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black: of color pure and true

By <a href="/centrovoices/meet-the-authors/marina-ortiz">Marina Ortiz</a>

black: of color pure and true

(dedicated to mi pana, pedro pietri, and inspired by the late malcolm x and dr. king, who inspired me to read that dictionary and to use those foreign words)
 
 
according to those cunning custodians of webster’s wicked wishes
that which can best describe our kind is: “black”
but a petty middle english adjective
perhaps borrowed from the old
english “blaec”
and akin to an old high german word “blah”
that which comes from the latin “flagare”
(which is “to burn”)
and the greek “phlegein”
that which has been used
to decipher and debase us
since before the 12th century
truly does us no justice
and those who are “very dark in color”
and/or gifted with even one droplet
of said ancestral melanin and might
can never allow themselves to be defined and denied
by the recalcitrant curators
of the delusions of dweams
for if those of such obtuse vision
can only see “black” as:
“having a very deep or low register“
“very sad, gloomy, or calamitous“
“dirty, or soiled”
“thoroughly sinister or evil“
“indicative of condemnation or discredit“
“characterized by hostility or angry discontent”
(well, I don’t know about that one)
“marked by the occurrence of disaster” as in: black sheep
(see also: blacklist. blackout, and blackmail or is it black male?)
and as “the achromatic color of least lightness”
then they are damned to ruin
by such fell blindness
for those who are “very dark in color”
and/or gifted with even one droplet
of said ancestral melanin and might
have historically enjoyed and emitted
more spirit, character, felicity,
virtue, wisdom, and energy
than those cunning custodians
of webster’s wicked wishes
could ever aspire to capture and enslave
and, if may borrow another word, or two
from the truly de-parted webster
what, after all, is white and light
and, hence, “right”
if not the opposite
of all that is pure, and black, and true?

© Marina Ortiz. Published by permission in Centro Voices on 11 April 2015.