There is no end to the absolutions those who have wronged you might seek, because there is no end to the stories we will tell ourselves about our goodness.
“There’s so much slippage between “please tell me what I’m doing wrong” and “please tell me that I’ve done nothing wrong”. The suddenness and intensity of the desperation to be seen as being “good” run completely counter to how deeply entrenched, how very old the problems are.”
We like to pretend that the problems are new, because then we don’t have to reckon with the role we played in creating the conditions that brought us here.
‘We’ does so much work. ‘We’ deflects and defuses so ‘we’ can keep going.
Is there anywhere left to go? What does rest look like, in this endless passage? What does rest look like, when you are also working to keep the memories of those who did not survive the journey alive?
Anyone who speaks a language inside a language can see when that dialect is presenting a challenge for someone who perhaps had to google the correct word to use and the placement of it. Or when it is coming from someone who watched a movie with a Black person in it once and then never saw a Black person again. It would be humorous or fascinating if it wasn’t so suffocating. I would laugh if I was not being smothered by the violence of imagination.
— from Sixteen Ways of Looking at Blackface in A Little Devil In America by Hanif Abdurraqib