Archive for April, 2010

the rant by Yaari

April 5, 2010

My verbal explosion after reading Hitler’s Black Victims: The Historical Experiences of Afro-Germans, European Blacks, Africans, and African Americans in the Nazi Era.

Control, control, control is around my neck like a choke hold. With every movement it tightens, but I cannot be still.

Every possible emotion pushes me away from this project and, with equal force, each one of these emotions drags me relentlessly toward this goal. Insomniac eyes dry out as they wait for calm to return and the mind to run headlong into the welcome darkness of myth. If I were religious, and at times I am, I would be inclined to believe that something spiritual is behind this need to plunder the depths of this madness; I would be inclined to believe that “the spirits of the dead” are asking for voices to be raised against this violence.

I would be inclined to surrender to this yearning and understand that it is essential to my freedom and my sanity. But I gave up on religion a long time ago when the curtains rose and the monster was revealed. Now, I stand with nothing to shield me from the brutal truth of my rape. I must face it or die.

As a child I was shaped by British colonialism. As that education made inroads, I was also being shaped by a Guyana of various forms of resistance. Creolese, Guyanese style, formed an identity and the lyrics of an audacious resistant calypso tongue reared a fighting spirit. The love of a black mother and father counteracted the battle of messages of lighter skinned superiority waging war on my mind. Love in the midst of diversity gave me enough “agency” to query the twisted consciousness of racism.

The project itself reeks of insanity and its sheer depravity causes me to shudder with revulsion at the thought of giving it room to grow. I live with the dread of becoming one of them. I am being asked to forgive, to let go, to start again as someone else, to understand that the rapist wants forgiveness. I want revenge!

At times, like a tortured ghost, I watch the carving of my body, the shaking of my knees; I feel my heart rocking, My flesh tears and I watch my body convulse with each gush of red hot blood. Quickly and carelessly the hot turns to cold as the blood is smeared by the unrepentant footprints of the perpetrators. The smell of vengeance seers my nose and with boiling blood I bare my teeth; the need to taste flesh fights its way up with surprising force. The animal in me strains at the leash and fear spikes as I recognize the delight. I relish the screams of terror. My humanity buckles and I run and hide.

As a teenage girl I collected memories. Sexual energy was a driving force and its amazing adventurous temptation was drenched with “bad girl” threats. Nevertheless, I took the risks of reputation and found pleasure a little clouded with fear. The memories were saturated with howlingly funny mistakes and colossal disappointments. At the same time, I walked in a world dominated by the “color problem.” Running like poison in the water of youth was an active racist ideology of whiter being brighter. Memories were clouded with denial. Color made humanity and chose friendships. A warped love spoke openly of prejudice – nice hair, pretty nose, and light skin – that bonded some and gave room for twisted pride. To go against this was to become the “other.”

Everything shrivels. I cannot write; I cannot think. I am bogged down with the guilt I collected daily in catholic school so long ago. I am not a good woman and I am an angry black one at that. I am poison. I have no rights to a voice. For a while, I go quiet for fear that it might be true. But, I can only be quiet for a while.

I am overwhelmed with the promise of crazy. I do not want to be an outsider. Why can’t I just “let the past go?” Why can’t I “do like others and move on?” People aren’t racist any more “how come you don’t know that?” It’s you black people who are the racists now. Oh please, “there’s no gender issue. How come you can’t see there are equal rights, and women have it better than men?” Women are “taking over the universities.”

Universities for me were places of fire and brimstone. I collected skewed knowledge and not enough of my own voice, but gratitude kept my mouth shut. After all education was freedom and I wanted it badly. The memories are full of rage and guilt. “Speak out, speak out” clamored in my head. “ Make a noise!” I didn’t. Frustration was the thread that held it all together. BA was all white classes of English literature with polite white instructors who made only one kind of voice heard. I wanted to scream, but didn’t. MA and Ph.d. left me reeling. Erasure gave way to exploitation. On many classroom tables the black and latino body was spread and dissected. Money exchanged hands for the sexiest publications and awards were given to those who could infiltrate neighborhoods using various forms of flim flam. Black professors spoke with forked tongues railing against racism with the pen and privileging it with actions. Lessons of internalized race hatred shattered black minds and gave the monster more reasons to gloat.

Control, control, control is around my neck like a choke hold. With every movement it tightens, but I cannot be still.

I am that strangle hold. I cannot seem to help myself. I am my worst enemy. There is a problem and I am a part of it. I must be vigilant; I must be a critical thinker; I must examine what is the “truth.” I must risk abandonment; I must accept the possibility of death. Awareness is agony and it surrounds me like an electric fence. I am watching as the monster devours all in its path. What will it take for me to scream? I know I am not alone.

I devour words written by men and women who strip away the lies and lay bare the stark naked truth as lived by so many being crushed in the jaws of tigers. Their words reflect my anger, my disbelief and my need to rail at injustice. At the same time, I feel their restraint and the confusion of “double consciousness” and Fanon’s “black face, white masks” is made more and more real and I witness us cannibalize each other. My anger spreads. It is not enough to simply name the enemy. It is not enough to lay bare his genocidal plan. It is simply not enough. I expect more; I want more. War is being waged. We must fight back.

On a grand scale Africa was carved by unrestrained and genocidal power. For hundreds of years wealth for the mighty has been blood money and the violence continues. Every possible crime was committed and every possible sin practiced on the men and women of Africa. The practice of man’s inhumanity to man was further inspired and celebrated by the creation of a racist ideology. The attack on the black body continues on every level and in every area of the world where black identity exists. This race hatred invades every dimension of society. For little black children the hot comb and the lye takes over before they have consciousness. Skin color informs marriage and the parentage of children.

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FORWARD MOTION

To lose love is to have a tiny explosion erupt in the core of your heart and stomach; the pieces of shrapnel blast into your flesh cutting it to ribbons. Nothing is the same! Clouds descend; expectations crack along the seams of your life. The schizophrenic inside speaks in multiple tongues, walks along parallel shores shouting across the chasm – provoking and prodding the lies from dreams, infiltrating them with reality, and defrocking the self… ishness of individualism. The pen cannot find the words to spill the pain onto the page; to express the unimaginable rage; the loss of control, and the finality of it all.


There is a scream inside, a scream for help… you’re drowning.. back to being insecure and in dire need of consolation. A burgeoning wail waits inside to cry until your chest feels hollow and judgment is suspended. You need permission to die in someone’s arms and be reassured that they will stay and resuscitate you.


A fever burns in your mind, tears sit in your jawbones, they settle in your breasts, they wait in the empty spaces behind eyes and they push; the pressure threatens to erupt and swallow everything that is sane. The memories roll and crash in the back of your mind. You keep them back with a wall of solid frivolity. It crumbles slowly. You are tired. you rock; they crash. you breathe; you stroke. Strength returns. There is forward motion.