One of my colleagues recently said to me that “Black Liberation is undefinable, because Black people have never been free so we have no idea what liberation looks like.” It really resonated with me, because there is so much arrogance and competition within the Black community for who is the most “woke” and who is doing the most for liberation. This “call-out” culture is toxic, and it is a tool crafted in the belly of white supremacy to keep us fighting each other no matter what.
I refuse to participate in it any longer. This country, founded upon genocide and oppression, has designed a barrel big enough to house “Black on Black violence” and the “wokeness wars”. The systems of oppression have set us all up to fail.
I am dedicated to subverting that system. I am reclaiming my mind, my time, and my entire life. I am reevaluating how I relate to other people, especially other Black people. I fundamentally believe that everyone is doing their best to survive and that everyone has a set of traumas, fears, and struggles that I can never understand because I can’t see into their hearts. I am choosing collaboration over competition. I am choosing compassion over judgement. I am choosing to be the change I want to see in the world.
I was recently asked how I would live my life if fear were not an option. I didn’t give an answer, because ironically I was afraid to be honest. My honest answer is that if fear were eliminated from the equation of the human condition, I would simply love everybody and everything.
It sounds hippie-dippie, but it’s true. I’ve decided that my kindness is not my weakness, everyone is just so traumatized by the human condition that they abuse kindness. I’ve come to realize that my contradictions and inconsistencies are rooted in fears that are a part of a story I no longer believe and does not apply to me now. I don’t have to live in fear. I can choose my perspective and choose love everytime.
This isn’t to say that I want to have infinite forgiveness for people who cause harm; because that approach will bring harm to myself. It just means I am drawing clear distinctions and setting unapologetic boundaries. I am commiting myself to pause from my knee-jerk reactions and stop assuming that I know people’s motives.
Liberation to me is love that is so bold and revolutionary that it cannot be regulated, sabotaged, or suppressed by the effects of oppression. My liberation is the absence of the traumas that cause betrayal, selfishness, and scarcity.
My liberation is kin to forgiveness, reconciliation, and re-visioning a life of love and community. And when my own traumas cause me to temporarily fall out of alignment with my values, I hold fast to my gratitude for my community, as those who really know me, believe in my best intentions and continue to love me as I walk my path towards liberation.