Hate in the time of Corona
It seemed interminable — the 8 minutes and 46 seconds I stood alone in my Florida living room, in honor of George Floyd, who had been murdered by a white police officer who pressed his knee into the neck of the black man for that long. As I watched the Minneapolis memorial service, I felt one tear, then another course down my cheek as I stood. Why was I crying? Immediately, I channeled the distress of being immobilized, of being held down of being suffocated in a kneed neck choke. Outside of the moment, I saw images of strange fruit swinging in the southern wind, of rubber snakes spewing high- powered water on citizens soon to be crowned by clubs named Billy. Eight minutes was long enough for me to reflect on the hatred so freely given to so many by so many; the hatred generously passed down through generations, practiced, perfected, at times even legalized.
Those 8min46sec also in my solitude created a renewed solidarity with hope in the face of oppression. A solidarity with a determined humanity, to survive at all costs. Even the cost of being shackled under the weight of four human beings until the very air is blocked from leaving through its designated passages.
I live in America so it is no surprise that I observe hate. I am a Black woman in America so no one should be surprised that I know/have known hate. Growing up in America, I was taught that love conquers all. Surprise! It hasn’t so far. Darkness and light cannot exist in the same space. Love conquers when hate is driven out — allowed to leave through passages love, along with work and an acceptance of a common humanity, clear for that purpose.
I did not choose hate. I was born into hate and became aware of it early on. It has existed rising and falling with the waves of destruction that it metes out in so many ways. What some call micro aggressions line the aisles of my existence, etched in my mind from my earliest souvenirs. Hate would sometimes take a short breather just long enough to refuel and restore itself. Often it reappeared emboldened and strengthened by its own absence, its fire having been stoked and oxygenated by its hiatus.
We who have the good fortune to be born black in America learn at a young age that we can be upstanding and honorable. We can be educated and honest. We can be sweet and loving. It matters not. What is seen through the lens of hate is…