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October 24, 2012

Today, I’ve been one of the only people in my tumblr feed posting about the current situation surrounding Sharmeka Moffitt. I wish I could be like other people and just not be on about it, but its something I feel strongly about, especially being from a neighboring Southern state. This is my first response to the situation and this is my first response to claims against Sharmeka.

As much as I hate to admit it, I view myself as Even If-type and conspiracy theorist in all this, as opposed to a What if-type, and all roads lead back to how deeply entrenched this country is in it’s racism and misogyny against Black women. Even if she lied her lying is irrelevant because the United States is not “post-racial”, its history and current climate speaks for itself, even if whites want to ignore it. Its a shame that I think of at the very least three ways that this is a coverup and a conspiracy or she’s being bought off.

What I liked about this response from glitterlion to what’s happening is that it doesn’t ponder over what cannot be known but focuses on what is known and there with clear evidence. Still, though I’m a little bit salty at all these fence-straddlers and folks that didn’t believe her or turned on her at the drop of pin. I was very careful to say that “authorities” (who lie and falsify shit all the time) are currently CLAIMING that she lied. And I also pontificated briefly about the weight of a lie for Black people and the weight of a lie for white people in this nation.

I don’t want to agitate or sensationalize or act as a spectator to what is quite clearly a painful situation and at the same time I have thoughts about it as something under the public eye.

When I was saw the letters to Sharmeka Moffitt posted from Crunk Feminist Collective, I was texting a friend and was checking my news feed. I did not know at the time about the new reports that they were pretty much accusing her of lying.

On the one hand, I’m more disappointed and confused than angry at the possibility that she lied because Black people don’t need to lie about anything like this–as a Southerner, the KKK is not a myth, it’s not something I would lie or joke about. I feel that the lie would be dishonoring to the people who came before us and the suffering that many of us endure today as a direct of white institutional power, violence, and racism.

On the other hand, I keep asking myself why would somebody lie about that? Can we trust the media to deliver the truth? If she did lie, what would’ve led her to do so? Of all the things she could have done to herself to make a point (unless she’s mentally ill), why would she set herself on fire? Who would choose to live with the pain of those burns on over 60% of their body and the scars, and who vandalizes their own car before doing this to themselves? Who would go that far? That’s where my suspicion lives.

The only answer I keep coming up with is…DON’T TRUST ANYBODY EXCEPT YOURSELF.

What I like about the letters written to Sharmeka is that they don’t abandon her or blame her, and seek to vilify her and make a joke of her, which is what some Black people and anti-Black supporters would do once informed of today’s headlines, just as they did with Shidea Lane. They would abandon her to racist and anti-Black opportunists. In the letters, whether she lied or not is not exactly the point, there’s a different tone and approach.

Black peoples are presented as a monolithic race, with either disgraces or accomplishments to us as a group, if we’re acknowledged at all.

I know Black people, conservatives, gossip mongers, and bougie folks, from home who would label her as a disgrace, a discredit to her race. They would treat her the same way a racist white person would treat her.