Comply or Die

He explains that he understands compliance intimately by sharing this story: as younger men he and friends were stopped and robbed by police. Their choice, he suggests, to face the wall, hands up as told and accept the stick up, saved their lives.

Black Lives Matter: Death By Assimilation

There are few, if any, choices a black body can make that do not speak its history, including the requisite traumas and proud triumphs over them. Under the gaze of the status quo, this body, with its history written all over it, is an indictment of the status quo. Erasing that physical body becomes critical to sustaining not just the aesthetic of the status quo but more importantly its structure. Erasure is not necessarily the literal murder of it, though that is one way to erase it, but more typically, the suppression of it. Suppression often comes in the form of assimilating the black body into the status quo.

Black Rage and the Invisible Black Body

I am here to talk about silence. And the violence of it.  How it traumatizes the body that practices it as well as the bodies it is imposed upon. I want to talk about how it (silence, I mean)—and I made up this word—invisibilizes.  And how that act—to render someone, a body, invisible is violence. [...]

What can we tell them?

Can we give them our stories without curling their backs into it, yellowed pages crisp and crumbling like sepia snow into piles we sweep from in front of our bookshelves? Will we love them only; wait and watch them turn to men who fail themselves for want of recognition?

Rock Me Mercy: A Poem Written in Mourning

Rock Me, Mercy: A Poem Written In Mourning by Yusef Komunyakaa The river stones are listening, Because we have something to say. The trees lean closer today. The singing in the electrical woods has gone down. It looks like rain, because it is too warm to snow. Guardian angels, wherever you’re hiding, We know you [...]

Dear John (for the brothers)

Dear You, I told myself that it was because of my father that I fell in love with you. I loved him in the unconditional way children typically love—without acknowledgement or understanding of flaws.  My father’s flaws became part of my definition of all men. Once I stopped loving you all by default, I started [...]

Damned Hoodies (Again)

On the day the Sharmeka Moffitt story broke, I worried aloud to one of my students that I was bringing my memories of the Tawana Brawley case to bear on my assessment of the case.  I refused blogs and looked strictly to news sites for my details. In the days following my fears were realized--the [...]