*this is a Facebook post that I'm placing on this blog for easy sharing; hence why it is untitled* 

For centuries black bodies have done the heavy labor of declaring our own humanity and forcing whiteness to release its grip on the sickness of white supremacy and anti-blackness. For centuries black bodies have had to suffer, have had to fight, have had to protest, have had to resist the deadly dehumanization inflicted by whiteness. In the last two years, technology has given us unprecedented ability to capture, spread, and narrate what black bodies have known too long. It is a gift and a curse. It is a gift to be able to point to evidence; it is a curse to watch on an endless loop the rage, anger, profanity, and force inflicted on our flesh. For black bodies in American things have drastically changed, and they have also remained dreadfully the same. I am no ones slave, this much is true. And I give honor to my ancestors who endured that particular pain. Im grateful for the legacy of the civil rights movement and black power movement. My life is a culmination of those who risked it all for themselves, for their children, for their children's children. It is so very apparent that we understand that while laws have changed over the course of history, one thing America has yet to do is uproot white supremacy. 

The deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castlie are not isolated. They are not isolated from Rekia or Sandra or Eric or John or Walter. They are also not isolated from civilians using force against Trayvon or Jordan. These deaths are not isolated from the Charleston Massacre. Nor are any of these isolated from Trumps candidacy, the rise of white supremacist groups or the never ending calls for "calm" and "peace". Black bodies dont have the luxury of taking things in one at a time. These are compounding insults that feel a lot like warnings, weighing on our hearts and minds. It is not blackness that is weight. I love my blackness. We love our blackness. It is whiteness that works so hard to turn blackness into a thing to be feared and killed or commodified and discarded. On a systemic level and in the individual decisions that shape and maintain systems, black bodies have yet to be humanized. 

But we are human. Regardless of what the state does or what the {white} church preaches, regardless of what hate groups declare or the apathetic remain silent about- black bodies matter. 

To white people: its time to identify, call out, and uproot white supremacy wherever you find it. You may not be a police officer who's decisions come with deadly consequences. But dont think you are in any way off the hook. I guarantee somewhere in your life is a space infested with decisions being made to benefit white people at the expense of black people and other races and ethnicities. Its time to be a co-laborer, to risk your body along with mine. Its time for urgency. Your thoughts and prayers and posts dont mean much, if they are only for places far away, and never right where you live, work or worship. 

To my kinfolk: I cannot get the image of Rizpah out of my head. Rizpah lost a son to state sanctioned violence. She wouldn't let the violence be forgotten. She wouldn't let it be swept under the rug. She led a protest of one, fighting off beasts to bring what measure of dignity for the bodies and indictment for the rulers that was in her power to do. The Word says that she took her sackcloth and made a tent out of it. Her tool for mourning became the shelter under which she led her ferocious vigil. Im not here to tall you what to do with your sackcloth. You may need to just wear it, tear it, yell about it, scream and wail. Thats okay. Some may need to use it- putting your rage into organization or donations or writing, or even tweeting- something, anything to speak. It seems Rizpah was on that mountain alone. But you are not. You are not alone. You are not alone. Your body matters. Your life matters.   


Austin Brown1 Comment