Today in Post-Race History: Reminders from July 13, 2013
I don’t know what to write. I don’t have the words. I think what a lot of us must be feeling, just days after the Zimmerman acquittal, exists on the very edge of language, or just beyond its grasp. Frustrated, helpless, angry, sad all inadequately describe this country’s latest fuck you to a black boy’s life and by extension, black people. In so many ways. I don’t know. But this is what I do know:
Understand this. The Zimmerman verdict was no bit of nostalgia. Though I understand the sentiment, this is no reminder of segregation or life for black people 200 years ago. This is about 2013. Now. Today. The present. And the more we understand that the Zimmerman acquittal was neither anachronism nor anomaly, the better we understand the ways in which racism gives this thing we call the American project oxygen.
Understand that if being human includes justifying violently ending black life, then maybe we don’t want to aspire towards humanity. Maybe five-fifths ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Understand Guitar Bains.
Understand the very fact that black people have breath is a threat to this country, especially if such breathing does not occur behind bars, behind microphones, or on playing fields.
Understand that whiteness, white supremacy is killing every one of us a bit each day.
Understand that aspiring towards whiteness and/or black respectability will not save you.
Understand that your survival is an act of defiance.
Understand that James Baldwin ain’t never lied.
Understand that the justice system worked: Racist institutions support racist acts.
Understand that this latest track on a 400+ year dis record might mean it’s time for black folks to figure out a way to just say, “Well, fuck you, too.”
Understand that controlling and destroying black bodies is an integral function of the state. Therefore, it is counterintuitive to expect and/or request the state to protect said bodies.
As days go by, the less satirical my modest proposal seems. The Hunger Games is real. And black folks are tributes–daily. Trayvon Martin is currently the most notable name. I hope we don’t forget it.
I wish peace to Trayvon’s family, and black people everywhere–wherever and however we can find it. And I hope we do.