Panthers In The Bardo: Part 1

Part 1 of a 3 part series on blackness in America

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The Spirit of the Panther

“The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose” - James Baldwin


The inescapable truth is that black people founded America.

Black people traveled to every continent.

Black people are the omega and the alpha of what it means to be Homo sapien.

Why do I say this?

Our idea of blackness in America is rooted in a euro-centric fear.

So this spirit suffers, the soul of the African.

In pain and misfortune, the black soul rests in America.

Always on guard, ready to kill like a Panther always has.

It is the biggest fear of whites.

Which ironically, usually, is perpetuated and created by whites.

The term “Bardo” speaks of the space between life and death. A place to be held in perpetuity, neurotic and all-encompassing.

The culture of reincarnation echos across our society and is encapsulated well in Lincoln in the Bardo.

If Lincoln visits his dead child, God will give Salley Hemmings a singing tune until the country is in ashes.

The iconoclasm of Lincoln in his time is a signal of great shame and pride by whites.

The tall, slender, aged in office man of the new republican party always let his head droop low.

Like a tortuous, slowly walking through the halls of the White House.

Just as the war of freedom slowly encapsulated the culture of the country.

The salvation of the black children who were no older than his boy and the countless ones lost to the Bardo in the Land of The Free.

This destructive morality we try to wrestle with is obfuscated even more when we take into account past mulatto men of their desire to be coddled by their captors.

I’m feeling a comparison to Ordinary Men, a book about regular police in Europe. When Nazism took root in Germany and began spreading its evil across Europe, these “Ordinary Men,” the author exclaims, became bloodthirsty Nazi thugs.

Is the slippage of morality simply the inability to be recognized because the path towards total totalitarian domination kills the spirit of reconciliation?

The English language uses the word martyr to describe someone who died and left us a message in a way.

Something that transcends the individual and reasserts humanity among forgotten tribes and bitter enemies.

This dependence on the martyr is why MLK is taught to death. Whites pray that retribution is kindled in the kindest, softest ways.

Blacks are obsessed with whites, and whites are obsessed with Blacks.

But no one dares admit it.

America is a family. A true family. Full of second, third, and fourth families.

From the mulattos that will never pass the one-drop rule to the darkest browns.

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But in my life, in an obvious way as a child, I did not know this idea of blackness.

I associated blackness, not as one thing or a rainbow of colors, but a culture and a soul promise to those that died and suffered so I could breathe life into my 21st-century body.

And that’s to live fully and freely and not be shamed by your black body, mind, or spirit.

But children and culture don’t have the elasticated reach of multitudes of generations and spirits desperately pleading for us to continue our march forward.

They tell a young black boy that he is mixed, that he is better than, that if he bought earrings, got tattoos, and masurate with clown-like exterior experience for the attention and admiration of society and women.

It’s a culture of a giant bear trap placed around my delicate childish skull.

To “breed a nigger” is to create a desire for destruction in their lives and communities.

In bitterness and rage, destruction is the last salvation for the weak and controlled.


Sometimes in the darkness, early in the morning, before the birds start chirping, many men open their eyes to seize the day before the day seizes them.

These men time travel and hold occupations of kings, architects, generals, merchants, and engineers.

How many were lost in the Bardo to the whip of injustice?

How many tragic stories do we tell? Americans have always been superstitious.

About outsiders.

About Salem.

But we don’t live in a world of slaves and masters anymore.

The Bardo is a spiritual realm to whites.

But the Panther restlessly scavages for plenty in the Bardo and supplies new members in hoods across America.

It howls on snowy nights in abandoned homes.

Lost in the moment, damned to entertain the monthly credit payments, drug providing, and gun toating country.

So lives the Panther in the Bardo, condemned to create on the outskirts out of essential freedom.

It’s like you’re trying to escape a video game into a secret level. Where you don’t have to grind for XP anymore, and you can use all the moves you’ve always wanted to use.

That’s what the dream of capitalism provides. Money and land can free a man from the bondage of work of the body. But the spirit and mind that we struggle with as Black people are not at rest.

If there is a space called the Bardo, the land of the spirits in America, It starts with the Panthers.

Those who threw themselves overboard on the slave ships continue with the 100-year-old black woman giving testimony on domestic terrorism that was washed away to history by the same federal government she speaks to educate.

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Jordan