"But look at me, I got away"
As I'm reading pages 26-27 in Brothers and Keepers, I could not help it but to pause and write. The part where he begins by writing, "The problem was that in order to be the person I thought I wanted to be, I believed I had to seal myself off from you, construct a wall between us" (26). This line really struck me. Although I am still trying to tie this theme/topic to silence, I'd like to reflect a bit on what he continues to say as he writes.
"Your words and gestures belonged to a language I was teaching myself to unlearn … I was running away from Pittsburgh, from poverty, from blackness.” These words are just hitting home for some reason. I say this because I can see this issue/challenge/mindset taking place in so many peoples lives. A lot of the people from the low-income families/communities see a need to get away from
the poverty or blackness in order to succeed. His words petrify me in a way, “youall were back home in the ghetto to remind me how lucky I was … acknowledging in myself any traces of the poverty, ignorance and danger I’d find surrounding me when I return to Pittsburgh” then he continues, “Fear that I was contaminated and would carry the poison wherever I ran. Fear that the evil would be discovered in me and I’d be shunned like a leper”. The feeling of having to distance yourself from where you come from is such a typical mindset in communities. But the line that kind of “justifies” his mindset is when he states, “to succeed in the man’s world you must become like the man and the man sure didn’t claim no bunch of nigger relatives in Pittsburgh”.
This mindset of “the white way is the right way” (although there is not a clear definition of what the “white way” looks like) comes with the imbedded internalized/institutional oppression we are born into, so at the end of the day who is to blame him for thinking that leaving was not the best way out?