April 17, 2011
I ASK you to consider, dear reader, this simple poem by Robert Frost. It is neither hard to grasp or difficult to follow:
Into My Own
ONE of my wishes is that those dark trees,
So old and firm they scarcely show the breeze,
Were not, as ’twere, the merest mask of gloom,
But stretched away unto the edge of doom.
I should not be withheld but that some day
Into their vastness I should steal away,
Fearless of ever finding open land,
Or highway where the slow wheel pours the sand.
I do not see why I should e’er turn back,
Or those should not set forth upon my track
To overtake me, who should miss me here
And long to know if still I held them dear.
They would not find me changed from him they knew—
Only more sure of all I thought was true.
Now I ask you this. Do you know any black person in America who is a devoted fan of Robert Frost or who might recite this poem from memory or even enthusiastically refer to it? Please bear in mind when you answer this that Frost is not a difficult poet. He is no Milton or Spencer.
Here’s another question. Do you know any white person in America who thinks the black author Toni Morrison is one of the greatest authors who ever lived or that Maya Angelou is Frost’s equal? If the answer to this question is yes, and the answer to the first question above is no, why is this so? Let me suggest, blacks are honest about what they like and dislike. They display this honesty all the time. They simply don’t pretend they like what they don’t like and this gives them the freedom of living within their own skins, so to speak. They have no great affection for Robert Frost, and that’s that.
Whites, on the other hand, are utterly deceitful, living in a cloud of self-imposed lies.
Near where I live one of the greatest art collections in America, indeed in the world, is housed in a museum. One Sunday of the month, the museum opens to the public free of charge. Though the city is a majority black population, very few blacks show up at the museum even when it is free. That’s because blacks don’t pretend they like what they don’t like.
If, however, the museum was filled with primitive African art, or perhaps urban graffiti presented as art, whites would pay $20 each to cram its hallways.