My Lemonade Tastes Like Black Resistance
I tend to seek solace in music. These days I need a lot of solace.
I’m angry. I’m so fucking angry.
I’m tired. So damn tired.
I keep trying to talk it out, write it out, walk it out, fuck it out, yell it out, dance it out, ignore it out…and still it persists. I support charities, offer a haven for friends, seek out information, look for resources and it keeps coming back to this one thing: how do I break up with a country whose entire fortune and government was built on dehumanizing people who look like me?
Black people. African Americans. Negros. People of color. Brown skinned people. Hated people. Not quite people. Different kind of people. Seen as inferior people.
It is through this lens that I currently experience the world. And it is through this lens that I listened to Beyonce's album last week. Instead of hearing an album about the violation of trust by a lover, I heard an album of a woman being violated by her country.
It is a violation I definitely relate to...
Pray You Catch Me
White lies, white disdain, white tolerance. Every single time a murder, false imprisonment, harassment, every social injustice happens, we hear you. I hear you. I hear the rationales, the moral gymnastics, the bullshit. You dismiss us, our concerns, and don’t care. You encourage the idea that we are less and live it with every breath and think we are too stupid or naïve to realize it. And a part of us wants to ignore it. We want to pretend it doesn’t matter and just live our lives.
Then it happens again. And again. And again. And again. And again.
We feel it. We live it. We work with it. Work around it. Fight it. But eventually the degradation, the disrespect becomes too much. We recognize that the source of our pain isn’t internal. It’s external. It’s coming from a source we were taught to trust.
This country is my home. I want to love it. Want to respect it. But I can’t keep being “walked all over lately.” It’s killing me. It's killing us. So what are we going to do?
What can we do?
We get angry.
Don't Hurt Yourself
We are the invisible Americans. The Americans who are used, abused, stepped on, manipulated, and erased. You co-op everything from our inventions to our emotions and tell us we ain’t shit. Fuck you for that. You are not good enough for us.
You and your lies are the fucking problem and we don’t need you.
Everything you do to us damages you, America. Every injustice you inflict makes deeper scars on your disingenuous country. We have had to fight you for every fucking thing we have and still you lie and say we’ve done nothing. In the face of brutal terrorism at the hands of your government, we thrive. You have always needed us more than we ever needed you and you are about to realize that.
And then the rage burns out.
We circle the wagons. We stop worrying about what America thinks. We negotiate ways internally to divest from our bullshit nationalist lover.
We look for places to move, think about leaving this hole forever.
We re-up with community organizations, spawn new leaders, teach the young, move away from what it is to love a country that never loved us back.
We call you on your shit and give no fucks. You aren’t here for us, so we aren’t here for you. Not anymore.
We throw ourselves into the struggle. We focus on the new goal, the new hope.
We rally, we fight, we save, we plan.
Everything else? Irrelevant. We need to get some change to make a change. It’s no longer about you; it’s about getting out. Working to get out.
Nonstop. Until everything is numb.
When you are Black in America, you are born a soldier. If you don’t fight for yourself, you lose. If you don’t defend yourself, you lose. If you don’t learn how to live two-faced in a hostile culture that will do everything in its power to undermine you and diminish you, you will wilt and die.
Everything is stacked against you. Your neighborhoods will grow on poisoned earth. Your teachers will have less resources and little empathy. Your accomplishments will be called lies. Your abilities will be deemed magical, not intelligence or talent. Your tools will be ridiculed. Your struggle, ignored. If you are sensitive, you will be viewed as weak and will be abused. There will be no care for you unless you take it and when you take it, you will be branded a troublemaker, a criminal, a victim, or a corpse. You will need to choose which one you will be and how you will fight. At some time, you may be all of those things.
And if you are a Black woman, the patriarchy will do all the same shit to you, except your enemy will look like your daddy. Choose wisely. Fight bravely. Survive.
Ironically, many of us don’t want to leave. This is our home. It’s where our families are. Our friends. Our networks. It is a place that despite its glaring problems is home. There is history here that while having happened in oppression, isn’t about being oppressed.
There is love here despite the hate. As much as we want to say this county is shit, I look at my friends, family, the interesting people I’ve met and I don’t want to leave them. I don’t want to lose all this good in my life…and yet this country actively kills my hope. It actively tries to kill my voice. It actively tries to kill the future of people like me.
Can I live in a country I cannot trust or forgive?
My anger, my rage, my pain, my sorrow, my joy, my hope…none of it is static. I build it and something washes it away.
My rage can dissipate at a hug from my husband. My joy can die at the hands of the media.
My sorrow builds and builds and builds, but I have enough love in my life that it weakens my resolve and I sit in the wet sand, sculpting another masterpiece called hope with the full knowledge that another wave is coming to wash it away.
Does America have it in itself to be honest? Can this country admit and work to change its wrongdoings? Its policies? Its “law and order” that functions as a militarized mafia?
I should leave. This place is toxic to me. But I don’t want to leave. And I don’t want to stay, but there are so many wonderful things I’d have to give up…I don’t want to go.
I don’t want to go.
If I stay, I commit to the fight.
Should I stay, I decide my terms.
The rage work was not in vain. I carved my path, showed me the way.
It gave me community. Showed me I wasn't alone. It helped build my agenda and now I know I don't have to do it alone.
And so we fight. You will hear us because we will make you hear us. You will see us because we will make you see us. We are here. This is our country. We are a part of America and will not be silenced or restrained anymore. We will be heard.
Your anti-Black rhetoric will be destroyed. It will be quelled. Those who deny our humanity will be outed, ostracized, and marginalized. Human rights are for everyone except those who will not share them.
Justice is coming. Its song is spreading like fire and will burn down the houses of oppression. Burn them to the ground. This nation will change. It will either openly own its racism and oppression or it will kill everyone who fights it.
And they’ve tried, over and over and over.
Harry and Harriett Moore, James Chaney, Medgar Evans, Malcolm X, Rev. George W. Lee, Addie May Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Bobby Hutton, Fred Hampton. This fight has martyred many.
But we keep fighting. Keep making strides. Black women and men throughout history have not stopped. We will not be stopped.
There is no trust between us now but we hope. The truth hides and with it is our love for this country and its people. But we hope.
I want this love. This patriotic love. I want a country I can be proud to love. I want this country to heal. But we're not ready. Not yet. America’s denial runs too deep, its lies still too prevalent, and its power still too corrupt. White America will not see itself and until it does, there are no scars, just wounds flowing with the blood of the oppressed and the tears of its victims.
Will white America release its pride? Will they admit its faults and work to repair them? Or will they continue the lies and the violence used to hide them, breeding hate like pus, poisoning the blood of this nation. As the world’s transparency grows, so does America's rot. Tell me, white America, when will you own your truth?
I doubt it will happen during my lifetime. But I endure. We endure.
We fight. We bleed. We burn. We die.
And our survivors continue the war.
I am a soldier in the war for myself, my people. I fight for me and I fight for them.
I am an unapologetic Black woman.
I am angry Black woman.
I am a strong Black woman.
Complicated Black woman.
I Live. I Love. I Fight. I Cry. I Break. I Heal. I Strive. I Achieve. I Succeed.
I throw dirt in the eyes of those who would hide me.
I love myself with pride.
I dare to be free.