When I’m particularly frustrated, hurt, or bothered I tend to turn to the history---it’s just what I do and an important part of who I am. I also tend to play with words when I’m “wound up” so here I am: wound up, sitting at my desk, staring at a keyboard…history burning in my head…blood of egun fiercely on my mind… And I’m just trying to figure out how to make some sense of the things I’ve seen this year…Some sense of my feelings of frustration too…Trying to call on the ancestors to answer questions and to reveal strategies that might give my heart, head, and soul some peace. But it seems that ain’t what they want to do right now. They keep yelling, loudly, fanatically, that freedom ain’t always about peace. That is where I am right now.
I’ve been incredibly frustrated by the numbers of white folks who continually to thumb their noses at Black Lives Mattering. Even more frustrating than these folks are Black and Brown people who gaslight all over our conversations in order to turn the issue of Black oppression and White Supremacy into mythological reasonings about so-called Black-on-Black violence, “broken homes” and whatever Neo-Negro self-degrading fodder they spew to distract from the reality that Black folks—men, women, and children—are still being lynched in the streets, and nothing in our political system has changed in the last hundred years or so to make the murderers accountable.
I was hurt by this…Confused as to why they couldn’t see what we see.
Egun showed up and reminded me: EVERYONE AIN’T GONNA GO WITH YOU. David Walker said it this way in his Appeal: "The man who would not fight under our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, in the glorious and heavenly cause of freedom and of God--to be delivered from the most wretched, abject and servile slavery, that ever a people was afflicted with since the foundation of the world, to the present day--ought to be kept with all of his children or family, in slavery, or in chains, to be butchered by his cruel enemies."
Now here’s some context for Walker’s curse. Writing in 1829, he had travelled throughout the Union and had witnessed firsthand many of the brutalities facing our people who at the time were bounded to one another in chattel slavery. What he saw with his own eyes caused him to name American (Christian) slavery as the most horrific treatment of humans on the planet since creation. But Walker tells us he saw something else too…he tells us he saw those, men and women colored like us, who refused to identify themselves with their people--instead choosing to oppress us for whatever small amount of profit (of peace or money or both) that spurned them to turn an apathetic eye to the plights of our folk. Walker identified what many of us continue to witness today—Black folks who would rather ignore the sufferings of other people like them—than to disrupt the illusion of peace and prosperity to which they had/have become comfortable.
Walker, and Boukamn, and others like them identified these people as our enemies. In fact, they remind us, it was Negroes like this that betrayed Turner, and Prosser, and Brown, and Vesey—enemies who would rather betray the movements to free the all in order to protect the comforts of a few. You know, people like Thomas, and Allen, and Carson…you know…people who would sell their souls for a position in white supremacy itself.
So what does the history tell us we do with these people? Well, in my exploration today—admittedly while I’m all up in my feelings---here is what I was led to. Walker, in his quote above tells us to leave these people where they are…destiny itself will deal with them. Boukman reminds us that we should pray that they be bound away from our strategies for liberation. They should never witness our rituals or our work. And Zora reminds us not to pity them for they aren’t our people in the first place. Mama Harriet wraps up the instructions by reminding us what she did to those who wanted to turn back---leave them to their death—but never with the hope that they can thwart our liberation.
Mama Harriet’s words are those that closed out my session with Egun today. She reminded me that there will always be those who don’t realize the ways that they are chained. But she told me that we cannot be distracted by them. She reminded me that on her travels, she only thought of death or liberty—all else was a distraction. She agreed with Walker: Negroes that would rather die than be free deserve the former.
This liberation work that I have chosen, I do it…I live it… so that one day my people will be free. I vow today to leave un-liberated minded Negroes to their own devices if they don’t wanna get free. I can’t afford to get caught up in the emotion of trying to save someone that doesn’t know that they need saving. You ever seen a drowning man? They can drown you even through your good intentions. We cannot afford to lose you, you mighty worker of liberation. Leave the dead to their own devices.
So after Egun finished, and my fingers move more slowly across keys, I’m left with this: I can choose distraction or I can choose freedom. So, I’m here. And I know. That, as for me and my house? We gon’ serve the Lord, put on a full armor of Egun, and do the work to free the people. You coming with, or nah?