The lies that keep harming Breonna Taylor

The lies that keep harming Breonna Taylor

The pathologizing of the Black community harmed Breonna Taylor. Nonprofits in large part shaped that pathologization by the lies they tell for funding purposes

Nonprofits that exploit the economically oppressed are predicated on a series of lies.

  • Universal supports do not work.
  • White people are superior.
  • Rich people would die if they had to pay their fair share in taxes.
  • Antiblackness

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” — Goebbels.

Certain nonprofits exist, so the wealthy do not have to pay taxes. That is it. If the wealthy wanted to help, they would pay their taxes. 

Astroturf 501(c)(3)s are often deliberately harmful.

501(c)(4) Organization like Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) are not harmful and are needed. ACORN as a 501(c)(4) was registering people to vote, educating people on policy, and amplifying progressive policy to politicians. It was an important organization. Which is why the right pulled out all the stops and destroyed ACORN, similar to what they are trying to do with Black Lives Matter. We need political lobby groups to educate the community on the importance of communication, inform the community on policy, and to amplify our concerns to the widest audience possible. Messaging is action and will always be necessary to combat wealthy often white supremacist funded 501(c)(3)s’ bootstrap exceptionalism propaganda. The right has put lots of money in working class, Black, and Chicano communities through 501(c)(3) funded journalism and organizations, to promote anti-government policies (block grants instead of entitlements aka guaranteed funding) and piecemeal solutions.

501(c)(3) organizations cannot legally support or oppose candidates for public office, nor can they engage in lobbying activities to help pass legislation, oppose proposed laws, or repeal existing laws, except for insubstantial lobbying activities that do not involve more than 10 percent of the organization’s operating budget.

In contrast, 501(c)(4) companies can endorse or campaign against candidates and can lobby lawmakers, as long as the causes the organization is lobbying for coincide with the nonprofit’s social welfare purposes. Organizations that choose to engage in political lobbying may need to provide disclosures to members showing how much of their dues were used for such activities.

Legal ZOOM

Much of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit industry hinges on the idea of white supremacy and Black inferiority. It dismantles our anemic social service net. The nonprofits also cut and disempower the middle class(ish) predominantly women and more Black and Brown professional workforce that works in that net. These actions are all for the sole final goal of carrying out the miscarriage of justice that allows the wealthy to not pay their fair share in taxes in this country and disenfranchise Black, Latino, and Chicano people.

Trump’s $750 tax bill is, but a small demonstration of this. 

Let me explain in more detail. 

Redevelopment coincided with the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. What redevelopment did was essentially take tax dollars that used to go to the upkeep of cities and school districts and placed it in the hands of developers.

Redevelopment is the mechanism that moved money from local people’s control to rich people’s control.

It took away funds to run African-American communities and made poverty a money-making endeavor —not for the poor, but for those “helping” the poor.

With city and county services being cut to give tax breaks (and tax credits) to corporate America and wealthy developers, those controlling the government realized they needed a stopgap. If the number of social workers are cut and funding for the schools is taken away, there needs to be a cheap way to replace those people and services.

Nonprofits, specifically 501(c)(3)s that started after the Civil Rights Movements, were created to fill those deliberate holes. They have several jobs. 

  1. Economically disempowering the Black community.
  2. Distracting potential leadership from the action of demanding change to asking for ¢hange and by creating an exceptionalism paradigm.
  3. Laying the groundwork for gentrification and urban renewal.
  4. Justify police misconduct. Silently implying Black people need to be controlled.
  5. Shaping the media narrative of Blackness as a pathology. A story that implied Black people need to be removed from society in order to accomplish 1, 2, 3, & 4. 

After over 50 years of programming, anyone who works with or even for the Black community, even those with the best intentions, speaks in the jargoned, inauthentic, and pathologizing style of nonprofits. 

“Black bodies are used to death. I am tired. I knew the Black body cradled in the food desert would be left marginalizing on the floor. BIPOC people expect this. Please donate to my nonprofit to help Breonna Taylor.”

501(c)(3)s invaded our schools, which spread the eugenics based mantra “achievement gap.” They took over our Black newspapers, infecting our narratives with the wealthy’s pet projects that featured their Black dogsbodies. Even our fiction writing and poetry have been infected, putting parameters of “Black” pain must be featured as a requirement for publishing. 

You write and gain perspective from what you read. If you read these kinds of narratives with no idea that they are not random, meaning you’re not critically reading, you begin to believe these narratives uncritically. Especially when they almost appear to be ubiquitous facts.

You begin to think and communicate in the way of this ubiquitous media that is explicitly designed to trick you. 

It is dangerous to use 501(c)(3) nonprofit style narratives. Narratives used to gain money and sympathy from white benefactors will lead to fundable pain. Black America’s editorial story deserves a better lens.

To get 501(c)(3) nonprofit funding year after year, you have to amplify a story that seems too big to fix in one year or two years. It is necessary to amplify a seemingly unfixable problem. 

Write in a manner that will allow you to ask for funding the next funding cycle. 

You are dependent on the suffering of others to make rent. A person who engages in this, whether they know it or not, is strategically communicating in a manner that demands suffering never cease. If the suffering ceased, funding would stop, and even the most masochistic among us wants to live. 

The propaganda of nonprofits also demands a sort of personal lens storytelling. 

It likes stories of struggle. 

It likes the caricature of struggle. 

Predominantly white 501(c)(3) organizations even teach classes how to shape and create a struggle story that appeals to racist white donors. 

Stories where Black women fail over and over and over and over again. Where it is repeated that “everyone hates Black women.” 

It is a story of the horror of Black girlhood and womanhood told, not to fix it, but for funding. 

It continues on and on. These stories numb people. It normalized injustice to Black people.

People expect and are relieved at the horrible ending, because everyone is a little proud of themselves for being right, even if right is wrong.

The tools of gentrification, police violence, and the narrative of the troubled Black woman wielded by white supremacy murdered Breonna Taylor.

All three of those tools are fundable under the 501(c)(3) astroturf model..

Those tools are organizations run by the best and brightest in the Black and working class communities. Purposely done. To allow people like Taylor to be murdered. It almost demands death as payment.  

Breonna Taylor was memed, sloganed, hashtagged, and disrespected accidentally by people who have been taught that the only way to get justice is through funding. And the only way to get funding is to die and to die over and over again. 

We need to regain control of our narratives. We can’t let wealthy racist 501(c)(3)s funders who refuse to pay their taxes guide us on how to tell our story. 

Teka Lo, Public Intellectuals

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