I learned early on in life that we live in two different Americas: one for whites, and the other for people of color. Most white people are only aware of the one they live in, whereas everyone else has to maneuver in both to survive.
We constantly have to analyze and adjust our demeanor and behavior in order to avoid being profiled, labeled, criminalized or murdered just for possessing melanin. What I wear, how I speak, where I go; nothing I do is spontaneous. When you’re black (and a product of the inner city), you don’t make it to 30 being careless. Yet, even when you do everything “right”, you could still die.
Terence Crutcher was murdered because his car broke down. Apparently he “looked like a bad guy”, and therefore deserved to die.
My heart is numb. If I could call in “black” to work, I would.
Being black in America is exhausting.
I hate that I can walk into an Apple Store for a repair with my MacBook Pro IN HAND, and still get followed by a security guard. I hate that I have to purposefully walk slower than I want, or avoid running at night, so I don’t rouse suspicions.
I hate that people tell us to ‘get over slavery’, as if the scars magically went away when the Union won the Civil War. What they fail to realize (or choose to ignore) is that: (1) slavery never ended; it was just re-branded, and (2) we were still enslaved post-1865 due to education, housing and employment discrimination that still exists today.
Racism is just as alive today as it was in the 1800s, and is continuously perpetuated through the media, through microaggressions, and frankly, through fear: fear of lost power, fear that we will suddenly rebel and want to enslave whites, and fear that the stereotypes invented in the 1800s (and perpetuated through media and caricatures that still exist today) are untrue and therefore unwarranted.
I hate that we can’t peacefully protest without the narrative being hijacked into something else. How silently protesting the National Anthem to bring attention to police brutality and racism somehow equals disrespect for the military, even though the anthem itself is dripping with racism. Or how the Black Lives Matter movement, founded with the goal of ending police brutality, is labeled as a terrorist group.
People are continuously outraged over peaceful protests. Meanwhile, those same people are silent when an innocent black person is murdered by police.
Is there anything black people can do without being killed, blamed for our own deaths, then asked to forgive our murderers? As if we are still considered chattel? As if our lives don’t matter?
Car broken down? Dead.
Playing in a park? Dead.
Pulled over for a broken tail light? Dead.
Failure to signal? Dead.
Holding a toy gun in a Walmart in an open carry state? Dead.
Hanging out with friends after dark? Dead.
Walking home from 7-Eleven? Dead.
This isn’t even 0.01% of the people slaughtered unjustly by
racists law enforcement. So, if you guys could just make a list and let us know, that’d be great.
Because I’m tired.
*Updated 9/21/16 to include the Romany Malco video “The Racket Of Racism”.