In March when the stay at home orders just went down my good friend and current San Jose State English Professor Keenan Norris called me up tp talk about one of my favorite poems of all time The Idea of Ancestry by Etheridge Knight. Please watch the video that I created and let me know what you think.
As the days leading up to me returning to education pass way too quickly I find myself filled with consternation. I have been on hiatus for over a year now. I have traveled. I have created. I have sheltered in place. I have started my brand. I have made money independently. I have crafted every day of my life to be exactly what I want it to be. My time has been mine for the first time ever in my adult life. And now I have to prepare myself to surrender it to the institution once again.
I feed off of energy during my lectures. I look into the eyes of my students. I read the room. I put people on the spot who look at me quizzically by asking them to throw their questions out on the floor. I bless those who sneeze. I engage those who appear to be sleepy. I raise the energy level in the room to the highest possible level. Now I wonder how might this skillset that took me decades to master be inhibited by Zoom.
I have never taught an online class. The idea of lecturing to a computer screen has never been appealing to me, but here we are in the Fall of 2020. I fear that Conference Zoom is not a proper conduit for my soul. I am afraid of the disconnect that has been brought to education thanks to COVID 19. I am not sure how I will face it. I am not sure that I have the patience to return to form.
I saw a 27-year-old iconic black woman named Megan thee Stallion hobble backwards in the middle of the street at the behest of the Los Angeles Police Department. Her wounded foot leaving a trail of blood on the concrete as she continued to walk backwards with her hands up. Recording artist Tory Lanez laid face down on the opposite side of the vehicle. Initially it was reported that the car was pulled over because an occupant was shooting in the air and that glass from the window cut Meghan’s foot. Then that narrative was replaced with a more disturbing one. Apparently Tory Lanez shot Meghan twice in the foot in a domestic dispute as she tried to leave the SUV. The police then pulled them over a short while later. Tory was charged with weapon possession and quickly bonded out. Meghan has yet to tell the police that Tory is the culprit, but she has made a few social media posts which seem to not only point the finger at Tory but at black men in general.
“Black women are so unprotected & we hold so many things in to protect the feelings of others w/o considering our own,” she tweeted. “It might be funny to y’all on the internet and just another messy topic for you to talk about but this is my real life and I’m real life hurt and traumatized.”
I feel like a failure. 482.4k people to date liked this post. I would assume a disproportionate amount of them are black women who agree with her sentiments. Many of whom were probably retraumatized by watching a performer like Meghan who is normally so full of confidence and one who possesses an unabashed ownership of her sexuality wounded and bleeding by the hands of a black man. I hate that this feeling of being unprotected is so pervasive amongst black women. I hate the truth of it. I hate that when a black woman sees a group of black men that she does not know then she is much more likely to feel extreme anxiety than comfort. I love black women and it bothers me that in these moments of high-profile domestic abuse, my love can be overruled by the actions of a coward. I wish that I could heal Meg. I wish that I could restore the dignity of black men in the eyes of all black women who have been abused, but I cannot. All I can do is hate what I see, log off of social media, and try to come up with a real-life plan to bring some understanding to our fractured relationships.