Meet Marley K., Anti-Racism Writer
And learn how she's using her lived expertise to diagnose and call out white supremacy
When I started my own journey with anti-racism writing, Marley K. was one of the voices I discovered on Medium speaking #truthtopower. Her work is hard-hitting: she’s got the receipts on racism, and she’s not afraid to share them. I am always inspired by her work. Please meet Marley K.
1) Marley, what made you become an anti-racism writer?
It kind of happened by accident. When I began writing. I started out writing erotica trying to appeal to all men but it was such a struggle. I thought about things that mattered to me and wrote my experiences or visions of erotica as a Black woman.
This one publication I submitted my work to always had an issue with my tone, my words used to express sexual acts, or even the photos I used with my work. My Black experiences were constantly invalidated, modified, and my work was frequently touched up by White editors to make my work sound like White porn/erotica which was not my intention. I resented the constant polishing/whitening my pieces endured to make them palatable for White readers but I continued because I was new and thought it was normal.
The final straw was when a White Erotica Editor at an online publication changed my stock image from a beautiful Black woman to a standard beauty stock photo image of a White woman. That was a microaggression and I felt the sting of it. That incident destroyed the entire writing experience for me and I started writing about race from that point forward. I wanted to talk about the casual ways White people erase Black people daily. Once I started, I never looked back. I was writing and dissecting subjects all Black people are experts in. I wanted White people to see all the ways they injure and erase us while highlighting how they undermine Black lives.
2) What response have you had?
My responses were mixed in the beginning depending on the topics I decided to explore. When I get into diagnosing White Supremacy and calling out White people, I usually get a good bit of pushback. I don't care. I go toe-to-toe with racists in my comments when I'm not too bombarded. I also enjoy answering questions for newbies beginning the journey.
Every now and then, I'll write something that goes viral and I'm viciously attacked by mostly White men and lots of trolls. These days, my readers understand my style of writing and appreciate it. My readers also see the truth of racism in my writings because I describe it in practical, bite-sized ways people can relate to, even if they don't always agree with me. Things are much better now.
3) In relation to racism, what is your vision for the future?
My vision is that Black people and people of color would be able to see a drastic decrease in racism. I'd love to see a global systemic overhauling of our world's racist systems.
If that order is too tall, Black people and people of color begin to create their own communities and systems that will protect them. We've waited on White people long enough to change. If they [White people] have no plans to change, there is no good reason to continue begging them to. Our lives are at stake.
I believe Black people need to create a future where Blackness is centered for our own people grounded in Black liberation and self-empowerment so that they can grow and thrive free from racism, oppression, suppression, neglect, harassment, and threats of death. Continuing to beg White people to see our humanity has worn thin with me. I'm no longer interested in convincing them of my value or contributions to America.
4) What are your top three anti-racism articles you have written?
My three anti-racism articles are Questions Some White People Ask That Feel Racist, My Experience With Elevator Ellen, and Yes My Dear, All White People Are Racist. I chose Questions Some White People Ask That Feel Racist and My Experience With Elevator Ellen because they were personal experiences in White spaces I've had with microaggressions as a professional, a Black woman, a married Black couple, a consumer, a neighbor, etc. It's stuff we deal with daily, but I decided to describe it in a snarky, sarcastic way to bring home the sting of it. Those pieces proved to be quite controversial but are still popular. The last piece was a summation of my views on White people and race in America.
5) Share one anti-racism article you've read written by someone else that resonated with you.
I would have to say the most memorable, comprehensive series of essays on race that resonated with me recently was one written by Medium writer Johnny Silvercloud titled “It’s Time to Talk about Freedom of Space (And Why Black People Don’t Have It)," which broke down the lack of freedom Black people have in America.
His essay resonated with my spirit so because it's how I feel daily. I feel as though all White people are the police of all Black bodies, all Black minds, all Black spaces, and everyone's liberty. I recognize at anytime, on any day, no matter their age of the White person, they are in total control of me. I am aware of the lack of freedom and space I possess in this country because White people control those things.
It was a gut kick. I felt like an enslaved person after reading it. I don’t feel good. I don’t feel free. It’s enraging and I’m exhausted trying to point out the numerous ways White Supremacy keeps Black people globally in bondage. I'm sick of asking White people to take responsibility of their behavior or proving my experiences. That series validated me and that's something Black people need most right now more than ever.
Thanks for reading,
Want to really focus on anti-racism work? Join the LIVE bootcamp Lea Jovy and I are running on November 14th.