Harper's Bazaar (USA)
And I fear that these paragraphs, in this particular publication, cannot, and possibly should not, hold that something else.
We were stolen. We were technology. Stolen technology has no point of view in what Americans call realism. As stolen technology, we were expected to become labor, create more labor, and die. Those terms were made abundantly clear in every historical document signed by white men who wrote with feathers. And though nearly all of us die prematurely because of this nation’s appetite for Black humiliation and Black death, we did not die and have not died on their terms. We have demanded in the face of death that our points of view be centered in all American scenes and seeings.
We actively watch too, as an “I” and a “we.”
Hence, in all of our physical deaths, all of our engineered injuries, and all of our humiliation at the hands of workingclass white men with billy clubs and guns who work for wealthy white folks who couldn’t give one fuck about them, there is an awesome absorption. There is the acceptance that “I” am a part of the “we” that was supposed to watch “our” own death from a point of view of the mechanically monstrous. I am writing now about something, some things, beyond good or bad, traumatic or pleasurable, transgressive or progressive.
I am talking about the expansive awe of Black life and Black death in this nation. And how we, particularly we Black Southerners all over this nation, absorb that Black life and death. We, who spend lives watching the watchers watch us die, know this expansive, awesome absorption. It, as much as any public policy, is why we are still here, attempting to hold on and love good from points of view drawn by us, not caricatured perspectives drawn for us by those who will eat through their own lungs just to chomp big bits of our hearts.
I no longer teach about the L.A. rebellion in my classrooms the way I did as a younger teacher, because this is one way I keep hold of that which makes me whole. We actively watch too, as an “I” and a “we.” And Black deaths, like Black booms, are real.
This is my point of view.