What I Know

It struck me that I don’t have to guess hypothetically what I will do with my last day.

I have decided to spend it dancing to Bey in my office taking selfie videos, while pretending to look at stupid ass spreadsheets that contain data that we will only intellectually masturbate with once we stop arguing about what they say.

Also, the universe provided me with free biscuit bread pudding from Café Adelaide today.  This seems as it should be.

Tonight, Imma get beignets from Café Du Monde and eat them by the river listening to Michael…

Until…

I should like, say shit, right?

I mean, I feel like I have said shit.  This blog is 51 posts strong, y’all.

But honestly? I think I don’t know shit.  Right?  Like why the hell should anyone listen to someone who literally made herself crazy with thoughts?  Those thoughts must be pretty damned bad for your health.

I mean, some of it was prolly right.  I think I am right about things falling apart.  I think I am probably right that loving each other and taking care of each other is the way to make things better.  I think love and failures to love are fractalitic and rhizomatic and that does not even matter if we just decide to do one a lot more than the other.

But I do not really understand wanting to stick around through the madness, which feels like it overwhelms the possibility of love making a difference.  I think it must not be quite as unbearable out there for the rest of you.  So maybe forget loving each other if you are groovy with things, if you don’t hurt like I do.  Get yours, home skillets.  Carnie said he is happy after doing his best to rip my whole being to shreds and throwing a tantrum that resulted in about $1000 worth of destruction of shit I bought for him, just in case I had any doubts about how he felt about me.  I’m sayin’, if you know how to be happy with all this stuff, more power to you.  You definitely know better than I do.  You should write a blog about how to fix this shit, maybe.

I wrote this thing when I was in middle school…

Can’t you see?

They say

See what?

I respond

The lie called the truth?

Destruction of the youth?

See what?

I demand

Can’t you see?

They respond

The beautiful world around you…

I think I know about as much as I knew in that moment.

So today, this last day…

Fuck this job, I’m dancing.  Imma eat carbs like whoa by the water.  I might even grab some womp womp tonight.

#getyourneezyon

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Insurrection

The need to sort and categorize things may be a productive natural instinct for human beings.  Still, this becomes pathological and dangerous when one cannot recognize that the reality of thing previously sorted does not fit in the box into which it had been placed.  This is the root of Sander Gilman’s understanding of stereotypes as pathology, a definition that has haunted me since I first encountered it in college.

I think it is disturbing because the slide from evolutionary practicality into madness is so simple.  Being able to recognize a pattern is important and a single person cannot be expected to constantly hold that all things are possible at one time: action would be paralyzed.  For example, we cannot appropriately engage in a daily commute if we do not accept that a red light still means stop today.  Getting closer to human beings, we would have difficulty engaging with a new uniform for police officers every day.  It would be entirely unclear who was, ostensibly anyway, present to protect and serve you.  Of course, this example contains within it the problem with becoming rigid with categories.  Depending on who you are and the individual officer, regardless of the pattern of uniforms with which you have become familiar, that officer may not, in fact, be working for your protection.

With time, individuals may overcome this kind of pathological stereotyping.  Individuals may learn from experience that stereotypes are not helpful when coping with different human beings and can, in fact, severely damage and devalue life lived with others.

I do not believe that systems and structures, once imbued with the authority to set and restrict based on categories, can undergo the same transformation, even as the collective of individuals who set the structures in place stop believing in their veracity.  There is no better example than slavery in the United States.  I will accept that most folks in this country no longer believe in the version of slavery upon which this nation was founded.  But our systems, structures, and policies have allowed slavery to persist masked and with little intentional input from the population.  1)  There is a terrifying denial of the fact that mass incarceration in this country is the structural equivalent of slavery.  2)  A wide range of actors, policies, and practices conspire to create this system in plain sight and an equally terrifying number of folks are reluctant to undo one piece of this apparatus because of its false promises of public safety.  3) Slavery was created for economic gain and racism and white supremacy were used to shore up this violent practice.  We may have undone the original form of slavery, but we never bothered to undo the logic that economic prosperity requires those supporting structures of racism and white supremacy and currently often deny that they exist.  4)  Without a lot of active complicity from the population, these structures regenerate and manufacture new iterations of themselves, still serving their original purpose, while appearing completely loosed from ownership by the population.  5) These structures and systems encourage and reproduce ignorance, divisiveness, and misinformation so that the masking persists over generations.

