One of the things that has been on my mind has been solidarity. In part because of a council orientation session I attended a couple weeks ago for my Graduate Students’ Association, but also because I do not encompass all ways of living or inhabiting this world. Yes. I am a black-woman-immigrant, who is a young-educated-citizen, in pursuit of her career. These intersections encompass and speak to certain degrees of privilege and disadvantage, but there are countless more spaces to be inhabited.
But it is not really difference the oppressor fears so much as similarity. He fears he will discover in himself the same aches, the same longings, as those of the people he shitted on. He fears the immobilization threatened by his own incipient guilt. He fears he will have to change his life once he has seen himself in the bodies of the people he has called different. He fears the hatred, anger, and vengeance of those he has hurt.
Cherríe L. Moraga, This Bridge Called My Back, p. 30
For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours;
Took a break, but I’m back! Y’all know I couldn’t stay away too long. Take it in, take it in. Dr. Martin Luther King coming through with some Principles for Life. If you follow these alone, you will be Gucci.
T. M. G.
But as humanity is prone to be inspired by the imitative rather than the initiative qualities of life, there was a tendency in many who had been freed from the slavery toil and soil to efface the traces of their origin and past servitude from a sense of shame and approximate, not to the rugged principles of the pioneers of the struggle, but rather to the antedated patterns of the vanquished class.
Claude McKay, Banana Bottom, p. 42
SPOILER ALERT: This is a response to (not a review of) Get Out. Do NOT READ if you plan on seeing the movie, and haven’t yet.
As I sat down to watch “I Am Not Your Negro,” I thought to myself: “I am going to get angry.” I never anticipated anything else would occur. One is, after all, faced with very few options when confronted with issues of grave injustice: to 1) turn a blind eye; 2) weep in sorrow; or 3) bristle with righteous indignation. In this case, my response was a fourth: smoldering rage. Smoldering, because I was watching a film about a struggle that I had not myself experienced. I am a child of the nineties, not the thirties, forties, fifties, or sixties – my context is different. Rage, because the world presented on the screen had allowed too much, responded too late and with great inadequacy.
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
Like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?