Still signing up and showing up for the role of colored people, black, brown, red, yellow, white and otherwise? Well, here are a few words of wisdom from two of my favorite writers to get you to choose differently and to say something more about who you are as a human being. Because race is just a word albeit systematized, politicized, capitalized on.
But there are many other words that can be said about us and our neighbor. We need only seek them out and speak them out loud. A new tongue is required along with a taste for full freedom and authentic being. It’s a stretch to get our mouths around words like racelessness and aracial; however, it is well worth it. For if we are to build another world, it will require new words that equip new structures on which to construct our shared humanity.
Anyone who knows me at all, knows that James Baldwin is a must in this conversion experience. This master- teacher, healer and word- therapist says,
“If you’re treated a certain way, you become a certain kind of person. If certain things are described to you as being real, they’re real for you– whether they’re real or not.”
“From my point of view, no label, no slogan, no party, no skin color, and indeed no religion is more important than the human being.”
“What you say about anybody else reveals you.”
“It is not a romantic matter. It is the unutterable truth: all men are brothers. That’s the bottom line.”
“The American ideal, after all, is that everyone should be as much alike as possible.”
“What one does realize is that when you try to stand up and look the world in the face like you had a right to be here, without knowing that this is the result of it, you have attacked the entire power structure of the Western world.”
Zora Neale Hurston is another deliverer from this death of individuality. She says,
“I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background.”
“Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.”
“Even in the helter-skelter skirmish that is my life, I have seen that the world is to the strong regardless of a little pigmentation more or less.”
“For various reasons, the average, struggling, non-morbid Negro is the best-kept secret in America. His revelation to the public is the thing needed to do away with that feeling of difference which inspires fear, and which ever expresses itself in dislike.”
“At certain times, I have no race. I am me. I belong to no race or time.”
Are you race-less yet? If not, say these words again… and again until they become your own.