I do not think that this is a malfunction limited to slavery.  It is, perhaps not a “malfunction” at all.  The structures are functioning precisely as intended and this is the result of a population consenting to the aggregation of desires and giving up the ability to challenge that aggregation meaningfully.  If we submit to government for protection, we allow a thing external to us, although it admittedly arises from the collective of Us, to do our categorizing and controlling based on those categories on our behalf.  Once such structures and systems are in place, an individual’s engagement with reality, that might prove the category false, is not enough to undo systemic bad categorizing.  Economics, momentum, and the very nature of structures rigidify our most basest instincts in ways that cannot be undone in the same way that we are able to make small change through interpersonal growth and development.  To undo a structure and pattern implemented at the national level and embedded in our foundations requires the kind of change that has never actually happened in this country.  Because of the institutionalization of categories, we live under governments beset by pathologies and madness.  We are still very much a nation so driven by a document more than 225 years old that it is nearly sacrilege to challenge it.  We stop thought past citing this document; we use social control to regulate ideas that would upset this ridiculous legacy; and we submit to the vile imperfection that is our “democracy” with the excuse that we have not come up with anything better yet while at all times our culture, discourses, and regulations prevent such an innovation from happening.

Our constitution currently supports slavery.  Our governments at all levels support and uphold racism and white supremacy because of a structural pathology that we would not tolerate in individuals.  We unabashedly vote for and allow our leaders to set policies based on feelings and wishes instead of facts and reality, allowing further descent into madness.  We wallow in ignorance and the vain hope that something in these very structures and institutions will give us our freedom back while they systematically deny us that freedom and the intelligence that it would take to actually reclaim it.  Our country’s history comprises the genealogy of the mass murder of my people that continues today and only the foolish might imagine that this will remain limited to my people forever even as it already shows signs of leakage into other communities.  And we will continue this painfully slow descent into the everydayness of atrocity unless we make the decision to stop trading a false sense of security for chains.  We must stop consenting to insanity and ignorance and live our freedom.

I am not talking about violence.  But I am most assuredly talking about insurrection.

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Unrest

I totally predicted the real estate crash of 2007.  About six months before it happened, I told a friend that there were a lot of patterns that indicated that the current market made no sense and that a big crisis was coming.  The friend, who has made a pretty stellar career for himself in real estate, either truly did not believe me or he was doing that thing where people who believe in the market as a workable theory speak with confidence because that actually does sustain markets for awhile.  Either way, he scoffed at my prediction.

He was probably right to mock me.  I did not quote market analyses or run models to come up with what I thought the rates should be and why things were off.  I was just observing patterns of social madness that seemed to be crystallizing around housing.  The crisis could have come six months, two years or even longer after we had our conversation for all I knew and that kind of prediction is completely useless for market analysis and investment.

Another part of his confusion was probably that I did not speak about a real estate crisis in isolation.  I also talked about the permanent dumbing down of the country being perpetrated through the destruction of public education and the irrational lack of investment in higher education.  I talked about climate change.  I talked about the disorientation I felt working in one community, playing in another and not really existing properly in either.  Our universes should not be so distinct.  I talked about the increasing disconnect between people and what they want and our systems, which are increasingly incapable of answering to those desires.  I talked about the continuing injustice in our justice system.  I talked about white supremacy, which serves to distort the impact of all of those processes so that those least capable of protecting against the damage receive the worst of it.  In a two hour phone conversation, I mostly traced why things were going to pot and it was probably very very confusing, particularly because in 2007 the country was full of hope as embodied by a new Senator from Illinois, families were still appearing to do quite well, and southern cities appeared to be booming.

The purpose of this post is not, contrary to appearances, to serve as some big I told you so about a random and somewhat dubious market prediction.  It is to assert that this unrest that we are experiencing right now is not at all rooted in the current moment, but rather has simply been revealed by it.  Neither is it a discontent that only impacts one community.  If we allow the unrest to be rooted in a moment, if we allow it to only impact some of us, we will not recognize how truly vital it is that we stop submitting to madness.  We will not recognize that the current unrest is a direct result of a number of systems that are functioning just as they have been for centuries, just as they have been designed to function.  If we sit back and wait for this thing to be resolved and our discontent to fade (which usually only means we forget or allow ourselves to be distracted), we will continue to watch the horrific results of our submission to these processes.

