What does "Christian" mean today in America? Not for those who consider themselves followers of Christ, but for those who do not: When you hear "Christian," what words or images come to mind? Let's get real here. People see 81% (voted for Trump) and 76% (approved of the travel ban) and white evangelical Christians get … Continue reading percentages
We woke today in different frames of mind. Some celebrate. Some weep. Some lack the words to capture the complicated thoughts twisting inside them. I wonder how history will look back on this day. Will it mark the day as anything memorable? Will this day take up a corner in the national tome, only a … Continue reading the inaugurating call
If two black films getting popular is such an anomaly that they can be treated as interchangeable, even though they focus on different subject matter, how indistinguishable are black people in everyday life?
Dear Black and Latinx family, I write this for you because I rarely do. This reality sunk in a few months ago during lunch with a former supervisor. We were discussing Tal Nehisi-Coates' Between the World and Me, pointing out how striking and vital it was that he so unapolegetically directs his thoughts to black people. In contrast, I realized that much of what I write has another audience waiting beyond the curtain. My subconscious has been molded by expectation and pressure to write for this audience, to teach and challenge, to elucidate and defend, to appease. Yes, appease because I fear being barred from the parties of discourse where I am viewed as exceptional--not one of "Those People." The unfettered desire races around the mind room where I hide it: I want to belong there--fully.
I think that black and brown people, my minority brothers and sisters of Asian and indigenous descent, we should not be ashamed of the interludes where we don't have everything together--where we are messy and unfiltered and simply trying to recuperate and process all we are doing and desire to do. We need to prioritize our mental and emotional health, despite the demands placed on us by our own sense of responsibility and our broken world.
What does it mean when a black man, a black woman, a black child cannot drive home, walk from the store, go up the stairs, enjoy a playground without being framed as a threat? We may not have signs that say Whites Only or Blacks Only in our stores and bathrooms anymore, but that doesn't mean this world belongs any more to Black people than it used to. Racism has crafted insidious new ways of fortifying itself in our nation, and by convincing white people that its symptoms (urban poverty, gang warfare, substance abuse, high incarceration rates, unjust police shootings, mental illness) root itself in black culture and personal choice, white people have the freedom to avoid confronting the systemic and historical elements of the problem.
I'm tired of seeing the suffering black body. The TV screen blinks off, taking with it the image of yet another poor African child staring at me with wide, hollowed eyes. The melancholic instrumental in the background fades, and I am left counting how many infomercials, news stories, and movie trailers I'd seen that week … Continue reading the flesh to my bones