“The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being.”
| Toni Morrison
“Who do you think you are?” “Why are you here?” “Where do you think you’re going?” “How did you get this position?” “What gave you the idea that you could do that?”
Questions like these posit identity as an obstacle, one’s human being as a hurdle, something to get over. But I will not overcome myself as I am not successful in spite of myself, my physical attributes and more specifically the social coloring of my skin. I am not a problem. My human being presents no trouble of its own and she seeks not to make trouble for trouble’s sake.
Furthermore, my purpose in life is not to overcome anyone else. I will not fight with myself, you or anyone else. And I will not explain why. I need not give a reason for my being any more than a tree or a river or a mountain. I am here—not because you planted me, carved my place in the earth or fashioned me rock solid—and you will simply have to live with that reality.
Because it is crystal clear to me that I am not in the way. Instead, I belong wherever I stand as I am from the land. All of this dirt is related to me. I have roots that go back to the beginning.
I am not who or what American society or any other says that I am or will be. Race is an identity in a can, stored, warehoused and shipped from our lips. This faith in flesh comes by hearing too (Rom 10:17). Can you hear me now? I have said this for years now and no matter the day, the time or the weather, I am certain that only God knows who I am and it does not fluctuate depending on the economy or the political temperament of government leaders.
Daily, race would attempt to call my human being into question. But I don’t answer. “Race, who? Do I know you?” I pay it no mind. I simply do not have time.
The sociopolitical construct, made mainly of our tongues and hands that shake in agreement that we remain separate, asks a question for which you do not owe it an answer. We need only answer to God. We are not accountable to some ominous, nameless white supremacy, some feigned hierarchy of human being, held together by blood and bones same as ours.
No, we have real work to do. And it is our own, work for which we were made, work that belongs to us. Let this work have your attention. Do it and don’t explain.