Truth and Reconciliation
Having difficult conversations can sometimes be just what the doctor ordered.
Difficult conversations can often be the cure for family secrets.
Family secrets run deep like as the blood that flows through one’s veins. It becomes the stock one is made of. If one could bury their loved ones with secrets rather than dirt, there would be enough to fill the grave.
Yet family secrets are very much alive in the African American community.
Family secrets aren’t only within the citadel of a family. Family secrets can be informal bonds also. Family secrets can be found among friends, fraternity brothers, sorority sisters, church members, co-workers, and within an ethnic group.
Family secrets are often the unwelcome guest invited over for dinner. The unwelcome guest who may stay awhile or stay for a bit. Regardless, it leaves a lasting impression. Family secrets, much like family traditions, are often passed down from generation to generation. It is a tradition to not tell out of fear or shame or even guilt. It is a tradition to hold secrets close and be buried with them like an heirloom.
Secrets, like an heirloom, live on forever, until they are acknowledged.
Often it is not truth but lies that are the ties that bind.
Some secrets are elusive. An enigma wrapped in mirage. Those who see clearly are often the blindest. Denial is at times the next of kin to forgiveness. Sometimes it’s easier to pretend rather than to acknowledge.
Family secrets is a metaphor for relations within the African American community. One dares not dig up any bones that would reveal familiar blood on familiar hands. Intricately woven together within the family bond one may find grotesque revelations.
Colorism. Illegitimacy. Adultery. Misogyny. Homophobia. Bigotry.
All cut from the same cloth.
In 1995, in the aftermath of Apartheid, the African National Congress and the white regime in hopes of healing and resolving conflict over unfair deaths and other acts of violence that took place. Some scholars argue that it was a tactic that was ahead of its time. Others argue it was an intangible measure.
Regardless of what side of truth one may have stood on, the bottom line is that the conversations happened. This happened in South Africa. Why can it not happen in America, let alone Black America?
It takes more courage to tell the truth than to live a lie. Fear and ignorance are often the parents that give birth to secrets. The idea of something that will not be spoke about comes from the danger of perception.
What difficult conversation will be had today?