Sunday, March 27, 2016

Amen!

A social media friend and powerful Black community activist - whom I respect - posted a "resurrection" picture and a pray today. She ask's for Amen! If we believe it is a powerful symbol. Here is my response. Please take a minute to read beyond the first paragraph. It is not an attack. I responded out of love and connection.
Amen!
It is a powerful symbol of white supremacy that America has been praying to since its inception and Europeans have been using since Constantine in 325 AD. Whites from the Klan to the Presidency to the Military have been inspired by this symbol to invade, kill, capture, and dominate and abuse us.
We - Black people - infused the symbol with African spiritual (not religious) meanings and ideas of unconditional love, righteousness, authenticity, the one-ness of humanity, etc. This is what we wish that they'd pray to get filled with. I get that, and wish the same too.
The symbol/story for them is a tool of domination. For America (and Europeans in general) domination long, long ago became their surrogate - a substitute for the vaulted spiritual transcendence that WE seek.
If I weren't crying so much for Laquon McDaniels and the Saints of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, I'd cry for them for choosing the puny domination of others as a spiritual goal over the one-ness with others.
But I'm at risk for using the spiritual high-ground afforded by my African culture (secretly passed to us under the umbrella of this symbol) to blind me to their active use of the symbol to maim. I'm also at risk becoming numb to the abuse and ignoring the cost to me and succeeding generations of Black people when I do so.
Our ancestors were miracle workers to figure how to apply the healing salve of our culture during captivity by hiding the ideas and the practices in the WAY we approached and worshiped. To touch the words or the symbols would have meant certain death, so they infused them with new meaning - real spiritual meaning for us. I'm grateful for them keeping us infused with values that allowed us to make community out of chaos, brutality and hostility.
It was a temporary fix. Some didn't get the ancestral memo - It was a temporary fix! Today, the same symbol not only inspires others to maim us, it provides a doorway for us to access white culture and for white cultural vultures to access us.
With each succeeding generation that access has eroded the African values and practices that have kept us - as my Grand Ma, Hettie Tucker, would say "clothed in our right minds." This symbol which was fashioned into a secret portal to African values, is now a highway for Eurocentric, hedonistic, misogynistic, materialistic, and perverted values. To a few, the symbol even has become a justification for our abuse. My grandmother, and her mother, and her mother are weeping.
They are also praying for a resurrection of those African values that held us and healed us. She knows that times have changed, that oppression has changed its tactics, and that we need a new container, a new portal.
I'm praying that we read the memo "it was a temporary fix", take the baton, and run our leg of the race to victory for our people and the world - in that order.
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