters that have been flying around about Philadelphia, which I had heard about it, but I’d never seen pictures. Today is the 35th anniversary of the bombing of a black neighborhood in Philadelphia.
Most people don’t even know the police authorized a flat out bombing of a black neighborhood to kill a group of activists that refused to come out and be arrested. So, rather than finding other ways to go about it, they just bombed the neighborhood. Killed children, men, women, families, left the 250 people homeless, for this one house and these one group of people. To this day, it has never been investigated. The case is pretty much still open. I feel like that just… that really, it exemplifies just the level of struggle that we have just had with this country. I think people misunderstand, they’ve been misunderstanding Colin Kaepernick because people… I work in rhetoric, I’m an English major. My job is to look at the way that people talk and what they mean when they say things. This is why the phrase All Lives Matter, I’m glad that a lot of people have been getting to understand what that actually means, but yeah, it’s the rhetoric behind it.
It’s like, the police say, “Serve and protect” it’s printed across their cars, across their badges. But of course, black people are like, “Who? Serve and protect who?” Because it’s not a… Of course, speaking generally, yes, there are black cops. Yes, there are cops that serve black families and black communities. But if we’re talking on a general level over the whole country, that’s what I mean. I don’t know if that answered your question at all, but I think that the very exclusive issue of police brutality is that that is the thing. I saw another piece just yesterday talking about that one issue has so many roots. Policing in this country has so many roots. It dominates our TV and our movies. We have hero worship in this country. We love the cops and robbers. People have been playing that since they were little kids since forever. It dominates the ideologies of the way people think in this country. It is more than just the singular issue of treat me nicely when I get pulled over for a speeding ticket. It’s so much more than that. Down to the badge, a lot of people don’t even know, the golden badge that Sheriff’s wear comes from the silver badge that slave’s character wore. It is a direct correlation.
The actual modern-day police comes from the historical slave catching society and that’s on fact. We have very real reasons to fear the cops and they haven’t really, in my opinion, and lots of other people’s opinions, they’ve done very little to change that narrative in the 200 years really, that they’ve been serving this country.
Emily Ladau: I would say that more than answered my question in the most important ways possible, because people are having this moment where they’re like, as you said, “Oh, I didn’t realize this was happening.” No, you weren’t paying attention or you weren’t paying attention, and you were just pretending,
Kyle Khachadurian: I think that in light of recent events, I’ve realized that more people know what white privilege is, even if they don’t like the term or admit to like having any. I know I’m late to this party as if I don’t know that I have my own privilege. When I saw that woman in Central Park, that black man asked her to like, please put a leash on your dog. She immediately was like, “I’m going to call the cops, and I’m going to tell them an African American male is threatening my life.” The guy was cool because he was just watching birds. He’s like, “Yeah, call them and do whatever you want.” But she knew exactly what she was doing. She knew exactly what she was doing [00:13:15 inaudible]. There have been other things in the past, like three weeks that made me realize, the people who say All Lives Matter, probably know. Some are probably ignorant, but most of them know exactly what they’re doing and it’s disgusting.
D’Arcee Charington: The thing is, if I could, I just want to address that. The thing is that people think of it as an isolated incident. They think that Amy Cooper is just this bachelor crazy white woman who was being ridiculous and lost her dog and her privileges to the park as a result. But when I saw Amy Cooper, I can tell you that, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. When black people saw Amy Cooper, we didn’t see Amy Cooper yelling at, that man’s name is Christian [00:14:03crosstalk]. Yeah, oh it is Christian Cooper. Okay, yeah.
Emily Ladau: That have the same last name, unfortunately.
D’Arcee Charington: That’s so strange. That’s so stranger. When Amy Cooper was yelling at Christian Cooper, I did not see Amy Cooper, who I saw was the white woman that supposedly is responsible for Emmett Till’s murder, who confessed, literally… I think it was like 10 years ago, she’s in her 80s or something now. She confessed that she made the whole thing up. Emmett Till, which we know as a stepping stone in this country for straight up brutality. Emmett Till, that whole situation, it just exposes the extreme heinousness of destruction and brutality. But people just seem to forget that she made that up and she openly admitted it. As far as I’m concerned, I’m like, “Yo, so when are you dragging an 80-year old, white woman’s ass to jail? When is she going to jail for murder?” Because that’s exactly what Amy Cooper did. That’s exactly what Amy Cooper did. It’s a story of Rosewood. Rosewood, Florida, a white woman who said the two black men raped and assaulted her, which was a lie. In retaliation, a group of angry white men went and burned Rosewood, Florida to the ground and killed hundreds of black people for something that didn’t even occur. The bottom line is, thank God that we have cellphone cameras.
