Perhaps you can be too honest. Maybe you can tell too many truths, be entirely too transparent. As a man, I struggle with covering up the truth and letting all be seen. I grew up in a household where lying wasn’t only a sin but an extreme character flaw that would not be tolerated, and as a result I have lived my life dealing in truths, both light and dark but still truths which must be accepted as such.
My Dad always said the truth is the easiest thing to remember but in life we all lie even when we tell the truth. We lie with our emotions, with our disgust, our happiness, our anger. For example, let’s take a look at this current election cycle we are witnessing a vast boiling over of rage from a racist sub-culture in America many thought were long extinct since the days of Bull Connor. A sub-culture battled who’s rhetoric lit the fuses which robbed us of the lives of King, Malcolm, Medgar and countless others. This undercurrent has risen up like the Hydra from Greek mythology, with new heads on an old antiquated body spewing statements like “Taking our country back” or “Make America great again”. This paired with the daily images of young black men and women, murdered by law enforcement and a justice system that refuses to honor their lives as citizens. However, outrage exists when we are met with images of protest at the slaughter of a Black African Lion or the mistreatment of dogs and other pets. Black and Brown children are watching themselves be devalued every day and have for decades and with the creation of the 24 hour news cycle we get to watch it on a loop. Yet we claim surprise and awe at Black on Black violence, when generations are taught to hate and distrust each other how can they not kill each other.
We lie with our choice of words. On Sunday mornings, in service we exchange the peace and claim gratitude on how we got over but come Monday we cannot begin to remember that love and kindness to our co-workers our neighbors or ourselves. Rather we complain about the job/career we prayed for and worked for, we’re mad at what we’ve been granted, and show a graceless face upon our day to day small talk, when asked how was your weekend? “Too short” or “Good until I got here”. We forget in this capitalist country we dwell in there are millions who are without, not just jobs, not just homes, millions who are simple without everything, including a reason to be.
We teach our children lying is wrong but our language, our emotions tell them differently. We complicate the simplest things by hiding behind these masks. Dunbar said it best “We wear the mask that grins and lies, it hides our cheeks and shades our eyes…” and we still do. However today’s mask is a remix of yester-year’s, we hide our thoughts on politics, sex, identity, finance, love, vulnerability, Religion, and education. As a people we spend so much time divided between being upwardly mobile and being “IN” that we miss the forest from the trees.
So it’s time to tell the truth, our truths the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Marginalization doesn’t stop overnight but by demanding to heard, understood and respected for a whole person and not the legislated 3/5ths. It begins by placing our stake in the sand and standing not solely on King’s dream, but on Garvey’s strength, on the resolve of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, on the hope of President Barack Hussein Obama and on the youthful joy robbed from the lives of Emmett Till, Tamir Rice, Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin and countless others. It’s time to live legally, and stop buying into the smoke and mirrors, trap culture we are fed by mainstream media, that Black is Anti-White, inferior with education, employment, housing, community, politics, and finances but can keep the masses entertained, can play sports like no other and satisfy anyone’s deepest and darkest sexual appetite. No, now is the time that we stand proud, out of the shadows of our forebears and make them proud of those who have followed in their wake. Our truth is greatness its time to tell that story. #BeGreat