Wow, Lin. Just...wow.
I hope all is well, that your book is selling, that life is beautiful. Glad you decided to share this deeply moving poem with the world.
I love this, Lin! I know what you mean about feeling like a contradiction. Mainly, though, I love the way you write.
So evocative! As a person of African descent, I felt this one deeply.
Some of this stuff needs to be said, but the fact that you say something, even using profanity, doesn't make it gospel. As in, it's possible for there to be truth on both sides of the coin--that black youth are given jail time, and longer sentences once sentenced, that white kids doing the same shit don't get. There are studies that prove this. Brock Turner is an example, and I'm not just talking about the rape. I mean his drug use--more white teens use drugs, but they do it without getting criminal records. It is also true (sorry to bust your bubble) that black kids are treated more harshly even in elementary school. I say this because studies prove it.
It's true that in the Civil Rights era, people were more focused, but they had an expectation that didn't quite pan out. Reconstruction was another thing that didn't quite work out. Sure, we shouldn't get disappointed, or let a few lynchings, some redlining, and the use of freeways to destroy neighborhoods bug us, never mind putting a few environmentally hazardous projects in our neighborhoods. To take my tongue out of my cheek, you still have to do what needs to be done, and riots never help anybody. They do draw attention, though, like your piece--throw a few bombs, get noticed.
There are trifling people in all communities, quite frankly, and EVERYBODY is trying to sell trinkets. If black people are the same as everybody else, black people are the same as everybody else. If we can't afford to have mediocre celebrities, well, why is that? Because of something we did to ourselves, or is there a way to trace it back somewhere? As in, are we the same as everybody else, and thus able to indulge in the same nonsense, or are we not? We're the same, but we are the only ones who point fingers, perhaps? Ever listen to Donald Trump? Or maybe you're saying that white people's houses are in order? People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. I get it. But everybody does it. Are you holding us to a higher standard, or saying our houses have glass that is more fragile? Why is that? Oh, because we're fucked up. We fucked ourselves up, correct? I don't usually use profanity, but hey, anything else isn't emphatic, apparently.
I agree that black people need to put our house in order, and can't blame everything on the white establishment. That doesn't make institutionalized racism a catchphrase. And yes, black people can be racists. It's myopic to suggest that the reins of power are equally accessible to everyone, however. They're not completely unavailable, but there are obstacles that women, for example, face that men don't. Some of this stuff isn't conjecture. It's been proven. Sorry to bust your bubble--well, I doubt your bubble can be busted.
The thing is, your rant made you feel better, I'm sure, but it's a rant. Venting is usually without nuance or context--it's just a primal scream of frustration. And you got some high fives. Great! Of course, with a different audience, I could go on a rant about the white man, and get a similar reaction. Neither would be entirely correct, because the corporations hold the true power. But who runs most of them?
Oh me? I have doctorate, never been in trouble with the law, two kids born post-wedlock, never had an abortion, graduated with the top grades in every subject in my almost all-white school. I'm one of the "good ones," from a "good" family. We worked hard, no matter what people called us. But we started out in a different place than some people do. Does that mean other people shouldn't work hard? No. I was going to mention some things, but you obviously dismiss anything that doesn't support your worldview. That's okay, you're clearly not alone.
I realize that all of this is being filed under bullshit. That's fine. The thing is, very few things are "black and white," and when we operate from a place of anger and hatred, no matter if the target looks like us or not, what is gained? You're embarrassed to be black. Okay, I see that. Is there something positive you can do? Then again, it's hard to motivate people when all you show them is contempt. I'm reading a book about trauma--turns out, that stuff is real, and affects different people differently, and sometimes their families, too. Whodathunk? Whatever, though.
So, to be clear, I do think black people who are doing self-destructive things need to take responsibility for their actions. There are organizers in the black community who work hard every day to elevate the people around them. I've known some of them. The fact that they call out "the system" doesn't negate the work they do. Maybe your circles of acquaintance are narrow? Maybe what you're really saying is that you believe in black people, and you know we can do better. It would be nice if you'd have mentioned that. Or maybe you're not interested in motivating people--you're just interested in pointing fingers. If you know anything about psychology, you realize that a rant like yours, directed at the subject, would result in a hearty, "fuck you," whether some of the points are valid or not.
Anyway, congratulations! You got a reaction, you're the POD, and there a lots of people who are very happy to read the kind of stuff you wrote. I think I'll dig my Nazi flag out of its mothballs, and hang it in my window, since all flags are cool.
You will receive an email with the link and instructions on how to reset you password.