Here we go again, I thought. But, she was so beautiful, I curbed my tongue and listened to her spiel. To make a long story short, she ended up inviting to a meeting. I accepted the invite; not because I agreed with her politics; but, more so, because I was attracted to her beauty.
Later that day, I drove to the address that my future soulmate had given to me. It turned out to be a storefront not too far from the library. The shades were drawn, giving the place a dark and vacant appearance. Nonetheless, I tapped lightly on the door, and shortly thereafter, Khadijah opened the door and waved me in.
“I’ve been waiting on you,” she said happily. “Let me introduce you to everyone else.”
I followed her through a room to a door that led into a miniature auditorium. There were about twenty or twenty-five people. Most were females dressed in blue jeans, sweat shirts and tennis shoes. I felt a little out of place—not to the point of panic, although that natural feeling of displacement was creeping in. I knew that they knew this was my first time here; therefore, over or under dressing could be expected and accepted; or at least I hoped so.Beautiful Black Women .
After Khadijah introduced me to everyone, we all sat in an Indian-type circle. I believe they called it a cipher. One person would sit in the middle of the circle and speak to everyone else. After he or she finished preaching, speaking or teaching, someone else would take a turn in the middle until everyone had a chance to talk.
All of them seemed fairly intelligent and articulate. They spoke on topics of history, science, mathematics and more, but largely in a profane and blasphemous way. For example, a young woman named Shata was expounding on slavery. She said that one of the reasons that it lasted so long was because of the cowardice and fear of black people. She went on to say that, fortunately, there were a few rebels who were striking internally against the institution of slavery while it was collapsing externally. She gave examples of black nannies murdering white babies by sticking pins or needles in the soft spots of their heads and overt revolts that resulted in the slaughter of many slave masters and overseers. Not once did she give credit to the compassion and honesty of Abe Lincoln. Not once did she mention General Grant and the Union soldiers who fought valiantly against General Lee and the Confederates. I mean, she made a few points, but overall I found her to be one-sided and prejudiced.
Then it was Khadijah’s turn. I knew my newly-found princess would put this reverse racism in its proper perspective. But her topic was politics, and her verbal sword stabbed me deeper and harder than that of anyone else. She began by saying, “We live in a capitalist society which means capitalism rules. And capitalists are parasitical bloodsuckers, for they need poor people in order to sustain their existence.
“They need poor people to borrow money for cars, homes, businesses, et cetera, therefore, keeping them in eternal debt. America is a big credit card, and since black people are the biggest consumers, they are likely candidates to be financially ruined which is the same as being humanly ruined.
“As a result, while many of us continue to run in place on that lifelong treadmill, the little piggies behind those big banks gets further and further ahead. Possibly to the point of becoming unreachable, untouchable and most importantly insurmountable…”
Although she continued to ramble on, her voice was drowned out by another voice, my inner voice. That inner voice informed me that these people were modern day revolutionaries, Khadijah included. I stared at Khadijah and nodded my head every now and then, pretending to be listening; however, my inner voice had my major attention.
It told me that this was no political and social uplifting class. These people wanted to politically and socially uproot America. They were smart enough to realize that they couldn’t do it alone. They understood that individually, they were no more than a small hammer or chisel chipping on the great wall of America. And Khadijah had invited me down here to become another hammer or chisel in this revolutionary toolbox. Oh no, I would have none of that. I smiled approvingly to myself, pretending to agree with her as she droned on, but content because I realized why they spoke in that circular fashion.
No one was leader because they were all aware of the complexities and complicities of the American system. What was the possibility of finding a well rounded, proficient leader? One would have to be a political, social and behavioral scientist all rolled into one. He or she would have to be an artist, musician, poet, writer and performer. Such a person would have to possess the courage, heart and ferocity of a lion, yet be crafty, cunning and wise as a fox. And wouldn’t this person also have to be a chameleon in the daytime but illuminatory in the darkest hours? Finding this person was beyond far-fetched. Khadijah and her friends were only a few pieces in an enormous puzzle, and if she thought I was joining that inadequate and incomplete jigsaw, then her looks were not the only part of her which was preternatural.
Didn’t she understand the ramifications of a revolutionary fiasco? Did she honestly believe that the investment of vengeful anger and hostility was worth the return of aeons of pain and harsh punishment? Could she actually be naïve enough to think that her microcosm of misery-which consisted of a monotonous 9 to 5 and paying taxes to a system whose ideology she disagreed with—could compare to a macrocosm lifetime of physical, mental and emotional misery in a federal prison somewhere?
