In the American South,
We don’t need signs or fetters.
The spirit rises in us all.
I wake up and I am living in a horribly segregated city, a city desperately in need of love itself. Integration came long before the school, it came with slavery, that is, we’ve been integrated all the while. Yet, significantly, to this day, the spirit of America is segregated.
Maybe that’s a bit reckless to suggest. But I don’t think so.
It’s hard to not consider the effects of settler colonialism and slavery, to deny the strong race class correlation in this country. American segregation is a livingbreathing reality, a condition of society that is sustained by people, a condition we must change or else be destroyed. I have little belief we can be human ourselves if we too piously cling to our cultural catalog, and that we forgot what it means to be sensual and what it means to live on this earth. Ignoring reality is a crime against humanity, and only debased people can live in allusion.
I say that the layout of my town -or any American town I have been in- is enough to suggest to me that we all have a place. Perhaps we don’t focus on the place of others here, rather, if we do consider others –in relation to us, reluctant wherever– there is a narrow spectrum of communication available according to our cultural catalogue.
I say stray from the catalogue and on your own you’ll discern the trouble that imbeds in the people those things they do not question and those myths that they cling to.
I’ve in mind a quintessential american student, an undergraduate university student for example. We see how they are huddled in the university privilege bubble, how they try to live fashionable lives. All that they seem to others, and not what they are, is all that matters. It has become the pastime of the American student, as I see it, to succumb to mediocrity and simplicity. In a word, they are afraid, afraid of facing the Me and the You.
The people of Tallahassee know of Frenchtown. The place is synonymous with poverty, with black, with crime. Those are real impressions –closer everyday to truths– and I don’t think the university would disagree.
So, Frenchtown is the ghetto
And the ghetto is in every American city, yes, how else could it be.
Wake up everywhere in America this morning to look out and see your countrymen.
Then look at him in the mirror.
Let him know this matter is for life or death.