“You are so full of shit it’s sickening. Remember something you cry baby moolie, this country was founded by white europeans not black savages from Africa. It is their country and you are barely tolerated miscreant along with the rest of them. Get used to it, the men’s room attendant is on his way out and Trump is going to win…You parasites have bled the country dry for decades the party is over you filthy animal..while you’re at it why don’t you just kill yourself or move to Africa since you’re so unhappy here??”
– Email sent to Jeffrey Shaun King American writer, entrepreneur, preacher and civil rights activist. Senior Justice Writer | Daily News 3/2/16
In the beginning black folks were most effectively colonized via a structure of ownership. Once Slavery ended, white supremacy could be effectively maintained by the institutionalization of social apartheid and by creating a philosophy of racial inferiority that would be taught to everyone. This strategy of colonialism needed no country – Bell Hooks,109 Teaching Resistance.
What if I want to raise my babies here? What if I imagined those babies and my body as something that can’t be voluntarily or forcefully expedited via America’s new inheritance into a new stage of its racism– the Trump presidency. What if Donald John Trump and the America who baptized him out of what America calls its “virtuous” history will have to deal with me and my blackness and the blackness of my babies. When I say the ‘Blackness of’ I am referring to a self determined force within one’s black body oppositional to being commodified, displaced, gentrified and colonized. I am referring to a black energy oppositional to being the “assumed to be” object of fear sculpted by the imagination of whiteness and the agenda of commodification. More importantly, I am referring to an inner location that dwells in the love of self, lineage, and culture.
America has always framed the duration of blackness as experimental and indefinite. We see this in housing projects and our decrypt school systems. These weren’t set up to be sustainable let alone successful on the contrary they were set up to be suicidal. In regards to visioning black and indigenous place making being a slave was not sustainable. We have put up what Alice Walker warriorously frames as “A good struggle.”
Our existence here has perpetually been iffy. Background noise to a chorus of disparities. We have been abandoned and those who have abandoned us have allowed us to play in the continuation of that abandonment. What if I considered liberation actualized as a willingness to preserve one’s own home, dreams and kin as a decree of resistance rather than an escapist response to oppression.
You Can’t Blow Up A Social Relationship: An anarchist case against terrorism- an essay published originally in 1979 Australia. Within the title alone we arrive at a profound consideration. I would add to this, with the inability to blow up a social relationship, with one’s inability to escape it. The plague of colonialism, white supremacy and racism has no jurisdiction. Neither does any ideology for that matter. When we realize this, escapism–which is a trend that has romanticized black liberation and sovereignty–is I’m afraid implausible. What if I dare to consider the location of freedom not being dependent on a nation’s borders. The direction of many black bodies escape routes lead to the original womb of the earth, Africa. This direction serves as ancestral symbolism though within the context of our reality– with the pathology of white supremacy and capitalism on the African continent– isn’t productive or advantageous to peoples of African descent, in search of a liberation outside the united states. This romanticism of escapism to anywhere in the material world especially to Africa distorts and thwarts an understanding that could be happening around the history of colonialism and black capitalism in Africa. In 1982 Historian Dr. Walter Rodney writes
“There was in existence a fundamental class contradiction between the ruling nobility and the commoners; and the ruling classes joined hands with the europeans in exploiting the african masses– not unfamiliar situation on the African continent today.” Forced Migration; The Import of The Export Slave Trade On African Societies.
In Lose Your Mother | A Journey Along The Atlantic Slave Route, Saidiya Hartman writes
“Ghana, or the Gold Coast as it was called 1957, had been entangled with the west for at least five centuries, and the buying and selling of slaves had been central to this association. The slave trade required that a class of expendable people be created.”
This sort of “expendable agenda” in 2016 America isn’t specified to a particular time and place. Capitalism and white supremacy have carried expendability globally across borders and most terrifying across skin color. We see this expendable pathology in the insidious terrorism of the prison industrial complex. The killing off of black, working class and indigenous bodies by the hands of state endorsed executioners–the police. We the people are in need of many soldiers with many weapons, those of which come in all shape, sizes and ability. We need you to weaponize your imagination and expand the capacity of your heart, these are the building blocks that create the agency for movement making.
