The Mrs. The Mommy. The M.D.: Rise.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rise.

This is definitely not a political blog, and because of school, I continuously fail to keep up with current events. But the Trayvon Martin incident is one of those things that you can't help but hear about. I am sure everyone has heard by now, but if you have not, you can catch up here: Trayvon Martin.

And the more I hear or read, the more upset I get. I am so sad and also ANGRY that in 2012 we are still here. A lot of dialog - both productive and not - has sprouted from this. The media will say what they want about both parties involved, and the truth will be buried deep somewhere in the middle. Regardless, no parent should have to bury their child. No child (or adult) should be killed in cold blood on the hunch that they "look suspicious" or like they don't belong in a certain neighborhood.

Although, none of this is new to me, it stings no less when someone is the victim of violence that potentially trickles down to race. I think one of the reasons I am so emotional is because it has me reflecting on all of my experiences growing up in a small town as the only little Black girl in my classes and/or schools.

...Like being the only Black family in every neighborhood in Indiana we moved to and at 9 being told by "a friend" that I had to go home because her other friend "didn't play with Black people".

...Being called "a Black turd" by a boy when I got my first boyfriend in 5th grade.

...Or the time someone walked through our house (without asking) while it was being built and asked us if we knew who was moving in and if we were "the cleaning people".

...Or my dad telling me stories of people who left his office when they found out their doctor was a Black man.

People are going to think what they want about you regardless. Whether you are "perfect" or the epitome of a stereotype, they will think what they want. They have their feelings rooted in past experiences, prejudices, lack of exposure, or they have just been groomed to hate. It is a waste of time trying to change their minds about us, because that is not our problem. 

And while my heart is extremely heavy, I feel like the BIGGEST form of protest I have is continuing to get my education, continuing to pass on the importance of education on to my children, continuing to use my life to eliminate the notion that a two-parent, Black family is a rarity, reaching into the communities and schools that need help to bring those children up, continuing to combat violence with love, continuing to rise...
"This is what the LORD says: “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed." Isaiah 56:1
I used the last five lines in Maya Angelou's Still I Rise as my senior quote in high school. It is my favorite. I felt so much hope for the future then, and despite what is going on around me, I still feel it now. We have come a long way, but we still have so far to go. In the midst of all the confusion in the world right and the unpalatable feeling of growing racial tensions, I think that this poem speaks louder than anything I have to write:


Still I Rise


You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.


Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.


Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.


Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.


Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.


You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.


Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?


Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise


Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise. 
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