Slowly, it seems, Americans are recognizing that things are not simply going to get better.  According to this study, our bizarre optimism, which has sustained the mythology of the American Dream for so long, is waning.  I do not mind this.  I think it is past time that we cope with the reality of our submission to bad systems.

We must not continue to submit.  We must not be silent.  We must get free.

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Reorientation

Consider these images from the Civil Rights Movement.

These images, full of black struggle, are ghosted by a parallel dehumanization…  Not the dehumanization of black souls and bodies, who are so fully humanized by their vulnerability, but the inhumanity in the white folks that share these spaces of pain.  This is the true haunting of our country:  the dehumanization of white folks who have allowed themselves to be agents of white supremacy.  This is the shame of these images, the stark reality that they present, the unbearable mirror that forced change.  People lose their humanity with every injustice perpetrated. This is why folks run away from conversations about institutional racism and white supremacy and why conservatives now declare that only racists talk about racism.  The racists are not somewhere over there.  They are in the everyday Americans who ghost and participate in systemic injustices.  These mirrors that force agents of white supremacy to face their dehumanization are unbearable.

But this does not change reality.  Those who find space to bring harm to other humans lose pieces of their own humanity in the process.  And it is vital that we recognize this as the source of the structural violence in our country and not continue to rely on factually incorrect arguments that would pathologize black cultures and communities.  The speck is not in the eye of the victims in this.  The log is in the eye of those who have allowed themselves, because of power, banal facility, intellectual laziness, and/or economics, to lose humanity and treat other human beings savagely and without regard.  Understanding the location of the disorder allows us to properly orient our solutions.

Someone recently noted that programs happen in black neighborhoods, but never in white ones.  Indeed, the difference between a program and a policy might be that programs are haphazard quick fixes that you stick in black communities because policies work for white neighborhoods that therefore do not require such temporary solutions.  If we have correctly identified the location of the problem in white supremacy and institutional racism, this orientation is clearly problematic.

I would like to refocus our gazes from supposed black pathologies and onto the pathology of institutional racism and its agents.  I would like to see images of and have conversations about judges who go on tirades about poor people being full of shit and police officers yelling at those they have sworn to protect and elected officials using the n-word in corner offices.  Those are the sources of the violence that we are seeing today and that we have always seen in our country and revealing and undoing those must be a priority for change.

The pictures people are broadcasting from Ferguson do some of this work and the devastating comparisons between images from Ferguson and images from the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s are important markers of our painful and slow reorientation.

And now that the mirror is beginning to be appropriately focused once more, properly oriented policies, including but not limited to the ones listed below, must follow.

  • A recognition that these current events are part of a process that began with slavery and continued with intentional policies and practices throughout the history of this country is mandatory for understanding the reality of our circumstances and processing the requirements for moving forward.
  • Police forces should be demilitarized.  Although it has been correctly noted that this militarization is a symptom of larger issues, demilitarization is mandatory for progress.
  • More importantly, police personnel who engage with the public should be required to wear body cameras during all such engagements so that their behavior, not the behavior of the communities they should be protecting, is the focus of attention.
  • The war on drugs, which has been used to perpetrate the war on black communities, should be stopped through deregulation and diverting funds to community-based treatment and rehabilitation.
  • Whenever possible, our justice system should focus on rehabilitation and restoration rather than gross, meaningless, and counterproductive punishment.
  • Trained crisis response teams staffed by behavioral health professionals should be required when responding to calls for services involving  individuals experiencing mental health crises.

Programs and interventions that build resiliency and support the healthy growth of people in brutalized communities are good and necessary, particularly while systems of injustice persist.  But these are not long term solutions and they must not be used to mask the real sources of our problems.  There will not be sustained change until the dehumanizing policies and practices that support the frameworks of white supremacy are undone.  We have pretended for decades now that these problems originate in victimized communities.  We are at a moment where we can no longer afford to persist with this delusion and we must make these changes or 50 years from now, our grandchildren will be making the same devastating comparisons that we are making today.