Didn’t she believe the Lord when He said vengeance would be His? Why couldn’t she be patient and wait on God, Allah, Jesus, Jehovah or Yahweh like the rest of us who are simmering in this big melting pot? I sympathized with her anger, but I had to stop her. I couldn’t allow her to run into that American brick wall. The consequences were too severe. But I dared not interrupt her now and speak out. Her comrades would only jump on me with historical facts, political events, and oppressive examples. No, I would wait until the meeting was over and talk some sense into her. Yes, that’s exactly what I would do.
After the final speaker concluded, we all stood up, held hands and recited some sort of African Proverb. Then we shook hands, hugged, and departed in the direction of our desires. Khadijah and I walked out together. I offered her a ride home; she accepted, so we walked toward my car.
“So, what did you think?” she asked as we walked.
“Well, honestly,” I said honestly, “I think all of that revolutionary talk is a bit antiquated. “Nowadays, we got more to lose than to gain.”
“Exactly what do we have to lose?” she asked, stopping about ten feet from the car.
“Well, personally, I got my car, job and condo. And everybody can have that and more without a revolution.”
“But don’t you understand that material enslavement is killing us? It’s one of the main reasons we need to revolutionize,” she said, pleadingly.
Unintentionally, I burst into a gale of laughter. One of those loud, uncontrollable laughs that is difficult to suppress.
“What is so funny?” she asked with a face twisted in perplexity.
“I’m sorry,” I said laughingly, “but to be truthful, if the acquisition of finer materials is an enslavement, then call me Kunta Kinte because I’m trying to get more and more.”
She stared at me long and hard with eyes by now filled with hatred, as if my sheer existence were a barrier between her and her purpose for being alive. Her eyes welled with murderous tears, and she spat—not saliva, but wisdom—in my face, with great accuracy.
“Tyler,” she said, “You work in one of the most precious places on this planet. You have all the knowledge of the world at your fingertips. Yet, you refuse to take advantage of your opportunity. Do you know what that makes you? A fool!”
I started to interrupt her, but her train of thought was moving a bit too fast.
“At first,” she continued, “I thought you were like so many other black men: products of an abusive and tormented past, therefore, finding refuge in a personality of fear and inhibitions. But you don’t have an implanted psychological fear that extended from slavery; nor are you suffering from an inferiority complex due to the pigmentation of your skin. With you, it’s worse. Through your greed, selfishness, and individualism, you’ve enslaved yourself. Your car is your master. Your condo is your plantation. And the library is your Civil War. You had a choice to fight with the North or the South, but you chose the latter. That’s why you were so familiar with Iceberg Slim, but ignorant to Eldridge Cleaver. I was sympathetic because of your blackness, but your words extend from the thoughts of a colorless and insensitive mind.” She turned, and stomped out of my life.
Who needs her? I thought, defiantly. She thinks she knows everything. I jumped into my master and drove to my plantation. I went inside, flopped on my couch, and turned on the television. I couldn’t get interested. I thought about Khadijah. Was she right? Did I enslave myself simply to keep my meager possessions? I remembered the time when I saw two white policemen beating a black motorist. I kept on driving, pretending not to see. I thought about the time when I saw a young black girl being dragged to jail by a couple of white detectives. She was yelling for help. I kept walking, pretending not to hear.
Was this self-imposed enslavement dulling my senses? Could it be making me sub-human? Could the library really free me? Could certain books actually separate themselves from other books—socially, politically, and ideologically—like the states did during the Civil War?
If so, what would give me the nerve to fight the system? Wouldn’t I need some heart to protect Black motorists from abusive cops? I mean, it would take a helluva man to make a citizen’s arrest on some unlawful detectives. And this is real life. It’s not like I can go to the Wizard of Oz and request some courage like a Cowardly Lion. Well, I guess any contribution would be better than none at all. And maybe, just maybe, if I keep chipping at that brick wall, it just might crumble. I mean, I don’t have to grab a gun and run into the street like a madman screaming for a better world. But I can grab a book and learn how to make it a better world.
I replayed the entire day in my head, and I made a decision. I had that calm feeling you get when you know you’ve made the right decision. Tomorrow, when I get to work, I am heading North!
Staff Writer; Saint Solomon
Official website; http://www.SaintSolomon.com