Op/Ed by Wallace Mabry –
A recent encounter at the library on Lyell Avenue and Avery Street with a loquacious white woman, who spoke literally, without pesky commas, periods, or other punctuations in her speech, seemingly to overwhelm two Black men with the urgency of her appeal, who, in spite of what may have been her intention, nevertheless assailed the men unmercifully with her interest in forming a discussion group to ferret out the concerns of the community, drew the attention of other librarians and readers, none of whom interceded but just watched and listened with curiosity.
One of the brothers had to verbatim break into the woman’s stream to question what it was she was seeking to ascertain and to learn from a group discussion. It seemed (or rather she expressed) she wanted only to get some dialogue going (superficially one would guess) to feed her need to become relevant in the climate of diversity and working with people of “color”; but was there more to her intent?
It is not gainsaid that lively discussions between people of all ethnic backgrounds can result in some mutual interests and perhaps lead to some worthwhile social endeavor that may seek to address one or more of the problems faced by the common citizen, but the woman presented as if she were on a mission to inveigle herself into the confidences of the brothers.
Paranoia is not an inappropriate term to use here because one should be suspicious of some encounters, especially those that come at you suddenly without an open and provoking comment from the approached party that give rise to a question about the state of the community. And there had been no such question raised. Motivation is important to determine.
It does appear that the social climate today is such that nearly everyone wants to talk and be heard and to present as being transparent about their feelings. But are they really?
The problem surrounding all the talking is that nothing of sustaining value is achieved or resolved to the satisfaction of all the parties involved. The promise of changes that would be beneficial to everyone that will be worked out in future supplications do not rectify, to any degree of reparation, the problems faced. Promises unmet kill the spirit and maybe that is their purpose.
Resultantly, what is, continues to be, and often worsens in time as abdication of a right to question leads to all out acquiescence and one simply falls in line because to question is to challenge and to challenge is to place oneself before the firing squad. How absurd it is to live and to work in a social environment where you are under continuous subliminal threats.
While one may not admire Camus’ Sisyphus, whose feet, married as they were to the crevices, grassy and rocky slopes of the mountain, pushing his rock from the base to the crest, only to have it roll back down where he meets it again to start the formidable task once more, one must imagine his dutiful implementation of his task intriguing yet quite dissimilar (in phase) to one’s own struggles to meet life’s challenges.
Frequently, however, one is encouraged to be careful in speaking thus because someone is always listening and reporting “to a higher up” on the down low to cement their relationships and gain some advantage.
Life, for the most part, is struggle. It is the daily awakening, stretching of the limbs, going to the bathroom and carrying out the routine of daily hygiene, dressing, eating breakfast when you can, interfacing with children some of whom push the limits of acceptable social behavior, and rushing off to work when you have work to go to. It is then the sundry interactions of the day fraught with contradiction after contradiction with no decrease in the flow of subjective narrative.
In retrospect, the woman at the library may well have been and is a woman of some substance who is of sound character and mind and who has something of value to contribute to a discussion. Perhaps it is the fault of history, social manipulations, and political nonfeasance that her input into a discussion, which may well could have focused some insightful light on the problems faced, that cause her to be ostracized herein without substantive proof of her irrelevance.
(The views expressed on our opinion pages are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position or viewpoint of the Minority Reporter.)