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By Way of Explaining Shit: Black responses to the murders of our people

Last Thursday night, I was at an event with a group of my Sisters and I boasted that, although I kept seeing other people talk about their friends saying crazy things about the murder of Michael Brown and the subsequent events in Ferguson, I had not seen such shenanigans in my friends.

Then this happened:

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Yeah…  Incidentally, I could not make it through the video he posted.  My soul screamed pretty loudly about one minute in and so I turned it off and ate a piece of chocolate to heal my wounds.  View it without chocolate present at your own risk.

Aside from the mental madness contained in the video, there are so many problems with my friend’s questions.  The wrongness begins with something that is not immediately apparent unless you are graceful about his misspellings and unusual syntax and correctly chalk it up to English not being his first language:  he has no standing to be asking me these questions with such a profound lack of grace in the first place because he does not live in the United States and he never has.  For him to request that I respond to some random Uncle T…  (nah)… to some random video he found on YouTube is not just presumptuous:  it is offensive.  It would be like me finding a video about life in the Netherlands and asking him and all of his ethnic group to explain why they ostensibly disagree with it, using the most patronizing and belittling way of communicating this demand available.

To be fair to my friend (not that I have to be fair after the trauma he wrought, but because I have enough love from other sources at the moment to be able to do so), his questions are not completely unheard of in the United States.  If the fact that there are so many readily available answers to this set of questions is any indication, they appear to be circulating pretty widely in White Supremacist American discourse.  A couple of friends were also kind enough to contribute to this list.  Somehow, White Supremacists get it in their heads that they are unique and that no one has asked and answered these questions before.  They are:

  • If a person presents a threat to the police, shouldn’t the police officer protect himself?
  • Why should we care about this man? He had just committed a crime!
  • Why don’t black people protest black on black violence? Black people are killing each other and it is a much bigger problem!
  • Where is the outrage when black people kill white people? (I had a hard time writing this one.    I just can’t even begin…)
  • Why are black people looting and rioting in response to this? What does that help?
  • Why do black people keep blaming white people for their problems?
  • What is White Supremacy? Didn’t that end with slavery…  I mean, Jim Crow… I mean… I mean the last time some black person got shot just for being black?
  • Aren’t you being a racist by questioning my racism?
  • If black people don’t want to be perceived as threats, then shouldn’t they just behave better?

I, personally, like to live my life as free as possible from the assumptions of White Supremacy and I cannot maintain my regime of self-care while simultaneously bothering to explain this shit to anyone.  The speck is not in my eye and asking these questions in this way reveals the numerous problems with the asker’s vision.   When these questions come to someone’s mind, they should be asking themselves why black pain makes them so damned mean and ignorant.

Fortunately… maybe… or not… some of my favorite people have taken the time to do some explaining.  They have better internal protection mechanisms, I hope.  I am aware that white privilege has prevented some folks from googling some of these responses for themselves and so, as a gesture of hoping that one day those folks will be free from mental slavery, I will provide some links to these explanations here.

As with my post about White Supremacy, this is the only response I have.  I cannot answer my friend’s questions because I object to the asking.  I think the asking was the embodiment of White Supremacy and how it functions.  I think the asking was cruel and hateful.  That this friend has subsequently threatened to “unfriend” me because of the “racism” in my posts only highlights this insanity and White Supremacy.  This is how it functions.  When it cannot force engagement on its own terms, it erases the problem.  The only loving way for me to engage is to identify it as such, suggest that the asker liberate themselves from being agents of White Supremacy, and move on.

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By Way of Explaining Shit: White Supremacy

The browser on my phone currently has a smiley face where it is supposed to show me the count of how many windows I have open.  This smile mocks me.  It says, “Neezy, you have more than 99 windows open, so I shall smile at you instead of showing you a real number because clearly you need some encouragement.  But for real, tho.  You cray.”  🙂

Once every couple of weeks, I try to whittle down the number of windows and I can usually get down to 50 or so.  Honestly, the smile is right to mock me.  My soul really does not need to absorb one more piece of information about how White Supremacy is killing my people, but I cannot seem to stop reading about the various iterations of this genocide.