Emily Ladau: To prove it. Yes, it just happened actually, there was the case where the mother in Florida, I think, murdered her autistic son and tried to blame it on black people.
D’Arcee Charington: Yup.
Kyle Khachadurian: What?
Emily Ladau: Yes. She murdered her son and to cover it up said that she believed that two black people had kidnapped and killed him. Not only was she killing her own kid, she was also potentially putting the lives of innocent black people at risk by making up a garbage, racist cover story about it.
D’Arcee Charington: Like I said, it’s that part. It’s the rhetorical continuance of… it really speaks to the fact that, we joke, in the black community, we joke about white women’s tears. But even as a joke, there’s so much validity in the statement, because look at Disney movies. Read a Hansel and Gretel fairy tale. Read a Grimm’s brother fairy tale. The tears of mostly white women are literally magical. They bring things back from the dead. They save people’s lives, and in this case, you can literally use them to weaponize whatever imaginary fiction you have in your head. Because the reality is people are more willing to believe a crying white woman than a completely silent black person. We’ve seen that over and over and over.
At this point, I feel like the protests for George Floyd, they’re not really about George Floyd. George Floyd, you could argue, was the needle in the haystack. There were so many other things that were contributing to this, of course. COVID-19 certainly didn’t help. People were saying, people have more time. The joke that we always use this, “Oh, I got time today” which is what we say when we’re about to go off on somebody. I have time, because usually we don’t give time to foolishness, but hey, if we have nothing better to do, I got time for this. So, let’s get into it. People had time to actually sit down and read and watch George Floyd. I will say that I am supremely tired of people saying, “Oh my God, I can’t believe that it was because it was filmed.”
We have several murders on camera that had been filmed and you all aren’t done [00:18:11inaudible]. That doesn’t mean anything to me. George Floyd being murdered on camera doesn’t mean anything to me. The one murder… I’m not sure Emily, if you were going to ask this later or not, but I’ll just say it now. The one murder that haunts me more than any of these other ones, and I’ll never forget it for as long as I live, it will continue to haunt me until the day I die, it’s Philando Castile. Philando Castile’s death on Facebook live, it is the personification of straight up ignorance in so many different levels. The fact that it was broadcast on a live feed because his girlfriend didn’t know what else to do. You mean to tell me that even with a live feed, that wasn’t enough, the cop was acquitted. I think he went home without pay for, I don’t know, a month, but Philando Castile is dead. For me, it also is the ultimate rebuttal to the constant thing that we always hear of. Well, if you all would just act right. I swear I’ve seen that across [00:19:51 inaudible].
Kyle Khachadurian: How much more right could he have acted?
D’Arcee Charington: This is it, there is no… I keep telling people, there is no parallel universe. If Dr. Strange had opened up the 15 million parallel universes that he saw at the end of the Avengers End War, there is no parallel universe in which Philando Castille is alive, because the bottom line is there’s nothing else that he could have done. For me, what only adds more injury to this insult is the silence of the NRA. Jesus Christ, it’s just gasoline to a fire that was already there. Because literally, Philando Castile is the one death that is like everything, it was absolutely perfect and it didn’t even matter. This is why when I read about Target getting burned to the ground, I’m just like, “Well, I’m pretty sure that they made a hundred billion dollars last year in revenue. So, they can have that repaired in a couple of weeks.” It’s the truth.
I’m not advocating for nobody to destroy nothing that don’t belong to them. But at the same time, the sheer frustration on me. There’s almost no words for it. It’s like, if people are continuously telling you that everything that you do is wrong, I am sick and tired to death of white people trying to tell black people what to do. Seriously, because I’m just like, “You all don’t let us do it anyway. Stop telling us what to do because you don’t let us do it anyway.” I will also point to the astonishing amount of things that have occurred in the last 10 days. There have been more that has happened in the last 10 days of this country than probably the last 60 years, which tells me that everything that happened, happened for a reason, and that it had to happen this way. I hate the fact that George Floyd had to die. But if he did, I am one step more thankful for it, because if that was the turning point that we needed to get over this, then God bless him and his family.
