During the summer of 2010, the brother @Ahbseenkwestion decided to host a Skype conversation. Those that attended the session, my Self, @Zqclay, and @Coreman2200 would begin what would become a series of conversations that rippled through the black blogosphere. Our informal, and yet passionate words would forever become known as Summit.
As an original member of that series of brotherly interactions, I grew very fond of them. And I miss them. And in my own way, I have brought together the four gentlemen that caused much speculation during that very eventful summer. As I once asked 17 black bloggers what it meant to be Black in 2010, I revisited that thought. And I brought my brothers with me. The first verse is from our brother @Coreman2200…
What are some examples? When you wake up, and prepare for the day, and face at some point or another a mirror, what do you see? Who do you face? Naturally, lest your explanation is universally vague, two very full and very intimate interpretations of two individual blacks would be unique. So ~ What can it mean to be black? I find that it may be a better idea to look to this question, instead, as there are so many false ideas and misinterpretations and stereotypes that we, the Black, do ourselves maintain or propagate or give life through mere acknowledgment. That we, the Black, keep and pursue and live with, as were there no other option. Because “that’s just how things are”. What it does mean to be Black is, potentially, infinite.
But what do we see and what are we taught and what does one learn. To be black can mean to live with an incessant and destructive force inside of your very mind and soul, all the while standing tall in coldness and gloom, as a presentation of one entire race’s strength. To have a socially-instilled hatred for your Self, for your thinking, for your lifestyle and for your trials. But to take the endless whippings and deplorable scraps “Like” a man, to act like you’ve grown used to this torment, as your pains lie ever within you, never confronted, eating you alive and giving you tumors and cancers and blood diseases. I wonder, now, if to be black can mean to ever be at conflict within, always fighting between who you feel you just might be, and who your family and/or fellow blacks and/or the rest of the world would ever permit. Being black could potentially be the incessant positioning between a rock and a hard place ~ coming to believe that all that stands around you are in fact walls of containment and not, instead, steps for gods. What else can it mean to be black?
Maybe its just the lifelong and generations-old process of having so much shit tossed into our very laps and unto our very forms that some have come to accept that as the reason for their own skin colors. Or that we indeed are the foul odor that endlessly aggravates our every hope or ambition for freedom and equality. And as an opposition to this understanding, as were it ever true, being black could possibly mean denying this understanding bitterly ~ as to prove to one’s black Self and any other’s not-as-conflicted Self that it is not in fact he that stinks but the circumstances cast upon him.
That his skin tone is Not one of excrement, but of natural wonder and beauty. But does being black mean that he, too, must believe these words he uses to confront ignorance? Or does he, this hollowed and stained black man, maintain the same views as (he is told) all else believes? Is, “[finds a podium] I am a Strong Black God, that is all around Greatness…[muttering weakly] I don’t even care if you think I look/smell/act/live like shit..” what it really is to be black?
Is being black the same as not ever believing in oneself? Making the idle assumption that things are just as they are, and that they can never change ~ so, then, is to be black not to ever change or grow?
Can being black mean that we are at odds with or altogether disparate from the rest of the Universe?
Because being black means, possibly, that we need to feel special, feel separate, feel different, feel like More ~ an incessant call out for attention or for praise or acceptance… Is that because we do not feel any such way? Is to be black, to be lesser? Who, then, are we, the Black, set to look upon as more than we, our very individual selves? Do we believe, truly, that this is the natural order? That one must be
above some other, per class or cash or color or other man-made construct ~ to believe in such things, and to live by such a hierarchy, with no mind or will to change such things ~ do we, then, have an understanding as to what it just must be to be black?
I find in my days growing more Aware of my Self ~ the individual, infinitesimally small speck or spark of an endless Truth of speck and spark ~ that as one aspect or expression of the All of Truth, all I am is All of Truth. Where that places me, then, is amongst other aspects of that Same Truth, be that expression black or white or (shock) Beyond the small differences maintained on this one planet.
Does one, then, deny or refuse their blackness for some vague idea of ‘a bigger picture’? No, I do not believe that will do. The only point is to accept, genuinely, fully, and honestly, who You are. If you can’t stand to face a mirror without either hating what is reflected, or conjuring up enemies to mock your very beautiful black Presence ~ then what difference does it make, what it Really means to be Black, if on the very individual scale, you can’t appreciate it in its truest form/nature/essence?
To Be Black is no more and no less than To Be. Who ever could define/confine Black as anything less or else?