My Oyster Knife Is Love

July 29, 2019 at 3:29 pm Leave a comment

Zora Neale Hurston-oyster knife

Today I came across this tweet from Chelsea Hodson shared on Twitter:
“Stop worrying about networking & just write a book that feels like a knife.” SmartSelect_20190729-134218_Twitter

It reminds me of Zora Neale Hurston’s reflection from many years before: “I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.” Also I hear the words of Toni Morrison: “The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of this is necessary. There will always be one more thing.”

For those of us who are cultural producers and are also living in the wake of antiBlackness and other oppressive forces, we have to fortify ourselves from the pervasive violence that comes our way. These tides are extensive, multifaceted, and insidious. They show up regularly on the streets, in hospital waiting rooms, social media platforms, curatorial meetings, displays and labels on museum walls, university lecture halls, op-eds by professors and museum directors, news media headlines, and more.
The violence is ongoing comes for us when we fight injustice through our work as scholars and activists, when we breathe.

“Giving talks about my dissertation research on the modes communities and individuals employ to remember lynching violence has helped me understand that many people prefer to remain or claim to be ignorant of the deep ramifications of institutional racism and unequal power relations in this project called “America.” Oftentimes, encountering this resistance coupled with my experiences of navigating the archives of violence has been painful and stultifying. 

Making my way out of this quicksand has involved redirecting my energies and recalibrating/lessening my expectations of other people’s ability and willingness to care. Some of us get it. Some of us care for one another. But many people are committed to ignorance/denial. It suits their self-interest.

This work typically feels lonely. But I know that my research and writing is for the ancestors, It is for those who are doing the work of justice now. It is for those who will lead the work of justice in the tomorrows. It is for those who love.

#goals #disswriting #dissresearch #blackstudies #inthewake #writingfortheancestors #writingasrioting #writingasrighting#writingwithcare #writingascare #blacklove #blackselfcare #squadcare #careaspraxis #careistheantidotetoviolence #wakework #weouthere”*

I’m doing the work of love and sharpening my oyster knife too.

*from my Instagram post July 23, 2019


Entry filed under: Art.

Service Announcement Toni Morrison Taught Me

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