“Revolutionary suicide does not mean that I and my comrades have a death wish; it means just the opposite. We have such a strong desire to live with hope and human dignity that existence without them is impossible.” – Revolutionary Suicide p. 3 Huey P. Newton
I’ve been trying to read more during this break. Yesterday I watched The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 on Netflix. This post isn’t a review of that although I endorse it completely. I am, instead, sharing what I wrote as an indirect result of watching it. A few hours ago I read Huey P. Newton’s Revolutionary Suicide, got a page and a half in and realized my discomfort. My clothes were too tight, I was attune to every extra inch of flesh on my body, and my skin started to itch. So I wrote this:
I want to talk about Blackness.
It is that Blackness which reaches into the timepiece of me and takes advantage. I have respect and empathy for all struggles, many of which I familiar. Born woman and Black and poor and odd I am all too familiar with the struggles of many. It is however Blackness that heightens my sense of ill-fitting clothing and too many sweets. Causes me to tear at my cotton casings and seek relief. My Blackness is the item so old it’s on sale because the world has grown tired of its advertisements and need the shelf space for newer issues. The spaces on shelves are served from the struggles that “fit us all” and lumps many into 1 and every into 99 and I am left in the back with an orange sticker marked 50% off.
I NEED to talk about my Blackness. My part of this disease is consistently discarded because of the color of my skin. Only this in utero malfunction not only prevents me
from drinking from the same water fountains and accessing public schools —
accessing the same mortgage rates and dodging gentrification. It also leaves me alone and hidden in the apartment procured on the sly. Because I am too angry after reading Huey’s words, too hurt by Kanazawa’s studies, too broken by the imprint of the system, and too tired of being alone to feel anything else.
My Blackness does not mean African American.
Even saying that feels like a forbidden curse because I should be happy that “we” have our own section in book stores, our own movies on Netflix, and a shelf for our hair care products in some sections of some grocery stores in some cities. “But “I” am not “We.” “We” refers to those who descended from the slaves who were kept on board till America. I am a descendant of those kicked off in the Islands. The Caribbean.
I need to talk about my Blackness because it is different from the Blackness referenced in the law.
I need to write about my Blackness because it may be the only time I see it in print, and history will forget me and mine.
I cannot bear the thought of being forgotten.
It’s hard enough to live and not be seen. It is harder still to die and not be remembered.