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One of the most intriguing aspects of being black today is sanity.
How can an individual living in such desperate times exist alongside insane denial of said existence?
How does one remain sane in an insane world?
One that denies we matter?
At the start of my new school in the second grade, my new teacher gave me a nickname.
No one can say your name, she explained, so she’d call me by my initials, DK.
And that’s how things remained for years.
I grew to love that teacher and my classmates, many of whom studied with me until graduation 11 years later.
Needless to say, our small class got to know one another really well.
It’s that knowing of others that I draw upon now to stay sane.
See, I know white people.
I’ve grown up in a diverse world, one where all our differences were brought to light and respected.
I learned that my teacher – then a middle-aged, middle-class white woman- had marched alongside Dr. King in all his major marches for his struggle for Civil Rights.
I knew Jewish kids who I learned were seen as outsiders like me.
I learned that Catholics were marginalized in our city, despite being the largest health care providers.
I learned that the poor white kids where, too, regarded as others.
I saw that not all the black kids could escape.
I learned that despite the school’s efforts at integration, life would segregate us then and now.
As soon as the last bell rang, race and class separated us once again.
We all went to our respective neighbourhoods,
And have largely remained in our respective places as adults.
Now, I as an adult, I am ‘diversity’.
I accepted that you can never judge a book by its cover.
See, in my state, the rural areas are generally considered backwards- and this is taught to us city kids as a fact.
We even had a biology teacher in high school who told us that she’d taught in the hills of Kentucky and the people were in fact born stupid…damaged by oxygen deprivation.
I listened to what was said about ‘them’
But what I heard was the same shit that had been said about us.
No, it didn’t destroy my ability to trust white people,
But it did give me pause for thought:
How is it that ‘they’ could arrive at respect for my people, but then turn around and diss others who are struggling?
This was all just one more piece of the puzzle I was putting together to help me understand society’s cruelty towards me as a kid.
Why did I grow up in total fear of how strangers would react to me?
It’s like a sixth sense that I honed and developed throughout my life- this is one of the many benefits of being a minority.
But tis sixth sense suggests that we live in a world that is largely unsafe for people like me.
That’s the burden I’d like to ease for those who come after me.
I want to develop the implicit assumption that Black Lives Matter.
Unquestionably, unapologetically and unconditionally.
Blackness is no excuse, nor whiteness.
Racism erodes empathy.
One of the first casualties of Corona was travel. Nations immediately began controlling the flow of people in and out of ever-broader borders. First neighborhoods, then cities, regions, and countries all closed. As fear of the virus spreading spread, different parts of the world became associated with Corona, though bullheaded public figures even continued to call it “Chinese”
A few years ago, I got a 10 -year visa to China through work and had planned to travel there much more than time has allowed. Now, I am fearful of ever traveling there before my visa expires. I am unable to accept the many invitations to connect with my previous students who’ve returned to China and know of my interest in the region’s cultures. I have been to southern China on several study trips with students. We finally ventured to Beijing and its wonders on a later trip. Naturally, I did my happy dance when I reached a peak on the Great Wall just a few years ago. I am now on sabbatical in Hanoi, just released from lockdown.
It was a lifelong dream to visit China, I was raised on my godmother’s stories about growing up in Hong Kong, savoring the flavors of her homeland in her kitchen in Kentucky. I knew I had to see for myself. As a kid, she and I would go on shopping day-trips to Chicago’s Chinatown, a 7-hour drive each way. For those few hours in Chi-town, we’d be transported to a world where finally she was the insider. She spoke for hours in several dialects with all the people around that I didn’t understand, and we even browsed restaurants that resembled what she’d told me home was like. We’d go in and eat not from the tourist but from the Chinese menus – foods that were not nearly available in Kentucky.
Kentucky is pretty black and white, but there, in the heart of Chinatown, in the heartland of America, smack in the middle of the 80’s, I got to experience my godmother being in the majority. Growing up close to my godmother confirmed I could experience more freedom through travel. This was a key insight into the world for a gay kid growing up in the Bible Belt; I could just go away. Travel has always exposed me to new ways of being in the world.
