Living in our Skin, and according to the dictates of the memories of the hurt done in its name, we will only be encouraged to do again that which has been done; to foster old hurt and harm, which causes us to perpetuate the deadly wheel of error. It cannot be so. We, who should know better, must undertake to do better. We must step out from behind those qualifying walls of Colour, those walls of flesh…and inherit the Spirit of our being. We must make friends…not ‘Black’ friends! We must call all men “Brother”, not just those that look like us. Our History must not be our excuse…it must be our mentor; it must be our firm resolve. We must not make the mistake of others, by becoming the very Evil they thought to resist.
Consistent with this new resolve, let us cease the oft repeated tales of “what the White man did…“. We know the story. Of what value is it now – the continued recitation of the old? Let us give birth to a new crop of young ones, of African descent, yet unburdened by the age old stories of his alleged ‘inferiority’, in the world of men. Let him not have heard these ‘has-been’ tales from our lips; not let him hear of our rage against the White man. Enough! Let us leave the Past where it begs to be left…in the Past! Let it rest…In Peace. Let us write a new story for the young ones where their History begins with you and with me, right here right now, amid our considerable achievements. I cannot think of a prouder landscape from which to come forth…if we simply resist the urge to tarnish it with references to the Past, long dead and overdue for burial. We fought that war…and won. Let us give our children the benefit of the victory in a Tomorrow from which its ugliness is entirely expunged. They deserve it. As do we.
And what, I hear you ask, if he (our young son of Tomorrow) should, in his time, behold for himself some form of ‘White’ ugliness? What then? How do you answer his questions? I answer you thus:
“Only show him how ugly is ugliness…and resist the urge to ‘colour’ it. It is part of the myth we foster, that a mans rudeness (or goodness) is somehow attached to his colour – or his religion, or his country of origin, or his customs, the list is endless – but nothing could be further from the truth. A mans rudeness is him…not his race; it is always individual and particular to him…so let it remain there, and let us not be tempted to distort or defile an entire nation and people. There are well-mannered White men, as there are brutish Black men; there are vulgar Oriental men, as there are sophisticated men of colour. It is when we fail to honour this truth and to live it…that we succeed in building prison walls around ourselves and deprive ourselves of the chance to attain wonderful new friendships and exciting new experiences. All because we would prefer to cling fearfully to our obscene little raft of Colour(s).”
Ebony and Essence magazines have done a yeoman’s service (I honour them)…Kwaanza…Black History Month…the splints applied to broken wings to allow them to heal adequately, and so allow the little birds to claim the skies once more. But we must rid ourselves of these crutches now – at least in their present form – for they have outlived their use; they work to underscore separation, not incorporation. They no longer hold the promise of flight, but merely assist to ground us. O (The Oprah Magazine) provides wonderful examples of where we may go. It is indeed, among other things, an example of ‘colour’ really being a small (and quite irrelevant) ‘c’. The Proprietor of the Magazine is a woman of colour…so what? The Magazine itself, however, is simply that…a magazine. It is a magazine for anyone and everyone, without distinction. So, already we take baby steps toward our goal…recognizing a world peopled by Humankind; possessing human feelings…human desires…human aspirations…human fears….human ideals…human needs…human hearts….In whatever Colour…human.
History, similarly, is only History. There is no such thing as ‘Black’ History. It is the History of Mankinds sojourn in Earth…the good, the bad, the great, the small. the majestic. It is all of it our History. Pushkin was Black. Septimius Severus was Black. They were, first and foremost, men, and part of a nation that spawned them and their genius. ‘Black’ is not a nation…it is a Separation. It has been a lie. A lie, which has served as a kind of palliative, which I understand and accept. But we are well and strong now. Our broken wings are mended, the cage door has been opened… We must find our Spirit and give it Voice. Find our Truth…and let it soar.