Written by Essence Wynter
Today as I lay in my bed, 5 words rang through my head. I. Am. not. your. Negro. Those words repeated over and over because I was trying to figure out how did I get here. How had many people dreamed of being doctors and lawyers and All i wanted was to be a revolutionary. I sit here and imagine myself in all black, bearing arms in defense of my civil liberties, feeding the children of the neighborhood, Writing a column in the Black Panther to Free Huey. And in this vision of a revolutionary, i often think of death. My death to be exact. You see its hard to envision anything else because while kids now have heroes like Kamala & Chadwick, Steph curry & Odell, my hero was Malcolm, Malcolm X the man who fought for his life only for it to end in an untimely death. And In knowing what I’m fighting for one always seems to lead to the other.
2 pac said the darker the flesh means the deeper the roots yet as I stand here during BH month talking to my niece whose skin reflects a dark mahogany and whose hair smells of shea butter fresh from Ghana. She summarizes her lessons by telling me MLK had a dream and George Washington Carver made peanut butter of all things. You see i’ve made it a point to speak to her everyday because of this urge to correct the white-centered education she receives and today was the hardest. Harder than having her understand that slavery did not end with Abe Lincoln, and the civil rights movement STARTED less than 75years ago. Harder than having her understand that all skinfolk aint kinfolk. Today I had to explain that George Washington Carver was an agricultural scientist who invented many things but peanut butter wasn’t one of them.Today I had to explain that MLK regretted that dream she worked so hard to memorize. Today my niece looked at me with tears in her eyes and for a moment I regretted everything I had just said.
“The secret of life is to have no fear thats the only way to function” For a moment I felt anger and pain because she looked at me with those eyes bright as the deep blue sea and it reflected the very same. She couldn’t understand why her teachers weren’t teaching the truth “WHY DO THEY KEEP LYING” she said. All i could think of was Assata shakur said no one is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them. Nobody is going to teach you your true history, teach you your true heroes if they know that that knowledge will help set you free.” But in realizing that she had nine BHMs to go. I just responded with Idk. I began to feel like she was reaching the pivotal moment that James Baldwin described as a great shock. “A shock that the country that is your birthplace and to which you owe your life and your identity has not in its whole system of reality evolved a place for you.”
“To be Black and Conscious in America is to be in a state of constant rage.” And it was in that moment that I cried. I knew the burden of consciousness all too well but the revolution wasn’t over and without it she was sure to fail. Look at Colin, or better yet look at the NFL, players running for hundreds of yards but unable to Stand their ground for 2 mins for their people running from bullets and bars. Michelle Alexander said prisons are the new Jim Crow, and i guess i expected Kimberle’s intersectionality to matter mo
“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” I knew i had pulled her through a door that she could not uncome from, so We continued with our lessons and On March 1st she asked me so what now ? and as I sat there, I pondered the question where do we go from here ? A question many leaders have considered up until now and as i looked into her eyes full of passion and unworldly optimism, I couldn’t help but notice her beautiful crown, and my only answer was we fight… by any means necessary.