What I am going to say here will shock some people, but the want to express this has been tugging at me for a while, so I had to say it.
Deep friendships end, marriages die, and somehow life manages to go on. I am finding lately that despite knowing all the reasons why something ended- all the good reasons, I still at times have a sense of nostalgia for the delusion. A longing for that period before the fall, when I thought the dream was real. I think it’s a normal thing to long for that happy stasis period when you thought everything was fine, unable to see your glass prison. I am trying not to judge myself too harshly for every once in a while wanting to go back and take the blue pill. Ignorance is bliss indeed. I am getting tired of seeing, “The Truth.”
What I am going to say here will shock some people but the want to express this has been tugging at me for a while so I had to say it. I am not saying this in order to appear humble. It is simply the truth as it is right now, today.
I struggle daily. I struggle with a LOT of crap.
I struggle to justify my Christianity with all the work the Church (Catholic AND Protestant) historically has done to keep blacks, gays, and women under foot and dammed.
I struggle with believing that black is beautiful in a world where Raven Symone refuses to call herself black, but will call herself human. Is black not human?
I struggle with teaching young university students of color to go into a career I love that is so full of racism and, I am speaking of the commercial theatre here. Plays written, plays produced, and the actors cast tend to be by white people, produced by white people, and starring white people for white audiences who can afford white ticket prices…
I struggle with the binary academia forces us thinking artists into. You are either a theorist or a practitioner and you aren’t taken seriously when you can do both. Why is there this ridiculous divide?
I write about blackness everyday in order to define myself, by myself and not by the standards of white supremacy. This entails a lot or ranting at the wind and sounding like a young Malcolm X. That is all well and good, and I am perfectly fine and happy with doing that until we have justice.
However, I am interested in building bridges with TRUE white allies and finding a way for them to fight with and for me. I am struggling to find some kind of middle ground between telling my truth as a black, gay, follower of Christ, and being an asshole.
I realize sometimes you must be an asshole to the oppressor.
As someone recently reminded me, “Protest is not Polite.”
I do not need the pity of any white person, but I do not want to give a black eye to any white people who are supportive and truly want to help in the fight. I welcome any and all Anne Braden types to fight with me. This is a struggle as I try to write for my oppressed brothers and sisters of color who see any kind of olive branch as “selling out.”
I am struggling to exist these days as I myself endure racism fatigue, and often want to quit writing about something so volatile and yet important. It is hard to write about how much the world hates you everyday to a world that is doing the hating. I don’t get a lot of support in my writing. That’s also fine, but it wears on a brother.
I will not stop writing about race of course, but damn is it tempting. It is tempting to go back to that high school black boy who wanted to be “just like everyone else” and “blend in.” It is very alluring to go back to a time when you were stupid and unaware of the internalized white supremacy within your own brain.
These feelings do pass, as soon as I see Don Lemon or Ben Carson speak…They inspire me to keep waking black folk up, and to keep white folk on their toes.
This is to say I am tired you all. I am tired of having to wake up every day and see another black church burned down, another unarmed black male murdered by the state, another young black girl manhandled by white male police in bathing clothes, regular clothes, or being punched in the face by a highway patrol cop over and over.
I struggle between breaking down in tears daily, or wanting to rage out and pick up a baseball bat to take to the streets.
I am struggling
I am struggling
I am struggling
I do not know where we can go from here as a country. The race lines have been drawn and it is time for people to make a decision as to where they stand. It is not enough for white allies to stand with us and have good feelings about us. It is time for our white allies to go into white racist spaces they know and speak the truth and light. That is the only way we can prevent Dylann Roof from becoming a hero and martyr. To dismantle white privilege we need our white brothers and sisters to speak up when they hear a racist joke from uncle jim at the Fourth of July cookout. We need them to speak up in the board room when white resumes are looked at and black ones are tossed out. In the wake of the new open season on black men, simply singing songs, and holding our hands effectively preaching to the choir is no longer enough. We need them to take the antidote of love back home to where the infection is.
Love in action is not pretty. It can induce flipping over tables and giving your life like Senator Clementa. Love and Struggle go hand in hand.
Yes, it will be a struggle to reach racial equality, it has been since we stepped off the boats in chains.
I struggle, and you struggle, and yes, I will say it:
The Struggle is Real.
Let us struggle together to bind up the wound, and end racial inequality and oppression in this country.
Originally posted on Billy Flood’s Blog.
Image courtesy of the author.
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