It’s been a minute! All drama aside, life has hit me hard—2016 really sucked in particular. Not to mention, the current condition of our country is an even heavier blow. Now I’m ready to find joy in looking at my story through sarcasm and satire, the transformation of pain into good “tea.”
In particularly shitty times I find myself watching something F.A.B.U.—Black. Dream Girls is a typical point of return. Each time I watch this production (play or movie), depending on what I’m going through at the time, I gain a new perspective from its diverse displays of black-adversity. While it’s filled with takeaways for how to understand and move forward, it never ceases to leave me with one sole message: when you are black, systemically oppressed life is at all times multi-layered. This play encapsulates a common struggle of black people, you know, in our “failing inner-cities” specifically women, and our adverse journey to “make it” to the top amidst societal-systemic functioning pushing us very far down, and how this ‘system’ sneaks into our own ways of loving each other.
White people get all fragile when we take what is meant for us and analyze it as a teaching moment. The deeper message in our work and the notion that everything is about race (which is clearer than ever) is (for some reason) threatening. My message is this: regardless of who you are, or who you voted for—which, for this past election at least, seem to be interchangeable constructs—it’s an uncertain time to be an American. And really, what does that word even mean now? Twenty-eight years of my life, and it’s the first time I cannot answer what I thought was such a simple question. Our collective fear of accepting change to produce equity and simple equality in all systems has fueled the entrenched white supremacists who won’t accept that our flawed history doesn’t equate to who we (Americans) are today or how best to function as a society where all can succeed.
The bits of unity that we (black people/minorities) have been riding on—that we’re safe to walk the street of our neighborhoods in white America and have our rights protected, have all been demolished in one election season. We lose as a nation when we accept “leaders” who “represent” those who have no compassion or love for others.
The fact that I find myself repeatedly returning to a play based on the struggle of black women during Motown speaks to the notion that heartbreak and healing signify unity. The devastation caused by this election season and Trump’s presidency makes me feel connected to the struggle of black people/minorities in the US, more than ever before. This resurrection of all our unhealed wounds is painful to watch, and it has changed our country’s culture forever.
This year at your holiday parties, when something unacceptable is said about black people, gay people, Trans people, immigrants, or women by a loved one who may have voted for Trump, reflect on why you do or don’t denounce their comments. What privileges do you hold that allow you to sit on the sidelines, silent, while those you claim to care about are belittled, disrespected, and disenfranchised? How is it that a platform of racism, hailed by white supremacists, spear-headed by a man who still has not publicly denounced these associations, has won the most respected job in the land? A big portion of that vitriol is due to those who remain silent, failing to use their privilege to break down hatred, even when it exists in their own homes.
—Follow Chaz @Chz_Phd