“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.