I am wondering on how we imagine black and oppressed peoples ‘place making’. The last words of Harriet Tubman, that concluded a life’s work of militancy, radical imagination and resistance work were “I go to prepare a place for you”. Have we, in the era of the Flint water crises, carpet bombing, and a drone presidency, cultivated a place that lives up to such words rooted in a stubborn continuation of struggle. A consideration of freedom in spite of bearing witness to the barbaric institution of slavery which Tubman did so valiantly. When we speak on place making we are speaking on, in public, spaces that steer away from capitalist interests and prioritize the fellowship of community and neighbor. Models like Ancestry Books in North Minneapolis, MN of which is black owned that allow bodies to be present even if they are unable to make a purchase during the duration of their visit. We will definitely, more than ever, need to exercise our muscles of place making if we are to survive a Donald Trump America.
Not only do we not have a country as black persons, we often do not have ‘place’. This is what white supremacist capitalist hetero-patriarchy ensures. That the mobility of black/indigenous/working class/ and oppressed people be halted if not suspended by injury or death. Capitalism is not accessible. Though we can claim and play inside of country and place if we are willing to participate in expendability and capitalism. Personally I don’t identify as an American because I don’t identify with something that is killing me, let alone admit that I exist. America will surely admit I exist if I trade in my critical indictments and endorse its agenda to prioritize corporate capitalistic interests over that of my community neighbor and conscious. Evil in order to survive needs your endorsement. We must divest from fear, otherness, corporate interests and judgement and invest in our ability to build place for
those who Frantz Fanon spoke to as “The Wretched Of The Earth”
Black refuge under supremacy can seem at times like a naive laughable imagining. How can we take refuge when we don’t have the luxury to even pray in public space, doesn’t the church shooting in Charleston, S.C cripple us from imagining such solace? Music genres such as The Blues and Hip Hop have showed us that we as black and indigenous peoples are not aliens to the features of terrorism and the catastrophe of anti–human agendas. I mention music, because it is within the culture we cultivate that is a vehicle to galvanize, organize, and find dignity in the midst of brute force and barbaric oppression.
But how? How do we find consistency and solace within our communities and ourselves when our very existence is tentative? How do we straighten our backs when the bar of valuing black and indigenous life is set so low? If you could not have our verdict be determined by how we dress on any giving day or what we might have in our pockets, or if our tail light might be out that would be a inkling of justice? I believe apart of the answer might be our own consistency and long haul endurance to still produce what makes our traditions so great, joyous songs, joyous relationships and joyous militancy. The ability to use our various interlinked cultures as a report back to both what Paulo Freire calls “our situation” or what Samuel Beckett calls “the mess” of society.
A declaration of the preservation of self, when that “self”resides inside of a body that is apart of the expendable class is directly oppositional and their for resistant. If Trump gets elected not only am I not going back to Africa, I’m hugging all my friends family and the folks and we will work to organize black/indigenous place making, leading with something Trump can never lead with, love. If Trump gets elected not only am I not going back to Africa I’m raising my babies on this land. I’m re-reading Killing Rage by Bell hooks. I’m re-reading Black Prophetic Fire by Dr. Cornel West. I’m re-reading Pedagogy Of The Oppressed by Paulo Freire and Waiting For Godot By Samuel Beckett where in he eloquently writes “Was I sleeping while the others suffered? Tomorrow when I wake, or think I do what shall I say of today?” What will we say of the days of Trump? That we escaped the presidency of a fascist leader just to fall victim to his insidious foreign policy? If Trump gets elected not only am I not going back to Africa I’m investing in cocoa butter, conceal and carry licenses, as much Nina Simone records as I can find and anything else to build sacred black placemaking.
I will remind myself exactly who I am– the actualizing of my ancestors intuition for freedom in the flesh. The best way I feel to perhaps honor them and their sacrifice now is to respond to our intuitions for freedom in a 2016 America. So what informs your intuition for freedom? Because I can hear the catchers in the woods to. I can hear the dogs to. They’re coming, they’re barking loud as ever.