"In my head I'm only half together." - Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack, Be Real Black For Me
It was fitting to end the long weekend in Atlanta Airport's E Concourse in a restaurant, One Flew South, that features a Black Executive Chef and sitting two tables over from Nikki Giovanni. A few yards away from the restaurant entrance stands an exhibit celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This is America. This is Blackness. This is Post-Blackness?
I ask the question because it's been the topic of conversation with my wife, with my in-laws, and in my head for most of the last week. I read Touré's book, Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness? over the course of the last two days, essentially in two four-hour sessions, and, as usual, my mind was set ablaze by discussions of Black Identity, this fluid intriguing thing that used to be the primary focus of this here blog. This is not a review of the book, though. That'll come later.
No, this is just an acknowledgment of how much "Blackness" can dominate the psyche. My mother-in-law likes to talk. But, invariably, my conversations with her always turn to her life experience, her Black life experience. How does she herself and how does she see the world? How does that conflict with my father-in-law's experience who sees the world differently than she does. Beyond that, how does that jibe with how I see the world? How Tiffany sees the world? How we see ourselves?
We all know the Black narrative. We know it's tropes and it's confines as well as its many layers. And yet, our four experiences of what it means to be Black in America today are wholly different.
And...And what? My president is black. My boss's boss, too. And I'll be goddamned if I know what that do. To me. And how I see myself. Anything? Everything? Nothing?
Maybe Baratunde's upcoming How to Be Black will help me figure this whole thing out.
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