Kyle Khachadurian: It’s funny because what you said before was like, everything that we’ve done has been told by white folks that it’s wrong. That makes me think of that Trevor Noah interview with Tomi Lahren, which I bet you’ve seen. When he asks like, “Okay, well, if you don’t like this and you don’t like that, how are black people supposed to protest?” She just couldn’t answer. [00:21:39crosstalk]
D’Arcee Charington: Because there is no answer.
Kyle Khachadurian: Right, of course not, because they just want black folks to sit down and shut up and know their place.
D’Arcee Charington: They want you to shut up. They want you to shut up. That’s what it is.
Kyle Khachadurian: But you said something interesting, and actually, you and I talked the other day about this exact thing a little bit, but I want to bring it up here just because it was an important point, I think. We know that it’s not your job or any other person of color’s job to educate other people on how not to be racist or how to be anti-racist. But I’m curious to get your perspective on what you’d say to people in the so-called center who say something like, “Oh, well the protests are fine. That’s your first amendment, right. But I just really don’t like that they’re burning down Target. That’s just one step too far for me.” Because to me, lives are more than property, every single time. I know like there’s a lot more to that, but I’m just curious to get your thoughts on that because I have run into so many people who believe that bull… it’s just, I hate it, where it’s like you’re against police brutality, but heaven forbid, someone breaks a window, that’s it. Then police brutality is fine.
Emily Ladau: Also Brenda, but you can go to Target in the next town over. I’m just saying.
Kyle Khachadurian: Yes, true. Right?
D’Arcee Charington: That is true. Amazon’s still delivering window panes, so what’s your point? My comment to that is, these are the same people that will read Martin Luther King’s, I have a dream speech, but forget to read Letters from a Birmingham Jail. If you would take a two second and Google, Letters from a Birmingham Jail, then you could read that while he was totally fine with… he didn’t like them, but he was fine with racist. Martin Luther King was literally… he was fine with it, because the bottom line is that your opposition is clear. We understand what it is that you don’t like, you made it very clear. You just don’t like black people. Okay, you know, maybe in time we can work on that, but at least we know what your issue is.
If you read Letters from a Birmingham Jail, you will discover that Dr. King was livid about moderate. He hated people that were in the middle, because he said that they are the worst kinds of people. These are the people that will change their icon on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter to a black square, but the next day be in their car when a protest breaks out and be like, “Excuse me, could you move?” They just completely, it is performative for the sake of solidarity, but only up to a point, because the reality is when shit really hits the fan, when it actually comes down to it, you’re not really there for the understanding, because if you were then you’d understand what the point of a protest is. Yes, we got things to do too.
I’m pretty certain that the black people that are in your street blocking your car would love to go to work and not get harassed. They would love to have employment protections, for not being dark skinned. The reality is that all of that mess happens and people are just like blasé about the whole thing. So, moderates are… they’re the issue. You always tell people, you’re either one side or the other. These are people who stand in the middle, who can’t make up their mind. Kyle, I believe it was you that sent me the cartoon of the [00:25:14 crosstalk].
Kyle Khachadurian: Yes, the comic with the clansman and the–
D’Arcee Charington: Right, the clan is on one side and black people are on the other, and there’s a white person in the middle with a sign that says compromised. That’s exactly what that is, and it’s trash. The bottom line is, it’s trash. I think that there are a lot of people, both black and white, and those in between lots of brown folks too. If you haven’t seen, what is it called? The Patriot Act, Hasan Minhaj’s, he did a special 13-minute little aside that he put out on the internet. I think it was last week, and it was directly speaking to Asian Americans and it was brilliant. It was fantastic because he literally was just like, “I know you’re all sitting here watching white and black folks yelling at each other and you’re all just sitting there just being like, “Okay, well this ain’t got nothing to do with us. We’re good.” I promise you that you’re not, and he was like, “And I’ll prove it to you.” He showed the photo of Chauvin. I don’t even know how to pronounce that man’s name, because I’ve never heard it aloud, but Derek Chauvin or whatever with his…
Emily Ladau: I was thinking more like, chauvinist pig.
