BLACK Thought

“I have yet to see any [society] in this world develop successfully by adopting [wholesomely] another society’s culture. When you adopt another’s culture, your development is stunted because someone else [makes the innovations and sets the standards] and you can only imitate and receive what it exports to you, making you, ultimately, a slave to that culture, not an innovator.” —Wangari Maathai

The Legendary Foundation……..The Root(s)

If my roots do not grip black soil, I’m more than lost.

This is not to say that one should close themselves off from truth despite the package it’s delivered in.

But, white, as practiced in this system of racism/white supremacy, is naturally limiting, tight, rigid, mind numbing, compartmentalizing – even when seemingly untethered from the dominant culture.

Black by contrast and within this context, is white’s opposite: free, loose, expressive, enlivening, creative, expansive. Sighted.

I don’t regret any of my connections with white folks: AWQ, Professor Z, Thinking Girl or anyone else. Even when my train car derails, its a good lesson to learn how to get back on the rails.

Whiteness blinds white as well as black. Siphoning out the internalized racism in me is like kneeling in the riverbed, sifting fossilized bones; internal ‘Ism’ is revealed over time, through careful observation of my behavior, reflected in other folk’s mirrors. Willingness to see is crucial it seems to me. The stink bomb, the learned self-hate, the intellectual cataracts that obscure truth, cause me to move away from ‘my root.’ This can prove fatal.

To fly too closely to white people is like Icarus flying too near the sun. Why do I chose to fly so close to the sun? No matter how well intentioned, no matter how intelligent – you can , as a black man, get burned. You can lose yourself. You can fall from the sky (your arrogance, your folly) and not even notice.

I’m desiring deeper, closer relations with my kind, with those who know me, who can know me.

Reading websites about the state of black male/female relationships, the pain of the black woman, her sense of loss as she sees her man ‘cavorting with Katie,’ has REALLY opened my eyes. (and I don’t say ‘her man’ as meaning some kind of ownership, cuz beneath the skin people are people. However…)

I don’t believe, of course, that people can be plucked off of shelves, that ‘any ole black woman will do.’ But what has made an impression on me is the understanding that black people have a connection beyond measure, that it is not merely history, but a common physio-psychology, a common adaptation to this anti-US society. And this visceral truth has me expectant that my ‘Black Queen’ is on the way! She will arrive when I’m ready. My faith is impregnable, that she does not exist is impossible. I’d doubted, but mine eyes have seen! Her rich brown skin, the unshackled hair, the outsized personality, the unconquered spirit. I’ve imbibed her black brilliance , with her raw essence, her joy and wit. She rides the whirlwind and the good I see in her, she sees in me.

How many times I have walked past her, my brain fixated on something light, bright and sometimes white?

Blackness is light. And it is right. For me.

7 Responses to “BLACK Thought”

  1. Beautifully stated, beautifully written.

    I have been thinking mightly on this very topic lately – I will never be as connected to my husband as he is to his african american sisters and brothers. Another and recent, ugly racial profiling incident brought this reality home. We live in two worlds and we can never, ever share the same reality. We can have moments of connection – but we don’t live in the same world.

    My very privelage ensures a division, a gap between worlds, that will never be crossed. Simply, I am not the target of personal, cultural and institutional violence and oppression. I can never ‘know’ that experience. As someone born into privelage and to a certain degree complicit with the benefits of supremacy (by my very race and existance) – I can never share the experience of being black, african american, oppressed… its not a guilt thing for me, its an acknowledgement that no matter how progressive or well meaning I am- I am the other and I am an oppressor. I benefit from the power structures- from flirting my way out of speeding ticket to not being followed in stores – I have it easy.

    I have lately been really looking at what this means intra- and inter-personally. As a white mom to a biracial child and wife to a black man – its on me to make sure I don’t demand, replicate, seize moments of privelage and serve my own needs through supporting the perpetuation of both externalized and internalized racism.

