Updated: Apr 16
Kelechi Ohiri's powerful Facebook post on April 12th reads:
TW: death, police violence, revolution . . .
"The transition from the body to the spirit is an easy one for Black people. This is not me saying death is a good thing, it's me saying you already know how to do it. You do it well. You do it every day." - @_Rawilcox
Whatever Black people are experiencing as a result of anti Blackness has got to be something just short of being "alive." We are not experiencing full humanity. We can't be. This is a type of death, a social one. I wake up every morning with the knowledge that I can be disappeared from this world for changing lanes or going to church or using counterfeit money, not because the penalty of these things is death but because I'll always be Black while doing them.
Waking up this morning to hear that Daunte Wright had been disappeared from this world by a police officer only miles from where Derek Chauvin is on trial for the murder of George Floyd felt like being alive only in theory.
The breaking news of Black death interrupts the breaking news of Black death.
I've been asking myself why Black people fear death when we know it so well, so intimately. If you watched George Floyd be murdered on film, you've seen death. If you watched it and realized that could be you, you've experienced it in a sense.
Here's my main point.
I'm entertaining the thought that survival is the project of anti Blackness because it feels like all we do is built up the capacity to suffer and try to find joy in that cruel endeavor.
Some of us are able to suffer well, building up money and small amounts of power but even this is often at the expense of other Black people. Revolution should be a heavy word in the mouth. It's not a word to throw around lightly. Do you want to know what I think freedom is? The end of the actual world. Freedom is accepting that the axis upon which this world spins is truly anti Blackness and to disrupt that flow would mean to end the world, and in so doing end ourselves, in the hope that whoever may survive will truly be free because what we are experiencing now is too close to death to be life.
The price of challenging this system is often death. Yet the price of living within it is death. So again, why do I fear death so much when I know it so well and navigate it daily? Revolution happens when the people no longer fear death because they realize they are hardly truly alive anyway.
"Revolutionary suicide does not mean that I and my comrades have a death wish; it means just the opposite. We have such a strong desire to live with hope and human dignity that existence without them is impossible. When reactionary forces crush us, we must move against these forces, even at the risk of death." - Huey P. Newton, Revolutionary Suicide