D’Arcee Charington: It really does look like Chauvin. You could just add an -ist to it. He showed the photo of Chauvin or whatever with his knee on George Floyd’s neck. But he said, “You know what I hate most about this photo, it’s cropped wrong.” He was like, “If you literally turned to the right” and he just moved the picture to the right, the person who was blocking folks from helping was an Asian American cop. His partner who was blocking other people from helping George Floyd also complicit in the murder that occurred right behind his back. If that wasn’t enough he also pointed out… He said, if you rotate the camera a little further and you move the picture to look more to the right, he said, the shop that George Floyd got arrested at for the supposed at $20 counterfeit bill was owned by an Arab. He basically was like, this is a story that stretches across so many different boundaries on so many different people. He was like, the bottom line is this Arab man called the cops on George Floyd, didn’t realize that apparently as the news comes out Floyd and Chauvin knew each other and didn’t like each other very much.
It basically came out that Chauvin saw his chance to kill him and took it, because he knew he could. Apparently, they had run-ins several times before. This was just an opportunity where he basically was like, “Got you.” If anything that just… again, until I saw the clip from the Patriot Act, I had no idea that there were other kinds of people and other kinds of ethnicities that were involved, but it really just goes to point out just how interconnected all of this is, and the fact that racism is not a black and white issue. It is a systemic problem that stretches across all communities, including disabled ones. Because Lord knows, I’ve seen lots of things about that too, but people don’t talk about the fact that half of the black people that are killed by the cops have a disability. That was a report from NBC from 2016. It’s difficult to try and conceptualize this particular incident as a singular factor. Just honestly, I think people are done. I’m here for it. It’s been really, really hard to watch, honestly, but I’m here for it.
Emily Ladau: D’Arcee, I just need to tell you, you may have psychic powers, because you keep giving us the exact segues that we need into our questions. I know that you haven’t seen them because we didn’t send them to you beforehand. I’m wildly impressed with your psychic abilities, but you brought up disabled people. My next question to you was going to be, who’s missing from these conversations and the action that we’re taking around change. I wanted to talk namely about black disabled people, although by no means, are they the only people being left out of the conversations when it comes to intersecting identities, but can we talk about this? Who’s missing? Why are they missing and how do we fix that? Just three big questions.
D’Arcee Charington: The question is like, how radical do you want me to get? The bottom line is…
Kyle Khachadurian: As much as you want.
D’Arcee Charington: A lot of the work I’m doing in my doctorate is looking at audience perceptions of ableism. The way that large groups of people perceive a problem or an ism. I actually was reading something yesterday and this morning, it was an article by Licona, talking about non-images and the regime of distortion. It was fabulous, because she basically is talking about how people will create, what she calls non-images, which are things that don’t even exist. They’re not real, but they are based on logic that is real, according to what people believe. She uses the example of Mexican migrants and Mexican immigrants in relation to the Arizona Immigration Law, SB 1070 and how the law was constructed in relation of lies, basically lies. She has quotes from Jeanine Pirro and a bunch of people who kept saying, there’ve been battings and murders and drugs at the Arizona border, and we have to protect Arizona. They fabricate these ginormous lies that get baked into people’s heads and it creates what she calls a regime of distortion, this ginormous web of distortion. I think that when it comes to disability and black people, a lot of the work that I do, is trying to explain how basically, you cannot be both at the same time. The black community basically will not allow you to be both black and disabled at the same time and these protests prove that.
When black people are murdered by the cops, you are black, they don’t say, disabled people are murdered by the cops, because the reality is, like if you’re disabled, you’re worth less than an actual person. You’re not actually worth the same amount. If this were the game of jeopardy, I don’t know how many points a disabled body would be worth, but I promise you, if you start factoring in things like race… we all know this, there are tons of statistics that will tell you that on the hierarchy scale, the top dollar is a white man followed by a white woman, all the way down. An Asian man followed like an Asian woman, all the way down the scale. And near the bottom, I think a black woman is at the bottom or near the bottom, in terms of how much money they make per dollar. Disability isn’t factored in at all. Because if it was, you would see that disabled people are earning subminimum wage. That’s not even a thing on the scale. It’s less than minimum wage and they’re allowed to do it legally because it literally says that you’re not worth as much.
