“What do you call a black man with a Ph.D.? You call him a nigger.” – Malcolm X
Two years ago I was honored with an award by my City Council Member for Black History Month. Last night around 8pm, a white dude who I’ve never seen before in my building, walking his husky dog in from the cold night, turned around and asked me at the front door if I was a tenant, as if he was not going to let me in if I said no. (I wonder what he would have done if I had said no. If I wanted to jack him up I would have done it already at that point anyway.) The fact that I hadn’t seen him before almost certainly means he just moved in. I’ve been here five years, and many people in the building know me and my family since we’re outside all the time.
I want to thank that dude for reminding that no matter how many letters I have behind my name, no matter how many college classes I taught that day, no matter how much I wrote or published that week, no matter that my wife and child were upstairs, some people will only see a nigger at the front door, trying to go somewhere he doesn’t belong.
My contribution is a reprint of my essay on Audre Lorde, “Dear Sister Outsider.”
Back on September 15, 2022 I attended the book launch at the CUNY Graduate Center. This event page by the Center for the Humanities includes a full video of the reading, and more photographs from the event.
I guess the theme of these new posts is: “Blogging About All of the Things That I Didn’t Blog About in 2022 Since I’ve Spent the Whole Year Chasing a Toddler Around.”
Anyway, back in March, I was fortunate to participate in this conversation with the great Samuel R. Delany, on the occasion of his two new books, Occasional Views, Volumes 1 and 2 (Wesleyan University Press), and to celebrate his 80th birthday which was on April 1, 2022. Thanks to Wesleyan UP publicist Stephanie Prieto who invited me, and Rain Taxi’s Eric Lorberer who organized the livestream, and to Chip, who graciously hosted us in his apartment in Philly. This was one of my most memorable events of the year.
(Yes, I was still rocking the COVID ‘fro which has since been cut down after two years.)