I am desperately trying to overcome issues with getting my writing out in the world. So, I am self-censoring less, practicing faith that there are audiences for my voice and just posting my morning 15 minutes of writing. Take it or leave it. But this is what I wrote this morning.
I wonder about all the brilliance stolen from us.
Talking with a dear friend who just finished their phd, working on the virtual morass of a class I am teaching on the Law and reading some of the commentary circulating in this moment in academia has caused a great deal of reflection on my part. And I am really feeling the profound wounds that I have, particularly the ways that I have been treated since leaving Mills College. Part of the power of a diverse women’s college like Mills is in what isn’t explicitly said or at least how its values actually play out on the ground. At Mills, it was just assumed that I had thoughts. Education that takes seriously folks from marginalized groups, women, folks of color, queer folks.
We move around in the world sometimes being treated like such shit. The mismatch between the world’s projections and the brilliance in one’s mind and heart, can be crushing. Sometimes I feel like I could go crazy. My mind keeps working on the mismatch later after interactions, even when I try and set it aside. I wake up in the night, like my brain has been working on a math problem from earlier and it clicked. Except what clicks is the illogic of some other person’s logic: “oh he thought I didn’t understand him.” “oh! She was implying that I had stolen that scarf I was wearing.” “oh! Wait I get it, he just randomly started telling me that white people experience racism too.” My mind keeps trying to figure other people out because humans need other people to survive. The bullshit gendered, racism- shit in people’s minds spews into our interaction and my brain has to do the sorting. Because people do their own making sense on you.
Now I have power in this. I very effectively burn various herbs to cleanse myself of the shit of other people. I talk to myself alone in my house about the intellectual questions before me. My brilliance shines so bright, many days it feels like other people’s small shit doesn’t really matter. I am so creative and interesting. I have so many ideas. I am beautiful. But I am also so so tired. There is also just enough time for what I am here to do, and it isn’t educate white people on things easily before them in books, art, real life, everywhere.
I am also so so tired
Some of the wounds I have been reflecting on most this week can be traced back to white folks who thought they were protecting me, or mentoring me. A lot of liberal white folks are enacting violence on people of color and I worry that if the yard stick is a Trumponian hatred, we will miss some really important work that this time offers. There is all this kind of epistemological violence that whiteness does.
I wonder about all the brilliance stolen from us. All the genius locked up in prisons, beaten out of Black folks by poverty or popular culture or low expectations. It feels like there is this whole fantastical world on the other side of all this shit. I am sure we can barely imagine the full beauty of what could be. What if all the brilliance of BIPOC folks was nurtured? If there was space to breathe? If our voices, our contributions mattered fully?