A brief meditation in the wake of Charlottesville, and the running from, onto that rests within my veins
What I’m about to say comes from a place of genuine honesty:
I don’t know what its like to exist within a movement without having done the work of situating myself within its history and the history of an identity as it moves across time and space.
Any identity I have come into and taken up as my own, I’ve had to do that critical inquiry work of understanding where I am in order to understand where I want to go. For my own sanity as well as curiosity. I’ve known since childhood that the blueprints to black liberation rests in history books, in letters, memoirs, fiction, poetry, art, dance, music, and the memories of people in my family. That they are to be embodied, learned from, improved upon, expanded, and even exploded when necessary.
My time clock for white supremacist violence, terrorism, etc begins 500 years ago when enslavement attempted to obliterate my ancestors ways of knowing and naming. While some things have fallen away and probably can’t easily be recovered, resistance remains incredibly fertile.
But it takes being grounded in my spirit, my ancestors, who I am temporally in order to understand how rich and moist the soil actually is.
So when I see people trying to figure out how we reframe master narratives on white supremacist violence; how we use language, how we construct stories about ourselves, how we engage the work of mythmaking and world building-all without going back in time?
I can’t help but think that maybe the reason you don’t know where you’re going or you don’t see an end in sight is because you don’t know where it actually begins.
More to the point, I don’t know how you build a bridge of solidarity when you know nothing of the landmass and its people you’re trying to connect with. How can you fight white supremacy when longstanding black and indigenous traditions of resistance to it are completely lost on you?
I have it on authority, on high, that black resistance to white supremacy, its violence and terrorism, on this patch of dirt begins 500 years ago. The only way I can know that is to revisit history at the same time I live in the present so that I can move forward. Some folks call this Sankofa. I’d hazard a guess to say there are many names for this form of cosmological praxis that runs so deep within many of us.
I don’t know what its like to want to rush forward without moving backwards first. And given the propensity for erasing, omitting, and ignoring the work that has been done when we don’t take the time to do that study, in the name of the moment that is, I really don’t want to know what its like.