I’m sure it has happened to all of us; Leaving an activist / community / mobilisation meeting, throwing our hands up, shouting out in frustration: “But, guys, here we are again, just talking”. And, let’s admit it, the amount of time we spend talking, shouting, complaining and deconstructing has not always led to action or transformation. A lot of Black talk ends up being just that; Black talk. Powerless Black Talk. I believe there is <talking> – and TALKING.
<talking> is when the audience is just participating in a verbal orgy of renditions, applying deep terms, repeating profound quotes and either intimidating each other with high-fly intellectual mysticism or sinking into a mud of matter-of-factly observations masked as an anointed oratory. <talking> is mostly promoted by Sisters and Brothers who build their self-assurance on TELLING the flock what is really up, pointing multiple fingers at EVERYONE & EVERYTHING (apart from themselves) that can be labeled reactionary and leaves the collective mind in an even darker space than when the engagement started. <talking> forces you to nod your head in serious agreement, but allows you to keep your hands in your pocket.
And then there is TALKING, whereby the verbal exchange has content of relevance, purpose of direction, engagement of new mind-space, reflection of self, provocation of being and challenge of action. Meta-consciousness of Black location and Afrikan agency. Not always the most COMFORTABLE of exchanges (as it forces you to wake up, take responsibility and change), but indeed liberating. TALKING embodies a firm awareness of limitation; that its’ role is to PREPARE for action, not pretending it is action itself. REAL TALKING is only fully completed when it results in the action it motivates.
It sure feels good to <talk> (the audience normally offers cascades of applause in response….). But if you don’t have much to TALK about, maybe it’s time to shut up and go DO something….?