“You’ve got to go to the city/They’re going to find you there…” -Flawless, George Michael
Travel is essential for the development of a healthy self-identity as a queer person. ‘Travel’ is, in fact, inseparable from the notion of a gay community. This is exemplified by having to leave our homes and communities to commune with others queers, and certainly the richness of gay tourism. One might also consider how gay identity uniquely depends on the very idea of gayness traveling far and wide to enter the minds of gays isolated everywhere.
Knowing gay people is a primal impetus for me to travel. Rather than just seeking to know ‘different’ people, places and cultures, I crave knowing how people like me thrive in those places. We’re everywhere.
It has always struck me that as queer people of color, we too often must venture outside our ethno-cultural communities to meet gay people. I came out at 16 and by then only knew gays within my age-group. Fortunately, in that era of grand community building, a local charity had organized a gay youth group. There, in addition to comradery, the adult facilitation and guest speakers provided mentorship and what we now understand as inter-generational knowledge. They also alerted me to queer writers: Through Sister Outsider, I’d traveled around the world with Audre Lorde long before I stepped foot outside of north-America. This is a powerful glue that can sustain solidarity within any community.
By attempting to transport certain functions of the gay club scene into the virtual world, we have certainly lost a core opportunity for inter-generational bonding. The ominous gay club also functions as a platform for the exchange of knowledge and experience. This phenomenon is sustained by travel, particularly tourism, migration, immigration. Or, how long did it take for nations to consider asylum for queers fleeing in deadly homophobic regimes? Flawless:
Don’t you know, you’ve got to go to the city
You’ve got to reach the other side of the glass
I think you’ll make it in the city baby
I think you know that you are more than just
Some F-ed up piece of ass
Pride – both metaphorically and literally – has circulated the globe, first and foremost through travel and tourism, then through globalizing the fight against AIDS. By the mid-90’s, the attention of gay rights advocates had widened to confronting homophobia. If health was a human right, then surely freedom from stigma is, too. Mind you, this same argument fueled the successful campaign in India to decriminalize same-sex sex, which was based on colonial legislation. Rights advocates in India had successfully used case law to articulate access to healthcare as a civil right, showing how stigma impeded this for queers.
Sadly, the exact same Victoria-era law has been strengthened and extended in many African nations, legitimizing jungle justice! For many, travel is a lifeline, including asylum. For queers in the African Diaspora, this is yet another form of exile – banishment from the motherland.
Under the bridge downtown…
If there were ever a community consumed with travel, it would be LGBTQ+ folk. Our folk knowledge is transmitted in myth and music, for example, lyrics urging gays to head to the shelter of the city. Whether chants about finding a YMCA, or told to Go West to be “together” in the sanctuary, mythical San Francisco, for gays to achieve self-realization, we needed to ‘know’ urban life to counter traditional values in the homestead. “I think you’ll make it in the city, baby.” There -away- we’re promised a new beginning with freedom. I’m very proud to have seen this through.
Gay civil rights have advanced globally far faster than those of any other recognized minority group, and certainly, one factor is… (drumroll) …we’re everywhere, even where there’s no Pride! Like ether, our pride travels through the stratosphere.
A song for Terry.
Terry was just six when he died.
Not a long time spent on this Earth,
But enough to make himself known to the universe.
There were many obstacles in life waiting for boys like Terry.
If life is a vast ocean, then he only sailed a meager ferry.
Terry was born in a place, in a time and
In a body that didn’t count much –
A poor, southern Black boy and such.
He was loved, for sure,
I’d see his grandmother kiss him every morning,
As she sent Terry off to school.
Terry’s household didn’t look like those on TV.
None of ours did.
There weren’t any of those Cosby kids.
But Terry was like my brother, my dear friend.
I looked forward to walking to school with Terry each day.
He always had something interesting to say.
Terry and I were in the same class.
He lived across the street,
And our school was just a few blocks away.
There and back,
I wanted to be by his side.
