Monday, July 15, 2013
What does it take for the black man to get an invitation to the American Dream?
Why all the tears? Why are so many people outraged after the verdict to acquit George Zimmerman?
What’s the big deal? Right? We should get over it. Right?
We can’t get over it. We refuse to let the death of Trayvon Martin go away after the jury set his killer free. Some will say it’s the law. Deal with it.
Sorry. It’s not that simple. People are hurting. Keep your need to convince me it’s not a case about race to yourself. Stop the posturing aimed at limiting the conversation about the law. Not buying it. Keep your eloquent summation of the legal definition of self-defense and the imperfections of Florida’s law to yourself. Please, keep that to yourself.
I’m angry. Stay out of my way. I need space to reflect as I contemplate what it means to be a black man in America.
Do you want to hear how I feel? Really? Do you care? If so, sit back and listen. Don’t say a word. Just listen.
My temperament has radically shifted. My patience is dwindling. My hope has been fractured in a way that paralyzes my speech and damages my passion. Excuse me for being rude. I’m sensitive.
So, don’t tell me it’s not about race. I’ve heard that too much over the years. I tried to accept that contention. I fed on the dream of a colorblind society. I did my best to play by the rules. I accepted the rules and played the game.
Today, I’m fed up. I’m angry at the lies told. My eyes are open wide. I’m forced to face the truth.
What is that truth?
You hate me. I’m a black man. You hate my strength. You’re envious of my passion. You hate all that I stand for and the things I kindle within you whenever I show up in a room.
You despise me. Maybe it’s because you fear me. Maybe it’s because you know what will happen if you gave me a chance to play in a way that allows me to flourish devoid of restrictions. You hold most of the toys and dangle them before me like a ruthless ruler. You keep telling me I’m not good enough to play in your world.
Is that why you keep forming laws and policies to keep us on the bottom? You say it’s our fault. You blame us for the madness in our own communities. Do you see us there? Have you watched us attempt to climb from the deep hole you placed us in long ago? Do you hear yourself mutter madness when you attempt to speak to the plight of our community? Do you recognize the absurdity you spew whenever you part your lips to talk about the absence of morality and strong families in our communities?
Who are you to blame us? Do you understand what you have created? Do you judge our ruin based on the presumption that we crave inferiority? Do you think we are bred to cover pain with intoxication and brutality?
You don’t know us. You judge us like we’re roaches to be stomped away. Our very presence raises your contempt. You use our disadvantage to maintain your advantage. You use your status to command our destiny.
You watch over us like the slave master whipping slaves. You employ laws like a whip. Your jails and prisons keep us enchained.
The truth hurts.
You treat us like slaves. Your venom rises whenever we try to leave the places you design for us to stay. You control where we go and how fast we move.
You use your power to keep me from what you control. All while pretending to offer access to your glamorous plantation. You reward us for entertaining you. You reward us for keeping the rest in check. You partner with Uncle Tom and Aunt Sally. You use them as evidence of equality while chastising those outraged by the truth.
You don’t care about the black man. You reward those who kill us. You attack those who speak the truth. You assume we aren’t good enough to walk in your space. You give us just enough, while keeping the best portion for yourself.
America, you kill us every day. Like animals hunted for play.
Yes, I’m hurt and disgusted. There are too many stories and heartaches to deny that truth. I’m tired of this. I’m fed up with knowing my very words will be used against me in the court of public opinion. I’m not free to think devoid of retribution.
Yes, we’re angry. Sadly, no one is willing to listen.
The black man has two options. Stay on the plantation or pretend that none of it matters. Either way, you forfeit a part of who you are to survive with what is left after making that decision.
In death we rise.