Every day. Scratch that—every-fucking-day, I post a news story with essentially the same theme: In America, a Black person’s life is valued less than pig shit at a vegan conference. Black man shot and White killer gets off; Black woman called the “N-word” in Starbucks; Black men frisked at an 80% higher rate the White men, etc., etc., etc.
Every day. Every-fucking-day.
It’s not an anomaly. It’s not one or two racist motherfuckers. It’s not a Southern thing, an uneducated thing, a police-thing. Horrid, reported, recorded racist acts, the aggressive abuse of Black people, is as common as rain, it happens every day. Every-fucking-day
And every day, every-fucking-day, this country, the government, the police, the courts, and the White coworkers at work who act like it’s business as usual, the White friends on FB who share their grief about an 70’s pop star dying at 90 but not a 17-year-old, innocent kid being shot by police — tell us that they don’t care. Our lives don’t matter.
But, I know we matter. I know our lives matter. So every day, as much as I don’t want to, I post about the latest assault on one of our Sistas and Brothas. I usually write a caption that denotes shock: unbelievable, not again, when will this stop, so devastating and I always get in response comments such as, “why are you surprised?”, “this is Amerikkka, I’m not shocked.”
I realize that oftentimes I may seem naïve.
Understand, I’ve made knowing our business — Black folks’ business — my business. I know. I read. I see. But I am consciously, purposefully clinging to my scrap of naivety.
I must. I must, absolutely.
If I didn’t how could I function in a country that sends daily, jarring reminders, that my people aren’t valued—by so many that I must live and work with; and by those who wield significant power over me.
Cause, these days – a lot of days – I’m just tryin’ to function. You feel me?
I certainly can’t do the “extra” shit: the extra fancy events, the people who are extra special, extra needy, extra wrapped up in trying to be fabulous. I haven’t been to a holiday party filled with the haves and the pretend to haves, and the about-to-haves. I can’t muster the energy to talk about someone’s job promotion, new car, upcoming trip, or potential new hairstyle when I feel like I’m Chicken Little, and the sky is indeed falling. Small talk is way too big for me right now.
My energy for the bullshit in life (which I certainly used to love) is low. And the little energy, the little fa-la-la I’ve got in me is only due to my forced naivety; if I lose that, if I lose the little bit of outrage and shock that I have every time- every fucking time – a Black person is psychologically scarred, every fucking time a Black person is murdered, how will I be able to properly mother my two boys? I can’t fully accept that this is my country. Understand, I can’t.
If I fully accept that this is Amerikka, how will I send my two, Black teenage sons out into this world? Though I’ve prepared them on what it is to be Black men in the world; how would I stop myself from grabbing their legs every time they walk out of the door—as my impulse drives me to do—if I didn’t cling on to the a bit of sunshine and rainbows of the American-dream propaganda?
Trust me, every-fucking-day, I pray that no kid will call them “Nigger”, that every teacher will treat them and grade them fairly and see their vast potential. I must pray that the store owners, clerks, neighbors, strangers who see them riding their bikes or walking the neighborhood don’t automatically see danger when they see a six-foot tall, athletic Black male; but rather that the see my Baby. The only time I don’t worry about them being affected by this racist country is when they are in my home.
Yet, I must let them go. I must muster up something to let them go out in this racist fucking country, every fucking day.
So, I cling on to my scrap of naivety, so that at least when those two boys look at me they see hope and not fear in my eyes.
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more