This most likely informed my frustration with getting a question from a friend asking me for my definition of White Supremacy.  In fact, I do not have some personalized definition of White Supremacy.  It is a thing out there that is killing my people, stealing our freedom, and generally dehumanizing both its agents and anyone that refuses to conform.  I do not own it, I do not define it, and it does not exist by virtue of some creative power of Neezy’s wisdom.

In fact, I am refusing to respond to all inquiries regarding definitions about White Supremacy.  I ain’t explaining shit.  Listen to Michael Brown’s mother talk about the anguish of spending her son’s lifetime convincing him to strive for college against the backdrop of everything around him telling him he did not matter only to have the actions of White Supremacy prove that backdrop to be correct…  how can you hear that and not know what White Supremacy is?  How can you watch the systematized attempts to control, steal freedom from, and murder people of color in this country and not know what White Supremacy is?  A person’s ignorance of White Supremacy is a direct result of either White Supremacy itself or some other hateful unwillingness to see the suffering of other people and its sources.  It is a direct result of the dehumanization that happens to perpetrators of racism. No one should be asking me what my definition of White Supremacy is or how I am going to undo it.

Never fear, though, there are plenty of great negro-ologists out there willing to assist those who have, as a result of white privilege, forgotten how to perceive hatefulness on their own.

This is all I have for you, for anyone who has not yet discovered through life with human beings in the United States the reality of White Supremacy and racism for themselves.  I will continue to share my experiences and identify these structures and systems as they inevitably appear.  From me, life will have to be its own explanation.

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By Way of Explaining Shit

This has never been much of an explaining shit sort of blog.  I write about my experiences and mostly leave readers to accept them or not.  It is my hope that if I speak honestly about my life and make space for people to share their experiences in return, we can better figure out how to love one another.  But I do not engage in explaining shit.  I heavily moderate and remove comments here and on Facebook that would overburden me with having to justify my life and freedom as I live it.

This is partially why I avoid making blog posts attempting to educate people about things.  If I were writing a blog that sought to defend reparations or a political stance or make a case for teaching about White Supremacy in school, I would expect to have to defend my arguments.  And so, largely, I do not make such arguments at all.  I may make broader observations about truths that make sense to me, but even with those, I do not defend my terminology, perspective, or critiques with long definitions or justifications for why I have used them.  Whatever my role is in this life, it is not to be the great negro-ologist.

There are enough folks out there making arguments.  I would rather like to share life with you.  I am Johnetta Samone.  I am.  And I am free to be.  To justify or provide rationale to this freedom would be to presume that there may be some iteration of reality in which this freedom does not exist.  My freedom and my life simply are and providing a reason for this would unmake me.  And so I do not.  And because I do not, I am better able to love you.

But I certainly get called upon to explain and justify.

“What do you mean by White Supremacy?”

“Help me understand what MLK said about individualism and why Hillary Clinton is not like Hitler?”

“How can you support that criminal who was shot?  Sure no one should die, but black people kill each other all the time!  Where is the outrage about that?”

I got all of these questions in one day from three different white men.  Those white men are friends that I have known for years.  The mildly insane Greek man who asked the last set of questions has been dear to my heart for over a decade.  When they are able, they love me and, when I am able, I love them.  But their questions in turn exhaust me, make me resentful, and straight up hurt.

Some clarifications before I continue:  The set of questions from the second man, who posted a picture comparing Hillary Clinton to Hitler, resulted in a different kind of engagement from the other two and so the analysis below does not strictly apply, although it was still a distressing conversation.  Also, I have admittedly summarized the questions as posed.  Still, in the posing of the questions from the other two men, there were no attempts made to describe their own personal experiences, no attempts made to be open about their own perspectives, and no attempts made to bring reciprocity to the encounter.

