Are you he or him?
If you’re a she, her, they, or them, your story is not entirely yours to write or shape.
It is ridiculous, yet I don’t know which is more ridiculous. The efforts to restrict knowledge of history or the actual history itself. Last week I saw a meme that basically said, “The people who spit on Ruby Bridges when she went to school are the grandparents who are fervently trying to hide this fact from their grandchildren while they’re in school.”
I believe that this reality, the history, and the attempted coverup have all graduated from ridiculous to absurd. It leaves me incredulous, anxious and prone to rage.
The more that I know, learn, and come to understand about the history of my people in these yet-to-be-United-States inspires a mixture of emotions—a cocktail if you will.
I marvel at how my ancestors and forebears overcame, survived, and even thrived in societies and systems that were designed to oppress and suppress them, and ultimately, to cut their hearts out. That cocktail of emotions is ripe with brown liquor and we’ll call that the rage—soulful and percolating.
No cocktail would be complete without a dash of wit or wisdom to facilitate your enjoyment. In my case Blue Curaçao is the necessary dash that provides a colorful perspective for my lens that keeps me cool and takes the edge off of that raging brown liquor. Of course, Blue Curaçao and brown liquor aren’t amicable bedfellows and therein lies the challenge.
The dis-ease that comes with the learning, learning and understanding of our uncomfortable history in these still-not-United-States—well, there does seem to be enough of a consensus on the resilience of White Supremacy, anti-Blackness, and the corrupting and withering influences of Christianity.
Speaking of, Christianity would be the bitters in the cocktail. These bitters come in different intensities and flavor profiles, yet they are necessary in certain concoctions. Their flavor woven into every sniff, sip, and gulp of the cocktail. For some, they make the cocktail palatable; whereas, for others, they kill the whole damn thing.
In these 20 minutes, I will not have time to explore the garnish, the napkin, or the shape of the glass, but just know that they, too, are a part of the whole experience. Whether you are able to sip the cocktail and maintain an attenuating perspective on life and history wherein you’re mindful of the presence of the ancestors or you gulp with a persistent thirst to escape a crushing and disheartening reality is a function of your mettle.
God forgives and forgiveness is divine. So, Christianity tells us that good Christians turn the other cheek, forgive—and hopefully, forget— the trespasses against them, and move forward in love. Yet the hypocrisy of the Christianity they force-fed to the world is betrayed by the belief of many white people that once they lose power they’ll be treated like they treated countless others throughout history. Seems to me that many self-described Christians have fallen woefully short of the gospel.
Each day I struggle to not view Christianity as a scourge and curse upon the children of the African Diaspora. It holds us in place, yet appeals to our higher selves. It nurtures and sustains many of us in the face of hatred, systemic disenfranchisement, and sinister efforts to strip us of hope. It inspires us to love and teaches us to be loved, but it also affirms spoken and unspoken supremacy in the minds of too many White people.
Are you made of sturdy enough stuff to dance with the devil that brought you or prostrate for the God that comforts you? Did you know that that God is embraced and extolled by your opponents because it provides permission and justification for their atrocities and denials? How do you see it? How’s that cocktail tasting?