When you asked me, who’s missing, of course disabled people are missing. But I also think that that plays in totally with this idea that black people, that disabled people… I will also factor in blackness as well, that disabled black people are practically invisible to the black community at large and to society. I’m very glad that, obviously, my family supports everything that I do and they taught me how to be a very particular kind of person. But I also know to the majority of my friends, I’m probably just a black person. They don’t consider the fact that I have a very significant disability that prevents me from walking or standing or doing any other things of sorts. Everything I do, I do on my knees. So, trying to conceptualize that into, okay, well, how does that factor into blackness? Oh, lots of ways. I’m still black, whether I’m on my knees or not. I still need to do things that black people need to do. I still need to get my hair done, but a lot of times our hair salons are not accessible. I was raised in the church. Our church was not accessible. Not really, until they added… they would add a ramp or whatever, but the ramp was actually added for elderly people, for deacons and deaconesses and mothers of the church. They weren’t put there for my benefit.
I recognize that white people are going to take issue with what I said and be mad about it. Well, you can just be mad about it because it’s the truth. I think that, yes, people need to have a definite reckoning and understanding about the ways that intersectionality work. I know that that word has become real big over the last 20 or so, 20, 30 years, Kimberle Crenshaw. Everybody loves to talk about intersectionality work. I know that there are other people who have taken her to task for that. [00:35:12 inaudible] is one of them. I love what she says when she talks about the fact that one thing that Kimberly Crenshaw is missing, is that, while you’re talking about the different kinds of intersections, you don’t talk about the weight and that depending on the circumstance and the context and the time and the place, different things weigh differently. When I’m with black people, me being black doesn’t weigh hardly anything because we’re all black, but being disabled, it’s very heavy.
Similarly, when I’m with the disabled people, being black becomes an issue because we’re usually the only people in the room. One or two people that are there, that are also black and disabled too. It just shifts according to where you are, but the police don’t care about any of that. I would also argue that… I don’t know if you all would agree or disagree, but I would think that, especially because you both have disabilities, there’s a part of it where I think… I don’t know if there’s a technical name for it. I call it angel syndrome where, you’re disabled, so you can’t commit crimes. There’s no way that you’re going to do anything bad. So, we’re not going to keep our eye on you. I’ll be like, well, shoot, if that’s the case, let me go up in there and get like six Popeye’s chicken sandwiches, and no, I’m not paying you all. I’m going to just take it.
Emily Ladau: It’s definitely interesting. I’ve had it go both ways for me, where sometimes they’re like, nah, you can never do anything bad, but if I’m at an airport or something, I’m like an extreme criminal who may have a bomb in my wheelchair. It really goes both ways for me.
D’Arcee Charington: Yes, it’s true. That is very true.
Emily Ladau: I recognize that I don’t have the racial aspect of profiling that many people experience. It’s not like I’m at that double disadvantage, but at the same time, I can understand in so far as that I’m either treated like the angel or I’m treated very suspiciously.
D’Arcee Charington: I would say that like in relation to black disability specifically, that is probably the one thing that I want people to move away from, because, whereas Emily, like you just said, you can get either or, black disabled people are given an and. In all circumstances it is… especially, if you’re in a group with white people, you are… literally, I’ve seen it written in so many different ways, but essentially it all comes down to this idea of double deficit. You are the embodiment of double deficit. Black people are the lowest on the totem pole and disabled people are the lowest in the world. So, whoa, to be black and disabled, whoa, child. I’ve had people literally tell me to my face that I should kill myself, because they are just like, we don’t know how you do it. This one fool, he was like, I would never. I literally was thinking to myself, like you wouldn’t last five minutes. If you were me, you literally would not last five minutes. But I think that the difference is that my parents tried to prepare me as much as they could. They tried to explain like, yes, [00:38:39 inaudible] going to get real. You can either cower to it or you can just be better than that and just be like, “Okay, and your point is what?”
Emily Ladau: Well, we want you to know that we value you, please don’t do anything to yourself.
D’Arcee Charington: Of course not.
Emily Ladau: In case that needed to be said, I hope it didn’t need to be said, but we love you.
D’Arcee Charington: Child, please, I wouldn’t be doing all this work for this doctorate if I would just kill myself. It’s a waste of time.
