Monday, March 8, 2010

Love Is the Root Politik: Letter to a Faithful Reader

First of all, allow me, please, to apologize to you. I should have gotten back to you sooner. I should have responded when I first saw the notice. But I assure you I am not as rude as I seem. I assure you that I am not arrogant or that I do not appreciate the emails and other correspondence of those who think enough of me to take time out to communicate with me; I am simply a man who is sometimes overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the tasks I have before me.

And yes, to answer your first question, I do have a number of other white readers, but the funny thing is that most of them, well all except you and another, choose to comment by email instead of leaving comments on the page. I think that they feel as if they will be verbally accosted or something. In fact, for a good while now, I have been carrying on a running dialogue with a Jewish man somewhere in New England. But let’s deal with those issues you have raised.

At this point in my life, I have grown bored of talking about race. I have grown tired of the subject. Yet I feel that I cannot get away from it because it somehow in someway always seems to rear its ugly head. I have friends and colleagues who say that I am fixated on race, that I overanalyze and overreach, that I am perhaps overly sensitive and feel things just a bit too deeply. But how does one feel too deeply?

My graduate school mentor, a black man, followed my blog for a while, then he just abruptly quit, sending me a message that my blog had descended into just another race blog. That’s the exact term he used, “descended.” And he stated further that I had the talent and the intelligence to do so much better and voiced his disappointment in me.

I wish that I could say that he did not hurt my feelings, that I was unaffected by the whole thing, but if I am honest, and that is what I try always to do—be honest, I can only admit that it did hurt. It hurt greatly, and it took me a while to recuperate.

I am comfortable enough in my masculinity to admit my fragility; I break easily. However, I have mastered the art of the stoic dispassionate edifice which is commonly mistaken as strength.
But just to think, I never set out to write about race. I never set out to write about racial issues. You know what I always wanted to do? Don’t laugh, but I always wanted to write love stories. I always wanted to write beautiful stories about black people meeting and falling in love against all odds. I called these my “brown love stories.” But the omnipresence of race and its accompanying issues kept presenting itself, inserting itself, as the main antagonist of any “brown love story” I endeavored to compose; black people loving other black people is truly a revolutionary act.

However, this is what I know to be true about race and its place in American politics and culture. Race is that great divider. All the political rhetoric you hear has nothing to do with politics at all. All those ideals you hear being espoused by both the left and the right in the political arena are not about ideals at all. It is all about money. It is all about power.

And as long as those in power, those with money, can keep the masses divided and resentful of one another because of something so absolutely and utterly inane as race, the longer they remain in power, the longer they control the purse strings of the nation.

Religion works much the same way. You have a select few who claim the moral high ground for themselves while castigating and encouraging discrimination against others. In doing so, they project their own perverted proclivities and repressed desires onto other bodies deemed by a cynical, hypocritical society to be aberrant.

There are many purporting to follow Christ; however, there are very few who conduct themselves as Christ conducted himself.

However, I feel I should stop now; I’ve prattled on much too long. In fact, I may just use this missive as a post since I have spent the time I carved out to write this morning composing it. It’s just that other events of the past week have caused me to be introspective, more so than usual. And writing has always been my means of working through dilemmas.

But I only wanted to thank you for taking the time out to write me and visiting and commenting on the blog. And there is no need for you to feel guilty; both you and I are products of the society to which we were born. Just as I have learned that walking around in a constant and unyielding state of rage is unconstructive and noxious, so too is possessing any measure of guilt for those things you did not contribute to or have no control over.

And what can you do? Perhaps my answer will reveal my naïveté, or better still, my idealism or romanticism, but I do believe that most important thing you can do, the most revolutionary thing you can do, is simply love and acknowledge the humanity of every man. In any and all things, love is always the root politik.



River Glorious said...

We bring up our children in the "way they should go" and teach them to the best of our knowledge. Then one day they walk on their own and if they do not walk the same pathway, we are disappointed. Your mentor failed to acknowledge your independence, your right, to think for yourself, to choose for yourself, and to walk your own path, the "way you should go."

I am one of those who would rather email than post here, yes, for fear of being castigated for my ignorance. For years I have said that "Ignorance has a cure; stupidity does not."

Go your way, Max, and on your own path. I would like to read one of your love stories, though. :)


Mizrepresent said...

I really enjoy your writing, so so much! I love your truth and your intellect and the soul behind the man that writes here. It is so refreshing and needed. I may have not commented before, but believe me i have read and continue to read and will continue as long as you are writing. And like the poster before me, i would love to hear your take on a lovestory :)

Kristen Howerton said...

Wow - what a strange criticism from your mentor. I don't believe you are fixated on race at all. I think you are a vulnerable writer who shares his true experience. Your race and culture informs that experience. It informs all of us. I appreciate you talking about it, and it never seems heavy-handed. To me, you write eloquently about being a father, husband, and professional. To reduce your blog down to just "race talk" is really diminishing your giftedness as a writer. I appreciate your candor.

As far as love stories go, the times you write of your wife read like a good love story to me. It's clear that you guys have a deep affection for each other.

Keith said...

Hey Max. It was great to hear from you. I think it was a wonderful idea to post your response to me here at your blog. I wish you the best. You've got an outstanding blog whether you are discussing race or other subjects. I've learned so much. It's really opened my eyes to how others see and experience the world. I applaud you. I think you are a fantastic writer. I would love to read love stories you might pen. Take care. Good luck. God bless you.

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KST said...


Great post.

I do think people are afraid to discuss race - especially whites, but younger black people too. Funny thing is, you can't have a real discussion if you are afraid. One thing that is frustrating to me is this fear (usually from white liberals) who are afraid of being labled racist. People who have an understanding of history are not going to call a march on Washington because Dan Rather made a watermelon comment that was taken out of context. And kow-towing to those who would treats black people like we are children -which is paternalistic and racist at it's core. I think most of your readers are intelligent enough to have an exchange of ideas without resorting to piling on someone who has a legitimate point of view.

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