Cymelle Leah Edwards
If I had gone to Spelman like my mother wanted,
I would’ve pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha like my drill captain from youth. I would’ve gone up the road every weekend to visit my girl Linga Ndambasha (aka Linga TheBoss) at Emory. I would’ve listened while Rosalind G. Brewer told me and the rest of my graduating class, you are today at an intersection between who you have been and who you must become.And I would probably tolerate the minacious words of Candace Owens and Nestride Yumga less. My ears have been trained to hear the fear behind hateful speech, especially from those who look like me. Black women have been primed for centuries to prioritize the white family over their own. The white child eats, even if yours doesn’t. The white house (pun definitely intended) stays immaculate while the roof of your own earthfast shack rots above you while you sleep. When I first encountered Owens, I knew I was watching an act of self-preservation. I don’t know her story, I don’t care to. I care about the false rhetoric she is spreading that seemingly justifies propagandist language like “black-on-black crime” and whatever the hell else she said. Similarly, Yumga represents another form of Black. Non-people of color (POC) might not understand this, but there is a fierce difference in Black Americans and Africans who immigrated to the states (the biggest difference being chains? Idk). This isn’t my lane; Code Switch is a great podcast on NPR if you wish to educate yourself on the topic. Here’s a link to the Black Like Who? episode where the “elusive definition of black identity” is discussed. Yumga’s desperate cries for peoples’ attention to be on the city of Chicago should not be overlooked, and inner-city crime among similarly black and brown people is yet another issue of systemic injustice that must be given proper awareness. But was that really the time or place? Was it executed the right way? Do I even need to answer?
For a person to use the excuse “well she’s Black and she doesn’t care, so why should I?” is as backward as allowing someone to inflict self-harm because they don’t care either.
Even though I didn’t get to hear Ms. Rosalind G. Brewer say those words to me directly, I know that the intersection in which she describes is abiding. My identity seems to be a moving target these days, usually shaped by headlines and timelines. I’m not okay, but don’t you know I shapeshift? I guess that’s my glory. We have adopted a solidarity unlike any I’ve ever seen.
Start fighting. Keep fighting. Your labor is not in vain.