Toni Morrison Speaks To Me About Racism [The Work]

Jose Vilson Jose

For Lent, I’ve given up.

Actually, that’s not true at all. If anything, I’ve re-dedicated myself to loving in spots that I shouldn’t, and letting go in spaces where I wouldn’t. The issue with many racists is that they’re heavily-armored in pushing some of us to the edge. In turn, some of us internalize this hatred and push it upon those we should love more often. Whenever I’m in a collective, EduColor included, our most powerful work is when we give each other space to heal and grow. It makes the work we do where it’s not as safe more authentic and more empowered.

How does one get liberated without that sense of love?

“The function, the very serious function of racism, is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language, so you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly, so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Someone says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of that is necessary. There will always be one more thing.”

– Toni Morrison

I’ll never get tired of speaking on race. But what Ms. Morrison also seems to allude to here is the internal work all of us have to do to become our fullest, most unapologetic selves. Lots of that has to do with the relationships we establish with each other. Hopefully, we can get to that.