Mom didn’t share all of her world with me, but she did share this. Maybe because she had no one else to tell; maybe she because she thought I needed to hear.
I’ve told myself this story a hundred times, yet like a stone smoothed over by a rolling river, time’s robbed my memory of certain specifics. So excuse any embellishments, but know the feelings are accurate.
These refrains comfort me, like I’m falling back into her familiar embrace. So, if you will, let me share her embrace as best I can remember it:
“Every day her hair would be…
I know she was 16. That should be enough, but she’s a Black girl so it isn’t enough. It’s never enough.
She was always going to need more.
Apparently she was in a foster home. That’s all I know about her. And while that’s not a lot, and it’s enough to know she was hurting. Moving into a foster home at 16, for whatever reason, hurts. And whatever was done or said, no matter how vile or how mild, triggered that hurt.
I know she was angry. I know anger well. I know anger is always, always, a cover for…
After this, all of this, a this so obvious and evident that you know exactly what this is without me even insinuating anything beyond the word “this,” I have nothing to say. No insightful words.
In my younger days I wonded how others could remain so, for lack of better words, docile in the face of injustice. So unmoved. So calm. I wondered why there weren’t double, triple, quintuple the attempts to rage against this obviously hostile machine.
I get it now.
When you realize they have means of retribution degrees larger than your capacity to retaliate; when you…
There was no outrage when Satan dated 2020. You knew it was satire. You knew It was a joke. Your laugh was not in appreciation of Satan, but an ironic acknowledgement of the joke.
You’re not stupid. You get it.
Nas was going to name that album “Nigger.” There was precedent in Dick Gregory and Randall Kennedy. But rappers don’t get artistic benefits of the doubt. The title was regarded as little more than a publicity stunt, not as irony or articulation of a complex theme. …
Because past is too often prologue, of course our resistance is personified through the visage of a Black woman’s arrest. Give Representative Cannon her things. Including campaign contributions. But spare the fake shock and performative empathy.
None of this is surprising.
It happened after reconstruction. It happened in streets in Tulsa. On bridges in Alabama. In schools in New Orleans. Of course it’s happening now. This is America. This is who we are.
And while *this* this — electing a Baptist preacher and a young Jew and an old Catholic to office — is no where near as impactful as…
As we celebrate the life of the ancestor Huey, I find myself meditating on a perverse, pervasive lie of capitalist thought: that all things are zero sum — a gain for one must come at the expense of another, and those gaining are always and only those I can see.
So many people, too many Black people, buy into this ridiculously reductive ideology at the expense of not only benefiting other cultures, but, ironically, of benefiting Black people.
For none of us is free until all of us are free.
I don’t know if Rush was a good person. I don’t know his heart or his mind. I don’t know the actions he took in private, or his relationship with the Lord.
But I do know what he said in public. I know how he made his money. I know how he exploited pain for cheap laughs. How he weaponized anger and resentment. How he claimed to talk for people on one hand, yet pushed them to elect politicians and policies that hurt them on the other.
I do know the things he suffered with in life, and how he…
I wonder when you last walked down 125th street. Did you smile? Were you proud? Was this your vision for uptown or a perversion of it?
I wonder when you last went to a Broadway play? Who performed? What did you think of the “progress” around the theater?
Surely you understood the plight of the protestors; and even if you didn’t, you certainly understood receiving the enmity of policemen. I wonder if you marched with the people in spirit? Did you think we did enough? Did we do to much?
Did we do anything at all?
I wonder what you…
(This was written on 9/25/2015; this is applicable for eternity.)
I love dark skinned Black people. I love light skinned Black people. I love brown skinned Black people (raises brown skinned fist; we get no love). I love natural haired Black people. I love Black people with blond weaves. I love Black people who dye their hair purple. I love Black people with dark brown eyes. I love Black people with hazel eyes. I love Black people who still wear blue contacts.
I love Black teenagers too self absorbed to recognize how much the world fears them. …
Breonna Taylor was never going to get justice. We knew this from the first days of her murder until the Kentucky AG cynically chided anyone who would suggest otherwise. So since there is a lack of justice — since the state refuses to hold itself accountable for anything outside of property loss, how can we hold the state accountable? How can we convey our pain to those who are indifferent, as if asking for empathy and care is like speaking Mandarin in Mumbai?
Go ask my pre-school, even talk to my old principal / He’d tell you how you I used to pack a number two pencil