As it’s Martin Luther King Day, people have taken to social media to share quotes and meta-opinions about those quotes (and who says them). I’m very wary of white allies who use MLK as a shield against criticism or some kind of threading on their quilt of equality.
“Since the murder of Martin Luther King, new commitments had been sworn, laws introduced but most of it was decorative: statues, street names, speeches. It was as though something valuable had been pawned and the claim ticket lost.”
My Dad has always been full of wisdom. He once described love to me as a pure and positive force that could not take any other form but itself. He said that actions that were jealous, angry, or otherwise ego-driven weren’t in the name of love. And that stuck with me ever since.
I look back at how I’ve received love and a lot of them were in forms my father decried as false. I’ve tried my best to love as purely and openly as possible. It has backfired a lot but I don’t regret what I did or how.
And that got me thinking about how love has been discussed by some of the great Black scholars and thinkers of our times and in this article, I’d like to share some with you.
“Love is where you find it. And you don’t know here it will carry you. And it is a terrifying thing [love]. It’s the only human possibility but it’s terrifying. And a man can fall in love with a man, a woman can fall in love with a woman. There’s nothing that anybody can do about it.”
“Love is space. It is developing our own capacity for spaciousness within ourselves to allow others to be as they are. That is love. And that doesn’t mean that we don’t have hopes or wishes that things are changed or shifted, but that to come from a place of love is to be in acceptance of what is, even in the face of moving it towards something that is more whole, more just, more spacious for all of us.”
Angel Kyodo Williams
“Some people forget that love is tucking you in and kissing you “Good night” no matter how young or old you are”
“Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.”
Zora Neale Hurston
“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
When Toni Morrison spoke, you listened. When she wrote, you read. And we still do even after her death on 5th August 2019.
In her famous 1993 interview with Charlie Rose, she discussed her novel Jazz, how she won Pulitzer Prize, and her encounters with racism. But it’s with the latter that most people remember this interview and a particular section I listen to over and over.
If you can only be tall because somebody’s on their knees, then you have a serious problem, and my feeling is White people have a very, very serious problem and they should start thinking about what they can do about it. Take me out of it.
Between Toni Morrison and James Baldwin, I could listen to their speeches until I die.