Tag Archives: raceless identity

I need another word

 

See the source imageWe need new words.  I need new words, ones that roll off my tongue.  The colored ones get caught in my throat.  New being in Jesus Christ, these racialized ones don’t work for me.  They didn’t go down easily.  They didn’t stick to me.  I cannot make them a part of me, just take them when they treat me as foreign, my body no longer kin.

Race gets me beside myself, compared to someone else.  And I just want to be free.  I want this word off of me.  It has no right to rule over me.  I have something to say.  I have the final say in who I am and who I will be.  Still, race interrupts so frequently that I’ve grown tired and now it speaks for me.

Hold my tongue.

Hold my breath.

Die to self.

Die to who God created me to be.

Baptized with Christ, race should be dead to me.

Skin.

Ashes.

Dust.

I need to talk about it in the past tense.  Race was here.

America capitalizes on everything, even skin is its own kind of currency.  But, I am not buying it.  Change the market.  I want something else.  Because race is not another word for human.

No, I need a new word.

I doubt it: Questioning the credibility of race

Here is a confession:

I am not who race says that I am.  I will not be who race says that I will be.  I can go where race says that no “like me” has ever gone before.  Race does not open or close doors.  We do.

I am so tired of this race, this contest against flesh.  My color versus your color.  My favorite skin will win.  We are quite literally declaring champions of carnality.  Really, humans?

We have got life all wrong.  It is not experienced or found on the surface though we live on the level of our epidermis.  Because life is depth.  Life is digging.  We are dirt, always close to the earth.

We are not grounded in skin but soul.  And race is a case of mistaken identity, misplacing me, losing me in stereotypes.  Wait.  Stop.  This can’t be right.  Race has gotten it wrong.  I know that this is hard to believe but race gets it wrong.

Still, we speak of race as if it has 20/20 vision.  We pretend it is rightly identifying all of humanity when we know it sees in stereotypes.  It is how we see each other.  Lumped together in hopes of creating omniscience.

Tell the truth.  Race causes us to lose sight of each other quite literally, to turn a blind eye when necessary.  And in so doing, we are missing out on love, healing, relationship, truth… all because we cannot see each other.  Look at me.  Who do you really see?  Because race does not introduce you to me.

***

Race says what I experience determines who I am, that I am who other persons say I am. But, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  You can create distance between the experience and you.  I am not a collection of happenings, occurrences, accidents, trials and errors.  I don’t merely have a purpose but I am purpose, created to rise into the reality of living soul.

And so I must repeat: Race does not tell me who I am or who I will be.  It does not have its sights on me.  I am a mystery. I am race-less.  Race does not get to choose where I begin or will end up.  These are my feet and this is my future.  I can walk my own way.  Race does not know the way that leads to me.  We part ways here.

I refuse to allow something we made up to make over me.  I am made in God’s image and there is no changing that, no rearranging those facts.  I come in first, no second class creatures here.

Race is not so special and should be taken down a peg or two.  Frankly, I would be happy to take it off the pedestal all together.  An idol, it needs to come down and someone needs to say that it is a puppet.  I will be the first say that its mouth is not moving, that there is someone behind the curtain, that we are projecting our fears onto a word.

And it is only a word.  Nothing to be afraid of, I am not scared of what race can do to me. No bogey man, no monster under my bed or white man upstairs.  I shout, “Come and get me, race!”  I’ll be waiting up for you, eating cookies and drinking a cold glass of milk in my bed.

I sleep so much better now that I have kicked race out of my head.

We have fed into this fallacy and it seems impossible to cut it down to size.  It’s been going on for so long.  How can we stop it?  With our tongues, challenging words that describe our existence by epidermis.  Questioning the plausibility of life lived on the surface, of our omniscience, our fortune- telling of flesh.  Because we cannot look at someone’s appearance and tell who they are and who they will be.  C’mon, humans.

But, to call race a lie would be to admit that we have been lying to ourselves.  Because we are not as powerful or perfect as our self- proclamations would lead us to believe.  Believing our own press, it is time that we stop pushing this narrative.  Race is not real.  Snap out of it.

Because I can see beyond this trance.  I will not nod and agree because race will repeat after me, not vice versa.  Race will not cause me to question my humanity.  So, without apology, I admit that when it comes to race, I doubt it.

Don’t let race fool you

April 1st is reserved for pranks.  No serious business today.  But, I thought it could also serve to remind us to not be fooled.  You are more than the eyes can see.  You are race-less and that’s no joke.

Not Enough For Me

Race does not know my name

I know that the actions committed in the name of race are real, that is makes a believer and faithful follower out of us, that we pledge allegiance to our skin and create borders around our bodies.  No race- mixing.

But, race does not have a real name for me.  Socially constructed, I don’t want this American society or any other to have a say in who I am because the revelation is only skin deep.  The social construct of race can only say so much.  Race does not know my real name and instead, pretends to know me by lumping me into a color- coded group.  “Hey, black people!”  But, what’s my name?

I know that the social construct of race orders our lives, assigning position and extending power based on the social coloring of skin.  I know that race has a place for all of us and there is not much wiggle room.  “White people have this.”  “Black people belong here.”  But, I don’t have to take the seat that race pulls out for me.  I don’t have to give up the power within me because it somehow disrespects the social construct of race.  Besides, I require more space so I will need to move on to greener pastures. Trust me, the grass is greener on the race- less side.

And the social construct of race can only go so far.  It can only take me to stereotypical places.  But, I can’t help but stop race and say, “I’ve seen these boxes before.”  I want to go somewhere else and more still, this is not the place for me.  I don’t fit in and I won’t try to.

Because race is not enough for me.  Unable to keep track of me or to tally all of my being and its expressions, race is not the sum of my existence.  The social construct of race is not the defining attribute of my life.  The color black is the not synonymous with my person and blackness does not capture my presence.

My life is bigger than the social construct of race and it could never satisfy my identity.  Because there is more to me, race will never be enough.  I dare not pretend that it can be.  So, how about you?

 

 

Not So Black and White

Image result for not so black and white imageWhile I may be able to talk about race and write about its effects from week to week without a panic attack, I know that this is a difficult conversation for much of America.  There are so many sides to this story that it is exhausting to think about all that we need to say.  But for me, the real fear and felt loss is what we may never know about ourselves and each other.
While the words don’t come out so easily in front of strangers and might be well- rehearsed with family and understood among friends, I wonder what kind of conversation we are having with ourselves.  What does it mean to be a racialized person?  What am I saying when I identify myself as a social color?
Race.  The word is as misunderstood as we are in terms of this social category.  It is good for some and bad for others.  It comes with privileges for some and has been nothing but a problem for others.  How do we make sense of it all?
It’s not so easy when we take the colors away and start to look at each other without the stereotypes.  I invite you to listen in on yourself, to eaves drop without fear of judgment or the pressure of a response.  I promise that my next post will not be follow- up questions.  I’ll leave them to you.
Listen to what you are saying to yourself and about others when it comes to the social construct of race.  Listen to what you are willing to say about others and believe about yourself for the sake of race.  Listen long and hard.  Listen without interrupting or explaining.  Listen without assumption of what needs to be said or done.  Listen without expectation or prepared arguments.
Just listen.  Hear yourself out for once.  And don’t allow race to do any of the talking.
The words.  Who we are.  What we have made others out to be.  It’s not so black and white.