BIB: Black Mediocrity

“I have heard of others who did not survive the pressure of Black excellence. When thinking about Black excellence, we must think about how it may be an act of compensation for structural racism but also an act of compensation for shame. Black excellence, insidiously, by parading achievements by Black people, to prove our competence, our capability and ultimately our humanity, reproduces white supremacy and Black shame.” Guilaine Kinouani

Black excellence is linked to this idea of transcendence. It is an exclusionary haven for respectability politics that doesn’t allow us to be wholesome, boring, everyday complex beings who also have the rights to do nothing extraordinary. Celebrating each other without being imprisoned within representation. How can our movements and politics breathe, live-on and flourish since some of us are wary of how that constant celebration can perpetuate respectability politics and how it can affect our movements and our politics. We would love to make space for those of “us” who aren’t interested in always showing out in their Sunday best, not interested in presenting as exceptional but would just like to reside within the mediocre even if it’s just temporary. Our Black Mediocrity buttons are our way of acknowledging that being free doesn’t require being stuck in a state of perpetual productivity and accolades. This is a small gesture to trouble the binaries, it’s not one or the other but an invitation to relate to each other outside of capital and property.

During our Breathing in Babylon weekender, these Black Mediocrity buttons were displayed and distributed to those that wanted one.