Sometimes I would walk to my grandparents’ after school,
And momma would pick me up after work.
No sooner did we get home and settled did I ask to go outside and play,
Our story was short-lived.
Two kids on the block,
On the poor side of town,
We lived cocooned in a world of luxury:
We were cared for and we were safe.
Everyone on the block looked out for all the kids;
There were no strangers around home base.
But, we also lived
In a time and place of misery,
Where things like poverty,
Would determine your destiny,
And all the dreams we would dream,
Would have to fight the sun to live.
A handsome little brown boy,
And a finely picked mini ‘Fro.
An easy smile,
And an easy-going way about him.
Terry was a nice guy.
And did I mention he was loved?
He was not the most popular kid in class –
Naw, everybody feared that guy!
Terry was the one everyone liked.
For Valentine’s day,
The whole class exchanged heart-shaped candies and notes with one another-
All in pink, my favorite color.
My one time of year to shine!
I was so excited to choose one especially for Terry, my brother:
Will you be my Valentine?
Even the teacher got along with him.
Terry never got in trouble.
He got sad-eyed when any of us got marched off to get paddled.
At lunch, I’d always sit with Terry.
Terry got free lunch, and
Peanut butter and jelly is what I got when momma packed mine!
We’d hurry to the front of the line,
And finish our food quickly,
So we could go to the play area the rest of the time.
I didn’t like milk, but Terry did.
And he didn’t care for apple sauce, but I did.
Sometimes we’d split:
Half a piece of pizza for half my sandwich.
We didn’t keep score, but
We were always even.
There, right in the middle of the cafeteria,
Smack in the middle of the school,
Was a large, carpeted recreational area.
There, we’d play and everything was cool.
After lunch, but also before and after school,
We could climb and crawl,
Spin and jump,
Run and hide,
Seek and find,
And holler as loud as we’d want.
Teachers would monitor from nearby, but
They left us alone and took their break-time.
Our teachers would even rotate who had this monitoring job to do.
We weren’t a rowdy bunch,
So, there were no fights to break-up.
There were neither hoops nor balls to tussle over.
No nets, no bats –
No competition and all that.
Just a space…
Where us kids could be free.
We were free.
Terry died in the middle of first grade.
We had found out from our teacher that Terry was sick,
We’d all heard of sickle cell, many in our own families, like mine.
But none of us knew what it means.
We knew Terry was not always sturdy.
One time he’d had a bad bout with asthma.
Our teacher helped him take his inhaler,
That she’d showed us where it was kept in her desk drawer.
Now, she was telling us that Terry was just spending a few days in the hospital.
The whole class avidly awaited Terry’s return.
She didn’t know more than that,
I needed to know when Terry’d be back.
I knocked on his door, one day
On the way home from school,
To tell his grandmother I hoped Terry’d be ok.
I knew my grandmother would be heartbroken if anything like that happened to one of us.
Kids that little aren’t supposed to die.
Not here, and not of diseases we can’t even see.
Even at that age, I knew this just shouldn’t be.
And yet turn on the TV,
Every day we see signs and symptoms of little Black boys’ morbidity.
Whether from war or starvation in distant lands, or
Dilapidation and disease on these burning sands.
Just like what was happening to Terry:
A casualty of a neglectful society.
I didn’t get to mourn Terry,
Didn’t have some cathartic corral with our classmates about
The fun times we had or how much we missed him.
There was no school counselor coming to our class –
No one explaining the cycle of life, nor
Asking us about our feelings.
I knew how I felt.
I loved Terry, and knew the way I loved him was seen as peculiar;
I couldn’t let anyone know about this one-sided affair.
I was sad, and all this was unfair.
What would I say?
We were only 6 years old, and
Terry was the first boy I ever loved.
In memory of Muhammed Ali, another Black boy who survived those same streets and corridors.
