Beginnings: Why I Write

In the spirit of Pearl Cleage

I am writing because for far too long we’ve talked about blackness in ways that valorize black manhood while demonizing black womanhood. I am writing because the shallow, mythic image of the strong black man needs to be interrogated and exposed for lies it fosters and perpetuates.

I am writing in partnership with the great cloud of feminist and womanist witnesses who have beckoned me to broaden my racial criticism to include the interrogation of sexism, classism, and homophobia.

I am writing because I know dwelling within my being is the potential to perpetuate violence against the very people – the black women – with whom I should be most aligned.  I am writing because white racism can’t take all the blame; surely its effects are real and far reaching, but it doesn’t excuse the just as real – just as evil, just as deadly – (hetero)sexism that is perpetuated by black men, by me, daily, both consciously and unconsciously. I am writing to take personal responsibility for my actions, and to perhaps encourage someone else to take responsibility for theirs.

I am writing because I hurt. I am writing because I cry. I am writing because I laugh.

I am writing to create. I am writing to imagine life anew. I am writing to see, to know, and to feel the world and myself more deeply, more intimately. I am writing because my ancestor, Audre Lorde, reminds me daily that silence has never brought us anything of worth. I am writing in hopes that one day the cowardice of my voice will catch up to the courage of my pen.

I am writing for freedom. “I am writing, writing, writing, for my life.” (Cleage)

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