It's Friday, so, as always, here are some things that mattered to me recently.
- Last week, Hanif Abdurraqib wrote about the violence of American normalcy. “But also because when people fighting for freedom use tactics some would deem violent, it is holding up a mirror to a violent country. Whether or not that result is intentional or understood by those in power. So much of what is labeled as violence was learned through American machinery or American neglect.”
- Kimmy Yam wrote about Tou Thao and the history of Asian American complicity in anti-Blackness. Something we as Asian Americans need to understand and own.
- Like a lot of people, I returned to Jericho Brown's poem “Bullet Points” this week. Written four years ago, but, of course, part of the point of all of this is that police violence isn't new. I think, though, what is striking me most today is the word “Me” in the sixth-to-last line, how it gets to be capitalized, and what a small thing that is but still powerful.
- Danez Smith's piece in the New Yorker today, “Crying, Laughing, Crying at the George Floyd Protests in Minneapolis.” “Why do we have police? Have you Googled where they come from? The precinct’s ancestor is the plantation cabin filled with overseers, between the slave quarters and the big house. When the North came down to free my people, you tell me what burned.”
- Finally, Luther Hughes's poem “Stay Safe,” which starts with such tenderness, contrasting with the worry and fear that comes later. Well, which is always there.
As always, this is just a portion of what has mattered to me recently. It's been heartening to me to see so many of my friends and family speaking up and speaking out lately, who might not have before. I hope it is a sign of good things yet to come.
Thank you, and take care.