I went because my husband told me, his mother, was going with a group of friends and I love my mother in law. Last month as we made our way across Times Square with to see Jitney with my mother in law and a group of friends, she stopped to dance to a live performance of Whip Nene. I’m fascinated by the youthful and serendipitous nature of both my my mothers, though I don’t always agree with all their opinions.
I also went in the capacity of someone who feels responsible to record historic moments and as you well know by now, this was one.
So here’s how it went for us. It was my husband’s birthday and his sister made brunch for all of us that morning. I convinced him that we should join his mom at the March for no more than an hour and then depart to continue celebratory birthday activities elsewhere. Around 48th and Madison, we met up with my mother in laws friends, people I hang out with at least once a year. They were the only group of Black people I saw that day. But like I said, we were only there for about an hour so for all I know, the Black Panthers might have joined it somewhere near 5th ave.
…but I doubt it.
The first people I saw as we emerged from the subway were angry white women holding signs with uteri that had fists and fuck you fingers, Gloria Steinham quotes, Princess Leia with a big gun which I heard a woman behind exclaim favorably about. Hmm…big phallic guns are okay in the hands of fictitious white female film icons. Check.
I saw a few men, lots of kids. And I saw a lot of signs with Black fists….which confused me because when I see Black fists, I think Black power, but no one that I saw holding these signs with Black fists were Black.
Around the time I saw my 50th ugly pink crochet hat of an undefinable nature I can only describe as pointy pink boobs I started to feel the nausea setting in. These women had come out in thick organized masses to protest Trump and all that made me think of was the thousands who did not turn out for Hilary. All I could think of were the thousands who would not show there faces at the Blackest of Marches supporting the protection of Black men against this administration.
My husband and I were both ready to go. I had taken enough pictures, seen enough and heard enough. We headed to Met Breur so he could see the James Kerry Marshall exhibit before it ends in about a week. We marveled at the large scale paintings of the Blackest Black people in every single depiction of Black life in Marshall’s upbringing pre and post Civil Rights. We lingered in front of the portrait of Nat Turner in front of his masters bed, machete in hand, his master’s decapitated head, pale and bloody. I still wonder at the curator of the show who I’m certain is white and I wonder if Marshall had to fight to get that piece in the collection or not. I never look at that painting thinking of Turner as a monster. I only think of the monstrous deeds of his oppressors.
That seemed to balance out our day a bit before took a car home where we could see on the news and social media platforms, how huge the turn out was for Women’s Marches in other parts of America.
Large groups of people galvanized towards change have always energized and inspired me. There’s no way around that feeling of being surrounded by people who are single-minded in a fight against someone like Drumpf (I have a Drumpfinator app and I’m sticking with it.) That being said, I could not all good conscience stand in alignment for more than an hour with many of the ideas expressed at the Women’s March which are not inclusive of my interests and the interests of Black men whom I love. After awhile, nausea turns to resentment and resentment turns to anger and I didn’t feel like being angry. It was my boos birthday and it was also the day right after the inauguration. I need to let the realities seep in at a pace I’m comfortable with, as much as I am privileged to allow.
But I am starting to feel like the Drunpf Presidency may be one of the best things that has ever happened to America. Clearly, Obama was too diplomatic to make America behave in the way it has always imagined itself to be. Drumpf has already shown us what it really is. And it’s only just begun.