Love as Revolutionary Rhetoric

(This is something that I started writing but it is not finish. These are just my initial thoughts)

There is something strangely suspicious about love. When I say love, I am not talking about love in a concrete form but more around the notion of how it is used rhetorically. How, sophomorically, we offer it as a last resort or a fleeting salutation? This variety of cartoonish love makes for self-aggrandizement that is similar to masturbation— really only serving the one given the performance.

Love is an institution that has been transversely weaponized to simultaneously free the oppressor and the oppress. Therefore, love performed as mere rhetoric ceases to capture the cacophony of emotions that are mandatory for the detailed work of what we call love. It no wonder James Baldwin so eloquently wrote, “Love takes off mask we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” ( Fire Next time, 95) This quote from Baldwin is the amalgamation, I suspect, of Paul Laurence Dunbar and 1 Peter 4:8. In Dunbar’s We Wear the Mask, we are introduced to the infamy—the mask. 

We wear the mask that grins and lies,

It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—

This debt we pay to human guile;

With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,

And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,

In counting all our tears and sighs?

Nay, let them only see us, while

       We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries

To thee from tortured souls arise.

We sing, but oh the clay is vile

Beneath our feet, and long the mile;

But let the world dream otherwise,

       We wear the mask!

Paul Laurence Dunbar, We Wear The Mask

This is important because Dunbar isolates the issue as a singular event. From the title alone, it appears as if we all wear the same mask which undoubtedly leads to the same place— “dream(s) otherwise.” The mask is not simply serving as a covering but the mask is doubling as a farce and a con. The mask is preserving evil as a representation of nostalgia, this emblem of sacred duty. The mask has rendered itself as “[t]his debt we pay to human guile…” Dunbar envisions the mask as a vital part of the who we are yet he wrestles with how this mask will produce the “dream otherwise.”

“Black Lives Matter”…just thinking

The thought of black love is something that is symbolically hated. It appears that if you show love and support for black bodies then it is impossible to show love for anything else. Whether we want to believe it or not,   (a)merica appears to have this antithetical plan that implies that to love black and white simultaneously teeters on the edge of insanity. This explains why some have an issue with the concept and movement, “Black Lives Matter.” Yes, it would appear that would be self-explanatory and expected but unfortunately some folks humanity stops there.

“Black Lives Matter” is not a statement of dissent but more along the lines of confrontation. We can even declare it to be an augmentation of lives that have been minimize out of sheer fear. “Black Lives Matter” is not a statement of opposition but declaration. It is black people declaring in the midst of devaluing attitudes that we are just as important as anyone else. It becomes problematic in systems that have propped themselves up on the poles of morality seeking appreciation for behaviors that should be afforded to all. So to bring a rebuttal to “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter” is a metaphorical kick in the ass or spit in the face. It is not theologically correct, religious piety or stark morality it is simply a misguided understanding and concern for black lives. The exploration to control and abuse the black body is not something that is new but has mutated into appropriate liturgical praise –(we must help the those that we are better than so that we can feel good about ourselves.)

When a people group feels like they have lost their collective voice or it has been taken, the consequence that follows should not surprise anyone. You should not feel surprised when black folks are reluctant to see police officers as friends to the community; when a highly sensitized attention is placed upon their well-being in the form of a movement –“Black Lives Matter.”

The problem in the entire presentation is that others have to be reminded that, indeed, “Black Lives Matter.”


Black Love in the Midst of Black Rage

Black rage fuels the efforts to advance in a world that deems me as the afterthought.

Has the black woman isolated her love in protest…? where do I start to unpack this Black love.

I live in a place that is sacred but widely expose.

The soft kiss of her lips melts my anguish as I hold to this black steel in the hour of my chaos.

Black boys move with their hands held high but such anger embedded in their minds that their hearts will soon follow. Where is the black preacher except in their churches screaming how good God is…Does God really love black men?

What about me Lord?

This black rage is drowning out this black love.

I walk on the riverfront with this essence of chocolate staring into my soul unearthing the last ounce of love I have…

My daughters– these jewels that have blessed my eyes, my sons–these men of value drive the legacy.

Exiled in rage, when I first experienced the touch of that fire that re-introduces me to that Black Love.