At the end of every holocaust film I’ve seen and there
are not that many
they show real life survivors and the lines are
and some of us like me/stare into these films
down long tunnels of history
wondering how it could have ever happened at all
that a leader and his minions could be so toxic, poisonous
you’d turn against your neighbors
and you could be so oblivious, brainwashed, scared
desperate to be superior or to survive
you’d do anything-or almost.
They say never again
but it is again
as I look at the deportations
I’m reminded of Idi Amin when he cast out foreigners
and Forest Whitaker in the film The Last King of Scotland/when he played him.
And to see it is again
at rallies, at protests, they show the coat hangers and crude instruments
women were forced to use in back alley abortions
We say never again but taking away women’s choice
and Planned Parenthood it is again.
Today started out in an argument with a so called fan
who didn’t understand why I mentioned race so much in my new book
and that white man is not the first/a black woman
I wanted to scream HELLO haven’t you seen the news?
Didn’t you see what happened to Stephon Clark?
unarmed and shot in the back six times by police
And no one even cares what happens to women/
Black lesbians or lesbians of color
There’s no public outcry.
A student once wrote to me in an academic paper
that a parent forced her to stop playing sports
because they said sports made her more of a dyke
It murdered my student inside because she was an athlete
Yeah so the white guy I argued with about my book
said he was just giving me some good advice
from his experience as an empath
I said I don’t need your advice
I have reasons for talking about race and gender in the interpersonal
He said he was just trying to help me.
I’ll offer this non-sequitur
Winnie Mandela died a few weeks ago
She had great impact on me
I read she was nobility
But then of course the difference between her and say
how Princess Diana was treated
Everyone accepted and loved Diana’s silent/passive status
She was allowed to be gorgeous
No one ever associated her with that dirty colonial stain
There are moments in that recent Winnie Mandela doc that stand out to me
where she buried her face in her hands and screamed out
as I have so many times, “I’ve been betrayed”/the other moment
was when she said she was the only ANC member
brought to TRC and made to testify
Also that Nelson Mandela forgave a nation
but he could never forgive her.
I think what was done to Winnie
is also done to other Black women and working artists
Black women fighting to give language/resistance
but it only matters when a celebrity says or does it.
At Cape Coast Castle in Ghana after you’ve passed
the door of no return
there is a plaque donated to the Castle by Black tribal elders/it reads:
May we never sell ourselves into slavery again...
But it is Again.