SHOWING UP BLACK SERIES
a testament, an archive, an ode to myself of my reflections and commitment to not erase the work, the truth – my truth
No one reads me as a woman of color. They read me in binaries. Black & woman. One of these is correct. Women of color is not a term of binaries, this is a term for racially ambiguous folks, light skinned folks, those who are not read as Black. Is it a term used more fluid than how y’all talk about gender. It is a term that allows white passing people of color and those who claim the oppression of blackness because they have some far back ancestry, to still talk about race spectrums in a room full of black people.
I am a Black Femme. My gender is Black. To claim this is an act of understanding how colonialism and slavery have dehumanized black gender expression as “always done wrong, done dysfunctionally, done in a way that is not “normal” via My Gender is Black. To claim this is to understand how the policing of blackness and gender are interconnected. Reclaiming gender as an expression of blackness is a radical act, which is why visibility is not granted for those of us who show up black and queer and trans and hood and femme. If we are visible, know not only do we push through to be so, but have decided to show you only a piece of what we believe you can handle. We are magical – not in the ways you are commodifying indigenous spirituality and practices – but in the way that you choose not to see us. We are so magical that we have learned how to time travel, and understand quantum blackness, and sound waves, and circles, and images – all as codes to speak to each other. This magic is all that I bring with me when I Show Up Black.
Showing Up Black in movements, both black centered and those perceived as non-black, inherently means for me searching for the roots. The foundation. Learning and being in company with the root workers. The ones who birth and have birthed a movement, physically and spiritually. It is searching for the elders, healers, femmes, multiple spirit friends. It is respecting that the terminologies I might use for myself and my loved ones have not been translated all over the world – nor is it my positionality to impose them - but that liberation and solidarity can still exist. It is being still in these moments and taking in where my connection resides. To embody why spirit has called me there.
I am holding myself accountable to document – write - & share my experiences of what it has meant to show up Black during times of resistance, healing, learning, accountability, and commitment towards global liberation which has not always been organizing with other Black people. I need more narratives of our experiences organizing with nonblack people of color while the care for and freedom of Black people is at the center. And what are we requiring accountability to look like for nonblack people of color. This Showing Up Black series is a testament, an archive, an ode to myself of my reflections and commitment to not erase the work, the truth – my truth.