Thursday, April 5, 2007

Do Not Look

Do not look at me, supposed ally.
Do not look at me as I burn at the racism that appears on the screen while you laugh at my blaze.
I do not know or care if you have had the experiences painted on my skin that inform my hurt and my proposed actions when I experience racism or bigotry. But do not look at me simply to enjoy my outrage.
Do not mention these incidents to provoke a response that you will not share or even try to understand. The casual and throwaway reference dismisses the power of our potential response.
This is not an icebreaker.
And that blackface party is not the weather. And I certainly am not helpless to the forecast that is Global Racism 24/7.

Your snorts roll back The Movement as you legitimize the type of racism that creeps and oozes its way into the national consciousness making everyone say,
“Oh, you’re just too sensitive. And seriously Josh, if this is racist then how did it get past the executives.” You know, the ones who never look like their suits. Who never have quite anything to say when attacked except for that classic white finger pointed to the token who okayed it too. Better yet, it was his idea.

And if you are of color the irony is as rich as a dollop of cream in some black coffee.
Listen, I am not forcing you into the trenches. Lord knows you have to want to be there.
But I am asking you to reject the reproduction of racism in any form where you are stationed and, perhaps, to be an ally when I shout out.

And if you say no, then fine. If we are too different now forty-four years after fighting for the same thing, then so be it. That will be our legacy as the “post” generation. But don’t revel in what you would say is my obsession with my oppression. Do not toy with my mission of raising racial and diversity consciousness (with a focus on revision and social justice) everywhere that does not escape me.
Do not hide your discomfort, disapproval, or lack of commitment.
But whatever you do, do not look and laugh while I am burning because these dark eyes will someday spirit you away to the depths I have reclaimed as my liberation.
In this gaze you will find where I long for you to be.
Home in a world of displacement.
Taken not by a look, but an understanding.