A Letter to my Husband

Dedicated to all my Sisters who are married to white men

Baby. Hi. Please hear me on something. If I describe an issue as racial, please hear me openly before you judge. Put yourself in my shoes for a moment: To white people, I am black. To black people, I am light-skinned. And to Latino people, I am flaca. Whereas, to everyone, you are always white.

Consider, intellectually, how complicated that is. Consider how emotionally complicated. How Spiritually and Physically complicated. How historically complicated. How can I reconcile all these voices, all these Ancestors? That is something I have to answer moment-to-moment in order to maintain equilibrium.

Anyway, put yourself in my shoes. And don’t worry, I’ve been putting myself into your shoes since I was a kid and saw Captain Kirk for the first time. You cannot argue with Capt. Kirk, unless you are Spock. I was like, “Damn. I want my own ship…,” and further damn, I want to be Wise.

Get it? There were no black Captain Kirks. No black Spocks. I could not even DREAM without going outside the box. That’s a lot to ask of a child.

If you feel defensive towards my words, then please, just be with that. Be with your defensiveness. What is it you want to defend? If you do all these things, and you still think I’m overreacting, I will accept some truth around Tai-needing-to tone-herself-down. Tai is being dramatic.

I prefer to think of myself as wild. There has always been that in me: a place that will not be tamed, like the forest of trees on my head. I am in the business of reclaiming my power. I am off-key a lot. I am exploring this voice inside me that wants to talk, to wail, to sing her names into the seven winds. I want to be heard. I want justice. I want equality. I want America to come together unlike ever before in the butchery we call expansion. And I know you do too.

So, for example, yesterday, two twenty-something white women rang my front doorbell. They started talking at me with a kind of hidden violence, meant to disarm me. The thing they were trying to sell, in this case, was one of those third-party energy scam policies that are rampant in Roxbury right now. So first of all, I was annoyed by the unscrupulousness of the scam itself. Then I felt irate at the people who took advantage of these young women and finally, I felt mad at the women themselves, for participating in the greed at my expense. They flaunted these terrifying masks of invulnerability.

It was like a bad dream.

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