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Binary Oppositions

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A colleague said to me, "It is a good time to be a black man."

I smiled, and walked away from him, with a quick, and hopefully polite excuse, as fast as i could, embarrassed, and somewhat apalled. But I had no idea why.

A good time to be a black man. In that statement, there is a ferocious undercurrent of partisanship that irks me, and which Obama claims is not his intent.

But I hobble through the department corridors now somewhat self-conscious of my own skin pigmentation. I am not black, brown perhaps, but my colleague's statement was directed at me, at my non-whiteness, at my presence, at my extra-presence. As much as it is a wonderful sign of the times, Obama's ascendancy has etched racial divides into the sand deeper than anything else can. Even Mandela's presence was a far away constellation.

One statement, innocuous though it was intended to be, has re0-drawn the lines of the new world order. And separates the present and the future from everything else that has happened.

The Disjuncture, the crevice that is widening, and will continue to widen into a gorge, between the future and the years of insidiuos, deep-rooted segregatory dreams of European imperialism (to which I am ironically indepted), forces a separation of values. A good time, indeed, to reclaim the past, in fact, to enable the collective forgetting, the absolution of guilt.

A reprieve, Jean-Paul, that I am sure you wouldn't have expected.

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