Greetings beautiful people
I’ve been wanting to write something since the murder of Trayvon Martin, but my thoughts are extremely vast and time hasn’t allowed me to sit down to cement my opinion on the matter until now. Also with many things dealing with race in America, there is a level of complication that accompanies such a discussion. This isn’t just a blog about Trayvon Martin, but rather my acknowledgment of racism.
In the instance of Trayvon, we have what I see as a case of racial profiling, stereotyping, and paranoid vigilantism. I don’t think Zimmerman is a racist. I don’t think he killed Trayvon because he was black. I think he did it because he has a brain poisoned with societal images of young blacks as thugs. Also, I believe he killed Trayvon because he’s nuts. Neither one of the latter reasons justifies what he did. He murdered an innocent teenager plain and simple. He should be jailed and have to stand trial in a court of law for his crime. We all know that didn’t happen and probably won’t.
I seldom, if ever, address any racial or political issues in my art or writing because I’m usually concerned with, what I see as, more important aspects of the human condition. I’m also a member of a culturally diverse crew. I love people regardless of race, religion, class, sexual orientation (yet bad taste in music…I’ve lost some good friends over that) but I can’t deny that I stereotype people as well. My friends and I have our “coffee table racism” that occurs when we are around each other. We all know the stereotypes, and right or wrong, it’s something we can express within our circle with the knowledge that our humor is irreverent and we don’t offend each other.
Every day I go out into the world; I am so aware that I am a black man, and wonder what that will lead to. Maybe because of the path I’ve chosen in life, I find myself in professional situations, with people who never look like me. I work at a nonprofit and I am the only African-American administrator and the only man. I teach college at my Alma mater and aside from my mentor, who is soon to retire; I’m the only African-American who’s taught in the art department in over 30 years. When I disagree with someone at work, I later hear stories from the person I disagreed with, of how upset I was. When in reality I could care less, I just didn’t agree. A sigh is perceived as a scream. Not wanting to do work outside of position is seen as lazy.
These are just a few examples of what I mean when I say I’m constantly forced to evaluate my place in the world as a black man. Some people know what I mean, and some don’t. Yet keep in mind, it’s not just the majority I have to deal with when it comes to these issues. From my own people I’ve been accused of talking white or listening to white people music. How many times have you heard this one? “He/she speaks to so well!” Really?! How am I supposed to speak? So either you end up too black or not black enough. To many blacks I’m preaching to the choir.
Since the Trayvon Martin murder, the already deafening whisper of racism is becoming more public. Sure racism existed years before this incident, but think about the development of social media. All these new social sites developed over the last several years, have help to mainstream the archaic banter, we thought was dying out. It hasn’t died. It’s just needed a new system of communication. Man can weaponize anything…even twitter.
Look at all the racist rants in response to “The Hunger Games”. How about the comments when “Awkward Black Girl, won an award of excellence for being a great web series? Then closer to home, a Livonia Michigan teen named, Andrew Vandenbussche who commented via twitter on the death of Whitney Houston by stating, “Whitney Houston is dead, well one less nigger in this world. #getting closer”. It’s getting to the point where there is something every day! I can’t watch the news; it’s just too much.
Facebook, twitter, myspace etc, are all used to spread the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Black people you aren’t exempt. I hear more negative comments about Barack Obama from blacks than any other race. I’m tired of it! I don’t know how many times I have to tell you he is not black Jesus! He is just a man, and less than that, a politician. I have publicly expressed my disappointment at Barack Obama’s lack of following through on some of his campaign promises, but let it be known…..I’m proud to have a black president.
Just because he won’t grow dreads, rock a dashiki, and join you in your vapid tirade about the system, doesn’t mean he deserves your shit. In the interest of promoting solidarity amongst my people, I say that when the leader of the free world looks like you, damn it, you better support him. After everything blacks have gone through, do you really have the nerve to publicly bad mouth him, and further show just how un-unified we are as a people? You hypocritical, crab in bucket, bastards make me sick! Yet and still for all my vaunted disdain at your actions and thoughts, I love you.
I hope one day you get it. You’re a new revolutionary? Not at all. Barack is the new type of revolutionary we need. Corey Booker is the type of revolutionary we need. Kehinde Wiley is the new type of revolutionary we need. Kara Walker is the new type of revolutionary we need! Every black teacher who inspires a child or young adult is the type of revolutionary we need.
In this new digital mainstream atmosphere of public racism, it’s clear that the enemy isn’t afraid to speak their mind. Yet to be cliché, “Actions speak louder than words!” Be about progress and love. Turn away from the anger and be that something greater, that the enemy can’t touch. Continue to stand up for what you believe in, but make sure you don’t contradict a message of solidarity by tearing your brother or sister down. Just as Trayvon, hoodie and all, has become a symbol for the injustice that continues to be inflicted upon blacks to this day….Barack is equally a symbol of what we can achieve when thoughts are put to purpose.
Till next time