A series of letters, exchanges of love and healings, from blaqueer brothers across space and often violent, times. This is post 1 of 4. For Hari’s response, check out the reblog or head over to the phenomenal RaceBaitr.
My Brother Hari,
There is so much on my mind, but in the midst of it all, I somehow find myself reaching back to you, back to home. As I sit to write, I’m positioned in a magnificent place of privilege. It’s astounding. I’m here in Cape Town, taking law classes at the University of Western Cape, through my home school, Howard University School of Law. I’m currently zoning in and out of my comparative criminal law course but I’m guilty of the same behavior in my comparative constitutional law course. Statutes of limitations, Oscar Pistoria, human dignity, the richest man in China, FIFA, Bashir and Mother Emmanuel. Mother Emmanuel.
That is where my ears perk up. It heartens me to see my frumpy, white law professor–a former federal prosecutor–going on and on about this case, with great passion. He speaks with authority–after all, prosecuting this shit was his job. But his passion, though refreshing, is suffocating. We are speaking about legalese, not lives. He speaks about the complicated nature of the flag, not the straight forward representation of racial-sexual terrors. My peers, listen and zone out. Black, African-American, white and colored. They have colored folks here–essentially light skin niggas that are deemed too good (read: white) to be black. Being colored isn’t necessarily a biological condition–both parents can be black and you can be colored if you’re light–white-ish–enough. It’s a sociopolitical designation, with cultural, economic, social and psychological consequences. None of them get it, none of my peers. They want their degrees. They don’t have time to feel..or perhaps that don’t remember how to feel? I wonder if the mechanisms of their mind and body have been so mauled the white supremacist, heteropatriachal, capitalistic society that they have been dis-membered and the process of re-membering is too violent, too distant, too impossible to mesh with necessity of their callous survival? Perhaps it’s by choice. Perhaps they don’t give a fuck. Perhaps they’re just “New Blacks.” But the only difference between “New Blacks” and other blacks is a bow tie, pressed shirt and relationship to a capitalistic hustle. One group refuses to pimp out their souls..and those their kin. I don’t know what they are, but I know they are different and I know they know.
It’s interesting here, for me, to be in a seat of educational privilege–psychological warfare–while simultaneously unable to use such privilege/proximity to affect the realities of black genocide. If the role of the white supremacy is to “distract” as Mother Toni states, it has succeeded in this moment. This suspension, in a state of immobility and helplessness, has rendered me emotionally exhausted and intellectually paralyzed. I often ponder the value of my intellect, if it is unable to translate to liberation of some type. This trap; the notion that our value as blaqueer, black and oppressed peoples is intimately tied to our ability to create and produce liberations, critical love ethics/practices and survival practices..is the most effective and dominant narrative of (internalized) white supremacies among the black learned class. Consider the consequences…the most learned and talented and/or creative among us–fuck the traditional measuring of excellence by society btw—are being consumed by internal embers of unworthiness, self loathing and rage..for our inability to break every chain…effectively tying a noose around our necks, in the name of the people, our people…who are wondering wtf is wrong with our angry yet unbothered, loving yet callous, hopeful yet pessimistic asses.
I sit here in Africa, South Africa, at the edges of the continent realizing that though I am here..and surely some of my people came from this continent..I can never truly be here. As the sun touches my flesh on the beaches of Cape Town, my thoughts slowly carry across the Atlantic, as I think about my brothers being consumed, maligned, maimed and slain under the same sun. I wonder if it was hot on their flesh, causing trickles of sweat down strong, running backs, yearning for escape and survival. Or perhaps, the sun was comforting on the east side of Oakland, as two blaqueer fathers walk their daughter to the park, to teach her how fly a kite..while learning themselves the value and importance of pure love through eyes and unrelenting affection and dedication to them, despite their flaws and because of their subversive, familial love? But I always return to the guilt of travel, survival, distance from death….the failure of not writing with enough flair or fire to save our lives…or sipping a latte and having a champion-bred poodle…when a black mother is struggling to get WIC…we can call this the black savior complex…or survivors guilt..perhaps its contrived..or perhaps it’s real? What are willing or required to do for our liberation as individuals and collective? Is there a real collective? I don’t know, love, but in writing to you..I hope to demonstrate a willingness to build and open up a dialogue beyond just us, about the cost, benefits, problems and promises of a new critical love ethic and practices of love.
How are you? How is your writing? I know you’ve been aching. I wish I could ache and pain. But I’m floating…suspended somewhere in a unfeeling, exhausted state of disbelief and unknowing. I’ve been unable to compose essays…so poetry has documented my life and fleeting thoughts. I look forward to hearing your voice through the text.
In a Boundless Love,