Saturday, February 11, 2023

the last book I ever read (A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance, excerpt eleven)

from A Little Devil in America: In Praise of Black Performance by Hanif Abdurraqib:

To insist that violence and any form of bigotry isn’t American is to continue feeding into the machinery of falsehoods and readjustments that keep this country spinning its wheels and making the same mistakes when it comes to confronting the way its past has burdened its present and future. There are people who talk about Martin Luther King, Jr., as if he lived a long and healthy life and then chose to die peacefully at the end of it. There are those who treat the political landscape as if it has only local ramifications rather than the global ones it has had for the majority of my lifetime. The very concept of “choosing love” is privilege, based on an ability to have the idea that there are only two options: love and hate, as Radio Raheem had emblazoned in gold across his knuckles in Spike’s Do the Right Thing. But the very concept resting at the heart of Do the Right Thing is that all this love ain’t created equally. The love I have to give is malleable, but it has its limits. All of our love has its limits, and it should. I choose to love my people, and their people. And sometimes I might also choose love with your people. But other times, I choose whatever keeps me safe, and that isn’t necessarily hate, but it might be if it gives me a comfortable enough distance.

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