N.I.G.G.A's, please! (Never Ignorant, Get Goals Accomplished)
Updated: Jul 15, 2020
Photograph by Kristen Zeis/The Virginian Pilot via AP
By Llerraj Esuod
"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."
--F. Scott Fitzgerald
By Llerraj Esuod
Now that some racist statues are being removed, can Blacks experience collective
comeuppance if systemic omnipotence remains intact?
Will toppling Reconstruction and Jim Crow era vestiges heal historically deep-seated wounds?
Do these actions guarantee a new quill-penned draft to the Constitution of The Un-tied States of America?
James Madison and his constituents are dead so, who will be at the helm of this zealously anticipated think-tank and responsible for its edits?
High on hope? Or, drunk on a dream?
While the destruction of historically bigoted images seems cathartic, the excitement at seeing these idols come down is eclipsed when social justice is a theoretical experiment, the boys in blue continue to bully and civil and constitutional protections for Blacks remain a perpetual debate.
These over-hyped gods made of bronze or brass, stone or copper are often backed by faithful public or private funding for their preservation in EVERYWHERE, USA. It is foolish to believe that safety and equality are secured if they are no longer within the range of sentiment. Their absence cannot change the content of a heart warped by hate.
Historical arrogance promises they will be displaced in some museum, in some fail-proof bunker for safe keeping where they will undergo routine check-ups for aesthetic imperfections, dusted, bathed with a soft cloth from a bucket of warm water and mild dish soap (Dawn?), polished and idolized as a culturally private reminder that white privilege is never easily relinquished.
Gripped by ideals of progress and balance, protesters fail to see the only power these relics have is the power they bestow upon them. In fact, they are life-sized voodoo dolls casting far-reaching spells from eyes that cannot see, mouths that cannot speak (lie and decree death), hands that no longer hold, arms that cannot choke, legs and feet that can neither walk nor run to mischief.
This is not to minimize the energy and effort of Black's and allies' who get it but to offer a divergent thought process.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's perspective on The Danger of a Single Story illumines the risk of being myopic. "… show a people as one thing, over-and-over again, and that is what they become," she said.
So, while the ideation of oneness is veritable in the inaccuracy of sum-totaling a group of people as errant and status-quo, protesters through toppling and tagging repeatedly miss their mark.
The energy used to level or deface effigies is better used to redefine these dummies' true place in history. In Russia's Tretyakov Gallery, statues of Stalin, Lenin and others have been dismantled and encased in a sculpture garden allowing for teachable moments of its past ills.
Let them be!
In AmeriKKKa, the real Jedi mind-trick would involve commissioning the blackest of smith masons to construct, then juxtapose our heroes in identical public spaces where colonizers are exhorted. A replica of Harriet Tubman alongside Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson would be nice; her plaque sculpted as a twenty-dollar bill with an inscription written in Morse code.
Its translation: "I can't die but once."