And now, here's Toni
So today I have been honoring a man who's life is, far too often, invoked as a condemnation of my efforts.
Of the efforts of any person of color, of any woman, of any disabled person, of any LGBT person.
"You are too vulgar, too confrontational, too angry, too egotistical, too masculine, too aggressive, too loud"
This is their words, their too and their much, and their too much of me in their head and in their eyes and in their face and space and I am just over and through and around and within them and that offends them into defends of their too and their much and their too much.
They start seeing me in my paleness, bleached by the dark and the hiding from the sun, and think me like them even as I call out my darkness and my difference and shed the things they put on me to reveal my many colored robe and all the truths within it.
Patchworked and frayed, like some country tune, my robe of many colors is cast in drab hue and cry and the then they see me only as the black one that deceives and lures and now they forget that I am more than one thing and so never so easily contained, oiled and slick from the failures of their own efforts to punish and silence me by drowning my brilliance in the darkness they concoct and convene and conveniently they tell themselves they can escape now.
"Be like King!" They extol and exhort and exhale and hex bring this marvel of a man as a shield for themselves, coopting and co-owning and appropriately appropriating the approximation of what they see as acceptable and allowable and apple pie a man with dark skin and a dream they breathe to lift themselves up and never my peoples, never my tribes, never my families.
They catch a drift and caricature the cacophony and complain about the noise like a short king to a wizard, hey man the peasants are revolting and you can say that again.
But hey, they are good and they are loving and you cannot grasp what love is without knowing what you are loving and like they have made me they are too thin and pale to grasp the color of love and the weight of it and burden of having to be the ones that love when all that is returned is hate.
Love is telling you that you are wrong, and love is you listening and asking and thinking and realizing that you are wrong.
If I say to you that need you need to step back and let that black or brown sister step up and you need to point to her and say hey, listen up, that is me being loving and me loving you and loving the work and yet you turn to me and you say that you cannot find a woman to lift up or that woman isn't deserving or good enough or useful enough or pretty enough or why don't you just say it plain and real that she ain't white enough you saltine looking piece of work.
Love does not mean you, with your newfound struggle, are better at this than we, for whom this struggle is as old as the blood and bone in our bodies, weaned on The Talk that you don't even have to have to have because to you the Talk is about sex and for us it is about living and how your code switching in your newfound world is stolen from we who have done it from the moment we learned that the world was out there.
If I tell you that rap is your poetry slam, your spoken word art and you roll your eyes at fuck tha police and can't tell a Run from a DMC and say yeah, but that ain't your jam I am gonna laugh.
Because who gave you your jam, but we?
You call it eggshells, correctness, politics, and what that is is you being careful not to be nonracist but to not show how fuckin racist you already are and how sleeping you are while we are woke and shaking in the middle of a long dark night you don't even know is there.
You think of me and you think of rambling lessons and crystalline posts that make you feel good or feel bad but make you feel without feeling it, and then I bust a piece of heart like this here and you blow it off and wonder why I don't just stick to shouting at windmills since my lance has been broken and my Pancho is a coffee bean you drink with a pretty label that says the right words even though we all sit in a nation where even a child makes more as an allowance than that coffee bean farmer does in a year.
I don't want your guilt. I want your blood, your sweat, your tears, your risking your job and family and hopes and dreams because that is what we risk walking down the street around you every day.
And now, no matter how many of you get this and cheer this and celebrate this know that it wasn't We who put hell in office.
It was you, and you are they, and we don't have the luxury and the privilege of saying but it was those bad ones.
Remember this on the Day of the King, and know that love never tears down, that love can sting, and that love sometimes means discipline to show you a better way.