Grits can be a casual reference for a number of things— money, tenacity, resilience, determination— and they are a symbolic reference to our past and to our future. We had grits when we couldn’t afford food, and added what we could— butter, salt/sugar, cream, time, love, patience. Now we eat grits to ensure that we have a choice moving forward— that we can and don’t have to— and we show grit through the process.
Thicker grits is a story of our journey and the determination it takes to learn the game from scraps — it is the evidence of inequity; it is the conversation we choose to have now so that our future generations will survive and thrive.
We came from humble beginnings; we didn’t have much, but what we had, we cared for. Some things were constant: music, family, joy, resilience and grit. There wasn’t always food; there was always perseverance. While each of our stories may have looked a little different, we ended up in the same place: between shoots of ivy springing up brick towers. We were different, othered, but still determined to change the world with our victories on our back. Today, years and degrees later, we’re embodying the sankofa. We are sharing our stories: the things we didn’t quite learn about that would have saved us dissonance, reviving the hope that the wisdom will prevent the next from the same trepidation.
Sometimes you’ll see us drop into ebonics, Spanglish, or use cultural references, and sometimes you’ll see more traditional academic language or analysis. But this is both the plight and the struggle of the masked. This is for us –the othered– for those who were taught to wear it, for those who want to shake the world, for those who burn new trails, for those who are figuring it out as they go. We wear the weight proudly.
Unapologetically different, unapologetically thickened.