Having witnessed the indecencies of our justice system and the insidious nature of power and patriarchy, I am part of the 74% of Americans who know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. I was about five or six years old the first time I witnessed intimate partner violence (IPV); my mother, at twenty-one, was gasping for air by the hands of a young man, likely no older than I am today. It is unfortunate, yet telling, that often times it is violence and power that give us our element of humanity. And although it is my first vivid memory, it was surely not the last. A number of broken bones and ribs, collapsed lungs and swollen features later, I found myself face to face in a number of hospital rooms with a resilient yet lost soul; a woman who had not yet found the resolve to transition from victim to survivor.  

To this day, I don’t know what my father looks like.  In 24 years I have had no contact with my biological father; it is more likely that someone reading this post has more information on him than I do.  Despite my complete disconnect from “that” side of my family, I’ve always known I was half white.  And for as long as I’ve been aware of my mixed ethnic heritage, I’ve identified as a black girl, unequivocally.  How could I possibly pledge allegiance to a culture I didn’t know?  To people I’d never talked to or even seen? 

Over 24 million children in the U.S. live without their biological fathers.  These children are, on average, two to three times more likely to experience education, behavioral, health and emotional problems, use drugs, be poor, engage in criminal activity or be victims of child abuse than their peers residing with two (married) parents. 

The black man occupies a unique space in American culture.  He is an aggressive and inherently violent threat to society.   Both insatiable and lazy, he is creator of chaos and maker of his own inevitable demise; he is forever guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  He does not feel pain, or remorse, or empathy.  As angry and volatile as their female counterparts, black men, by their very presence, give society reason to assume the defensive.  He is simultaneously invisible and ever present in the minds and lives of white America.  A non-citizen, he holds no right to self-defense.    

Debased, filthy and unworthy, black men, we are told, are sexual deviants incapable of either desiring or maintaining healthy, meaningful relationships. 

Fuck your tears.    

As a 5’6” male who was once told at an early age you weren't handsome enough to be an actor, I’d think you would be more in tuned with the idea of being perceived unattractive or undervalued.  But, alas, male privilege wins again.  I understand; your moment of clarity is the result of not only decades of white male privilege, but of prestige and wealth.  In a culture that systematically perpetuates the superiority of men, superficiality of women and the commodification and ownership of women’s bodies by males (while simultaneously rewarding ignorance and castigating those who attempt to shine light on injustice) – can we really be surprised at your sudden state of enlightenment?  

Reality turns to figments of imagination
lubricated through fabricated assimilation
so that public oppressions
are hid through third world dissections
two wrongs make a right
and as long as our morals are in sight
and religious sanctions are tight,
the pains of a people from clashing nations
become rights of passage and nationalistic sensations