July 21, 2010
Senna grew up in an urban chaos, in a home filled with artists and political activists. Her mother married a tall handsome black man. The former was being rebellious against her mother, an Irish woman, who still believed in noble bloodline. The grandmother spent most of the days passing judgment on the world. There was already a conflict between her grandkids; they were all mixed. Senna longed to know her grandmother and to love her. The latter was an alcoholic; after a few drinks, she could turn vicious. Though she held antiquated racist views, she wanted to see her daughter still married even if it was still with the black man. One day Senna finally expressed her feelings; she was upset that her grandmother was yelling at cleaning lady, a Greek woman. The former said, “This is not about race; Mary’s white. This is about respect-treating other human beings with respect.” All that the latter saw was color, nothing else. After that fight, her grandmother started seeing her granddaughter more clearly or perhaps the latter had met her match. Senna began visiting her more, telling her about her love life or writing project. In her presence, Senna was now proudly black and young and political. The grandmother was still subtly racist, terribly elitist and awfully funny. It is hard to change someone like that; all that can be done is accept the person the way he or she is. In death, we are each reduced to our essence: the sprit we are when we are born. The trappings we hold on to our whole lives, our race, money, sex, age and politics become irrelevant. Her grandmother became a child in that hospital bed, a spirit about to embrace on an unknown journey, finally to rest all her troubles and racist feelings down.