With these two men, it feels like I am being called upon to explain why I matter.  It feels like, after having to live under the brutality and violence generated by a culture and society that, en masse, straight up hates me, I now have to explain to those who benefit from that structure why I respond the way I do to said brutality and violence.  Being called upon to explain to those who are asking from a place of privilege how the source of that privilege causes me pain is unfair.  In the past year, I have made my life and attempts and failures to love straight up naked on this blog, with the hope that this provides a foundation for coping with human beings instead of constructs of systems and structures.  These white men, when they asked me these questions, turn away from joining me in this openness, this relentless pursuit to be human beings with one another.  They have not questioned themselves and ripped their own failures to love open enough to find answers in our shared experiences.  And it is not only unfair, it is so, so painful.

Even as I write this and prepare a series of responses to each man individually, I have not made up my mind to answer a damned thing.  My people are always told to figure things out for themselves, to read books, to do research, to better themselves.  Why should I answer to these two white men who could just as easily spend a few hours on the internet and learn about everything they have asked me and more?

Furthermore, something about the asking for explanation shows a distinct unwillingness to actually engage with another human being in the first place.  Prove you to Me, they are saying.  Prove you to Me and I, who need no proving, will not be at stake in this conversation and I will judge your evidence.  But sirs, if I am standing upright in front of you and if my openness and love and failures to love do not prove me, what could I possibly say to help you with that?  Do you not see that standing upright has killed my people and that continuing to stand upright anyway is an expression of love and hopefulness that should exempt me and my people from this kind of painful questioning?

I am really missing that black lunch table in the cafeteria, y’all.  My people ain’t always perfect to each other, but, except for a few highly bamboozled exceptions, they never hurt me like this and we never had to explain shit.  We could, for a meal, just be.

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Filed under Get Your Neezy On, Love, Pray for me Y'all, Relentless, Rhizomatics

There will never be silence

When I started reading the posts about Robin Williams and depression last night, I felt overwhelmingly bitter and mad.  In my head, I was fuming because I felt that if the world were so kind about depression, I would not be alone right now.  We are asked to speak openly about depression and then punished for it when people withdraw from our lives because they do not want to be around such negativity.

And then I rapidly recognized the untruth of that last sentence and the unfairness of it to all of my friends and loved ones who have done the opposite through my bouts of depression.  I have always been well loved through my episodes and well supported through all of my various expressions of hopelessness.  Those who know me, those who love me, those who make sure that my outcome is not like Robin Williams’ know that it will pass, know that the depression does not make up all of who I am and they know that when it does pass, I will go back to shining and supporting them in turn.  It is a lot that I ask of my loved ones; my depression can be epic and consume my perspective for weeks or even months.  And I am so grateful that folks are willing to walk with me through those times.

I have been spoiled, quite frankly, and so when a person I cared about was unable to stick it out through an episode, it left me with the bitterness that began this post.  “When you silence yourself, you think like a slave,” he told me.  And so, buoyed by his willingness to listen, I shared my current hopelessness about my work, about my purpose, and about my own future generally.  I am done, I declared.  There is clearly nothing more to do because things are so fucked that it does not matter that I do anything in the first place.  A couple of days later, he said it was the stupidest thing he had heard.  He said that he no longer wanted to be with me.  He said that until I figured out how to be okay by myself, I should be alone.

Since that conversation, I have been asked by so many people how I feel.  We did not sleep that night and I spent the next day, yesterday, on flights all over the place to get home and so I have not really been committing to feeling any one thing.  And when I heard of Robin Williams’ passing, I felt bitter at first, as I said.  And now I just feel confused.  People who are depressed should most assuredly not be alone, but perhaps they should also not be in intimate relationships?  This seems wrong, as well.  I watch my friend Chris struggle through her episodes and find myself almost envious of the love and support that her fiance obviously provides.  The author of Hyperbole and a Half likewise has a partner who has been with her through episodes that sometimes last for more than a year.  It just seems fundamentally bizarre and counter to reason that people who are so clearly in desperate need of support and love should remove themselves from relationships that should provide this.

For a moment, I felt the lesson of this experience was to re-silence myself.  I love that man and standing straight as myself, at his encouragement, resulted in him leaving me.  I had made the same decision to silence myself at work a few weeks ago, after all.  In my mid-year review meeting, my boss made it clear that it was my job to work with system actors to make change and that if our work with residents and community groups would ever jeopardize the work with system actors, by being too revolutionary and alienating partners, then our work with residents and community groups must stop.  This seemed so chock full of the White Supremacy that is the root of all of the issues we are supposed to address that my poor little revolutionary spirit shut down.  My job, despite all my prior assumptions and efforts to the contrary, was to work with White Supremacy.  Fine.  I would approach the work like I was simply some sort of cog in a machine, not taking seriously any revolutionary potential and completing assignments to get a paycheck.  I would be silent.

