Suza: The spirituality of Blackness

Columnist Walter Suza illustrates the luminescence of Blackness in our world. 

Walter Suza

Editor’s Note: This is the twelfth, and final, column of a collective series conducted by Walter Suza concerning race. 

I feel the vessel move. I feel the rhythmic thump. I feel the warm water surrounding me. I can’t see. It’s pitch black. No, it’s just dark.

Nine months later, I emerge from my ship. The light is bright. My eyes can’t stand the light. I can’t see.

I can’t see. Yet she offers me comfort. She nourishes me with the food from her breast. I close my eyes. I fall asleep.

I grow up. You say you see in black and white. You ask me if I am black. What do you mean? There are so many black labels all around us. I have so many questions.

Is the black hole black? Why call it black when its gravity traps light? I thought the opposite of light is dark. I think it is just a dark hole.

Is outer space black? It can’t be black, stars produce light and light shines in the dark. Outer space must be just dark.

When city lights go out, you call it a blackout. And when one of the citizens is unconscious, you call it a blackout. I don’t understand. Would lighting up a candle help awaken our consciousness?

Why call invisible ice on the road black ice? I collected water across the Great Lakes, and upon freezing, it always appears clear and bright. Ice is not black.

Why was that particular Monday black? Were the brokers merely inventive to color a market crash? Or would a white Monday mean more in the bank?

Why was that particular Friday black? Is that the reason everyone is feeling frantic to fill up their stash? Or would a white Friday mean less traffic to the mall?

Why name death black? Is it because the plague hurt those who called themselves white? Black Death was also White Death.

Why call it a black eye? Is it because the skin around the eye turned purple from a smack with a baseball bat? Purple is not black.

Why is he the black sheep of the family? If he does not give up his wool would he still find love from others inside the barn? 

Why refer to Tilikum SeaWorld’s “killer whale” as “Blackfish?” Tilikum was an animal of the sea decorated with black and white coloring – to create a “black and white fish.”

Why call the flight recorder a black box? After the plane crashed, they searched the bottom of the sea only to find an orange box with the pilot’s message to “save our souls.”

Why call it a black market? I have been searching, but I cannot find one close to my town. However, someone mentioned a gray market and a white market on the other side of town. What is the difference?

Have you seen a black heart? The surgeon opened and searched many chests and all they found was a red, throbbing mass.

He was “blackballed” from the team. I wonder whether he would have stayed if the ball turned out white. 

Black smoke is coming out of the Sistine Chapel! Seeing the black smoke made them sad because they will have to wait for white smoke to announce a new pope.

Can a lie be black? Does it mean it would be less of a lie if it were a white lie?

Can magic be black? They say white magic exists for good purpose – so let there be more white magic to end racism in the world.

I recall my time inside my ship. It was dark. It was not black. I have grown. I can see. I am more than just a label. I am human.