Go back to previous topic
Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectLove is love
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=4830&mesg_id=4845
4845, Love is love
Posted by Nettrice, Sat May-10-03 09:05 AM
What makes the difference is emotional awareness. What is the difference between love and fear...fear of ideolodical commitment, ethics, etc.? I've met people who say thay have an undying love for the people but have a strong hatred for themselves, whether it's because of their own oppression, emotional pain or something related such as skin color, economic status, etc. Some of these people still see themselves as victims and not as empowered human beings.

Self-criticism comes from lack of self-worth, from fear. This is what an oppressive society will do, it will condition many of us to have the minds of victims or slaves.

I have a unsual aversion of people who spit on sidewalks and throw trash on the streets but it goes back to what I stated above. Some of the Black people who do this are stuck in a cycle, a self-fulfilling prophecy that to them makes public spitting and polluting trivial compared to an overwhelming since of adversity or hopelessness. I don't hate the person, I hate the act and the fact that this oppression exists. I have love in my heart, regardless.

I am reminded of a ride on the El in Chicago, from the Englewood neighborhood on the southside to grad school downtown. I was sitting with my back turned, minding my own business, when this young Black man sat in front of me, blocking my view. I saw from his attire and jewelry that he was in a gang (GD). He puffed his chest, looked as menacing as he could before asking me if his presence bothered me. I said no and looked at him right back, deeply into his eyes. It was not the response he expected. He demanded to know where I was going. I told him and what took place after that was a discussion that revealed who he was as a human being. As I answered his questions he told me more about himself until he became a young person who felt trapped and wanted to go places.

The fact was that I listened and I shared my story with him. The fear, anger, hate, whatever disappeared because I think he know I loved him despite his angry posturing. He was not a threat to me. There have been other situations, as well. My best friend and I often say to the other, "Well, that's your people." Usually, I respond with a sigh, "Yep and that's why I love them.", not "Well, I love them anyway." I love them because I have self-worth and I feel a connection to their pain because I went through it. I was conditioned just like they were/are and I overcame a lot of that conditioning.

Every opportunity I get I tell people why I don't spit or pollute the streets. It's the same reason I don't pollute my body. Some Black people ask me why I even bother but I'd like to think for some that my type of love is inspiring and helps them to rediscover that love in themselves.