I used to think freedom was education. That the other side of the degree was a the place to be. That somehow when I crossed the stage, things would be different.
After spending nearly my entire life in school, I see that school is a business. I am presently taking a summer course. A handful of students in my course were dropped after failing to pay a mystery charge on our accounts. To be reinstated we would have to be pay an additional hundred dollar fee. It is moments like these that expose the revered institution of education as rooted in a love of money.
Investing in Continued Black Inferiority
Although I do not pay tuition for my current endeavors, the institution’s vestment is in
training another body to fit into a capitalistic word. Acceptance into these institutions is not about intellect, though that is what they’d have us believe. It remains vested in training the black body to occupy a position to oppress their people, to accept a check from a white man. The goal is to create a white collar worker revered for an intellect verified by an institution anchored in anti-black ideologies. The goal is not for education or intellect, but to make us a robot where race is incidental. To cast race as a mistake corrected in curating an inner whiteness.
I say this all to say that contemplating freedom as a black person remains an integral part of black life. This contemplation engenders a distinction between black and melanated, as melanated folks define freedom in acquisition of materialism and increased proximity to white people. The melanated seek to “make it” within the limitations of their oppressors. Conversely, blacks seek to make a way beyond these limitations. Blacks realize that acquisitions of material and increased proximity to white people simply means an acquisition of the soul. That it marks an exchange of a legacy for a bucket of lies.
The E.P. Did not Emancipate Us
The emancipation proclamation means nothing with regard to dissolving slavery. Enslavement is has always been mental, and the emancipation does nothing to lessen the mental strain resulting from four hundred years of violence. The document merely marks white realization that formal slavery was no longer necessary. This document marks the realization that the damage had already been done, that the physical chains were just decoration, a physical manifestation of the mental deterioration that had already taken place. The emancipation proclamation is just a mark of white cruelty, a celebration of empty symbolism that makes the black collective cry tears of happiness in lieu of an an Obama or even a pre-Trump Ben Carson. Tears that ultimately drown the collective in the fabrication of a consummation thwarted by symbols we are encouraged to celebrate.
Figures like former President Obama, Ben Carson, Beyonce, or any other celebrated case of black “exceptionalism,” socially reproduce the Emancipation Proclamation. These symbols function as documentation or proof that we are free. That the chains have turned to chances and produced such “brilliance”, such “talent,” such “excellence.” These attributes, like the proclamation, where supposedly the product of black discovery, in one way or another. But physical freedom will never be stumbled upon. Freedom is not found, it’s taken.
Freedom will never make the his story books. Freedom will never be a trending topic on Twitter.
Freedom has never and will never be what we as a collective have been given, as we have only been given what benefits others. Freedom is what we take.
Education is never what we have been given. We must take our knowledge, but first we must create it.
Love is never what we have been given or shown. We must take our love, but first we must create and acknowledge it.
To be free is to be mentally liberated. To understand that freedom is conventionally anti-climatic. There is no gown, no tassle, no bells, no whistle, no piece of paper that can commemorate this feat. Just that mental state of peace, a mental richness consummated in accruing what money can never buy.
Freedom is the black farmer who grows and eats his own food.
The black seamstress who makes his or her own clothes. He or she who defines their own style, rather than finding their feelings on the rack in some white franchisement.
Freedom is the black educator who uses their training to untrain others. He or she who incites a strategy of unlearning to cognitively cleanse the black mind from the poison of white supremacy.
Freedom is the black doctor who uses white science to engender prevention in his or her community.
Freedom is the black lawyer who uses a system used to legalize anti-blackness to ensure that black realize these laws are the nooses around their necks. Freedom is he or she who uses their law degree to free blacks and ensure the real criminals are locked up by the very system designed to enable white freedom.
Freedom is Nat Turner. Denmark Vesey. Harriet Tubman. Sojourner Truth. Ida B. Wells. WEB Dubois. Malcolm X. Dr. King. Fred Hampton. Fanny Lou Hamer. George Jackson. Assata Shakur. Derrick Bell.
Freedom is the black man or woman who jumped from the ships with heavy chains that sunk them to the bottom of the sea, but the height of mental freedom. Freedom is the enslaved body who fought back either mentally or physically–he or she who maybe was not even given a name, but made a name for themselves. Freedom is the black man or woman who refused to be trained and started their own.
So I suppose what I am saying is that it not about “living your best life” as the contemporary phrasing will have the oppressed believing, but living your freest life.
How will you live your freest life?
Black Power ❤