Thursday, July 21, 2016
In search of the North Star: Looking for a place to call home
It may be un-American to consider running in the direction of the North Star to a land on the other side of the border. But, why not? As long as a wall hasn’t been built keeping disgruntled Americans out of Canada, why not consider life on the other side of American white privilege?
Running away from death and an unequal standard of living isn’t new for black people living in America. For as far back as we can trace history away from Africa, black people have grappled to find a safe place to plant seeds for the future. We know the stories of trips along the “Underground Railroad” and the numerous “Slave Rebellions” led by men and women who were sick and tired of lashes on their backs.
Black people ran North before and after two world wars because of the common sight of lynching’s and burning crosses. It happened due to black people fighting for their fair share of that American Dream. Running away from death and subjugation is part of the American saga that adds to the divide between Martin Luther King, Jr’s dream and Malcolm X’s nightmare.
Black people have endured being caught in the middle of being nice and getting killed. For as long as most can remember, learning how to address white people with guns and a badge is added to the curriculum of elementary school education. The lessons of the post-slavery era prepared black people for survival among people fuming because Mr. Lincoln said let those people go.
Contending with the “what if” seemingly never vanishes. “What if” the police stop you in the middle of the night? “What if” you find yourself vulnerable because the person with the gun lacks the patience to hear the rest of your story.
I hear grandma singing “I feel like running my last mile home”.
The worst part of not running are the emotions that come with staying. Those who don’t get “it” assume all is well among those stuck in pondering the “what if”. People not forced to contemplate those questions envision a world filled with the type of “milk and honey” promised long ago to those lingering in the wilderness. Listening to them tell your story leads to the conclusion the Promised Land was entered between 1970 and last week.
That’s hard to accept when running remains a viable option for those tired of listening to commentary regarding how it’s all a figment of the imagination.
I feel like running whenever a person calls me racist for saying “Black Lives Matter” versus “All Lives Matter”. I feel like running whenever a person questions my version of Christianity because I’m sick of black folks having to forgive while white people continue to poke fun at my interpretation of inclusion. I feel like running whenever I watch a video of a black person taking a bullet. I want to hide and scream after a white person tells me there’s no justifiable reason to prosecute the police officer who pulled the trigger or pushed Freddie in the back of a van.
I feel like running when being black is justification for murder and the courts don’t care.
It’s mentally draining listening to others define your reality.
Where can you run when stupid shows up everywhere you look? Forest Gump told us “stupid is what stupid does,” and stupid shows up often in America.
Doing stupid isn’t new, but a good part of the recent stupid is targeted at black people. Maybe it’s because Obama is running the show. Maybe it’s because black people refuse to continue to bow to the stupid assumptions white people make. Or, maybe stupid has always been there to keep eyes pointed in the direction of the North Star.
Stupid shows up in a variety of ways and places. Shucks, some claim I’m the ambassador of stupidity due to my analysis of faith in public space. I’ll own that. Maybe it takes stupid to know stupid. If that’s true, most of us are caught in the web of doing stupid things.
We’re trapped with nowhere to go.
How far North can you run before it gets too cold to run anymore?
Canada seems like a logical place to run if Trump wins the election due to the stupid Republicans and Democrats intent on running the show. Between the Republicans who want to make “America Great Again” and the progressives who refuse to vote for Hilary, we’re just a few steps away from stupid controlling the whole show.
None of this is new to black folks. It is mind-blowing that it follows the election of the first black President. Like the release of the Kracken in the “Clash of the Titans”, electing Obama was the can of whip ass America needed to expose the deep-rooted stupidity they hid during the day.
Between the stupidity of “Bernie or Bust” and the cruelty of “Build the wall, build the wall!” black and brown people are left glaring like the emperor lost his clothes and thinks it’s a fashion statement. Well, stupidity is not fashionable, it’s simply stupid.
Bags packed and ready to go.
Darn it! There’s nowhere to go.
I’m still searching for a nation I can call home.