Racial tension in America isn’t a new thing. It is reoccurring. It happens every so often. It simply reveals what is in the hearts of many. Prejudice. It’s not a fluctuating feeling. It remains. Blacks have been on the painful side of the stick of race relations for as long as the United States have existed. This isn’t an emotional opinion, it is a fact.
More facts include, Blacks have good reason to be angry. The anger isn’t unwarranted. The anger has become generational. It is brought on from trauma or the witness of trauma. Though a few Blacks escape the grips of racism, discrimination and bigotry, the fact is, they are a very small minority.
Blacks have yet to be seen as equal, even if at isolated times we may be treated as equal. What many people don’t understand that what Blacks go through, especially Black men, is the constant fear of being mistreated, dismissed, slighted or murdered. The same constant knowledge that a Black person has that our ancestors were slaves, Whites carry a regular memory that their ancestors were “Masters”. This knowledge affects the way we interact. We walk on eggshells with each other until we know it is safe to somewhat be ourselves.
So what has happened is Black men have created a defense mechanism. This defense mechanism looks like “thug”. This “thug” getup helps young Black men feel safe and survive. It is a proactive stance at deterring aggressive behaviors towards them. It feeds the esteem of some young Black men who feel like failures. It helps them gain respect from their peers. No one is born a thug. It is learned ad adopted.
But sometimes this “thug” culture backfires. It puts people, especially those not in our community, at such fear that they shoot first and ask questions later; the police in particular. When this happens, the Black community’s anger reignites and the cycle starts all over again. This anger isn’t a figment of our imagination. It is brought on by generations of disparaging treatment. The lives of Black men are not understood, while people are busy trying to get Black men to understand.
Black people continue to feel hopeful when issues like Michael Brown arise. We assume that the harsh reality of what publicly took place, gives Whites, police and politicians some level of solace and grow a conscience. This is why we went back to life as usual after Sean Bell, after Eric Garner, after Troy Davis, after John Crawford, after Ezell Ford, and I can even go as far back as Emmett Till. We believe the conscience and compassion has emerged, we give Whites, police and politicians the benefit of the doubt that they now understand our pain, our aggression, our doubt…but future reveals, new situations of the same demographics reveals, that their conscience and compassion was never birthed. This makes us start all over again. I employ my Black family to turn on the engines of love for each other, for educational advancement, the suppression and disdain for thuggery/intra-hood crimes, and collective economic behavior, economic discipline, ownership, economic prosperity and movement towards being a sovereign group. I ask our Black women to be considerate and compassionate towards Black men who are trying, who are doing their best and who may not be communicating his fears and vulnerabilities to you. He is being beat-up daily in ways he doesn’t share with you.
Black people, we have a duty to be strategic, consistent and accountable. We have a duty to not choose money over morality. We have a duty to not only be angry but to take unified action. Protesting is not enough, being proactive is. We must use our influence responsibly. We must use our access to technologies progressively. We must use our intelligence positively. We can’t wait for the conscience of others to grow while the progress of our community is being impeded. What are your children saying about the society you create and the actions and inactions you have taken? It is time…