“When you silence yourself, you think like a slave.  And that’s what they want.  That’s what your country has wanted from its beginning.  Are you called to be relentless or not?  Be relentless.”  This is the full thing that my ex said to me.

Loved ones, ask me how I feel now.

I am smiling.  I am called to be relentless.  And I am free.  I am depressed and hopeless sometimes.  I am abrasive and sarcastic.  I am brilliant.  I motivate others to be their best selves and push those around me to be better the same way I push myself.  I am stunning.  And sometimes I will forget all of that and hate myself and want to die.  But I am also so well loved that I have always found my freedom again… the love of others does sustain me and I would not be here without it.  My ex made this to be a weakness.  We must be self-sufficient and able to survive completely alone, he lectured me.  But I have seen this narrative before:  it is the false narrative that sustains White Supremacy and capitalism.  Understanding that my freedom is dependent on yours, that my sustenance and ability to survive is dependent upon the love of others when I have run out of resources to generate what I need for myself does not make me weak:  it makes me the embodiment of the revolution and it is perhaps what has led me to be relentless in the first place.  And because of your love, I will love so, so hard in return.

My ex is partially correct.  When the love of others and resources to handle my depression fail me in crucial moments, I may perish, as Robin Williams did.  Depression can be deadly and I will not romanticize this.  But lack of love and external resources is why we all perish.  This is why black boys are enemies of the state.  This is why black girls may disappear and no one cares.  Why we have such cruelty at our borders.  Why Sudan.  Why Iraq.  Why poverty.  Why racism.  Without the love of others and shared resources to handle the shit that the human condition produces, we all die.  Indeed, we are dying.

This failure to love… this man’s failure to love me has reminded me both of the consistent and persistent love that I have received and has provided a new memory of survival.  Today, I feel grateful.  Tomorrow, I might not and I will need this memory.  I will need you.  And somehow, there is freedom in that.  And because of that freedom, I will never be silent.

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Revolution Memory: Desire and Freedom

Sometimes, I write blurbs that have no real external purpose but assist me with mappings and attempts to depict a thing with other things.  These blurbs were part of the problem of the first book I wrote, which contained several of them interspersed throughout more standard journal-like entries.  They are too dense and too full of my own internal monologue, without real engagement with how others might access or make meaning from the thing.

But I love these blurbs.  To me, they represent the clearest moments and it mostly makes me sad that they tend to alienate others… which in turns makes me feel quite alien.  Sometimes, I put these blurbs out into the world for ostensible public consumption anyway.  Externally coherent or not, the wholeness of Neezy includes both the simple and the overly dense, the emotive and the painfully logical.

This morning, I found this thing I wrote about desire management last July.  For me, it is two paragraphs that describe the substance of the revolution where it took me about ten posts to get it all out in other forms.  It is shorter than this introduction.  And I adore it.  You may not.  That’s cool.  We can still both be dope together in this.

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July 8, 2013

The thing that is most stable is most responsive to absorbing the randomness of the desire of individuals/groups into itself, as determined by the collective of individuals.  Government as the collection of power, has been that thing, sometimes absorbing the randomness through brute force, sometimes through democracy.  Arguably, economics is doing a better job of it now.  What I mean to say is that power is not a structure or a thing outside of the collective desire that manages it and is in turn managed by it.  Desire submits to stability and maintenance for the purpose of ensuring that desire may be pursued in the face of other competing desires.

But desire must be submitting for power to persist.  Completely free objectively, desire may choose not to submit.  Power that absorbs effectively sometimes renders this option invisible, perhaps by fabricating the desire to submit even when desires are not being answered and/or by undoing the ability of desire to perceive that it may not submit, but desire remains objectively free.  Should some overwhelming majority of desire manage to disregard and live apart from its repressive collectivity as amassed in power, should some mass of desire recognize that competition with other desires need not be controlled as its only resolution, power would cease to exist and the thing remaining would be objective, actual freedom.

