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Chad Grant: “Thoughts and Concerns”

Thoughts and Concerns

The constitution states that all men are created equal, yet we live in a melting pot of different people as well as opposing opinions. This country was built upon the backs of African slaves, and the social contract which the founding fathers put into place was meant exclusively for White men. Africans, Native Americans, and women had no rights at all. Yet to this day we still see this flex of power amongst this majority. It has always been a matter of God first in American history to justify the majority’s prejudices and ignorances. I am a spiritual person, yet the abhorrence which I feel for these so-called “men of God” hits me to the core. And you ask me, why? Ask me that when it’s you being racially profiled in a department store. Or when your intellectual competence is put to the test because you are curiously perusing through a bookstore. Ask me when you’re stopped by the police, with guns drawn, and asked to crawl backwards upon hands and knees because you match the description of someone in the area. Ask me then if these so-called social contracts are true under “God’s Earth,” and are indivisible with liberty, and justice for all. All I have to say to the cop out that “all lives matter” is that, no they have not, and history has done the minority a disservice.

Words can be deceptive, in the mouths of those who do or do not know how to use them. I’m trying to center myself these days, but my mind runs a mile a minute, and the center is slowly shifting. Finding myself again at square one: who am I? The ‘I’ seems like an unfixed ambiguity. In sociology class, back when I attended college, I learned that one can be a product of their environment. I can remember being in elementary school in West Covina and creating a Black Club with another African-American kid named Max. A few years later, when Malcolm X came out I wanted to read his autobiography, I was in the sixth grade at this point in time, growing up on Goosebumps books. I was inspired by him, and looked up to this man.

I began to sense that they had their own kind of Bigger Thomas behavioristic pattern which grew out of a more subtle and broader frustration… . I don’t mean to say that I think that environment makes consciousness…but I do say that I felt and still feel that the environment supplies the instrumentalities through which the organism expresses itself, and if that environment is warped or tranquil, the mode and manner of behavior will be affected toward deadlocking tensions or orderly fulfillment and satisfaction.

A passage from the introduction of the 1940 novel Native Son by Richard Wright. A book about an impoverished Black man by the name of Bigger Thomas, who killed a White woman and his girlfriend, and who is sentenced to death. He was a product of his environment, much like the I whom I search for, now at thirty-eight. It struck me how the history of America hasn’t really changed. Wright goes on to state:

The imperialistic tug of history had torn the Negro from his African home and had placed him ironically upon the most fertile plantation areas of the South; and, when the Negro was freed, he outnumbered the whites in many of these fertile areas. Hence, a fierce and bitter struggle took place to keep the ballot from the Negro, for had he had a chance to vote, he would have automatically controlled the richest lands of the South and with them the social, political, and economic destiny of a third of the Republic.

He then explains how the White power structure at the time spent fewer funds on African American schools and towns. One today need only to search the pages of the news to find that republican lawmakers want to make it much more difficult for Blacks to vote, school systems are in dire need for funding.

***

Build

Our lives were
Rooted in the ignorance of our adolescence;
I know now,
The inevitabilities of demise.
Though the numerous faces my eyes
Took to receive you
Greeted me with one more
(Death knew the last as well),
That death stared back at me
From the grave,
With eyes as heavy as the night
And a sharpness as urgent as those tools
Which tore down the foundations
Of our youth.
With a steady hand
I held my face,
Age destroyed all charm.
As I let go,
Placing my disposition aside,
And putting on a new facade,
I stepped out into the day to gather the tools,
Ready to build a new life.

*

She pointed Towards Heaven

There are songs whispered
By the angels that hymn
The words you write.
Perhaps an eye too bold
To read between the lines
Would be too much obliged
To mend such matters of the heart.
Lost words fail to find you,
And the faint murmur which beats within you
Admits another.
I weave the starlit night with my fingertips,
Tracing the zodiac,
Trying to place my eye on the future.
But the stars have their own calligraphy
The angels sing by it.

***

(Featured image from cover of Native Son (Abridged) by Richard Wright)

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