I’m Not Dreaming of a White Christmas: The Renaissance of Black Joy
The Christmas holiday looks drastically different this year. Most of us will be gathered around our computers — in virtual meetings on Zoom, Google Duo, FaceTime, Skype or even socially distanced in the family room as well as at the dinner table. However, this year in review has provoked a new desire for me that supersedes the transitory construct of time, as we know it.
I’m Not Dreaming of a White Christmas
Oftentimes, the famous song was released in 1942 and performed by Bing Crosby, to reminisce an old-fashioned Christmas setting. Many people have added this selection on their exhaustive Christmastime playlists. However, this is an antithetical to the dream I have for myself and other sun-kissed brothers and sisters — those living in the African diaspora. To be black in America in 2020 is challenging and emotionally draining. This year, I am dreaming for a Black Christmas that perpetuates a reality of justice for Black lives that were ended senselessly by police — Casey Goodson, Angela “AJ” Crooms, Sincere Pierce, Marcellis Stennette, Johnathan Price, Rayshard Brooks, Carlos Carson, George Floyd, Sean Reed, Breonna Taylor and countless names whose blood remains on the officers’ hands who perpetrated the evil of governmentally endorsed homicide.
2020: Black Joy in Review
2020, in totality, has taken a wide, gushing bite out of Black joy. As an African-American queer male, the damage and pain of the bite were exacerbated further by the Trumpian dynasty. Accountability and irresponsibility of the Trumpian dynasty crushed the anticipation and potential for an even greater America through its efforts. Nevertheless, the impeding devastation created a sense of revolution within the American constituency to end it. It occurred on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 — and well before in early voting and absentee ballot mailed— a mighty shift toward people-oriented governance, which historically voted the former Congressman and Vice President, now President-Elect Joseph Biden and former Senator and first Black and Indian and woman, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. This moment of socio-historical significance has created what I’d like to call a renaissance.
Renaissance of Black Joy
We have transitioned from social repression to a series of renaissance. Throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, glass ceilings have been shattered in many facets of African-American culture. Thus, the reality of renaissance has taken place. Oftentimes, the French word renaissance is associated with a developed period of history. Renaissance denotes a rebirth of reconnection, a renewal and a regeneration. Although it is Eurocentric in nature, the notion of renaissance can be also be perceived in the Black perspective. Renaissance has been evident in our expressions of art, culture, literature, philosophy, and music. Black and brown people are currently in the process of entering a renaissance of Black joy. This is not to say that we are exempt from hardship and trauma. The renaissance of Black joy is not to be confused with Advent. Moreover, I propose that black joy will re-enliven in the below stages.
Stages of the Renaissance
Remembrance is instrumental in bridging the past with the present. Sankofa, a term utilized with Ghanaian people in Akan culture, means “go back and get it”. This means that the renaissance of Black joy evokes us to reclaim our narrative. It is vital to remember our individual and collective self-worth to be able to redeem our identity. Redemption builds the ground of why we must remember that which belongs to us.
Redemption is far from a lovely process. A sacrifice occurs and fights are waged. Something is given up — whether a level of comfort, life, an opportunity or a resource. The route to full redemption is labor-intensive. Coretta Scott King, late civil rights advocate and widow of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. posits in her 1993 book: Struggle is a never-ending process. Freedom is never really won. You earn it and win it in every generation. The journey of redemption is aimed toward accomplishing a larger, more meaningful end. It requires the struggle of sacrifice which only promises a tentative degree of freedom. The baton is passed from one era onto the next. Redemption calls us to assume a mantle of moral management.
Redemption precedes resurgence. In this phase, resurgence will manifest socially, spiritually and psychologically. By definition, it is the “kin-dom” — the realm in which everyone has everything they need in all respects, providing zones of opportunity. The benefits resulting from redemption allow a rejuvenation to unravel. Identity is met with the fuel of inspiration to continue to uphold inclusive intentionality. In other words, everyone is welcome to indulge at the “table”. This is specifically vital since diversity, equity and inclusion of black and brown people have been treated as a national tokenism.
This is the final stage in which all parties and persons involved may experience the action. Restitution is karmic. Restitution is mostly focused on the oppressor and evil obstructionists receiving their “just due”. On the other hand, the oppressed have free reign as recipients of reparations. Yes, I said it — Reparations for all people who have been subjected to torturous empires should be issued for the traumatic evil committed unto their ancestry. This is especially applicable to individuals who are the descendants of indigenous or enslaved people. Perhaps, this is making too radical of a push, but I believe that all inhumane or dehumanizing crimes — chattel slavery, land theft, statutory rape, or unethical trade exploitation unto a people — should be dealt with appropriately.
Suffice to say, I am tired of a sanitized, seasonal and subjective Christmas in which generosity is disguised as materialistic-driven outward piety and bail-out salvation. I am over the ethical polarization of white purity and black victimization. I don’t desire a white Christmas. I just want unbridled justice for all oppressed people — black, brown, disenfranchised, LGBTQ+, indigenous and oppressed. This Christmas, let’s work to expand the manifestation of Christmas from a superficially flaccid season to radically inclusive reality.