I just put the groceries up. I turned on a blues mix from YouTube. I lit a coconut-sandalwood candle from Bath and Body Works. I poured a glass of Apothic wine.
Ive been on assignment for about four weeks.
The universal head nod and dap remains a key symbol of the struggle of Americans of African descent.
The kindred acknowledgment that we still struggle in a place to call home resonates where few share the amount of melanin in our skin.
I am a black male social worker.
Those gestures remain an unspoken bond like the locs that flow from my scalp.
“What’s up, brother?” a random skinfolk greets me.
“Nothing much, brother. What’s up?”
It’s the simple, quaint greetings that see beyond situational circumstances. I do not care how you got here. You are here. I see you.
I have yet to run across a white person that shares in the hate crimes of lynchings, chattel slavery or the institutional racism disguised in microaggressions.
Our experiences have been whitewashed.
Critical race theory is a threat.
Chicago has become a symbol of Black on Black crime.
Getting tough on crime means to address the black people without the consideration of redlining and vagrancy laws and false promises of cattle and land. The war on drugs rarely spotlights the CIA’s key role in the distribution of narcotics.
My career as a social worker has taught me that people address the initial problem but refuse to view the causes.
“That was then!”
“We never owned slaves.”
How many of your grandfathers still hold tokens of body parts from lynchings in a basement or vault?
Where are the waxed-ears, penises or black-skinned wallets from his days of terror?
Where is Nat Turner’s body?
Images on the internet show the smiling children at picnics of burning Black bodies. I venture to say that some of those children still exist.
How can I trust you?
We can’t share the same Jesus.
The benefits of chattel slavery still hold my brothers and sisters in bondage.
It is exactly why Walmart decided to bring Juneteenth ice cream on the market.
Co-workers still assume my fellow case managers traveled together. We are all Black.
The ignorance displays to me that you are comfortable, and those before you made it clear that we, Blacks, were not welcome in your town.
Much like the management of the hospital, the town has work to do.
If it was not so, it would not have made the list as a sundown town.
Springfield, Oregon, is on the list.
I’ll just listen to my ancestors play the field hollers and the sanctified cries in night clubs looking for a promised land.
I’ll write my travel social work blues.