Originally written: 26 November 2001
I wanna be like Mike. Mike is filthy rich, in great physical condition, is well perceived by not only his fans, but also the wider public, and he’s even faithful to his monogamous relationship. Mike is generally agreeable, and you almost never see him expressing aggression towards others outside of the game. Mike has never been ‘exposed’ as gun-totting, neither bashing women nor gays, and he’s even pretty articulate. Rumors spread about his philanthropic efforts the same low-income communities where he grew up in a hard-working family. His best friend and biggest fan is his dad, and Mike is so sensitive and secure with his manhood that he wept before the nation upon his dad’s death. Mike’s at the very top of his craft yet never brags and never rests on his laurels. Mike’s humble and certainly a team player. “Nothin’ but net.” Mike works hard.
This is what America tells the world, and outside of this country (which is neither the center of the universe nor even this tiny planet) many believe that Mike is wholly representative of the American dream. For sleuths of Americans, he’s likely representative of the ideal American. I mean, I am not a sports gladiator nor was I born with a trust fund. Hence, in order to be like Mike, I am in school. I work hard. Thus far I’ve earned a degree from an elite university and am currently enrolled in another. I estimate that so far, my education itself has indebted me over one hundred twenty thousand; and I am nowhere near done. There’s little guarantee that I’ll be wealthy, or even employed. There’s absolutely no guarantee, and in fact, factors are working against me finding a lifelong stable monogamous relationship.
And I am quite privileged. Imagine if you will, most of the world. Most of us have received that chain e-mail which looks at the world population scaled down to one hundred folks. Imagine if this entire Earth’s population were composed of just one hundred people, there would be less than one person with the opportunities I’ve had. So then, how many would have those opportunities like Mike?
Don’t e’rybody wanna be like Mike?
Imagine now, that you have a happy, humble life. You work hard. You live in the south of France and you attend to the vineyard, just as generations upon generations of your ancestors have done before. What are your chances of ever being like Mike? Imagine that you’re a social worker in Kazakhstan with few resources to offer those who present themselves before you, regardless of their destitute. You work hard. Imagine you’re a child soldier in Sierra Leon who was forced to burn his village to the ground after being forced to massacre several relatives. You cling to the drugs your captors make you take numb you when they rape your mother and sister. You work hard. Imagine that you’re sitting with a doctor in Botswana as she tells you that you are HIV+. You join a quarter of Botswana’s population who live with HIV/AIDS. You work hard, but the monthly medical costs of a person living with AIDS is much more than a year’s salary for you and your husband, who is also positive. Now imagine you are their kids. You like basketball, too. And you practice every day with the plastic carton nailed to the tree out back. You work hard. Imagine you’re the same kid, with the same circumstances, only you’re in the ghettos of America, just like Mike. If you work hard, wouldn’t you become an Olympiad? Wouldn’t Obama present you the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the White House with the Gates? Couldn’t your image become a logo?
What are your chances of ever being like Mike? You work hard. Would it anger you that these images bombard your life? This world is big, but Mike’s dream persists…and penetrates every market on Earth. We’re all sold that version of that dream – that anyone, even a kid as regular as Mike, could be like Mike. If he can do it, anyone can (and you can with this can of cola, sports drink, burger, apparel, underwear, or other consumable… be like Mike) Don’t it inspire you? No rim! Don’t you want to be like Mike?
Warning: This is prose is an original work of fiction about an aching and divided world. May we develop a culture that values the strength to love.
Somebody once tried to tell me that we were all God’s children,
That all people were born into His kingdom,
Flesh of His flesh,
And meant to reign over the Earth on His behalf, with His grace.
I never bought that crap.
If people believed in God, would they alter his garden so drastically, that the earth itself is fighting back for life?
How can we say we were put here by Him,
Only to treat this place like crap!?!
If people believed in God, then
Why do so many of us try to rework the image He gave us?
We prick, pull, peel, perm, slim down and slice up our bodies so dramatically, that
We’re often unrecognizable to ourselves.
If we were created in His image, why do we mutilate it so?
I never bought that crap.
If people really believed in God, then
Why do we give in so easily to jealousy,
Riding the coat-tails of others,
Admonishing those who do good, but
We’re still victims of what we consider to be as ‘perfect’.
