Brotha nods are scarce. The famine that demanded them in downstate Illinois no longer obtains. We are surfeited with blackness. Here.
Which makes the experience of receiving one different. There, a sign that we are together, in some way, occupy some position in the social, no matter how speculative this shared positioning. Necessity.
Here one reads affinity—a reaching out that is not driven by scarcity. Signals get mixed. I can’t read.
At the bus stop, the black man tells me the bus driver sped off without stopping because I am a black man. I am being embedded in someone else’s story. My affect is not yet calibrated. And I find myself resisting the racial embedding. I did not feel discriminated against, I think.
One follows the careful tracks laid by those who have navigated this jungle before.
I am reading Baldwin, here: “Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch.” (Nobody Knows My Name)