For the first time, I am seeking an optional transfer for my daughter for the 2015-2016 school year. But I am not waiting in no damn line. I will, as the Shelby County Schools optional transfer FAQs dictate, proceed to the Board of Education on Monday morning to retrieve an application with a barcoded ticket that will hold my place in a first-come, first-served line for the particular school and grade I want my daughter to attend. I realize that waiting puts me at a disadvantage. Reports from the camp site–yes, the camp site–indicate that there are already at least 50 people in front of me. Today is Sunday, and people have been set up at the Board of Education since Wednesday. But I am not pressed, because I know the emperor has no clothes. People camping out, though, haven’t gotten the memo–or refuse to read it because of what it says about race, class, and contemporary American education.
Archives for January 2015
People gave me funny looks but they ain’t really say nothing because they figured I could hold my own. And they would have been right, if a body could actually hold her own in a forced unraveling. By the time I was a gentle heap of spiraled brown flesh and bone bits on the ground of myself, done in by a Wal-Mart vegetable peeler, folks had stopped looking. Or maybe they had stopped being able to see. Time hides as much as it tells.
I was good at hiding, too. More than time, I was the reigning queen of personal obfuscation in the hide-and-seek of abuse. I had dived deep below the surface of myself to hide and had gotten lost, not realizing that I had drowned trying to find my way back. I am not even certain of when.
Certainly obfuscation was a familial and thus familiar epistemology. Quiet, the kind that made you get in your feelings and reckon with some shit, was a luxury, one that we were led to believe we couldn’t have because we were black, but it was really one we couldn’t have because we were black and in pain and afraid. Because we were black. In my childhood home, things unsaid, hurts unreconciled, piled up to the ceiling in the form of class reunion minutes that stuck together, still-new-in-the-box breadmakers, mountains of laundry, gripless screwdrivers, other things. We maneuvered around the sadness skillfully, matrixing ourselves around infrared mountains. In my room, I closed it out and vacuumed the baby-blue-carpeted border vigilantly so the worn maroon carpet on the outside and the pain it carried could not come in. And I covered the piles that visitors did/could not see (because we did not have visitors) with so much black girl excellence that all the bitches and niggas would have to bow down.
He–Prince–didn’t exactly come to me in a cloud of purple divinity and command me to do so, mind you. I had been on Tumblr, largely out of pedagogical dedication, sporadically reblogging things and scrolling and refreshing pages for hours on end, since the end of 2011. I was a late-adopter of social media, having only joined Facebook in 2009 because as the youngest member of the Executive Committee of the Association of Black Sociologists at the time, I was drafted to make sure we “reached out to the young folks on the face books.” I joined Twitter in 2012 because I lost a bet with former McNair mentee Kimber Thomas, and even then I kept my account private and tweeted sundries when the mood struck.