    OK, this comment is getting long… Loved your post. Also wanted to see if you had been by to read this (warning! not an easy read)

    http://www.citizenofthemonth.com/2007/02/13/black-white-issues-jump-the-shark/

    peace – nn

  2. this is beautiful. i love the new look of your blog too.

    freeslave – if you want to read some intelligent discourse about black women and race, check out this blog http://racialrealist.wordpress.com – It is written by a black (mixed race) British woman living abroad in the Americas I believe. She raises some controversial and interesting points for debate.

    i think the situation between black women and black men dating-wise has created a new kind of relationship: marriage for convenience. i know many black girls who want to be married to black men but many feel like the loyalty should be scrapped since many black women are single mothers and aren’t married compared as their white counterparts (in Europe). this relationship for convenience of course isn’t for all inter-racial relationships with white men/black women but it is a trend that i have seen happening in the UK. i can only talk from a black woman living in Europe so it would be interesting to hear about the situation across the pond.

    –A

  3. thanks, BWB and Aurelia.

    A, I’m over the marriage thing. I don’t want to own any woman as property.

    There’s a difference between a relationship and marriage. Like the difference between having sex and raising a child, anybody can get married, few, it seems can do the relationship thing.

    Most of us are so clueless, don’t even know ourselves. We learn to be superficial, completely estranged from ourselves; but we’re encouraged to partner up/get married, form that nuclear family (that fabulous consumer unit) and be robotic Jetsons. We DON’T know who we really are, or what we really want.

    Two blind come together and start stumbling over each other and themselves. Recognizing this stuff is not an option; I’ll just trade up and get a new partner because its the current one’s fault.

    One reason I don’t dig the Racialrealist is that I never, EVER see her reflecting on her part in not being able to get or keep a man. Or by extension, analyzing what factors within black women might be a contributor to our poor relationships.

    If its all black men’s fault, why do you want us? If you’re perfect, blameless, have no responsibility – I WON’T be interested in you. We’ve ALL got issues; mature people understand that and can speak on that wholistic issue. You need two wholes to make a whole relationship.

    Plus, here’s a half-white woman who positions herself as an arbiter of correct black folk behavior, annointing who’s black oriented and who’s not, etc. Why is it always the people whose racial self-identity is a house of cards that have to play blacker-than-thou? Its a pathology.

  4. Hi freeslave,

    lol, looks like we’ll have to agree to disagree on the merit of RR. i like it because she deals with black women’s concerns over race. i am the kind of black girl who shies away from the blacker-than-thou concept although it is so difficult because in todays world, it seems to me like all black people may be a bit guilty in doing that in our hope to ”keep it real” — is it something that needs to be addressed? definitely.

    i have a question: in the US, are mixed race (black/white) people seen as mixed race or black? i can only judge from an East African perspective where initially due to colonisation, there are many mixed race people. In my country, mixed race people are seen by the general population and they themselves identify as black so I suppose due to my upbringing I see the author of RR as a black woman and I identify with her issues and struggles because they speak to me.

    marriage – do you think black men in the US want to own women as property? unfortunately this type of thinking hasn’t changed amongst african men. it seems like marriage is a curse and blessing: from an african viewpoint, it shackles women bound to traditional men who want to put them on a pedestal yet it can elevate a woman’s social position if she marries the chief’s son. it is a warped idea that is flourishing despite attempts to suppress it.

    i think i still have naive ideas about marriage. it is so important at home yet in the western world, a woman can live without marriage and not be judged. unfortunately the opinion of family is too strong for most women to resist thus marriage is seen as a way out of humiliation.

    –A

  5. […] by Jack Stephens on February 21st, 2007 thefreeslave writes: Whiteness blinds white as well as black. Siphoning out the internalized racism in me is like […]

  6. hey man nice work

    where did you get the image?

    i’m working on a short film and just seeing if you’d allow use of it or point me in the way of the artist

    thanks

    will

  7. Will, got the image online somewhere!

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