Emily Ladau: Oh gosh! No, but the world needs you and we need you. You’re right, some people aren’t cut out for this. We have, I think one or two more questions and then we’ll take a moment to unwind before we wrap it up.
D’Arcee Charington: Sure.
Kyle Khachadurian: Man, I don’t even know how to follow that up with my next question. It was just so good. I’m going to just going to wing it. Part of being a good ally, we think is that you just never stop learning. The minute you stop learning that’s when ignorance starts. The reason I want to ask you this is so that white and other people of color who are not black, don’t have to keep coming to black folks with this question. But what do you say to people who are not black, who want to help, but that they don’t want to overstep their boundaries or speak for you or be in your space or what have you?
D’Arcee Charington: Right. So I literally just got done talking with a friend about this, not even an hour ago. She sent me a message and she was just like, “Hi I just want to ask, have my posts been performative allyship? Do you see that as performative allyship?” I told her, I said, “With you specifically? No.” Because she is in the process of getting her doctorate in counseling. We’ve known each other for a very long time, and I know that she came from a straight up trash place. So, who she was and who she is now are literally two different people. I told her, I said, “If you had still been in the trash place and you had blacked out your little icon square and you were posting about Brianna Taylor, say her name” I wouldn’t be like, “Girl, bye. What do you know about her name? You ain’t never said her name and your whole life. Why are you up here trying to do all of this extra?” Because black lives matter. Do they? Okay. But, I don’t feel that way because she is an educator now. She is a counselor now. She’s a therapist now. So, no, I understand that she’s literally doing it to teach herself as much as she is to teach others.
Now, in relation to, I told her, I said, “No, in regards to everybody else, is that performative allyship? Sure. It is.” Nancy Pelosi with that [00:41:27 inaudible]. If you have seen the memes on Twitter, and I know everybody got their own viewpoint of what she was doing and what she was trying to do. The bottom line is, is that performative allyship? Yes, it is. She didn’t need to do all that. That said, I told Amy, I said, “Should you do it still? Yes.” Why? Because it is better than silence. Silence is death. And the reality is, again, there was a bombing 35 years ago today in Philadelphia where the [00:41:59 inaudible] were the white people in Philadelphia, 35 years ago. A freaking bomb went off in your city. I’ve had people telling me, they’re in their 40s. They were like, “Yes, I remember being a child watching the flames in Philadelphia.” What the [00:42:14 inaudible]. I’m like, you mean to tell me that a piece of your city was on fire? And you all just said, well, I guess I’m going to start this instant coffee. You want some more cream? What the hell kind of [00:42:26 inaudible] is that? What is that?
The reality is, people were talking about the black square on Instagram and all the work and stuff, and whether or not it helped or not. I tried to make a point. I said, “Yes, I definitely understood what people were saying about, that it was taking away from resources for critical information that people needed, super important.” I said, “But you also need to understand the magnitude of what it is.” Look, I am 34 years old and never in my whole, whole life… I do not have a calculator. So I can’t even tell you how many tens of thousands of days that is, have I seen protesting and corporation solidarity on a level such as this, in my whole, whole life. I’ve seen the Pokemon Company. They don’t do nothing. Pokemon, they are famously anti-political. They purposely go out of their way to be quiet because they need people to buy their merchandise and their books and their baseball hats. They was like, “Yo, black lives matter. Here’s $200,000. What?”
Kyle Khachadurian: Babynames.com too. Did you see that?
D’Arcee Charington: I did. I did. I saw it yesterday. That was wonderful. It was just like, you go to babynames.com and it was like, “These were the names of somebody’s baby.” I was like, oh my God. Yes. People are starting to get it. The reality is that, is it going to fade away? Sure, it is. But the reality is, to go up on Instagram on that one day and just see how dark it was. I’m pretty sure that some white makeup Instagrammer was just like, “I just came here to contour my face” and everything was blacked out. You can’t see nothing. It was meant to be that way. I always get annoyed about how people equate black with darkness and death, but it is also a great way to get your point across. Nothing gets your point across quite effectively as black. The reality is, it is a statement of solidarity that people can perform even momentarily to just show how they feel. Do they need to take it a step further? Of course, they do. You all need to stay on these legislators. Oh, I was so happy when I saw it yesterday, the Cops was canceled after almost 40 years on the air. Oh yes, Lord. That made my spirit so happy.
