“To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.” –James Baldwin
As a Black man in America, I have never lived free. And if I should die someday in this land of “purple mountain majesties,” then I shall surely not die free. So let my epitaph read: “I loved America. But she never loved me.”
Like strange fruit, she strung my fathers’ fathers high from Southern poplar trees. Dangled us as Sunday sport. Castrated, mutilated, castigated me. Heaped upon my tortured soul bitter chains and whips of oppression for four full centuries. Devised and constructed sinister systems that enslaved and slayed the Black body.
Crushed our babies’ heads beneath their heels. Turned her guns on us. Shot to kill. Projected upon us her pathologies, which we, over time, began to internalize. So we drown in deep rivers of Black tears and cries.
And when we dared wiggle beneath our oppressors’ knee, they shifted and settled, and dug in. Stared without confliction or the slightest sense of restriction into the lenses that also captured our last mortal breaths. Free. At last …
Alas, she heaped upon us violence upon violence after bloody red violence then preached to us of Dr. King and “nonviolence.” All the while remaining silent over snow-capped mountain peaks of glaring depravities and subtle indignities all the days of our lives of living while Black in America.
This is not Black mass hysteria. This is Childish Gambino’s America.
Snatching brown babies from immigrant mothers America. Smallpox in blankets to native Americans America. Lynching America. Jaw-clenching racial indifference America. Trail of Tears America. KKK terrorism America. Tulsa, Redwood and “Red Summer” America. America that taught us how to loot and shoot. America that assassinated Dr. King and would now relegate him to just “the Dream.” America from which freedom still does not ring.
“Shut up and dribble” America. Mass incarceration America. Beat me, bruise me, abuse me America.
America. “Land of the free.” “Home of the brave.” State-sanctioned murderer who sends Black bodies to their grave.
America where a white cop fires seven bullets into a Black father’s back. America that still lacks equal protection and justice for bodies Black. America who assaults my soul with relentless attack then chastises me for having the audacity to fight back.
America. Land that I love. Land where Black blood, sweat and tears form a sea of agony of 401 years of incalculable affliction with no benediction to her loyal service to racial hate in sight.
America who ignores our cries and despises the Black body the way darkness does light. Draping herself in red-white-and-blue imaginations of freedom and justice for all men. Surreptitiously dancing with the devil to intoxicating incantations while wallowing in her sin. For to hate is sin. And sin a reproach to any nation.
Hypocritical impersonation of democracy amid the falsity of the Statue of Liberty, which now stands as a fading symbol in Donald Trump’s American dream turned nightmare.
A vanishing glare of a once shining nation now once again divided, the rhetoric of hate rising from the Antebellum South and Jim Crow’s graves. Dimming the beauty of her amber waves and spacious skies amid a murky sea of American lies.
Our Black souls are overwhelmed. By this centuries-old aim to sift us of every ounce of humanity, of every teardrop of dignity. Though America seems not to understand that her own depravity will eventually consume her whole. Pollute her soul.
An America that does not yet embrace the truth that God created all men equal. And that to treat any men as less is simply pure evil.
My Black body yearns to someday be free. I still love America. But will America ever love me?
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