•My Mask is White and Violent•
I grew up in a small southern town, which made for a small southern world.
It was hard to see over the mountain that divided us from civilization and news of the outside was only beamed in from Planet Fox.
But as I looked through my mom’s bookshelf and realized Rush Limbaugh didn’t speak for me, I knew I needed to break away. At 18 I left, so far never to return. Since, I’ve lived in a new place every 2-3 years, mostly big diverse cities, and I’ve learned something important at every stop.
Like where to buy the best queso para freir in Charlotte.
Or which streets divide the still segregated neighborhoods of Chicago.
Or how gentrification affects hardworking people in Atlanta.
Or the spot where Ell Persons was lynched in Memphis.
One night I sat in my small apartment above a Mexican grocery store and argued with a black friend about Trayvon Martin and realized I was wrong. About everything.
This IS America. My America. And yours.
I lacked history. Perspective. Context. I only saw the back of America’s head and thought I was in love. Her real face hidden from me by false pretenses, half-truths, and flat-out lies.
This America, the real America, was illuminated for me by incandescent prophets like Malcolm X. And Huey Newton. And James Baldwin. And WEB DuBois.
They say history is written by the oppressors…I mean victors, but you can still find perspective if you know where to look, and this is important…. are willing to do the work yourself.
You can learn things like context.
Like how people aren’t grieving today JUST over one man’s death. It’s a sad, long history of oppression and violence, and with each tragedy it’s unfurled like a scroll before the collective eyes of those willing or cursed enough to look.
I could go on, but IG limits my words. I’m still deconstructing my heart, but maybe you grew up like me. Know theres history behind this unrest. And refusal to learn at this point is not only insulting to people you call fellow human beings, or maybe even brothers and sisters in Christ, but it’s willful ignorance.
Which any lawyer will tell you is a poor defense before man and God.