How are we to find the love amidst all of the rage and all of the terror? What do we do and how do we begin to think of anything but violence malice and fear in the face of the extermination of our people on the daily? What I am doing in this post is beginning to think through all of this violence and all of this death in ways that embrace the love I have for my people and myself.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock of seclusion, unable and/or determined not to read or view any social media and/or news coverage, you are aware that there was a horrendous act of terror manifested as the brutal and intentional massacre of 9 people at historic Emanuel AME Church in Charleston SC. Please check out the names of the victims in love & remembrance. This was an explicit act of terror, meant to shock, meant to silence. This was deliberate, planned, and acted upon by one RACIST man. Unlike all of the Black death at the hands of the police, this terrorist was apprehended and miraculously safely transported from NC back to SC. With a media blitz around him. Likely just as he planned. Business as usual.
It is important not to discount this as someone who had a mental break and killed people. That is not the case. It was an explicit act of extermination of Black people, as though we are pests that simply need to be dealt with. It is important to stay with the immediate visceral response because this is just another ingredient in the recipe of our white supremacist heteronormative misogynist capitalist patriarchy– and yes, I did need to declare all that our culture is found upon.
There’s so much that our culture does to reinforce Black mutilation and death, it has been insidious, implicit, and swarming under the guise of visibility, sympathy, and empathy. What hurts the most is that it is ALL smoke and mirrors. ALL distraction. News media shows what it needs to in order to represent attentive and caring journalism, all the while nothing is actually being done to break through this system of death and subjugation. We are all provided studies and interviews, photos and film, all depicting the disparities and violent inequities. But nothing happens. It’s in our faces everyday, but the powers that be present false hope of a ‘changing society’ if only for enough time that it takes to get the National Guard involved.
Black Lives Matter. Every time there are protests, we are silenced. Whether it is peaceful or not, no one listens. I try to share photos of my comrades on the front lines, but now I’m wondering for whom am I sharing, and what is this data truly perpetuating?
Yet, we must continue to face this multifaceted terrorism in the face. We have to continue to be aware of what is happening everyday to our people. We must not wait in silence hoping that this system tires of the taste of our blood and our flesh, we must continue to speak our truths to violent power.
We will continue to die either way.
There seems to be an imbalance in our loving rage, especially with the culturally systemic silencing and killings of the subjugated. We are left a puddle of feelings on the floor with nothing but our wounded flesh as solace. I know it has been hard for me to find the love beneath all of the hurt. But I ask the following; if we lose our connection of love for ourselves and our people, how will we have fuel to light our fires of rage and resistance to the enormous force that wants to maim and kill us?
Don’t accept the hype of mass media claiming there is a specific way to resist. Don’t let the system dictate how you mourn, how you process your reaction, how you plan to act. Know that our power structure is saturated in all of media, interpersonal relations, even within. It seems so easy to look to our ancestors and to our elders and see that standing in peaceful vigil and also in peaceful protest worked at least a little for them. We also saw that violent protest caught attention of the masses. But we have to also acknowledge the things that didn’t work within those movements, lest we continue to repeat them.
Audre is a wonderful person to look to for motivation and inspiration of loving rage in the face of all of this terror. Here is a snippet of her wisdom
Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older-know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish.
-Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays & Speeches
We can benefit from her words here, and really attempt to build communities of loving rage, that could open a space of communication of our truths to power in unrelenting and unabashed ways.
There are plenty of online communities and publications that are actively speaking truths on the daily. A simple internet search of Black Lives Matter could get you on the track to finding said engaged spaces. I hope that we use these online resources in order to physically manifest collectivity and rally our fuel that is our love for ourselves and each other, which will be able to aid in our fight to break through the hierarchy and totem of flesh.
What better a time to think through these things if not today? Today is an anniversary of emancipation! Today is a day to think about our community and our achievements. Today, we think about how amazing our Black Lives Matters movement is and continues to be. We think about how many of us have degrees and are using that to further our independence and the advancement of our future generations. This is the time to think of when our ancestors were able to finally shed their slave cloths and adorn themselves in the clothes of common people (even though it was mostly the old clothes of their masters).
In celebration of this day in history, I write. I acknowledge our fucked up culture, and attempt to provide fuel to our loving fire of rage. I urge you to pause and think about your life in relation to all of this Black mutilation and death. I urge you to pause in meditation for those fallen before us, for those massacred in acts of terror, those who are systemically targeted. I ask that you turn on your favorite song and turn it up loud, send that energy into the atmosphere! It’s a time to meditate, celebrate, and love ourselves and one another, ESPECIALLY in the face of all this terror, violence, and death.
In this vein, I conclude with a meditation and a moment of celebration:
I urge each one of us here to reach down into that deep place of knowledge inside herself and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives there. See whose face it wears.
-Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays & Speeches
Prayer of My Flesh
Now I lay me down to sleep,
ravaged flesh of my people is drowning me.
If I shall die before I wake,
I pray we ne’er capitulate.
(written by me)
This is something I turn up real loud and dance-dance-dance to! Don’t you love Janelle?
Until Next Time,