I promised I'd think on my drive and respond, so here I am, sitting at my momma's kitchen table and wanting to share something with you. First--I'm sorry. I came into your space and your pain and I pushed my own narrative instead of honoring yours. I thought that I was doing something good, trying to reach you in what I saw as the beginning of despair, but that wasn't what you were asking for and it wasn't for me to give unasked, so I'm owning that intrusion.
You asked "why should we love the people and culture that make black death possible? probable. inevitable." and I don't know any other answer than the one that I've already given: that, for me, to not love, to not walk in love daily would kill me from within. Maybe I'm too close to whiteness: my ex and father of my son is whiter than white white, and I've been thinking a lot lately about what that meant when I let him into my body, about what that will mean for our son. I am now bound for life to whiteness--not that I haven't been bound to it forever, since the day I was born and they put "negro" on my birth certificate. I did the same thing to my son when, in my unthinking drug-addled state I responded to the nurse's question about his race for the birth certificate. I bound him to whiteness by saying that he was black, by answering at all. Could I have refused? Maybe. I don't know. I'm afraid to find out.
I wonder, too, what would have happened had we, post-Emancipation, been allowed to thrive? If whiteness had been able to just leave us the fuck alone and let us make our way? We were strong. We were working and loving and making families and reveling in the joy of being alive and free; we were ready to take advantage of what was here for us, ready to buy into the whole shebang for a taste of what they have. There's a book in that thought experiment, and my pessimism tells me to take it to a really dark place. And that's too much, maybe, for this question, but it's what I've been thinking about since yesterday afternoon.
I don't know how we can escape whiteness to build something else. I want to blow it up from inside, make it see its own cancer, turn its children against it, burn its buildings and salt its fields so that nothing grows there ever again. But that desire comes from love, I think, a tough love to be sure, but a love that sustains me and gives me hope and strength to walk onto that campus day after day and try to love those young people into destroying the very thing they think is necessary for their survival.
Make no mistake, though: I do not subscribe to the notion that we must freely and immediately--if ever--forgive and forget. Loving demands that I not forget and that I not allow them or anyone to forget, ever. Loving demands that I do my own necessary revision and that I demand that of others, too.
In solidarity from my solitude,