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.


  1. I hear you and respect you and what you know.

  2. I can identify with your sentiments, to say the least.

  3. I'm right there with you Carl. I am surprised by my level of anger and disgust over the verdict. I watched the trial and clearly the prosecution was out matched. So I'm not surprised by the acquittal. But in the same breath, I'm quite surprised. I'm pissed. This is an injustice. I am deeply bothered because I really understand that I don't understand the verdict. As I always tell my son, no matter how far we think we've come as a people, they will always send us a message to remind where we really stand.

  4. B.S. Treyvon is dead because of the culture that breeds the violence. Want to know why black kids are profiled? It is because black kids are creating problems. We don't hear of people being attacked on the part of the American Tobacco Trail that runs through Woodcroft, no it is the part near Hillside. It isn't white kids killing each other daily in Durham, Chicago, Detroit, pick any big city. Treyvon may have simply been walking home, but because of the behaviour of others he is suspect, and because of the culture of fighting, he confronted and assaulted another person and died for it. You can blame White people all you want, but until you take ownership of the actions of black kids the problem will prevail.

    If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck.

    Tod Puckett

  5. We understand. You wanted revenge and didn't get it. Now you want to vent. We are to listen and accept your opinions as fact. We are not to critique your views until some time in the future when your rage cools.

    Many of us tried to understand the verdict by re-examining trial details and evaluating the laws that allowed someone to provoke a confrontation and then kill someone during that confrontation without subsequent punishment. Early in your piece you indicate friends/acquaintances who apparently sent you or discussed information in that regard, but then you impugned their motives and further indicate those facts don't matter to you. They do matter to us, however. If we can't understand, we can't improve.

    Yes, Zimmerman's aggressive posture was about race. He was profiling, a heavily discussed subject with many complexities.
    We've only heard from one juror at this time, and she says the initial jury vote was 3 to convict, but the end verdict turned on tenets of the law. So I don't buy your conviction that the verdict was based on race.

    Your admonition to white people, "Do you understand what you have created?" (ghetto, inferiority, underclass, destructive social culture, etc.) absolutely rings true, however I doubt that most whites think back beyond their own lives to remember the slavery, laws, and prejudice that laid the groundwork for the black community's problems today. Or, if they do think about it at all, they just point out that they weren't personally responsible for the stain on our nation's history. That's wrong. We have to take collective recognition of the past that has shaped today's problems, even if we acknowledge subsequent improvements in interethnic relations. Racism is still with us, and it takes many forms. And, we listen much more than you think.

    That said, your vehement comments on the collective "You" (white people) are filled with so many inaccuracies and presuppositions that you become the "profiler" that you so despise. I will respect your wishes, however, and not make further comment.

    Keep your rage. Express your anger. Just don't get so lost in it that you become ineffective or self-destructive, furthering a negative social culture that we've all tried to overcome.

    1. Well stated, but my comments are directed to America, not white people. These are my feelings, and reflect my current state of rage

  6. Rage at a distance? Why not local rage? There have been 15 homicides in Durham so far this year. Do you think young black men are over-represented among the corpses on the autopsy table? Do you think young black men are over-represented among the suspects?

    Isn't that a better focus for your rage?

    Too many kids immersed in poverty, and black kids are over-represented in that group too, have no positive role models, no positive mentors. Your energies may be better used in getting one on one help for them, and attempting to change a culture among kids, mostly poor, mostly black, that dooms so many of them. Change one life at a time, lead from the front, be the point of the sword.

    1. As one who personally knows Carl Kenney, he HAS created programs for
      young black men not just in the churches he has served but also in the community. He has worked with many kids and adults for that matter who have had challenges with lack of opportunity, involved in gangs, homeless, abused etc. I think the better response is what are you or any of us doing to make things better? As an educator outreach advocate , I have worked with many children of promise, not what the govt likes to call our kids " at risk" I think Michael Jackson said it best when he said change the man/woman in the mirror. If everyone would take inventory and reach out we could truly make a change!

      thanks for letting me share