But just like, this is what we need to do. Yes, keep it up for sure. But at the same time, if you just can’t and you get tired of protesting and black folks screaming in your ear. I suppose it’s okay for you to go back to posting pictures of your zucchini. That’s fine. But, just know that when you do, I’m still black. I still have to deal with these issues. You may forget about it after like two weeks, but I sure as hell can’t. I think that that’s the point that people keep trying to home in, is that this is a long game. The civil rights movement began in 1954. It did not end until 1968. That is 14 long years. If we’re doing this from the death of Trayvon Martin, which in my opinion was the real beginning of all of this. I just want to say how George Zimmerman is still breathing free damn air. I have no idea, but I hope they go after his ass next. If Trayvon Martin is the beginning of this in 2012, then this is year eight. If we’re literally going to mark it on a calendar, we still got… if we’re going to do it as long as the civil rights movement, we got another six years left, at least.
Well, what I love to wake up tomorrow and see that the police has been defunded and now, community policing is now a nationwide ordinance, somehow signed by the President. Somehow, magically, the pen moved in the middle of the night. That would be wonderful. Is it going to happen? Absolutely not. I’m not trying to shame folks for performative allyship either. I’m happy that you blacked out your square for two seconds, Becky. It made my phone happy, even if, just for a moment. That’s probably a terrible thing that most activists will take me to task for. Part of being an academic is understanding the battles that you can win and some that you can’t. I’m not going to convince Becky that she should get all the way into the civil rights movement, because nobody will understand that. But, I think people do get it, even if just for a moment.
Emily Ladau: I appreciate that. I appreciate your willingness to address the nuance of that, because I know that right now, a lot of people are going back and forth with, here’s the right way to do it. Here’s the wrong way to do it. Here’s what you should be doing, here’s what you shouldn’t be doing. Clearly, there are wrong ways to go about allyship. There are wrong ways to be an ally. In fact, when you’re really doing these “wrong things”, you’re not being an ally at all, but I think it’s also important to talk about the fact that there are people, again, who have been ignorant of this largely by choice and acknowledge the fact that everybody’s going to start somewhere. Just don’t let that black square be the only thing you did.
D’Arcee Charington: Right.
Emily Ladau: Hopefully, I wasn’t putting words in your mouth.
D’Arcee Charington: No.
Emily Ladau: That was my takeaway from what you were saying.
D’Arcee Charington: Nope.
Emily Ladau: We’ve been having a heavy conversation. Before we wrap up, how in this world are you taking time for self-care? Where are you finding joy? I feel like we need to acknowledge that there’s still joy and self-care is okay.
D’Arcee Charington: Oh yes. Oh yes. Chile alert. If I can find the post… Kyle, you should be able to, I posted it on Facebook yesterday, last night. There is a wonderful protest chant that is going around. Oh my God. It started from a black woman who got arrested and she literally was just dancing, handcuffed to a cop saying, “You about to lose your job.” It’s turned into a straight up club banger that protestors have just jumped all the way on. Last night, I saw hundreds of people singing that. That was out of a courtroom to some trap music, and it was fabulous. Because I’m like, look, if we’re going to protest, hey nobody find joy in pain better than black people. That’s what we do. We’ve been doing this since 1619, so 401 years, we are really good at finding joy in pain. But aside from that, I have gotten just really… Lord knows, Jhene Aiko, the music of Jhene Aiko has been just keeping me so chill. I’ve put it on pretty much constant repeat. Lady Gaga’s, Chromatica, yes, it was… I feel so bad that album came out in the middle of a pandemic because we should all be outside in booty shorts and glitter right now. This is what we should be doing. Everybody should be in booty shorts and glitter right now, singing to Chromatica. But instead, we’re all just having to enjoy it in our own little homes.
Emily Ladau: Call me when you have the booty shorts and glitter thing handled, so I can join you.
D’Arcee Charington: I’m just saying, between that, and Lord, I need the last of us two to hit my play station like now, it’s been on a countdown clock on my machine for such a long time, but I’m tired of looking at the numbers. But yes, I have video games that have been keeping me very entertained in this quarantine. I’ve also actually started watching Avatar. Ooh, I have no idea–
Kyle Khachadurian: Oh my God, you’ve never seen Avatar before?
