Racial tension is something that I live with every day of my life. Whether I want to recognize it or not, it is always present. The subtle racial messages conveyed through gestures or symbols, become existential reminders that post-racial ethics are myths: The emergence of a candidate with massive hate language like Trump is overlooked for what may be considered to be the good of (a)merica. The work of President Barak Obama is sidelined for more than just difference of politics but his skin color is similar to the folks who are considered the problem of (a)merica by DuBois. When a young black woman, Gabby Douglas, is ridiculed for not covering her heart during the (a)merican anthem, but some of her white Olympian teammates perform criminal acts without receiving the same backlash. Such racial overlook is a constant reminder that racism is a present reality today.
I am often asked, “Why does everything have to revolve around race with you?” My simple reply, “is because it doesn’t with you.” I wish I had the luxury of not wondering whether my skin color will cause someone to react in a manner that is unproductive for my survival. My reality is that decisions have to be made when a police approaches my car or me in general. Before he/she approaches I have to make a conscience decision how I am going to respond. They could have the best intentions but I have to make up my mind in those brief seconds of whether I will protect myself today or allow myself to be violated. Honestly, that didn’t start when people started using phones to record situations that has been a reality for most brothers that I know. Running became a viable options because it not foreign for police to roll up on brothers and start beating them for no reason. So when you see folks jet off from police do not assume that they are running because they are guilty, it could be that they have been the victim of police brutality more than you know.
The effects of racism for the black male ushers us into sexism. Because many of us have lost places of power due to racism, we often time participate in high levels of sexism. We loss respect for our sisters and camouflage it with male bravado. This became very apparent to me when the Nate Parker story broke. As I read through the story line and his response to the questions of the woman, my first response was this was a hoax. The system is trying to keep the movie about Nat Turner from hitting the main stage, so they manufactured an old story about rape. As I read responses from women, I began to see how sexist I was being. I never considered how this made women feel but only viewed the issue from a male perspective. Rape culture flourishes in societies where racism is tolerated and overlooked. It takes brothers being honest about the fact that we have failed in showing support to our women when they are violated. Many of us called foul on the woman in the Nate Parker rape instead of calling the brother a predator –it is hard for us to get outside of our male pride and say this is wrong.
As I close my thoughts out I continue to wrestle through the effects of racism: I still have a hard time trusting white males; I am extremely careful around white women; I am outraged by how black children are perceived in this country; I am tired of reading and seeing black folks mauled in the street by police; I am tired of reading about black folks killing black folks; I am frustrated with the young black people thinking that money is the key. In a society where racism is the norm, oppression is silenced.
Just thinking out loud…