The list, of course, began long before “media” transitioned from runaway slave posters to “reality” television. And the list goes on. But it’s not only about individuals and their families. There’s also us, and our reactions. Our sympathy, or lack there of. Our inclination to relate to one person or the other: the aggressor or… the aggressor, depending how you choose to see it, after thinking about it, with your brain. The implicit bias we all carry with us. The lens through which we view teenage male behavior, and are able to see our selves honestly. How we process this recurrent loss of life. For example, we are not likely to care too much when a rat is killed in a trap, because the rat had very little potential, and is generally regarded as a menace, at best a pest, an obstacle to my more peaceful existence. But one blond girl kidnapped, is bonafide national emergency: for she, is the peak intersection of innocence, beauty and potential. These are obviously extreme examples but i bring them up to establish our borders; our bottom and our top. If you’re not exposed to a wide variety of Black male lifestyles, achievements and interests, then your expectations of Black males that you see, will obviously reflect that. At the same time, it’s nearly the year 2013: the information age, and a little curiosity goes a long way. We, Black males with a semblance of opportunity, have done, currently do, and will continue to do everything, and do it well. Look into it. Heroes and sworn enemies. Posters and door mats.
To so many, Black males are the most opaque and feared demographic in this ever changing nation. Not since 9-11, or the sixties, or the twenties. Since we got here, which in many cases was long before Europeans. Yet and still, we are not a monolith. We, just like any other demographic or socially constructed group, disagree with each other about a whole range of issues. We also change our minds, and evolve, and just like everyone else, we have plenty of room to grow. You, shutting me out, not hiring me, dismissing me, calling the police on me, or a nigger when you’re upset, shooting and killing me, because of your scared, when I’m 17 years young, is absolutely unacceptable. You’re scared? We’re scared! Can I shoot you? No. Put the guns down. Stop teaching that greatness, heroism and statues are won with eloquently justified violence. And this is NOT a Black problem. It is our problem. It’s a white problem and a male problem and an every damn American problem. They are kids. We are adults. Let’s demonstrate the difference here, now.
When you were a kid you did a lot of stupid shit. I most certainly did. I even played loud music in my friends car, all the time. It was really the only way to play music. And not just when we pulled into gas stations (Jordan Davis, 17, shot dead). I also went to parties and when those parties got busted I ran, and I hid in bushes, or on a neighbors porch (Bo Morrison, shot dead). And you’ll never believe this one: I was also known to occasionally use the hood on my sweatshirt and sometimes i’d even walk around my own neighborhood (Trayvon Martin, shot dead). And if you harassed me, or maybe just looked at me, guess what I might act like, a teenager. Because I was one. But now I’m dead. And you’re alive.
If a trend was raging in this country that saw case after case of Black adult men shooting and killing white teenagers, because they were “scared”, and visualized phantom weapons that never materialized, we’d see a sizable boost in yet another American trend: lynching.
Never mind the prison industrial complex, the systematic distortion of world history, the war on drugs, war on the impoverished, and the many complex and simple factors that leave us with so much to learn and repair. This was just a rant. An unfiltered spontaneous reaction, because I’m scared.