Since it’s Valentine’s Day (in the States), I’ve been thinking about various types of love besides romantic love.
I’ve been quiet and angry since the election, quiet and angry since inauguration, and just…quiet and angry.
Then, I think of the Ring of Fire I now spend 10 months out of the year in and I think of volcanos. They may be quiet for a while, but one tectonic shift later, one change later and lives are destroyed. Property is lost. Memories are born and killed.
This election was my shift. It was my Mount Merapi, my Mount Vesuvius.
And I can sense that I’m beginning to smoke.
With Trump’s ascension, the final vestiges of my optimism towards my country and race relations burned to ash. America is a country founded on racism, developed by racism, successful because of racism, and yet refuses to acknowledge its racism.
I’m tired of saying this. This is already well-known to people the world over except to too many Americans, it seems.
So, I’m making a recommitment to myself. I’m putting myself first in regards to love, joy, and all things possible because I’ve come to find that one thing some people can’t stand is a successful Black American woman. They’re confused by it. Intrigued by it. Distressed by it.
So, it’s the reason why I switched to Spanish to check an obnoxious German and his Spanish friend when they wanted to question my intelligence as an American. After finishing my conversation in Spanish I turned to the German and said in English, “That’s why you shouldn’t make broad assumptions about a people.” His response was a flippant “Wow, so you speak two languages [compared to European’s polyglot natures],” but my point was made.
It’s the reason why I state that I’m from America, conversation closed, when people want to think I’m from Africa (as if it’s a country, not a continent), Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, etc… when they see me.
It’s the reason why I no longer smile and say “It’s OK” when they’re mortified and apologize for stating the wrong region (unless they’re a Black person from one of those regions themselves).
It’s the reason why I’ve decided to start writing again, dancing again, living for me again instead of for a job or for a sick society’s definition of success.
It’s the reason why I started a giving circle so people can compile their money and give to organizations that work against Trump’s divisive rhetoric and his inexperienced Cabinet (Betsy DeVos is a disgrace to the teaching profession and just another reason why I have no interest in returning as a teacher in the States. The lack of respect for the profession there should be a national shame.).
And it’s the reason why despite all that’s going on in the States I have every intention of returning in 2018. The US is my country too just as much as it’s the bigot’s, the white supremacist’s, the apologist’s, and the “colorblind” fool’s.
It is my country, and my existence will not be muted to make yours more comfortable.
In the interest of avoiding an eruption, it’s best 62,985,106 people and 53% of a certain demographic learn this.
And I don’t want to hear “I voted for Trump, but I’m not a racist.”
To use the moving sidewalk analogy a co-worker introduced to me just yesterday, unless you’re actively walking in the opposite direction to prevent reaching a certain destination (i.e., a white supremacist state), you’re complicit and moving along in the (right/wrong) direction.
So, again, I don’t want to hear it.
All it takes is one.