I'm here to tell the white man in the mirror the truth right to his face. I have seen the enemy and he is me. No competition, I battle myself. I'm Macon Everett Detornay, a white nigger in the universe to paraphrase both LeRoi Jones -- whose middle name I share, or did before he changed his -- and the Aryan Nation vis a vis yours truly, with whom I share nothing but a zero melanin and politics unacceptable to mainstream America. Or so I thought.
Like Malcolm, I expect to be dead before I see these words in print. Naw, let me stop bullshitting. That's a lie. I'm broadcasting live and direct from the getaway ride as the scene of the crime fades away into the speckled past and credits roll. I'd like to send this next one out to myself, special dedication to the one I love to hate, and I wanna give a big shout-out to the universe and New York City for believing in me when I'd stopped believing in myself. This award is for the little people. I wanna thank everybody who made me as bad as I could be, who boosted me until my noggin thumped against the glass ceiling of white people's ability to give a fuck. I bled myself halfway to death trying to break on through and never made it, but I don't give a fuck. I did my time, and now I know what I am.
And knowing is half the battle. What does the scorpion say to the frog as they both sink? I told you I was a scorpion, dickhead. Except that white folks aren't drowning and black folks never agreed to give us a lift across the pond in the first place. Maybe on some spiritual Thurgood Marshall this-system-hurts-us-all level we're drowning, but most of us don't seem to have noticed. And luckily, we can afford the best in psychiatric care, anti-depressants and religion should we begin to feel the water lapping at our ankles.
So I'm a scorpion. Let me come to terms with it and get my scuttle down, cuz I done wasted years already trying to flap my nonexistent wings. Let me ease on back into the seat of privilege and lap the luxury outta some more complimentary drinks. Let me guzzle six hundred and sixty six mind erasers and stop trying to be the exception to the rule, the face that wasn't in jailbird Malcolm's memory banks when the wise old Muslim inmate asked him if a white person had ever treated him right. Shit, if that face had existed maybe Malcolm never would have. One good white person might have finished him before he started, and then where would we be? I'm glad it wasn't me. I couldn't live with that.
Funny how easy it all falls away, how natural that scuttle feels despite all the time and energy I've spent fighting it with spraycans and microphones and brothers in arms, not to mention the guns around which my recent battles have revolved. And all for nothing: all to realize with one hundred percent of my brain that I'm the same as everyone I've ever hated, and that it only took them ten percent to know who they were from the get-go, and they been getting shitfaced on free drinks and laughter this whole time, watching me chase my shadow.
They called me "The New Face of Hate" in Newsweek. The Nation asked "Can America Take Macon Detornay Seriously?," with a cutsy subheadline that read "Can Macon Detornay?" The New York Post, with customary good taste and restraint, screamed "Ivy League Race Traitor" and called me "The city's most controversial criminal since Bernard Goetz." Against my better judgment, I even posed for the cover of The Village Voice as "The New Black Leader?" I was hoping someone would call me the white Bigger Thomas, but nobody had the nutsack even though it's a pretty obvious parallel, what with Bigger being a chauffeur and me a cabbie. I talked a lot more shit than Bigger ever did, though. And I did what I did on purpose. And I got away.
The big question, I guess, is how I got here. Not just on this bus stirring up dust across the Bible Belt, but on this vibe. How I became who I am, or was -- the poster boy for an imaginary nineteen fifties propaganda film entitled Nigra Madness, the bone chilling story of how a nice kid from the suburbs got so black and twisted, revolutionary, niggerfied, that he renounced his race and became ONE OF THEM!
It's an impossible question. How did you become who you are? I've scrolled back through my memory as far as it will go, looking for some embryonic moment of divergence, some split from the growth pattern of my genotype, but I can't find one. It would be nice if there were some simple answer, some creation myth -- when I was ten I watched Eyes on the Prize twelve hours a day for seventeen straight weeks and I been pro-black ever since, or I ate a special soup made from Eldridge Cleaver's boiled hypothalamus and presto change-o or in a secret drum ceremony in Ghana I learned to channel the spirits of the tribal elders, or my daddy was a trumpet player who toured the Southern chitlin circuit back in '63 and passed for an albino brother, but there's not. My parents are standard-issue white liberals, just as puzzled as anybody. And like I said in damn near every one of those interviews, as far as I'm concerned the question is not how I got this way, but how the rest of y'all didn't.
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