A global community of Black People have come together to create a new word to define the systematic oppression of Black People.

A few weeks ago, TBB’s founder Akua Gyamfi, was involved in a group coordinated by Photographer and Content Creator Simon Frederick, and Actor, David Gyasi. The group was tasked with helping to come up with a new word to define the decades upon decades of systemic racism Black People have endured. A word that cannot be appropriated. A word that has power. A word that will all encompass the actions we try to explain as ‘racism‘ but rarely accepted as such because racism has been so bastardised, diluted, and because we are forced to share ‘racism‘ with other races. As a result, the very different and specific heinous acts we endure because we are black gets lost in the noise.

After virtual workshops held with people from the UK, America, and Africa the new word for us to own and use is #kneeneck – The relentless brutal, centuries-long terrorisation, stifling asphyxiation and oppression of Black people, Black culture and Black lives.

It has a name, call it out – kneeneck (/ˈniː/nɛk/)

noun – kneeneck, kneeneckist, kneeneckism

1. The relentless brutal, centuries long terrorisation, stifling asphyxiation and oppression of Black people, Black culture and Black lives.
2. Hostility or prejudice towards or suppression of black people.
3. Active, passive or tacit support for any activity that perpetuates the suffocation and subjugation of the human and civil rights of black people individually and collectively.
4. A person who consciously or thoughtlessly displays or manifests hostility or prejudice against black people.

verbTo kneeneck (conjugates: kneenecks, kneenecking, kneenecked)

1. The act of displaying hostility or prejudice toward black people.
2. To constrict or suffocate the full human and/or civil rights of black lives.
3. Denial of the systemic racist oppression of black people.

Narrative definition

To kneeneck is to hold a racist perception of people with visible or perceived Sub-Saharan descent (a.k.a. ‘black people’) which may be expressed as hatred toward black people and/or a perception of their inferiority.
Rhetorical and physical manifestations of kneenecking are directed toward black people individually and in groups, and/or towards their property, their community institutions, businesses and organisations.
The explicit or unintended outcome of kneenecking is any loss to humanity of the full potential of black people individually and collectively.

Origin

The death of George Perry Floyd Jr (October 14, 1973 – May 25, 2020) caused by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds during Floyd’s arrest, was met with mass revulsion and condemnation around the world. The image of the manner of his death quickly became a metaphor for the treatment of black people, put most succinctly by Rev. Al Sharpton in his address to the George Floyd memorial service in Minneapolis on Thursday 4th June, 2020, where in his eulogy, he said:

“…George Floyd’s story is the story of black folks. You kept your knee on our neck. We had creative skills, but we couldn’t get your knee off our neck. It’s time for us in George’s name to stand up and say, ‘Get your knee off our necks.

“…We don’t want favors, just get up off of us, and we can be and do whatever we can be.

“…George Floyd’s story has been the story of black folks. The reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed of being is you kept your knee on our neck… Like George, we couldn’t breathe… You wouldn’t take your knee off our neck.”

…A man comes out of a single parent home, educates himself and becomes president of the United States and you ask him for his birth certificate because you can’t take your knee off our neck.

Contextually

The appalling statistics of black deaths at the hands of police forces show kneeneckism in its most pernicious institutional form.

She was persistently kneenecked by her employer doing nothing to overturn a culture that denied her promotion for years.

Donald Trump’s refusal to apologise for spending $85,000 in front page ads calling for the death penalty for the exonerated Central Park 5, demonstrates his deep-seated kneeneck attitude.

Kneenecking tropes about people in Africa having ‘watermelon smiles’ and being ‘piccaninnies’ are absurd and shameful.

He’s not only an anti-Semite and an islamophobe, he also suffers from kneeneckism.

Amy Cooper knew that she could rely on using and weaponizing both her white privilege and the widespread acceptance of old, insidious kneeneck stereotypes when she dialled 911.”

Reflecting underlying kneeneckist cultural norms, after enduring months of lockdown, African workers in China are now being targeted for eviction from their apartments.

Whilst I sympathise, Home Secretary, the question was not about racism in general, but rather the kneeneck outcomes of your government’s actions specifically.

KNEEKNECK – in honour of our fallen ancestors, our fallen Brothas and Sistas whose lives were illegally taken from us through slavery, colonialism, police brutality, and generations of oppression.