Standing at the cart that carried a King
Posted by Jehriko
at 7:06 am, May 14th 2009.
King's casket was borne by a mule-driven farm cart, symbolizing his support of the rights of poor people. The leader of our group lead a lesson from just inside of the room where that cart now sits. I felt small, like I simply did not understand the world. I felt like I had been robbed of something and I didn't know how to get it back, because I didn't know what was missing. One of the staff members who had seen the cart and heard this lesson many times over began to shake with grief. I approached her gently and placed my arm around her shoulder.
Shamefully, the first thing I thought about was how I would be judged by my actions. I wondered if they saw the same things that my enemies saw when I was unceremoniously fired from my Resident Assistant job for calling one of my white female colleagues on the phone because I could see her across the quad from my junior year dorm room at Amherst. They called it harassment, made her feel as though she shouldn't feel safe with me having such access to her comings and goings because of my dating history with women on campus. Why was this public knowledge? Why was it even an issue? I was happily committed to a beautiful woman at the time and that was certainly public knowledge since she and I were campus leaders in athletics, student government, and social activism to name a few areas. I was fired from that job as a resident assistant, fired by a black woman who claimed to be an advocate for the black community.
As I stood there, listening to king's sermon, a sermon he gave nearly 500 feet from where we stood--listening to it standing 10 feet from the cart that carried his casket--I realized that this group of people would not judge me and that I should live my life without institutionalized paranoia. I should live with peace in my heart.
Make a comment
Where are the black male educators?
Posted by Jehriko
at 6:56 am, May 14th 2009.
Sometimes I wonder where I belong. Not because I lack self awareness nor for any other reason that degrades my character, I wonder if I am spinning and spinning with all this energy that possesses me only to bore a hole beneath me that will trap and contain me until I lose all of myself in it. I watch others wield their power with grace and I wonder why I am doomed to waste my strength into the ground.
This may sound like I am putting myself down but I assure you that I have no intention of that. My eyes are clear. I am just not sure what I am looking at. Consider a lion, incarcerated in a wild life reservation. It looks like home, may even smell like it, but yet he cannot behave as a lion should. His food is given to him, his pride is gone from him, there are no beasts for him to lord over. Is he depressed? Is he angry or regretful? Who can truly know.
For me, I wonder if my stagnation is a symptom or a condition in and of itself. Is it a lack of passion? Possibly. I am capable of great things and I am gripped by a history that I cannot break away from. I am writing from Montgomery today, a city which shares my dilemma in many respects. A statue of Jefferson Davis, the once president of the confederacy here in america, is still sitting atop the capitol steps.
My first reaction was one of frustration. I saw one black teacher, a woman as usual. And then there was me. Sure, I knew we would meet John Lewis and others but why was I the only black male adult traveling with this group. Is it that black male educators have lost the fire they had on the steps of the dallas counly courthouse in Selma? They were among the first to step up when potential black voters were turned away when they arrived to register. At many of my places of employment, I am the only black man present. Perhaps I would feel more secure if i was not all alone in my efforts.
Make a comment