Once more I can read Black writers again. It’s as if I can cope with all that’s been bubbling when it’s come to the boil.
For weeks I’ve been unable to take my loved solace in their words. As I listen to Barracoon, Zora Neale Hurston – I’m reminded of what I’m so drawn too. The unwavering need to present others in their own voice. Not some edited intellectual ideal of prose. The real accent. The real pronunciations. No glorification to create equalise. No, loss of self. And then I learn again what an impossible journey that was for others to make reality. How they never survived to see the book in physical publication. How much their ideals cost them and how little we still acknowledge this fact. 91 years beyond the first interviews.
Even today we don’t encourage those to write in their own voice. We judge you based on your use words. Your assumed education and your rights based on the elegance of tone. Our unconscious bias ever present.
We mock others faults rooted over and over on their use of grammar and inarticulate mistakes. And as I read list after list on what I’m meant to absorb to educate myself. To understand. Still the most authentic are hardly ever present. Still, Alice Walker’s reality doesn’t take front row. Top choice.
What are you really educating yourself on? Your ideals still? Your sense of equality – what you expect the voice to speak about.
And in all this unrest we still fear the real. The authentic. The honest. The raw. And that with doesn’t match our own puffed-up sense of self. That scale we use to judge in the hidden.
It doesn’t define people as good or bad. Whole or insecure. But more than anything it doesn’t invite those who feel the same to booths to vote for a better life too.
Naoisé 5th June 2020