D’Arcee Charington: I’ve never seen it. This is my first time and I am loving it. I don’t know if you all have an episode on Toph, but if you don’t, can I please be on it? Because Toph, it’s peak bomb ass disability representation. OMG! She is the blind girl that we all did not know that we needed. I’m also like low key man that I’d never heard of Toph. Literally, I was seeing Ang and Katara and Sokka for years. Didn’t nobody say anything about Toph and she is arguably better than… she’s just short of Avatar himself. But I was just like, “Wow.” I just love how snarky that they made her. I just love the fact that she… I’m trying to think, I was watching it yesterday and she took them under the ground for two seconds in the darkness. Sokka was like, “Oh, I can’t see. It’s so dark in here.” And she was like, “Oh my God”, like dead pants, she was like, “Oh my God, what a complete nightmare.” I love it. I love it. Because she’s just like, nobody cares. I’m blind every day, have been since birth, still blind, but does not stop what I need to do. And I will beat your ass as a blind woman. She’s fabulous.
Kyle Khachadurian: I stan Zuko, but Toph is–
D’Arcee Charington: [00:52:11 inaudible].
Kyle Khachadurian: I swear to God. Have you finished it yet? You’ll understand.
D’Arcee Charington: No. But he’s [00:52:15 crosstalk]. I can’t. Emily [00:52:19 crosstalk]
Kyle Khachadurian: No, you’ll understand, I promise. Wait till…
D’Arcee Charington: I was here up until that point.
Kyle Khachadurian: No, you’re going to regret those words. Watch, when you’re done, you’re going to see Toph–
D’Arcee Charington: I’ve never seen so much winding in my whole life. Oh my God.
Kyle Khachadurian: He gets better. Fun fact about Toph. She was supposed to be a boy, but then they drew her as a girl because it fit her personality better and they just stuck with it, because she’s such a [00:52:40 inaudible] bad ass. I love Toph.
D’Arcee Charington: Yes, yes.
Kyle Khachadurian: Oh she’s so… Emily, you got watch Avatar.
D’Arcee Charington: You’ve never seen Avatar, Emily? It’s so good.
Emily Ladau: I’m sitting here… because Kyle had told me about Toph before. I’m over here like, huh? Everybody talking about it. Maybe I should watch it.
D’Arcee Charington: Girl, her introduction is the most bomb ass introduction of almost any character ever. The way that they introduce her, that was awesome.
Kyle Khachadurian: Yes, Emily you’re missing out.
D’Arcee Charington: I’m so disappointed. Really Emily? You’d be everything about disability. You know everything and you don’t know Toph from Avatar?
Emily Ladau: I knew she existed only because of Kyle. I think I need to fix my life.
D’Arcee Charington: Yes, you do.
Emily Ladau: I understand, forgive me, I have sinned. Next time we talk, I will have started this show.
D’Arcee Charington: Thank you. She don’t even show up until season two, which is another issue that I have. But yes, in terms of disability representation… that is what has given me life right now, Avatar is definitely giving me life.
Emily Ladau: That’s good. There needs to be moments of joy right now. We wanted to end on a positive note, not to take away from the seriousness of what we were talking about, but to remind people that you need to live your life and also be an anti-racist.
D’Arcee Charington: Yes, yes. Both of those things are super important.
Kyle Khachadurian: That’s as good as the final takeaway as I can [00:54:07 inaudible]. Do you have anything else?
Emily Ladau: I was going to ask D’Arcee, what do you want to leave our listeners with?
D’Arcee Charington: Just learn how to be good people. That’s all. Honestly, if somebody says, “Black lives matter”, you should respond and say, “Yes, they do. Absolutely.” Honestly, it’s not that hard. I promise you that we will love you for it, for now and forever.
Emily Ladau: Well, [00:54:31 inaudible], yeah, they do. I know we said not to curse. We can bleep that out.
Kyle Khachadurian: That’s okay. It’s all good.
Emily Ladau: On that note, D’Arcee gets the last word. We’re just going to say…
D’Arcee Charington: I got nothing else.
Emily Ladau: No, you get the last word.
D’Arcee Charington: You all be good to yourselves and wash your hands.
Emily Ladau: Oh my God. I just thought I was going to give you the last word. Oh my God.