In the decades since, everywhere you turn there’s a person of color holding a mirror. On TV, we hold up mirrors. In music, in newspapers and in college classes we hold up mirrors. In the riots of Baltimore and Ferguson and in the Black Lives Matters protests, we carry mirrors through the streets. The President, a black man at the highest office of the land, holds up a mirror. And in those many, many reflections, you and everyone can see the bloody grave upon which you built your history.
This is for the cool in you. The low swag of you. The righteous fury and star-following urge in you. This is for my people, Black and praiseworthy. For all of us. My family, Nuyoricans, blown across the map by anger. My friends, practicing themselves in the mirror, trying on new moves, new colors, new tongues.
“Be seen as a man of peace, even if you are not,” the shifty driver smiled, “The game of politics is pretending.” He squinted mischievously at the camera and chortled. He was carelessly arrogant. He knew he had power because this man, this Paul Mangwana represented the Zimbabwe president, Robert Mugabe, a man who terrified the nation.
The words Star Wars appeared on screen. Theme music blared. Everyone cheered. Early in the movie, a black male Stormtrooper took off his helmet in disgust after his army killed villagers. The audience sat wide-eyed, lost in a galaxy far, far away but finding there a triumphant liberalism often missing from real life.
You know that thing you did? It was wrong but it felt real. Did you
leave marks? I know I did. Almost like signing your name on skin.
It heals but not really, something tight happens behind words, hold
this for me is how we say close the door.
Same sex marriage may be the one lasting victory of the War on Terror.
A Stream of Consciousness Review of “Straight Outta Compton” By Nicholas Powers The cop scurried away, nearly knocking over people holding bags of popcorn. I looked at Arun who held … Continue reading
Fifty-six years separate these two whites who passed as black. The first was celebrated for his courage in crossing the deadly color-line. The latter, critiqued for her lying. Their intents differed but they showed a truth that erodes the very categories of race. Passing is only possible because as Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Man is an imitative animal.” We are living mirrors, reflecting each other within the same species. So however flawed the “passing” person is, within their cracked image is a glimpse of a post-racial world.
“Tell me of the night your son was killed by the police,” I asked. She sat up and a deep sorrow moved in her eyes. “I had a habit of looking out the window to see my son,” Danette Chavis said. “But that night, I said to myself, ‘oh leave the boy alone’ and took a nap. The phone woke me up and my daughter was rushing out of the door. I followed her and saw police tape, cops standing around a body. I yelled to see if it was him. But they wouldn’t let me close. Later, I went to the morgue and identified my son.”