i wish to articulate a bridge

i am perplexed and saddened by the seeming inability to draw connections (and thereby nurture compassion) across complexions - this feels to me like a dilemma of grave consequence as my female friends who are not of color are having beautiful mixed babies by men of culture, of cultures of the african diaspora. i fear that if i cannot clearly connect across color with these women, then what day of angry disconnect awaits them, in relation to their children?

"you don't understand me ma! you can never understand my experience! i am black. you are white." period.

to feel/fear one cannot communicate conditions across color inhibits dialogue and the possibility (not for unity but) for real change through cooperation. audre lorde wrote of the richness that differences make, the richness, not the hate, nor the distance. the richness in difference will bring us to new solutions (that humanity needs desperately but often does not seek.)

nehal notes the differences between performing black and owning black. black as in black consciousness not that amorphous BET-NBA black blob. to perform is to portray pride to people in the everyday, an ability grown out of a genuine place of inward reflection and self-knowing e.g. the owning. performing is the outside action and owning the inside understanding. i could list other ethnic identities that appear outwardly differently in different people as genuine pride of or striations away from 'stereotypes' across communities all owning their origins that invariably vary but note that 'white' is the norm, is the over-riding desirable state, is the other to a person of color - more often the amorphous blob often trying to lend itself to culture failing either by destroying or disingenuously uplifting or outright theft. is there no room for the heartfelt appreciation of traditions of people different than you, is that wish to learn more about, dress like the people of, play music of a place, an origin, that you cannot locate in your composition?

is there no room for francesca to play kalimba? i cannot countenance this. i must build a bridge.

another level of reality cloud the issue for me: 'looking' of 'x' identity, the perception peice. when a person self identifies as 'of color' but outwardly face, skin and features 'pass' as 'white' or other - how authentic can your identity be when you are perceived as better than that blacker-than-you-being therefore denying that complex set of oppressions that string together the days in dark communities? how can those fair skinned offspring of interracial families maintain his or her ethnic identity in a world that does not respect them as a part of neither side of the family tree? how much to we need to 'see' to believe?

i seek the opportunity to connect across culture with integrity, wanting that for my friends' mixed pickney and equally wishing to affirm friendships i keep. i feel that conditions exist across colors and in the details of the experience are opportunities for dialogue, for caring comparison and connectivity across differences without calling 'sameness' similarity ... quite. mirroring instead of othering says sandra amarie of moja tea gallery.

i say we should all poke out our eyes. moses responds 'then we would judge by voice and odor.' i wish to shed a tear for that othering instinct inside, wish to draw it out of me in that same sigh, wish to expel the impetus to tell you how 'you' are different from 'i'.

i say white mothers of mixed babies, don't antagonize your child with the idea that 'we're the same'.

i say white women don't call 'gender' and say you understand racism and systematic discrimination against (in)visible min(maj)orities.

i say white heteronormative men walk with a level of assurance and affirmation (a result of pervasive patriarchy, capitalism and racism) that women and people of culture simply cannot for the world in this world has not taught us this - we look for grey, seek compromise, learn to accommodate. our labour (from mothering to slaving for pennies a day) has no value inside the market but the world could not continue without us. but sometimes i feel that pedestal built of privilege is a prison all its own and there are no steel bars between he and i, no, there is a steel wall and you cannot really see me and i do not really know you because you in fact have never been compelled to show the real real you.

cry me a river.

black babies eat mud pies because of your privilege and black grandmothers bury their daughters to care for their children because of your injust aid - see how i connect the two?

what to do. what to do. what to do.

how to articulate
an authentic bridge
across color

if i cannot
i fear
all is lost
child and mother

i know
between privilege

class can transcend color
for money can buy your way
out of oppression
out of identifying with
'your people'

i sense like class
there exist
connections between conditions
across color
and these
can create that bridge

tell me how this can be done?

d'bi says to see the places where you are an oppressor, a witness of oppression and a victim of oppression.

let's start here - shall we give it a try?

i will and will let you know how it goes...