Friday, September 4, 2015

from Nikki Wallschlaeger

The Bay Area poets seem to live in a nostalgic fantasy of resurrecting the area of when it used to be a political area of value. Or at least when they thought it had value, when the Black Panthers were active. A group that certainly did important work but also had serious internal structural problems like "sexual abuse of women, financial malfeasance, and brutal factionalism (Dyson, 49). For instance, the Oakland Branch dismissed the East coast Black Panther party that Afeni Shakur (Tupac Shakur's mother) was a member of in the case of the New York Panther 21-named for the 21 houses raided where Black Panther Party members lived and 5 members were arrested, Afeni was one of them in which she was also pregnant with Tupac in jail. (Dyson, Michael C. Holler if You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur: Basic Civitas Books, 2001).
Is this a concern of Bay Area poets- knowing fully the history of the Black Panther Party or are they just preoccupied about the romanticism they project about black militant life in order to make themselves look more radical?
Must black people consistently be "on the front lines" in order to gain a white radical's respect? Aren't we already politicized whether we like it or not simply by being embodied? The police are killing us regardless of whether we are militant in our politics, liberal in our politics, or apathetic and hopeless in our politics. It doesn't matter to them-what they see is a black body, what they see is a "nigger."
At the end of the day, I'm still a "nigger" in this country. You are telling me, white radicals, "communists" (lol) to go sit on the front lines with that weight in order to earn your respect? That along with the one of the gravest most painful of historical genocidal generational traumas, I'm supposed to prove to you that my life matters? That if I'm not risking getting my head blown off by cops to satisfy your radical fantasies the work that I do is basically meaningless?
My life is literature. My life matters. My black life matters. Black poetry matters. Black literature matters.
*This post is marked for the public.

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