Tuesday, February 26, 2013

PROSE: To Do And Not To Do (That Is Not A Dilemma)

I carry around a lot guilt in that I do a good deal of writing and picture-making--and much too much thinking--but rarely, if ever, "do anything with it," as is often told me. I know I don't "do anything with it," because, for me, the self-promotion that is required to "do anything with it", I tell myself, is beneath me. I see myself coming from a long line of creative people, who did things but "never did anything with it;" they did what they did out of a necessity to do it, and doing something with it only distracted them from the doing. For me, it's easier for a heavy duty stapler and a fine grade of construction paper to perform the same task that Knopf performs for others. While walking home today from the Schomburg, I realized that I will never be like everyone else. Never. No matter how hard I try, so I had best try to figure out who I am; what I do, and act on that knowledge, to figure out, once and for all, the value of possessing the will to do and the will not to do anything with it.

PILLOW TALK: Adventures In My Facebook Inbox, Or: What Kind of Black Person Are You?

On February 26, 2013, I received the following message, in the form of a question, in my Facebook inbox: "What kind of black person are you?" 

Two things before I share my reply: 

1) I was thrilled to see "black" not being used as a noun, though I suspect that had there been more than one of us "blacks" would have ended up being abused as a noun; 

3) I was even more thrilled that black wasn't written as Black;

2) Since I was not Facebook friends with the person who sent me the message, I could not help but wonder whether they paid a dollar to hurl an insult; I have to admit that I would feel a certain about of gratification, if they did.

My reply in four parts:

1) I am the kind of black person that tries his darndest to see my racist identification as only one of my many identifications.

2) I am the kind of black person understands that my racist identification as black is not something I chose for myself; rather, it is something externally and arbitrarily imposed and not a product of nature.

3) I am the kind of black person who understands that I am only able to kick that racist identification to the curb in the safety of  
my home or social media sites or the around the seminar table or lecture hall, although the latter two sites are not anywhere as safe as they once were, and you're a good example of what can happen on Facebook.

4) I am the kind of black person one who recognizes that if I am careless enough to walk out of my door, not accepting, not recognizing that my only identification is black in the minds of almost everyone around me, I could end up with some forty-odd bullets hurled at me to remind me that there are people out there who still believe in witches.

I hope this helps.

Gregory Christopher Baggett