Lately I have been feeling really proud about how black people have been standing in their truths while using social media technologies to resist the violent knowledges, fashions, bodies, and “opportunities” of dominant cultures. In the past, I never understood why someone would say, “I am black and proud” in the same way I wouldn’t want to say “I am a man and proud” or “I am a human and proud.” Now, however, I understand.
My frequent travels abroad have raised my consciousness about my blackness, leaving me empowered and powerful. This, for instance, happens in moments when I see a black person in a non-black foreign space or inside an airport and they look at me. The look is one that another black person can understand. It’s an unspoken communication that says, “I know you are black and I love seeing you in this space where there are so few of us.” The communication is part of a global black lingua that has rejected strategies used to globally terrorize and divide black people and black culture.
To survive this global assault, blackness wept, endured, and cultivated a distinguished characteristic that defines and unites its diaspora: LOVE.
Diaspora love connects black bodes, thoughts, gestures, and silences, waves, Hi’s, and quick gazes in foreign spaces. Today, for instance, two men stopped me in the street of Santo Domingo and said, “I am Haitian. Are you from America?” They shook my hands and smiled as I answered, “Yes.”
Immediately, we began chatting like old pals. Global love gave us permission to be familiar without abusing the familiarity. The men gave me their account about the current racial tensions in the Dominican Republic. What seemed clear from their account was that Haitians are a persecuted race in the Dominican Republic, always under scrutiny based on the quality of their attire and how they speak.
Two weeks ago in Mexico City while I was on a tour of the pyramids, I saw a dark skin Mexican boy at one of the pyramids. His mother came over to me and asked if I could take a picture with her son. The boy then took my hand without permission, examined my tattoos, and shyly laughed. His expression of familiar made my day. Simple things like the encounter the Dominican Republic and Mexico have been creating the memories I need to remain purposefully alive.
Yes, some persons correctly say that race—blackness—is a social construct. I agree. But I must add that this construction is now an existing architecture—a reality: psychological, cultural, economical, political, and physical reality. Given the diversities of this reality, blackness matters in multiple ways.
Blackness is being in love with an untamable, radical, passion. It is a deep intimacy with myself and others, knowing I am a part of a genealogy that has given me certain linguistics, body languages, dead and living bodies, and psychologies that transcend geographies. Importantly, too, blackness is a tradition that affirms itself through global, Diaspora, love.
Of course, there is no perfect love story. Yet, I feel the need in this moment just to celebrate blackness, black identity, black bodies, black movements, black activisms, black solidarities, and black affirmation. My celebration provides no room for critics, doubters, and logicians. Room only exists for people who feel the language I am trying to acknowledge.
You cannot feel if you don’t have the gift of feeling. It is a living language because it carries the weight of joy in identity, history, and community–and it speaks from the emotional, psychological, and delivered zones of consciousness.
I really love black people because I know they love me too.