Borders, Bombs, or Bridges
Part of the series: In the Racist Killing Fields
Unity Day, Miami University
Date: March 3, 2016
Peace and hope siblings! The name of this talk is called Borders, Bombs, Bridges. It is adapted from a larger project I have been working on called “In the Racist Killing Fields.”
Borders. Recently, I am sure many of you have heard about the insidious, sexist, racist, xenophobic, and inhumane comments from the leading Republican candidate Donald Trump. Just last week students your age, of your genius, and of your social status were escorted out of a Valdosta state auditorium for being black, and some say in silent protest. Their president, in a Facebook post argued that he was proud of the student body for the overall success of the event. Mr. Trump has promised to build a wall to keep our Mexican brothers and sisters out. These are borders, not bridges in our future in America. America is becoming ever more brown and beautiful. Trump’s feelings about black people, Mexicans, Muslims, and women are held on our campus. On Yik Yak any day we can see disparaging comments about people of color and other marginalized groups. In the Miami student periodical, we see faculty equate our international student body, specifically Chinese students to dead weight. Our campus has multiple intricate borders ready to abolished. Thus, my questions to you about the borders you and I have helped either build, sustain, or just turned a blind eye to are these: Can you and I build a campus, an America, and a world where love, joy, and justice are at the center of our democracy and humanity? Can we build a world where men don’t feel entitled to a women’s body? Is there a part of our human DNA ready to abolish the prison industrial complex, a unique, racist, sexist, and genocidal project built on neoliberal capitalism?
Bombs. Daily we can pick up an international paper and read about the terror of IsIs abroad, the land removal of Palestinans in gaza, a bomb threat launched at south korea by north korea, big company oil spills in indigenous lands, or a black girl or boy being maimed or shot by police officers. These points of state violence or I say bombs here are break downs in the human capacity to center love and justice for our neighbor. I am reminded here about Alan Kurdi, the Syrian three year old boy that washed up a Turkish beach fleeing from Syria because of state sanctioned violence. Many of our politicians both Democrat and Republican came out in opposition of resettling any Syrian refugees for fears of terrorism. These rhetorical bombs, laced in xenophobic anti Muslim speech need truth bombs, love bombs, and justice bombs. If America is to be as great as we tout at home and abroad, can we do that without our bombs, without a police state, without the murder of trans people? In 2016, we are prime for a revolution. Classrooms over cages. Ballots over bullets and bombs. And love and respect, over hate and racism. Our time is now, ready to be marked love, joy, and justice.
Bridges. There is hope in the value, voice, and vivaciousness of diversity. I am reminded of the beautiful symphony of Asian, African, Latino, and European faces and ancestries in this room. Buddhists, Christians, Athetists, Hindu, Muslims, and other faiths that make up the very tapestry of America. As a practicing Black Buddhist, I am daily engaged in tinkering with how we go about acknowledging suffering. My poetry, my meditations, and my communities keep me on the bridge to justice. I call you today to overshadow the borders and bombs with bridges.
A bridge built to our destiny, and hopes for an America that loves everyone no matter their religion, their sexual disposition, race, social class, or citizenship status is a thing of pure beauty. Imagine for a second an America where poverty is eliminated, racism is eliminated, sexism is eliminated, and homophobia is eliminated. A place where access to clean water, access to high quality education, access to clean food, and access to your rights are centered. In many historical and current white and bourgeois neighborhoods in America this is a reality. Thus maybe our imagination is courageous enough to chart and map a world where our service to others is just as important as lining our pockets.
I end in a short story:
Superheroes for children of color needing to be taught they are dope as fuck:
I am trying to create a hood ass superhero film for youth of color that rubs their knees in butterscotch creams when the world kills their day dreams and night dreams. One that instead of living the urban school daymare they can fly into the night dream.
It is not one that bruce wayne is a white rich privileged male, saving our days.
He is uncle larry that just got out the pen and decided to get off crack and start a vegetable emporium by day then by night he turns it into a Korean bbq and African American vegan restaurant and twerk spot.
The black girl in this film is not a stripper, not a maid, not a queen, and not a video vixen.
The black girl has a natural, a mean ass back hand like serena, rides an alligator to her job where she came up with the cure for zika, aids, sexism, patriarchy, homophobia, capitalism, white supremacy, and donald trump.
Spike lee cannot direct this film because our black girl superhero can’t be Chiraq’d.
Lee Daniels cannot direct this film because our black girl superhero cannot be Precious’d.
I need to create a film for L.M.J, Native American girl tased by police officers in south Dakota. In the film she of course is dope as fuck. By day she redoes mt rushmore to four native American women, and by night she takes all the indigenous land back from white settler colonial aliens. And, get this, she built bridges for them to walk back to Europe, not walls.
Hollywood cannot direct this film for L.M.J.
No white women or men will play her dad or mom. Both her mom and dad will be played by guess who? A fly ass Mongolian couple that just finished saving the nomadic herders from one of the worse natural disasters looming. They decided to redirect water from Singapore to Mongolia.
They even asked Govenor Snyder of Michigan if he needed a lesson on redirecting clean water to people. They dropped off fresh water in Flint, Compton, Toledo, and sebring, ohio
Ava Duvernay and Ryan Coogler will direct this film. It’ll have a muslim American girl named Linda. Her parents are both astronauts, and her little brother is a figure skating queer that loves jumping rope, speaking Spanish, and reading Malcolm X.
Thank you. Seek love, joy, and justice. Peace and hope.