You know it when you walk past that sister in the mall, or on a campus, and you look up, give “the nod”, and maybe say “hello”. You don’t expect to know her or introduce yourself, but you know, you both know. And when you walk into a new job and you spot a sister or brother, breathe a sigh of relief; exhale even though you don’t know him/her and can’t be sure you will become friends, but you know they know too. Know WHAT? What do we KNOW about one another even when we don’t know one another? We share a common humanity, a recognition of God in one another. While some will deny such a thing exists, or some mistakenly call it “race”, when we go to the celebration and get up to dance in the line, WE ALL KNOW. When I move, you move.
Those are the moments of recognition, the oneness that we count on, even depend upon. It exists in part because most days, in western countries and beyond, Black people “recognize” a common heritage, that they are in the same boat literally and figuratively, and may as well be cognizant of one another even if the reconnection is only as long as a train ride from Rome to Paris, or from Brooklyn to Long Island.
Reconnection? Yes, because that is what is happening when we recognize one, whom we have not seen before in this life. We see the common thread that cannot be defined completely. Part of the link is always a mystery, in the ethers, but we know is there.
Unlike with strangers, we know there is a bond that is not based on introductions, club memberships, or politics. Our solidarity though shaped by common strife, has steeled our connection and our bonds are like the Pyramids, long-standing still; like it or not. Our gaze is judge and jury. Inescapable, our chemistry is destiny. Our communication needs no words or agreements. WE are ONE people, like the lyric “when I move, you move” in the shuffling line-dance, we are choreographed, we know the rhythm, we got the beat.
For US uniquely positioned in Amerikkkan environments tensions are high, unpredictability and hostility are never far away. This condition we SHARE and could be considered a universal construct of the Black experience. It is a common-ground for US that our safe-zones are restricted. And yet, there is an upside here, even in the morass of the social outcasts.
Now we have come to that great moment in American Life, once again, when we will be tested and pushed to a brink; when our antennas are raised, attitudes expectant, muscles flexing, jumping, ready. And when the fire falls WE will strike. Suddenly, as if we had been waiting for it, WE soldiers will EMERGE on the scene, JUST like fingers on a hand will sometimes form a fist.
On that next NEW day, WE hopeful will stand together, again. And we will not find ourselves alone, or isolated, but communicating with and without words, our gazes on pivots, watching each others’ backs, as the calm world WE restore.
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