“Trayvon’s blackness wasn’t something he could hide, so it wouldn’t have mattered whether he’d worn a hoodie or a t-shirt that fateful night. It mattered that he was black, and it mattered that the person who shot him had a vendetta out for black men before Trayvon ever set foot in the neighborhood. It matters that in 2012, there are more black men in prison today than those who were enslaved in 1850. It matters that blacks, in particular black men, are overrepresented in the criminal justice system and underrepresented in colleges. It matters that the black unemployment rate is nearly double that of unemployment for the general population. It matters that blacks are less likely to be screened, diagnosed, and treated for preventable diseases, less likely to own homes, less likely to receive research grants, and more likely to retire in poverty than their white counterparts. It matters that blacks are less likely than whites to abuse drugs, but more likely to be convicted of drug crimes. None of these statistics are due to a genetic predisposition to violence, poor health and underachievement, instead as a direct result of the disenfranchisement of blacks that has occurred in this country for more than 200 years at the hands of slavery, Jim Crow Laws, discrimination, and the institutionalized racism in our schools, banks, businesses, courts, and prisons that has torn apart our families and fractured our community. Just like Trayvon Martin, race mattered for Amadou Diallo, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Emmett Till, and hundreds more we will never know the name of who died because of their skin color.”—Angela Davis (via in-car-nation)
Wouldn’t you rather be known as a great exponent of literature rather than as an African American writer?
It’s very important to me that my work be African American; if it assimilates into a different or larger pool, so much the better. But I shouldn’t be asked to do that. Joyce is not asked to do that. Tolstoy is not. I mean, they can all be Russian, French, Irish or Catholic, they write out of where they come from, and I do too. It just so happens that that space for me is African American; it could be Catholic, it could be Midwestern. I’m those things too, and they are all important.
“We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips we lay on ourselves- the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and addictions of all kinds- never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake.”—Pema Chodron, Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living (via shakingthelawbythetail)
“That women are joining in the ongoing disassembling of my appearance is salient. Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it. This abnormal obsession with women’s faces and bodies has become so normal that we (I include myself at times—I absolutely fall for it still) have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly. We are unable at times to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other girls and women.”—Ashley Judd in The Daily Beast
The difference between poetry and rhetoric is being ready to kill yourself instead of your children.
I am trapped on a desert of raw gunshot wounds and a dead child dragging his shattered black face off the edge of my sleep blood from his punctured cheeks and shoulders is the only liquid for miles and my stomach churns at the imagined taste while my mouth splits into dry lips without loyalty or reason thirsting for the wetness of his blood as it sinks into the whiteness of the desert where I am lost without imagery or magic trying to make power out of hatred and destruction trying to heal my dying son with kisses only the sun will bleach his bones quicker.
A policeman who shot down a ten year old in Queens stood over the boy with his cop shoes in childish blood and a voice said “Die you little motherfucker” and there are tapes to prove it. At his trial this policeman said in his own defense “I didn’t notice the size nor nothing else only the color”. And there are tapes to prove that, too.
Today that 37 year old white man with 13 years of police forcing was set free by eleven white men who said they were satisfied justice had been done and one Black Woman who said “They convinced me” meaning they had dragged her 4’10” black Woman’s frame over the hot coals of four centuries of white male approval until she let go the first real power she ever had and lined her own womb with cement to make a graveyard for our children.
I have not been able to touch the destruction within me. But unless I learn to use the difference between poetry and rhetoric my power too will run corrupt as poisonous mold or lie limp and useless as an unconnected wire and one day I will take my teenaged plug and connect it to the nearest socket raping an 85 year old white woman who is somebody’s mother and as I beat her senseless and set a torch to her bed a greek chorus will be singing in 3/4 time “Poor thing. She never hurt a soul. What beasts they are.”
“I find the erotic such a kernel within myself. When released from its intense and constrained pellet, it flows through and colors my life with a kind of energy that heightens and sensitizes and strengthens all my experience.”— Audre Lorde (via flaneur-)