Friday, June 12, 2015

On Silence and Being Myself

This piece concludes my written reaction to the matter of Rachel Dolezal and identity politics 

Choosing not to speak/write on every issue facing the black community is a matter of sanity at some point. So much goes on that is painful and heartbreaking. I know it goes on and I feel powerless and hopeless at times. Being a black woman and knowing we are at the bottom rung in consideration of just about everything, even within the black community makes it hard not to internalize. Seemingly inescapable stereotypes this, she had it coming that, there is just no end to the amount of victim-blaming black people and especially black women continue to endure. Negative energies abound for black women. And of course I don’t have a right to be angry about any of it. Don’t ever tell me that. Rage is the subtext when it comes to matters of the blackness and black lives.

Then there is the matter of being myself. I like to think I do well in abiding by the value of being myself, being my genuine self. In fact it is a source of pride. Then stuff like this [Rachel Dolezal] happens where self-doubt is re-awoken. As I ponder my status and the eventual reality that I will need to establish myself as a professional, I wonder about my life chances. Is being myself enough? Will people take me seriously? I play the part and follow the obvious rules but always as myself, which is dependent on comfort level with my surroundings. But I know following the rules isn’t enough; being respectable isn’t enough. I know I can be weird and that my cadence in speech is readily made fun of. My blackness is questioned because how I present somehow seems inauthentic.

How is it that someone can pretend their way into blackness and privilege and a good life yet black women like me are viewed with suspicion and/or mistrust? Why is the genuine continually passed over in favor of false pretenses? Being taken as I am seems too much to ask for the status quo as well as the disenfranchised who prefer the status quo. How am I supposed to be optimistic knowing of this reality?  

I will do what I can in as good of spirit as I can muster; but faith in self and the universe is hard to come by at times; especially considering the daily reality facing the disenfranchised, black people and black women especially. I continue to resist the self-fulfilling prophecy regardless, but it is hard. Writing/speaking to this on the regular is hard. I need a break from the anger, from the powerlessness, from reality. Such continual anger is not good for the soul. It doesn’t help me relate to others, especially the ones who play into my triggers with their microaggressions.

I need a break. So I am silent. I enjoy the company of my son and the positive, hopeful, uplifting people in my life. I engage in the realm of happiness any chance I get because it is so hard to be without it. Don’t think I am one to trade my blackness in. That would suggest I am for the status quo and for oppression. I wish oppression on no one and will work to alleviate it, to end it. Those close to me know and understand the dialectic involved in this struggle. They know and understand my desire for peace, love, and being. They don’t mistake me for being neutral because of it. Being angry about these things is tiresome and not a space I want to be in for the rest of my life, short as it may be at this point. That is why I am silent on most issues others discuss most of the time. Don’t misunderstand my silence as a lack of solidarity.

Doesn’t mean my love is not there for us. It’s just a space I’d rather not dwell as I write, yet it is all I can seem to write about when I do freely express. So I suppose it is a space I am attempting to refuse despite my intimacy with it. 


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