Black Tears on Loop
Yesterday, I saw a piece in the museum by Ebony G. Patterson called ‘…the kings weep…” that made me cry. The work is a video installation that portrays three men dressing while tears quietly roll down their cheeks. While the three men are dressing, you hear the voice of a young teenage boy reciting a poem by Claude McKay called “If We Must Die.” I stood there for a moment and noticed that film was looping around just to have the three men start over again. It shook my soul to see those men crying as they held their heads high. How could they stand so tall in the climate we live in today?
As a black woman, I honestly mourn every time I read or hear about another black person dying at the hands of the Police or dying by the hands of “themselves.” The fact that a black man can be in his legal right to have a gun can still be treated like the bad guy and killed without reason why. As soon as I dry my tears, I start crying again. Shit! I am tired of crying! Why can’t we live our whole lives? Do we not deserve to see our babies grow up? We want to grow old too. But all we can do is cry. And dry our tears. And cry again. It is exhausting knowing that I could see another person that looks like me dead. Killed. Then I cry again. And I dry my tears, just to cry again.
I am not sure if I will ever see a day that there’s no more hate. But I would love nothing more but not to cry about another black person dying.
“If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accurséd lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen! We must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one death-blow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!”
— Claude McKay