Oppression and exploitation are ever-present. I sometimes feel myself a subject to the death march, I feel as if my body will be trampled as I try to halt the clay soldiers. It is easy to see this world as a horrible place where people die and will always suffer until death, a place where the rich wield such ungodly power that a people’s revolution is too impossible even to dream. It is easy to lose hope and faith that any work makes any difference, like the machine will always win.
But that isn’t the case, and life shows us that. Today I saw a glimpse of why I fight, something justifying the battle. I was on the train and observed a quiet moment between two men. These two very working class latino men in front of me sat, embracing one another. One holding the other intimately. I didn’t mean to intrude by staring but I couldn’t help look.Occasionally I would catch them smiling and kiss one another. For some this isn’t a huge deal but it is for me.
In 2010 men of color showing any kind of affection towards one another is a rarity, queer men of color loving one another is a conspiracy. So seeing this in the open was one of those moments that locks you in time. Growing up in the ghetto and living in San Francisco has often taught me that moments like this are saved for queer White men and often restricted to the Castro district. It is still odd to see men show affection to one another because the poison of the society teaches that men are to be divorced from emotions aside from anger. This doubles when you have men who are oppressed on the basis of their ethnic identity. It is often the case that people of color have often internalized the values of the racist, sexist, capitalist system in an attempt to lessen the pain of oppression through assimilation. This has happened just as much as resistance to the same thing has. I often feel in myself the tension of patriarchy, the unrest of the clashing between standards and self. Words like “I love you” often sit, never escaping my lips. Subconsciously, I am acting out the 22 years of training, the urge to be a “real Black man”. I consciously have to fight back against this, accept my emotions, embrace my emotion. We are all fighting against the shackles that the society has placed on us and I often get lost in fighting.
So seeing these men was like a light and I don’t mean to seem as though I am over glorifying it but love is truly precious. In any form it is precious, but in this particular manifestation it is like a beacon guiding me to shore. The statement holds true that revolutionaries are compelled by feelings of great love. It is at the heart of revolutionary thought and it compels us to move forward. We fight because we love.