Is it wrong that the thought of writing this post alone overwhelms me? The issues of race in this country and around the world are so great and complex and personal that I know not where to start. It’s bad. Even Dave Chappelle can’t find a joke.
Should I share a personal story or two? Which stories? Should I focus on a specific issue? Which issue? There’s so many. I’ve done so much thinking these past weeks, and felt so many feelings. My head is spinning, my heart is reeling. For the first week after the death of George Floyd, I couldn’t bring myself to speak words about it on social media. I felt devastated and stunned, again. My shock keeps rising in increments. I’ve felt guilty for not rallying more words together. Put something together, for Christ’s sake, woman, the country, the world is on fire, people are looking to you, they need your voice, they’ll mistake your quiet for complacency, one of those light-skinned Uncle Tom black people. When Ahmaud Aubrey died, I went on Instagram live and cried like a baby. With George, I was struck dumb and speechless.
Khalil Gibran said, sometimes we are the root and sometimes we are the fruit. I feel like being the root, listening to stories, reading books I’ve been meaning to read, learning, meditating. But the state of affairs, the savage murder and oppression of black people, demands I be the fruit. There are so many things I want to say; I feel the weight of it in my chest. My experience as a black woman has been the same and different from the experience of other women of color, but where do I start? I don’t know. I’m just going to write and see what comes.
I’ve experienced my fair share of racism, yet my light complexion affords me certain privileges that my darker brother and sisters aren’t. I know that my light complexion is a privilege because I’ve seen and been told this my entire life. Still, I’ve been told by white friends to keep my voice down and not be the loud black woman. My daughter was a brand new baby when I was told, “Too bad your son is light and your daughter is dark. It should’ve been the other way around. It’d be better for her.” When my daughter was six years old she told me that she wished her skin was light like mine because my skin is prettier. How do you convince a child that you don’t just think she’s pretty because you’re her mom? As shattered as my heart was, I can’t imagine the suffering of losing a child to death, brutal prison sentences, and a healthcare system that treats black people as second-class citizens. Black women are no longer giving birth in slave quarters, but die 3 times more than white women in childbirth, so tell me what the fuck is the problem now? Oh yeah, black women are putting their lives in the hands of those who took an oath to respect their lives but don’t. Sounds like the police. I’m sick of the senselessness.
They may as well throw the police away because I’m never calling them again. I’ll get my own gun and train myself before I call them. I’m a pretty good shot, anyway. I’m well aware that there’s good-hearted cops with the best of intentions in the world. I understand that when they complain they are shunned, punished, and fired. I’m not talking about these cops. Maybe when this corrupt system is dismantled they can find a better type of service in the world aligned with their true intentions because right now they’re aligned with the lowest common denominators of society, those who abuse their power and use the trust society gives them against them. We trust these bastards to such a degree that they can kick someone’s door in while they sleep and rain bullets on her. They can write up their report and go about their lives because we trust it wasn’t their fault? Tell me why in the fuck do we trust them? Even after the Broward County Police Department ran my brother’s businesses into the ground with blatant racism, lies, planted evidence and abuse of power (it’s all on the record), after they locked him in jail for 2 weeks on false charges while his newborn baby came home from the hospital, I still afforded them a certain level of trust till now, like a fucking moron. That trust is gone.
These past weeks I’ve been thinking of all the oppression in every aspect of life that black people face from the subtle to the absurd. I’m sick of it.
I realize I haven’t done enough to advocate for blackness. I’ve been complacent. I’ve felt like the people who were doing something about it had it handled, that they were doing okay. Now I understand deeply how much they need help. I thought I was woke, but I was asleep. This savagery can’t and won’t be allowed to continue. I’m mad. I wake up every morning with the intention to spread love and good energy, to connect with humanity and make my presence on earth beneficial to the human race. I believe in not letting others control our inner state. I believe that love propels us further than hate does. I’ve been listening to lots of Sadhguru and meditating, remembering who I am, cultivating peace in my heart so that I can fight longer and harder. It ain’t easy and I’m not always successful, but since living as a black person in this world is a battle anyway, I’m willing to train for this.
In my newsletter this week, I shared two slave narratives and an excerpt from W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk which I’ve been reading with absolute fascination.
“One of the most influential books ever published in America, The Souls of Black Folk is an eloquent collection of fourteen essays that describe the life, the ambitions, the struggles, and the passions of African Americans at the transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century. Every essay in The Souls of Black Folk is a jewel of intellectual prowess, eloquent language, and groundbreaking insight. It is essential for anyone interested in the struggle for Civil Rights in America.” Farah Jasmine Griffin
Stay sharp, conscious and creative. Proceed with love and righteous indignation.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida