By now most of us have heard of Black Twitter; that invisible yet undeniable force that processes all that is cool (and uncool) through a filter of merciless wit. But in recent months I’ve noticed a new term popping up on my timelines; a subset of Black Twitter known as – Hotep Twitter.
What is Hotep Twitter you ask?
Well according to The Visibility Project,
There is a unique creature that one finds in the wilderness of Black Twitter. This specimen can usually be found championing for the rights of Black men while simultaneously throwing Black women, Black Trans persons, Black members of the LGBTQ community or anyone else who is not a Black male under the bus.
At first glance, one may think this creature is extremely conscious of intersectional activism and is down to fight the cause of ALL Black people because they frequently quote Malcolm X and have Maya Angelou as their profile pic on Twitter. Be cautious though because this being is not a friend or an ally.
[We] refer to these people as members of “Hotep” or “Ankh” or “Ashy-Ankh Wearing” twitter. The titles deriving from the frequently used Pharaohs and Queens of Egypt rhetoric, thrown around by this group of people.
The minute I read this I said “Oh my goodness. Yes! I know these people.”
Usually I have a live and let live philosophy about such things. I love a good debate and make it a point to have people in my circle with varying opinions. Yet after thinking back on some of my personal experiences with this particular group, I gotta say – I think Hotep Twitter is borderline dangerous.
Because while they think they are fighting for the advancement of the black race, they are actually perpetuating the same crabs in a barrel, “Willie Lynch” propaganda that has held us down for eons.
Think about it this way…
When a white person gets upset, or does something unsavory, have you ever heard another white person say, “See. That’s why our people can’t have nice things. Bob just ruined it for us!”
No. You probably haven’t. And if so, not often.
That’s because, white people are empowered to see themselves as individuals. Bob’s actions are only a reflection of Bob. No matter what that fool does, his whole race gets to keep on being themselves. Unscathed.
Even though white women are the #1 recipients of affirmative action, even though white-on-white crime occurs at the same rate as “black on black crime”, and despite the fact that some white college students riot in the streets more aggressively after sports games – than most Ferguson protestors do while marching for their lives – in the face of ALL that, society has agreed to keep seeing white people as people.
But if Jamal wears his pants too low, or god forbid lashes out in grief after watching his cousin get shot – some of the most educated and otherwise intelligent black people amongst us, will still look at him and say, “Why can’t you be respectable Jamal? Stop having valid feelings of trauma brought on by systemic oppression. You’re making us look bad in front of all these nice white people!”
When did the goals of the “revolution” become so trite?
Is pulling our pants up and swallowing our emotions really the answer to ending racism? What incense pamphlet did ya’ll read that in? You can keep the Nag Champa that came with it. I just want to see the data.
It’s bad enough that mainstream society judges us as a monolithic group of over-sexualized, angry, sassy, basketball dribbling ‘lesser thans’. That’s nothing new. But why don’t WE know better? Why do we continue to shove this “respectability politics” mess down our own throats?
From the outside looking in, this looks like just another way for “good” black people (or in this case “conscious” black people) to look down on those who don’t subscribe to their caste system.
Which is why pseudo-deep, emotionally unintelligent “Hotep” Twitter folks – and all their allies – blow me. They chant, “Fight the power! F**k the police” but then turn around and police every woman, GLBT, or socio-economically ‘inferior’ person of color they see.
They’re the “gentlemen” advising young girls to wear longer skirts so they don’t get raped, while not saying a word to the boys who rape them. They’re the pontificators who think being a black man is the hardest burden in the world, while ignoring all the black women (and yes gays too!) who continuously support and affirm black manhood without getting the same in return.
According to Hotep doctrine, as a respectable “Black Queen”, I’m basically supposed to fight against injustice at the hands of a white man, just so I can turn around and be similarly marginalized by a black man.
In whose world is that a preferable alternative?
Ya’ll need to save that Steve Harvey brand of wisdom and misogyny for someone who doesn’t know better. A world of perfectly behaved, cookie cutter black folks who all smell like Egyptian Musk and live by a strict code of patriarchal compliance – is not freedom. It’s just another version of oppression cleverly repackaged in kente cloth.
Real freedom; the kind that straight, white, affluent men experience daily – means being able to be whoever you choose to be – without fear of being robbed of your humanity.
Anyone who doesn’t get that basic fundamental point – definitely isn’t equipped to be telling me or anyone else how to “act right”.
Follow Blue Telusma on Twitter at @bluecentric
Author’s Note: Despite becoming an urban legend of sorts – the accounts of Willie Lynch contain historical inaccuracies that have led some historians to believe the documents containing his speech are a hoax. However, like most fables, the message of the Willie Lynch story still illustrates a greater truth about “divide and concur”. His name is used figuratively in this piece.