In a hundred years from now, up there with MLK’s speech, “I Have A Dream,” John Coltrane’s album, “A Love Supreme,” and Malcolm X’s philosophy “racial separatism ain’t extreme,” the history books will honor the stunning and brave Angel Jones and her “Black Bereavement Leave” scheme.
Jones, a visiting assistant professor at Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville, has written a courageous and eloquent demand for PTO reparations when members of her race are killed.
And no, she’s not joking. Angel wrote in a recent Times Higher Education article that she means business: “Some may have thought I was joking when I mentioned Black bereavement leave, but I wasn’t.”
The title of her article: “Where’s our Black bereavement leave?”
Because in 2023 the merits of one’s argument matter less than the intersectional pedigree of its messenger, let’s begin by heralding Angel’s social credentials.
Angel is a self-described Afro-Latinx multi-pronouned female who is highly educated and perpetually victimized by both extra-and intra-group micro-aggressions. She is an “educator” and “advocate” of the stigmatization of Black mental health, including Racial Battle Fatigue—a condition similar to but exaggeratedly worse than PTSD, since there is no “post” to the traumatic stress that comes with being Black.
She has suffered racism by Whites (for being non-White), by Blacks (for being too Hispanic), and by Hispanics (for being too Black).
Angel also once had an eating disorder that was far worse for her than for non-Afro-Latinx intra-group micro-aggressive victims, because having an eating disorder while Black and Latinx brings “shame, guilt, and stigma” that non “Afro-Latinx/es” will never know.
People have called her slurs. White men have replied to her public social media posts with “unsolicited opinions.” And people have commented on her hair.
All Black Lives Matter
Angel is “a proud educator” who loves what she does, but she’s tired of non-Blacks receiving “support and understanding while grieving the loss of a loved one” when Blacks facing “first-hand racial trauma” are rarely shown that same care. “Where’s our Black bereavement leave?” she asks.
Where is the acknowledgment of our pain? Where are our counselling services? Where is our grace for missed meetings and deadlines while we mourn? Yes, we have jobs to do and students to support, but we also have trauma to process.
By omitting any mention of “police” in her article, Angel’s call for bereavement reparations doesn’t appear to be specific to trauma caused by police shooting Black people.
She cites Philando Castile, Eric Garner, and Patrick Lyoya (drawing a blank on that one, but I’m pretty upset Floyd’s not named), but she makes clear that “free counseling” and bereavement leave “should be available at all times, not just when our trauma has been televised.”
By expressing equal outrage over the Buffalo shooting (White perpetrator) and the killings of Tyre Nichols and Trayvon Martin (five Black perpetrators and a Hispanic insurance salesman, respectively) Angel is smartly expanding the claim to race-wide damages from Cop-on-Black violence to include White-on-Black, Black-on-Black, as well as Hispanic-on-Black violence.
While many believe it is an injustice to ignore the perpetual and prolonged trauma of Asian-on-Black violence, Angel’s reparational restraint proves she is both realistic and humble.
To acquiesce to demands for “Black bereavement leave” by simply giving every Black person (or only Black educators?) a day off would be myopic and insensitive. Angel encourages flexibility.
“Some may need a day off,” she writes, while others may merely request working from home, receiving a deadline extension, or having “something removed from their plate completely.”
For those of you who would ridicule the proposal on the basis of numbers, take your bigotry elsewhere. With 10,000 Blacks murdered every year and only 260 workdays, that’s 38 days of Black bereavement leave per day to which Blacks would be entitled. And it’s still not enough.
It’s time to realize that Cop-on-Black murders are as traumatizing as White- or Black- or Hispanic-(but-not-Asian-) on-Black murders and finally give Blacks their due. If that means a full 38 reasons PER WORKDAY not to work, so be it. Nobody said racial reparations would be free—for you.
For those reading this and wondering why Black Bereavement Leave sounds like some kind of labor PsyOp to allow “oh-so-put-upon quasi-celebrity race hustlers” and “privileged” Black academics like Angel to earn a paycheck without actually having to work, you’re part of the problem. Your denial of Black grievance is by definition “institutional racism,” and it’s destroying our educational institutions one violent murder at a time.
Image from: Clay Banks via Unsplash.com
Wilbur writes for The Conservative New Mexican check out other stories by him there.