I sit here with tears in my eyes understanding and resisting the conundrum of forgiveness, hate, love and right. Over the past year our country the United States of America has been divided among racial lines, law enforcement, poor and rich, conservative and liberal. Last week we mourned as a man went into what we deem to be sacred space and executed nine people. He walked into a historically black church and killed nine black people becuase they were black. Those are facts. I am saddened for the families that have to bury their loved ones. In true American mass media, and social media form people did not mind sharing their opinions. Some looked at this event and were utterly horrified. Some looked at it and made statements such as "terrorism? get a grip, not everything is about race" "we should be forgiving him." Yet when radicals did what they did in France earlier this year many people stood in Solidarity "JeSuit Charlie" could be seen all over. Yet when this horror in our own backyard takes place we are divided. We are quick to forgive, we stand in solidarity IFF the victims behave in a respactable way. For to show "negative" emotion is to be an animal or a thug. We are arguing over a flag, a symbol of hate which in my opinion is not an argument. It represents racism and hate but no less than the current flag is a representation of the same. I know I am unAmerican and if I don't like it I should leave. I'll save that debate for another blog.
My heart hurts because as a black woman I know what it is like to be black in America. I know and recognize that I have incredible African ancestors that endured so much so that I can enjoy the freedoms I have today. However at the end of the day it will come back to the color of my skin. At the age of 11 I was in battle over something stupid with the youngest of the family I was staying with at the time. She was mad, she was steaming, her face was red, she spit at me and said "I don't want no nigger spitting on me." So not only did she say it when she was mad, her and a friend had been talking about this and who I am... A Nigger. This is the pain, if I make someone mad it will come down to my blackness. This is not the only instance where I've made someone mad and they pulled out racial epithets to... I guess put me in my place.
As a Christian I am taught to forgive and I can do that. But I don't forget, I won't forget. There is a contingent of people feelin pretty good because the families and loved ones of the victims in Charleston have forgiven this young man. There are no riots, looting or protest. Because that is the respectable thing to do. Respectability always makes our society comfortable. In forgiveness we can still be righteously indignant much like Denmark Vessey when he led riots for freedom. Respect to the authenticity of respect. However I have a distaste for the wicked alterations of "respectability" because it is telling me how to live and be accepted in a culture that boasts itself in being found on Christian principles. I am not accepted for who I am. I am only accepted when I am respectable in the confines of a system inherited through slavery and supremacy. The same system that used the same Christianity to justify the evils of Slavery. The same system and faith that we use against one another if we are not behaving in a way that is right and appropriate according to "biblical principles" ... It's a conundrum we preach love but it comes across as hate. The system is under pressure and under pressure there is a fight to keep the good ol narrative of America. Anything outside of that narrative is defended in the most unloving ways at times.
I am confident in who I am. I know that I am loved and accepted in the eyes of my creator. I also know that people who spew hate disguised as love are also loved and accepted in the eyes of their creator. The conundrum... At the end of the day are you listening? If I tell you I am hurting will you help me? Furthermore do you have to know me to not judge me and help me or Love me, accept me for who I am? Will you challenge yourself to think deeper? I am speaking from lived experience not an experience filtered through the channels of mass media, educational rhetoric and a narrative that works for my advantage. There is no narrative in the context of the American narrative in which I win. For that to be a reality means that we start living and believing differently.