Some of us are born with the memory of a border. Long before we ever see one on a map. It makes me think Hinduism would have done well in Palestine. Reincarnation could explain it. A past life as reason for the memory at birth. Instead, we settle for inheritance as an explanation. But I don’t buy it. Maybe some fathers whispered the square mileage of Palestine into their baby’s ear instead of the adhan, but how many were those really?
No no, the memory is there before they speak to us, before they pass it down. You know how I know? Because I saw it in dreams. And the first time I heard a story, I already knew the ending. Explain that, nurture. Explain that.
Let’s be real. Borders are weird. But white folk, no they’re not born with the memory of a border. They’re born with the memory of moving lines. For them, that shit is like play-dough. Fuck if I ever understood it. We’d sit in class and color in a map and the whole world would be one damn color. One.
“Dude, what about the different countries?”
“So what? I like orange. I’m gonna color everything orange.”
“But everything isn’t the same orange place.”
“What do you know?”
Yeah, ok. Fair point. What did I know? But places seemed different. And there were these lines. And I couldn’t picture getting to go everywhere. So coloring everything orange seemed…well, it just seemed stupid. But there they were…coloring everything however they felt.
And I’ll be damned if I didn’t look around and realize – it was only the white kids. Everybody else was using every crayon in the box.
Can you believe that? Every single color.
Well that settled it for me. There had to be a reason, right?
And then you “grow up.” And you learn histories and wars and passports. And you start to buy the inheritance argument. Yes, it must be that entitlement. Must be that passport. Must be that legacy. It’s all nurture, they tell you.
But you know what? I still think I was born with the memory of a border. And I saw it in a dream. Before my mother sang me a lullaby or I ever left the country or town I was in. I knew what one was.
Maybe us brown folk are never reincarnated as white people. I don’t know. I’m ok with that. But I sure do hope white people occasionally get reincarnated as brown folk.
Maybe some do. Maybe those are the confused ones.