Thursday, March 3, 2016

Black Folk and the Twilight Zone/ Holla If You Hear Me



Melinda Contreras-Byrd
February 2014

Born in the United States 60 years ago,
The essence of my black life has been captured in “Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man” and Samuel Greenlee’s “The Spook Who Sat By The Door”.
Invisible as one of only a few in college classes where my point of view
Was overlooked, misunderstood or repressed.
Brilliant and complicated nuances of my people missing from the academic curricula of music class, experiences and thinking of my people deemed unnecessary to a full and scholarly understanding of U.S. life and history.
I have been there In the back of the bus, there in great numbers behind the scenes, there behind the curtain, behind the machinery, there bent over in countless fields, there among a sea of black faces marching for the right to be seen, generations of Black men raising signs saying, “I am a man”  faceless and nameless black mothers wanting nothing for ourselves except that our children will one day be seen – so wave if you can see me!!!

Everyday the lives of Black people get harder and stranger and not appreciably closer to being other than the other!
President Barack Obama –can I get a witness!?

Every time that someone in the United States is born “Black”
There should be a solemn and discreet ceremony to mark the occasion.
Music from the twilight zone should begin to play and a voice from above should echo out…

"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area, which we call the Twilight Zone. "

"You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead - your next stop, the Twilight Zone!"

Every Black child should be set aside, warned and soundly and thoroughly educated concerning the critical otherness that her or his life will be

Every school district and university in every state and county of the United States should offer on going, I mean, never-ending courses in the application of a theory of “otherness”.

These courses should be required for every White person living in the U.S. to be able to be granted any employment or educational opportunity.  No White person unable to pass this course should be granted a mortgage, voting rights, or a driver’s license.
Anyone unable to pass should not be eligible to run for public office or be granted citizenship.
Because my life is that important,
Because even if the US still does not acknowledge the truth --there are real life consequences to not seeing or hearing or understanding the truth of my existence…it is critical, it is crucial, it is non-negotiable, so
Clap if you feel me!

I’m repeating what Nat Turner was trying to tell you,
I’m reinterpreting what Denmark Vesey was preaching.
I’m voicing the sentiments expressed by the Newark riots, the
Detroit riots, The Attica prison uprising
I’m speaking through the blood of Martin Luther King Jr.
I’m talking loudly about the fact that we watched Rodney King crawling on the ground surrounded by armed police officers who beat him mercilessly on national TV. and then told us not to believe what we saw
I am talking loudly about a gentle, friendly Ethiopian man who was gunned down with  bullets because a wallet is so menacing in a black hand,
I’m yelling about Trayvon Martin a child killed justifiably when his hoodie became a weapon.
I’m yelling about Jordan Davis – unarmed and murdered.   I’m yelling that a jury of his peers could not reach a verdict about yet another unarmed Black child whose music and black face constituted a lethal threat warranting 10 bullets and no second thoughts about ending his life.
You are expected to stay in your homes and remain calm.
You are expected to understand.
But I do not understand.  I do not want to stay in my home and I do not want to remain calm. 
I refuse to understand….like Rachel weeping and refusing to be comforted….   I join with the voices from the blood of the innocent shed in this country….
We can no longer be silent in the face of full fledged statements about the irrelevancy of Black life in the U.S….It is 2014 and the twilight Zone Music is still playing!   We continue to live lives of  invisibility, we continue to be stepped around, left out, not seen as essential. 
It is 2014 and the twilight zone music is till playing in our background trying to drown out what I am saying…
”You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind”
Can you hear it playing in the background ?….but I am playing in the foreground !!
I will not be silent I will  Holla Justice,
For Amadou Diallo, in New York City,  Holla if you hear me!!
Holla Justice……….for Oscar Grant at Fruitvale Station
Holla Justice …………for Trayvon Martin in Sanford Florida
Holla justice for……….Jordan Davis, in Jacksonville Florida
Hola justice for …….. Michael Brown in New York City
Holla justice for ……Eric Garner in Ferguson, Missouri
Holla Justice,  Holla justice!
Holla if you hear me!!

Melinda Contreras-Byrd
February 2014


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