Before I could begin to discover who and what I was; before I could begin to search and understand, I had to survive. I realize now that a large part of my early years were about survival. I didn’t know where or how to begin to live and so it was an endless search for who and what I could trust in. There was often only the instinct for survival, at that time, the insane fumbling actions and drive to find stability and security, however misguided and superficial it had been; in that chaos.
I went to see the documentary movie “I am Not Your Negro” today at the TIFF. Last week it saw Denzil Washington’s “Fences” and last month it was the movies “Hidden Figures”, “Moonlight” and “Loving”. These were all about Black America and the struggle and adversity that African-Americans have encountered. Much of the focus on life for a large percentage of them was survival.
At a social level my struggles and life issues did not compare with the suffering that they encountered. But even the white Americans who have been the oppressors were struggling with survival it seems. Fear of how black Americans would respond, in their freedom, must have been a concern for them. Why else would they choose to live a broken, fragmented and delusional reality that slavery and segregation brought. Yet how can anyone truly come to know themselves in this atmosphere of fear and insecurity that their social and personal delusions reinforced.