I’m pretty interested in the contest of narratives that I imagine has/is taking place in Black intellectual life. Upper or lower case ‘B’? Fight or flight the white gaze? Structural racism or personal responsibility? (A, B, A, in case you’re wondering…)
The more I look at the texts I source for insights into my own life, my own experience, the more I realize that historically and now, a great many people care deeply about what it means to be a People, as Ta-Nehisi put it, how we survive, organize, thrive.
Simultaneously and with a sense of dread, I’ve realized how little intimate contact I have with ‘my people’ since I left South Florida. More than any other place I’ve lived, I’m siloed from people with whom I share origin, history, culture, and experience. And the ‘diversity’ of my experience here only sharpens my awareness of how social class determines what and who you know, what you do and where you do it.
And more than anything, I wish there was someone around who reflected me back to me. Not for narcissism, but for reassurance that I’m here, that I am who I think I am, that I have a place in the world. I need a like-minded ally.