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by | July 25, 2014 · 7:42 am

Revolution Memory: Shit you Better Recognize

This is an excerpt from a book I wrote between 2005 and 2009.  I do not know how to feel about it.  I have changed, we have changed, and yet the pulse underneath is the same…

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February 2006

She can’t stay in the room

She’s consumed with everything that’s been going on

She says

Whatever happens

            don’t let go of my hand

Everything will be alright

He assures her

But she doesn’t hear a word that he says…

He doesn’t know what to say

So he prays

Whatever

            Whatever

                        Whatever

Whatever happens

            don’t let go of my hand

– Whatever Happens, Michael Jackson and Carlos Santana

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My friend was fired because they said she had stolen from the company whose trash she was responsible for picking up every night.  They had no proof, only that someone had misplaced something and she was poor.  They held her paycheck.  She had tried so hard to work and participate and do what they said she should be doing but the truth is that they want her just where she is right now.  Sitting in the house, smoking, drinking, smoking the life they have not already drained from her away.

And by “they,” I clearly mean you.  And me.  Always, always, we can pluck away at the mask of whiteness and find ourselves underneath.

Them… those that we put behind bars because we are too ashamed to admit that they are ours… Sometimes the them over there in prison throw shit, they smear it on themselves and should you be startled by this and ask yourself why, here is another thought: If you control every aspect of a human being’s life, the only resource they have left to express their humanity is the excrement from their bodies.  They are shouting at us, “You shit, I shit, we all shit.  Shit, you better recognize.”

One memory leads to another series of random memories that allow for external inputs that send me careening back up my own stream of consciousness, where I cower to make sense of it all.  Each round of being flung out to feel you/them/everyone else makes me more and more willing to dive back into my own head, ignoring everything.  And this is how whiteness happens.

In South Africa, I partied all night and rested peacefully in a gated house and during the day took a combie to teach kids in a township whose language I did not speak how to use computers.  I was the US international student, experiencing another country and doing my part by volunteering to help the less fortunate in a way that only made sense in my American dreams.  And then reality smacked my colonized ass upside the head, taking the form of a housemate slamming my own door in my face because she was too scared by my skin color to notice that I belonged inside our lovely gate.

After that, I spent nights with my boyfriend, discussing the future of my own messed up country and its citizens, and my days wandering, studying and napping in a city I felt at home in once I stopped pretending that I was there to help.  I still went to the township, but with the more realistic goal of teaching the staff who spoke my language and theirs how to use the computers. One day, a tour bus drove by me as I stood on a corner trying to learn proper Xhosa greetings from a co-worker at the school.  The elderly American tourists inside eagerly stuck their heads out and snapped pictures of me and my co-worker, waving jovially. Now my image rests mockingly in someone’s photo album, a university student from the US mistaken for a native. Is that subversion if my co-worker and I are the only two people on earth who know the truth?

In France, I was sexually harassed on the regular and ducked an attempted assault because apparently in the quiet town of Strasbourg, the only people around who looked like me are ostensibly prostitutes asking for a copain for the night. I was in France to learn French, and had the added bonus of learning from a pompous world history professor that former French colonies would have done well to stay within French rule because at least then they were not starving.

I keep hoping that the memories will trigger something more than fear of the outside, more than fear of staying connected.  I have my moral premises, after all.  People first; people matter more than anything.

But now, the idiot child in the white house next to the big white phallus murders and they murder and if you scratch a little at those masks, it is us murdering as if it will somehow protect us from future death. It is truly the devil’s deception because the more death you introduce into the world, the less space there is for life, ne?

I should speak Truth to Power, right, but I have a hard time enduring truth with all this input, with all these people jamming themselves and their matterings into my head.  And the truth that I really should be speaking is that you already know what the hell the problem is.

The connections are swamping me; people are dying in the Fount.  Dying.  I keep hoping that one day A equals B and B does not equal A will be simultaneously true, knowing that our only hope for this impossibility is the external referent and time. Existing too long in this place has corrupted us all; the only reference we have for something other than this life is the One who is not of it.

And so I keep searching desperately for the God in humanity, the God in you, knowing that God is the source and foundation of our future together.

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