You can’t be Woke in this word unless you’re Jesus,
And you see what happened to Him.
If Jesus Christ walked into the White House, The Vatican or #10 today,
They’d crucify Him all over again.
Did I mention today’s Easter Saturday…the one day between crucifixion and resurrection…
The one day when Jesus is truly dead…
Only the believers believe that he’ll come back.
But His followers today would be ready to make Him a martyr all over again…
Just to keep their story straight.
I never bought that crap.
If Jesus walked in here today,
I believe he’d be trying to heal the masses with some universal salve that cures all…
But drug companies saw their profits dive and so they crucified Him.
They were out for blood, and with the strength of their lobbying,
Blood is what they got.
If Jesus walked in here today,
I believe he’d feed the needy.
But conservatives would see their power draining,
Since they needed to demonize the poor as welfare losers.
Jesus was giving them a hand up, not a hand-out, and
Many had climbed out of poverty,
Too many climbed out to manipulate, so
They labelled Him a socialist.
Conservatives got together and decided to crucify Him.
If Jesus walked in here today,
I believe he’d rid us of WMD.
That includes guns!
Masses of people are killed by their own guns.
But Jesus wouldn’t want people going around gunning down wild animals for sport, either– Even to the point of extinction.
They called Jesus a tree-hugger because He brought up the near extinction of the North American bison in the same breath as
He gave the stank face to big-game hunters today.
“Hanging the dead corpse of your kill on the wall was death worship,” and
Questioned if such people could call themselves Christian?
He was here to promote Life.
Jesus said anyone was a hypocrite for restricting access to birth control.
He accused those religious zealots of misusing His name in order to control women’s bodies and wealth through meds and policies.
Jesus promoted reproductive choices with the proceeds people always gave Him.
Jesus even invested in birth control for men, including
A pill, an injectable and a scrotum implant.
He claimed He was empowering men to be able to have that choice.
Worse still, Jesus was not only a carpenter, but an avid horticulturist…
He grew His own.
And He had led pilgrimages through forests to hug trees.
He only hugged trees tapped for logging,
Jesus loved hugging trees so much he’d once got several thousand people to go down to the Amazon and chain themselves to the trees high up in the canopy.
He said forests were his Father’s first cities; who were we to tear them down?
Logging was sacrilege.
And as for this tree-hugging crap,
Jesus was a vegan, too.
He said He couldn’t hurt any of God’s creatures, and
Even though He didn’t suggest we all refrain from meat,
He used His YouTube channel to interview more humane animal farmers around the world.
(Oh yeah, there was also that time Jesus went to Davos – uninvited-
He weighed in on fair trade. Isolationists were none too pleased).
He even had vegan cosmetics lines.
He had interviews with His farmers, factory workers, warehousing, delivery, even retailers to show good working conditions and fair pay.
Because of this, consumers said His pricing was fair, and began campaigns to press the other major companies into transparency, too.
LVMH’s sales took nose dive, as did others.
Worse, still, He only marketed His vegan haircare brand, Glory Locks, through
Online tutorials for wooly hair.
His conditioner, Kinky Salvation, became a sensation in the natural hair care community, where
It was discovered that the formula also beat hair loss!
Jesus could regrow hair!
That year, GQ put Him on the cover as The Man of the Millennium.
He caused a bidding war between major cosmetics companies when He agreed to sell His patented mineral foundation, Holy Teint.
There were lines in stores when He released new compact motifs-
The blue dove and the red cross sold out within hours.
Reviews in Vogue, Bazaar, Cosmo and more all said His foundation matched coppery skin tones above all other brands.
His vegan cocoa butter, Divine Skin, had seen sales of Vaseline drop by 50%.
As a vegan,
He was most animate about respecting God’s plants enough not manipulate seed genes that can’t reproduce,
Just so farmers would have to buy more each season.
The giants of pesticides and seeds, beef, logging all got together to take Him down.
Big chicken, Big Fish and Big Pork all joined in the Jesus bashing, too,
For they knew he’d soon come for them.
