Updated: Jun 8, 2020
Your alarm clock goes off, you roll out of bed to get another day started. In the midst of your usual morning routine, you see a few tweets about police brutality. Interestingly, since you see it so often, you don't put much thought into it. Typical right?
You try not to feel bad, but it's the reality. At this point, you've grown to be accustomed to the hashtags & unanswered questions. So you keep it pushing, heading straight into breakfast. But then you feel & see the restlessness coming from your other social media timelines. As the plot thickens, your hunger subsides and you realize this specific case has potentially jumped all the required hurdles to be worth your time.
You've been conditioned to look for key factors when diagnosing police brutality and none of them provide benefit or respect to the victims...
Did he reach for a waistband, did she move her hands to quick, did they not know the law? It starts to hit closer to home, when you see people you personally know with something to say. Then here comes the videos, that you have to keep reminding yourself are public lynchings. Yes, those are real bodies laying in the street! Before you've even left the house for work, you're thrown off a cliff into a sea of black trauma and anguish.
In the car some of us want to hear the breakfast club opinions, some of us want to investigate deeper, some of us yell & shout in frustration, some of us breakdown in uncontrollable tears, some of us want to think in silence, because if you could control the emotions you would, the only common denominator is that we're all hurt...
Repeatedly we ask to ourselves, why after all this time are we still not accepted? Why are we not valued by the police & what feels like a substantial portion of white america? What did we ever do to you, besides exist? If these folks can't see humanity in the people that look like me, why should I expect any different feelings towards myself?
Not seeing color, doesn't absolve you from the fact that it indeed exists! Which is why after watching a man crying to breathe, for the opportunity to live, for the safety of his mother...you sit there & remain silent.
George Floyd is me. Breonna Taylor is me. Ahmaud Arbery is me. Tony McDade is me. Eric Garner is me. Tamir Rice is me. Sandra Bland is me. Trust and believe, that this list is an endless one! As soon as you've began to feel what's bothering you, it's time for you to head to work. Time to do the mental gymnastics it takes to hold it all together.
Wipe your eyes, stop your sniffling & fake that "I'm proud to be here smile"!
You have bills to pay, people are watching you, don't let this effect you. Before you've even gotten to lunch, you've beaten yourself inside to death over the subject. That usual glow of yours seems so dim today & the bathroom or your car has turned into that "safe" space. But where do you go to release? How do you cope? How do you even manage? Who’s checking in on you & who's not...?
Questioning your human value 24/7 isn’t healthy but it's the reality for a large population of Black Americans. If we could escape this disease we would, but dealing with it alone is the typical treatment of choice...
Then suddenly you realize the work day is over & you haven't really gotten anything done. Robbed of your peace & productivity, the uneasiness festers. Staring out of the window of your car, you struggle with understanding your place in a society, that doesn’t accept your being. Yet it profits off your very likeness, culture & body. Like half stepping love, we yearn to understand why? Why us? Why is who I am to my core, to my being not acceptable?
Why can you tout and broadcast our 40 times from the NFL combine but not our thoughts, whenever they verge on being remotely "aware"? Should I be blind?
Why are Black men worth more in prison then out free in the world? Why is my Black success a threat to you? Why is it a problem if people are simply tired of being oppressed!? Sorry if I'm asking to many questions, but this is just a snippet of the automatic fire I'm subjected to. This is my burden to carry.
Where is it safe for me to be black...?
What should be a rhetorical question, stands to be a mental prison for many Black Americans. Again, I ask where are we truly safe? Is it really at home? School? Work? Are we even safe within our own thoughts? We can't go out running for a simple jog, we can't grill in peace, shop in peace, drive in peace, study in peace, work at our jobs in peace, watch birds in peace, heck we can't even be in our homes enjoying a bowl of ice cream in pajamas in peace...let alone even sleep in our homes in peace.
Am I overreacting? Am I out of line for speaking on these issues? Could I lose my job? I try not to speak on how the theatrics of our world affects me. However, candidly something inside of me is burning...
By trying to avoid making other people uncomfortable, I neglected to factor the toll it takes on myself mentally. Silence doesn’t necessarily equate to strength, and that's something I've grown to learn. Who was more powerful, a quiet slave or an outspoken one? Which slave did "Master" fear most? I believe that dynamic is still at play today. Which is why, if you can't comprehend the significance of kneeing, then you are indeed a part of what's wrong with our country. This is not the time to cower in silence because it's convenient.
If we can be "Son's of Bitches" while kneeling peacefully, then what does that make us when we're dead on the pavement with a knee to our necks? Does that equally make our mothers bitches too? Let me know...
Why are we in the wrong for demanding respect & basic human liberties? How is that asking for too much? At what point do you expect people to get fed up with asking & to start demanding? Wouldn't you be tired? Do you want to switch places? Everyday, this stuff has me questioning what it means to be a black man, a man in general and what I can tolerate. My mother worries about me daily, no matter how "good"of a person I am! Why should I care more about looting & stolen property versus all the dead bodies & stolen lives? We can replace that lamp from Target, but we can't bring back Sandra Bland. Why is this a debate?
Why doesn't America take accountability for the ugly monster it's created? How can you not recognize your very own Frankenstein? You are the monster you hate. You are the riots...
Again, what does it matter if I rationalize with myself? I'm very familiar to the game. As a black man, if I can't successfully read the room, then my opportunities get severely limited. It's like I need to know enough to be valuable but not more then enough to think for myself.
So I guess, who's reading the damn room for me!?
I shouldn't have to "rely" on anybody to save me & I won't! What hurts me the most, is knowing that the way you would show support, isn't reciprocated enough. If I was gunned down unjustly, who would argue on my behalf? Who would try to justify it like the others and say it was my fault? Who would actually see the human in me?!
Life has taught me to keep my expectations low, but at the very same to keep my faith high.
There's enough good people in the world to provide me hope. However, hope can't change anything without tangible action. So today, I challenge you to look in the mirror and ask yourself the uncomfortable questions. At the point you feel like you're ready, speak up! We' don't have the lives to spare. Time is of the essence. Our country needs you!
So please quit screaming "all lives matter", when I tell you they don't. Trust me...