ink for thought: 10.09

Saturday, 31 October 2009

but you don't really know, do you?

it's a touchy subject but I'm in the mood to push some buttons, and first, just so we're clear - the next person to tell me they 'know what it's like being black'.....beware.

I mean, dammit people...growing up around black folks gives you as much insight into our lives as growing up around cars makes you run on gas. just because as a kid your loud caribbean neighbour invited you over to dinner 2/3 times a week, your dad let you listen to his UB40 collection and you smoked your first roll up behind the bicycle sheds at 14, that does not make you James Meredith, heck, it doesn't even make you Uncle Remus.

let's look at the flip side for a minute. I've lived in england for a little while and so I can honestly claim to have grown up around a lot of white folks. believe me, I don't know what it's like to be white. I don't know what it's like to walk into a store and not have security follow me around. I don't know what it's like to run pass a police man, trying to catch a bus, and not have him try to stop me. I don't know what it's like to stand in a playground talking to friends and not have a teacher split us up for 'conspiring some sort of mischief'. I don't know what it's like to be called to the front of the queue and served in front of patrons waiting patiently before me. I don't know what it's like to be preferred for promotion, not pulled over for driving my new (-ish) car or not asked for class A illicit substances by random strangers.

my point is this, I don't know what it's like to be white. and that's not a bad thing, because I'm not. it's our differences that make us who we are. but it's rude and condescending to assume that being black is the food I eat, the clothes I wear and the music I listen to. as if being black is a trend to be analysed and adapted to.

being black is a history and a heritage, a birthright and a responsibility, it is to be borne and to be gifted, it is to be lived as much as it lives through us. simply put, being black is a way of being.

I believe this is the same for any other people group. to know it, is to be it.

so don't tell me your-brother's-best-friend's-cousin-went-to-school-with-a-guy-whose-sister-played-on-the-same-hockey-team-as-a-girl-whose-brother-shared-a-taxi-with-a-black-girl-once, so you what it's like to be black. it's ignorant and demeaning.

and for the record, I don't have anything against white folks, some of my best friends are white.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

a long time coming

I suppose we should have seen this coming. too many days have gone with not a word to share between us, not a glance to sustain or a nourishing touch.

and so in the still of the night I turn to say goodbye. I turn to face you, to face all our unspoken woes, to face fears and insecurities, to face myself. I dig deep to find the courage that has never really been there because I know that unless we end this perpetual cycle of emptiness, this emotional vacuum where we go through motions like hollowed shells of our dreams, unless swift decisive action is taken, and soon, we continue to doom ourselves.

but I hesitate. I always hesitate. I'm afraid it's the end. odd, because I'm fairly sure it is but if I hear you say it then that'll only make it more true. I'm afraid that if we really look at this, somehow it's my fault. I'm afraid I've let you down. I'm afraid you'll leave.

I can't continue with all this fear. I'm dying for lack of peace and fear intends to finish the job. I contend with this formidable fear daily and, like sisyphus, daily it beckons me to begin again. something must be done.

you don't speak to me anymore. it could be that you are equally tormented, that you feel that peculiar pressure that comes with a growing uneasiness. like high tension on taut strings warning of danger, promising catastrophe yet unnamed. perhaps your heart yearns for me to speak and break this spell over us, renewing the beauty that was us.

still wrestling in my head and protesting in my heart I turn to you. I turn to you and open my eyes slowly, hoping to see your smile and hear you say 'it's okay'. but as my eyes focus in the darkness I realise something I guess I've known all along.

I turn to see that you're no longer here.

I suppose I should have seen this coming.