He’d already posted a nasty comment on a viral video about an industrial chicken farm, for which Netflix had given Him a ten-part special called: Unholy Food, Inc.
He went all vegan, too!
Not even honey was safe,
And the episodes of palm oil and avocado saw those commodities’ stocks dive the day after each debut!
Now, that’s gangster!
Jesus was no joke!
At Michael Jackson’s funeral,
Jesus did an interpretive dance to the artist’s Will You Be There.
At the end of His performance, He suddenly grabbed the mic in tears and said:
“I love my Jackson 5 nostrils, and I believe if Michael had, too, he’d still be here.”
Katherine and Joe Jackson just hung their heads.
‘I love my Jackson 5 nostrils’ quickly became a meme and
Later incorporated into a pop song.
He was accused of being anti-white.
In an MTV interview about the controversial lyrics, He said:
“The clear message here is that…
What we consider beautiful too often has too little to do with our authentic selves.
We do the exact same to mother Earth,
Digging, prodding, cementing over and dirtying up the air and waters of My father’s kingdom.”
Jesus was deep.
He was an avid reader, too.
Jesus wept when He read the Letter from a Birmingham Jail.
When asked for comment He simply said:
“So few in My Father’s kingdom have the strength to love.”
For the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots,
Jesus accepted invitations to lead Pride parades all over the world.
People thought he’d had enough in New York, Chicago, Boston, LA and of course, San Fran.
But many were surprised when Jesus was on the first float at Black Gay Pride in Atlanta and DC!
None were shocked, then, when
Jesus showed up at London and Paris Pride and Christopher Street Day in Berlin.
But no one, and I mean no one,
Imagined for a second
That He’d dress up silly and
Dance with a gay Christian Carnival Crew at Cologne’s CSD Day!
When did He even have time to practice those moves?
Who knew He had such an angelic voice…
Until they heard His rendition of George Michael’s Jesus to a Child.
He brought everyone to tears that day in Heumarkt Square.
Plus, everybody loved the performance He did with Conchita Wurst of Beyoncé and Lady Gaga’s Telephone.
The two bearded men literally re-enacted the whole music video !
Who knew Conchita could do Gaga drag?
They popped-locked-n-rolled in spandex just like in the video.
Who knew Jesus had a black-boy-bubble-butt…
Like somebody cut a basketball in half and hung it off His tail bone.
Both videos went viral.
This was way too much for those in Africa who’d used His name to bash gay people.
They buckled down and passed anti-gay laws,
Nigeria making sure they out did Uganda.
They dismissed this Jesus as evidence of the decay in European values.
When He accepted the invitation to Pride in Cape Town and Nairobi…
Those in the region got ready.
Pride was canceled in Uganda.
Others roused lynch mobs from the pulpit.
They crucified Him all over again.
If Jesus walked in here today,
I believe he’d heal the disabled.
Jesus wouldn’t heal their conditions by some miracle of making a blind man see, a deaf man hear, or a crippled man walk.
Nah, nothing so simple.
Jesus removed what really hurts – fear and discrimination.
He targeted the stigma against disability.
No longer viewing different abilities as a liability,
Jesus undermined entire industries built around keeping them down.
Suddenly, office workers had to compete with the wheel-chair bound because,
Who needs to be able to walk into an office?
People had already seen how Autistic Savants could
Show us patterns in our lives that unfold life’s mysteries,
But Jesus showed the people how every person of every ability had something to contribute.
Charities for the poor fell because,
There were no more poor people – everyone had enough.
Politicians who’d been shoring-up votes by vilifying the Other as leachers could no longer galvanize their base around these fears.
The people eventually elected politicians who represented the people.
Somebody had to “take the country back, to make it great again,” so
Big Lobbying fought back.
Jesus had removed the control large corporations had over these politicians, so
They crucified Him.
Needless to say, because Jesus intervened,
There was universal healthcare that cared for the whole body – any body.
They resisted calling Him a socialist, but when Corona happened,
Everyone saw that unlike society, diseases don’t discriminate.
More of those who confessed to follow Him could see the sense in universal healthcare.
