for mlk

Erykah Badu’s question: what if there was no niggas / only master teachers now? (“Master Teacher”)

Cornel West’s definition:

Martin King’s in the background. Fanny Lou Hamer’s voice is there A. Phillip Randolph’s voice was there. And many nameless and anonymous black leaders who knew they had to deal with a situation in which they were unsafe, unprotected, subject to random violence, and hated for who they were. That’s what it meant to be a nigger. Unsafe, unprotected, subject to unjustified violence and hated. Now, after September 11, all Americans feel unsafe, unprotected, subject to random violence, and hated. You say, hmm, now that the whole nation has been ‘niggerized…

My answer:  If no one was ever scared or hurt or victimized, we’d have nothing to teach one another and nothing we’d need to learn.

I went on a retreat this weekend, with my LGBTA  friends and peers. I learned, this year, that I can respond with confidence to questions that used to make me feel like I was disintegrating.  I’ve come this far because I’ve had friends and teachers in this community. Some of them have led me with their words, others just by being and surviving. Those who have survived abuse, doubt, addiction, and depression might still see little of value in their suffering. I want them to know that people like me learn from their struggles, sometimes from their words and sometimes just watching them move through space intact.  It probably wouldn’t be much consolation anyway.

I feel attuned, at this moment, to a kind of connection I can’t articulate. The word that comes to my mind is debt, the connection has to do with a sense of what I owe.

I hope that I have something to teach.


~ by staticandme on January 19, 2009.

2 Responses to “for mlk”

  1. If debt is what comes to your mind, then it must be false guilt.

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