Promissory Notes

These are promissory notes. Written by a people who have never kept their word. Received by a people who have always seemed to value these promises.

In 1776, rich white men convinced poor white men and slaves that if they fought in the revolutionary war, they would gain new economic and social freedoms and be free from Britain’s oppressive taxes. But slaves and poor white men never even paid taxes. And slaves didn’t get their freedom. Broken promises.

And the string of broken promises continued through the civil war, Reconstruction, the Compromise of 1877, etc. And so I’m always a bit perplexed when I see negroes pledging allegiance to something that has never pledged allegiance to them. And while we all need what money can buy, it’s a troubling thought to see abject worship of promissory notes that were written by liars and thieves. We’ve replaced the spirit of oshun, shango and obatala with the spirit of Washington, jackson and Franklin. New god flow.

Reminds me of a convo we often have at the @bklyncombine about Baldwin’s the “Price of the ticket.” What have we given up to get here? Where are we? Is it worth it? What are we giving up to stay here? In seeking acceptance and the American version of comfort, who have we victimized with our privilege?

Nothing is given without an exchange.

But I get it, money makes us all feel good. I get an extra pep in my step when I have some money. But only because the money is a promise that I’ll be able to exchange it for something in the future. And maybe that that’s the point. We’ve spent generations valuing the promises of men who have never kept them. We’ve been under the illusion that these promises will improve our future. But we’ve gone so far away from understanding the intrinsic value of things that we’re exchanging money for our Future.

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