Insurance companies got together with Big Pharma and crucified Jesus for he’d taken away their monopoly.
Jesus exposed all their tricks, from
Inventing diseases to which only they had the cure, to
Hiding antidotes when they could instead sell us life-long supplies of meds that
Keep us just barely alive.
Jesus was fed up with humanity, but never gave up.
Jesus not only made room for the disabled, but
Made sure everyone got looked after.
He had to die.
He was much too good for this world.
It was clear to them that the only good Jesus was a dead Jesus –
The dead one they’d created in their holy books.
This resurrected one just wouldn’t do.
So, Jesus had gone too far.
War-mongers would vilify Him in the UN, and
Circumvent the authority of the world community, and
Wage a military campaign to track Him down.
For these war-mongers would charge Jesus with hoarding WMD.
They preferred the Iron Curtain to the Prince of Peace, so
They convincingly made the public scared of Him.
Big men wielding big sticks hunted Him down,
During a 40-day Vipassana retreat He’d taken in the Judean desert.
24-hour News spent months replaying drone and Body-Cam footage of His last moments,
Where their bullets crucified Him on the spot.
Just as they’d done for Osama Bin Laden,
Crowds of Christians gathered that night at the capitol to celebrate the blood-shedding.
They were death worshippers.
They even built a statue of Him on that spot to commemorate His sacrifice.
Crowds gathered there each Easter for festivities.
Who would choose to be black?
To have dark skin?
Dark brown eyes?
A wide nose?
Or yellow skin?
A round face?
Who would choose this?
If given a choice, if you could go to the store…
And pick out a kid?
Now remember, like every parent, you want your kid to have a happy life.
Successful, easy, fulfilled…
All those things.
So, don’t blonds have more fun?
OK, so those of you who bleach your hair,
Would you choose to have blond kids?
Skip the bleach?
Or, for those who bleach their skin…
Would you tweak your kid’s DNA to give them lighter skin?
Or a more narrow, acauline nose?
Thinner calves and longer legs?
Plumper lips and longer eyelashes?
Or double eye-lids?
An angular jawline?
Would you have a kid that looked like you?
Do you hate yourself so much that if given the choice,
Would you erase you?
There is a race for technology right now…
One that would allow gene editing,
And needless to say, I don’t mean ‘jean’ editing like painting your denim,
Or taking a pair of shears to them, trimming them in places, selectively poking holes in others…
Needless to say, I don’t mean that,
But, ‘genes’ as in genetics,
As in DNA editing.
And not just going to a doctor to choose to have a kid- or not.
And no, I don’t mean going to a medical professional and having them test you and your partner’s blood to see if you both carry the same deteriorating genes.
Did you know that
In some places, if you and your fiancé carry the gene for some diseases, then
The state won’t sanction your relationship.
And no, I don’t mean like your fiancé being of the so-called wrong religion or the same gender.
But what about so-called diseases like Huntington’s Disease?
There are literally a litany of diseases that require better research and funding just to save lives.
And they jailed that doctor in China who gene-edited HIV immunity.
Though clearly more people are willing to pay for a thinner nose than a Sickle Cell test.
But now we have designer babies: Eye color, intelligence and height?
Earwax stickiness can be selected in a lab.
Fertility clinics routinely remove cells from embryos to check for diseases, sex, eye-color…
But you can go to the shop on the corner now, and
Change your hair color, and
On the next corner, you can change boring brown eyes to blue, magenta, hazel…
Anything but boring brown of the majority of the planet, BTW.
I am black.
And in spite of my many other attributes – like my faith, my values or my politics –
These two singular characteristics have uniquely marked my life.
What if I could change these?
Being gay has caused me to doubt my own mother’s love,
Doubt my own allegiance to my community due to open homophobia towards me.
For many, now,
A gay foetus is NOT a viable foetus.
For them, gays are an ugly smear that must be erased.
Gay life is so abhorrent that they cause it harm at every turn…
Eschewing every opportunity god gives them to show compassion.
Would you edit us out of existence?