SHATTERED!!! Not To Be Fixed
We Wear the Mask
We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.
Why should the world be over-wise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
We wear the mask.
We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
We wear the mask!
Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote “We Wear the Mask” in 19th-century America. The poem poignantly portrays how Black people hid their pain and frustration about their current situation from Whites and even from one another. To be transparent and honest about how they felt during this time would likely result in persecution, even death. Many wore “the mask” that displayed contentment and hid the pain with varying degrees of success.
We, in America, have worn the masks for years, decades even centuries.
In the year of 2016, the mask has been shattered! Our feelings, emotions, biases, beliefs and inadequacies have been revealed.
The exposure of our true feelings, through events such as corruption cases, the presidential election, wars, terrorists attacks, natural disasters and social movements, has frightened our nations, our community, our churches and even our homes.
We have turned the other way and ignored discrimination. We have ignored our impact on our environment. We have ignored and excused the level of corruption in all areas of life. We have ignored this and more for years. We have determined and settled within our lives that as along as the issues don’t directly impact me and my world, everything is fine.
The year of 2016 has uncovered the unadulterated, raw feelings and fear we have towards our mortality and to the differences that exist amongst us. Our ignorance and lack of addressing ‘the reality of our lives’ has now caused a shift that has touched every life in the world. The mask has been shattered!
Many will attempt to refashion/recreate another mask. But when will we begin to accept what was beneath the mask and heal? Which path will you choose?