In America we have awoken to a reality that Martin’s dream has been just that for the past 50 years. We dreamed bigotry was solved through integration. We imagined progress was found through token achievements. We saw visions of tokens take center stage. But we had to awake sometime.
Watching “Dear White People” I am impressed with the relevance and genuine depiction of the complex reality that Black people face. Who we are is and is not what has been spoken about us. We are not the militant. Not the ‘Uncle Tom’. Not the sellout. Not the thug. We are Black. In the United States of America we might be all of those things in a blink of an eye and none of them as we catch our breath. In the end of the movie main character, Samantha White, states, “… dear white people .. never mind.”
Being Black is an exhausting confrontation of white people. Too exhausted to even capitalize their Whiteness any longer. We exist to confront, ignore, cower or despise the existance of white that makes us Black. Not Indigenous to foreign lands, countries, tribes or cultures but American Black.
In my heart I know that the answer for our community is not in Jackie Robinson’s integration amidst hatred and harm. Nor is it the ‘back-to-Africa’ of Marcus Garvey’s entail. I believe it is in the loving embrace of ‘Big Mamma’s’ arms. A time between enslavement and a man’s dream there lay a mother’s open arms. Community. Love. Embrace. Resources of faith, culture, heritage and most importantly family. Resources that empowered generations of aristocrats that couldn’t take the neighborhood out of them. From Baldwin, DuBois, SNCC, Madam Walker and Truth to King, X, Gregory and Ali. It is my humanity that my identity is found and fostered in the companionship of those who can see it.
The emotional and psychological exhaustion found in trying to education-ese to well intentioned white people, nice white people, on both liberal and conservative sides who would call themselves friends have depleted me once again. Once again I expend my energies to educate, sharing concepts ignorant to their minds of convenience on a topic of leisure. My reality. While everyday feeling the joyous exhaustion of feeding my own community to inspire hope. I desire to say as my dear Ms. White from my recently watched movie, “… never mind.”
Yet there is a calling that beckons. The slow poison of racism, elitism, privilege, supremacy, affluence that runs through the very white veins of my neighbor calls for a sick twisted empathy. Like the frog that cooks slowly in the pot on the stove. To walk by and say nothing is to hate my neighbor. Man was not meant to live their way and no amount of material wealth and piety can remove the waste of sexual violence, hatred, broken relationships, drug use, poverty, violence, depression that has saturated their community. We are not called to humble lives of serving our common man because it is charity but because it is the antidote.
Who wants to love their enemy? Interesting Biblical statement that emplies recognition of an enemy while a responsibility to love. Not condone but to be willing to share the truth.