My soul is tired, and my eyes run like a river. Violence and hatred uncontrollably spin this country. Its shear force throws this society so far off course that we will never again be centered enough to love, live and let live. I ache deeply, like a hopeless romantic watching a sad movie. But this isn’t a movie. It’s living color, on a stage that has become black and white. As a youngster growing up in Vallejo, California, my Mama taught me to treat everyone the same. She often reminded me that good and bad came in all shapes, sizes and colors. As an adult I’ve tried living my life as a beacon of racial peace and harmony. However, I’m not a wealthy star athlete, famous rapper or an actor. No one cares what I think. Still, I’m compelled to pass on a piece of knowledge.
If this country treated everyone with respect, there would be no need for “Black Lives Matter”. And even if one person doesn’t deserve respect, don’t lay that person’s ignorance on a whole race, culture or group of people. “Black Lives Matter” is important because right now in this country Black people are being killed. For Black People this is real, and it breaks our hearts. Therefore, we must scream “Black Lives Matter”. Black people can be killed so freely, that an internalized inferiority complex has become prevalent in the subconscious of many Black people, especially young Black men. However, every time we try to bring this serious situation to the forefront of society, people want to water it down by coming up with things like, “All Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter”. Only a heartless individual would not understand that all and blue lives matter. However, “Black Lives Matter” is a cry for inclusion within the belief that “All Lives Matter”. Stop killing Black people as if we don’t matter. Stop mistreating Black people as if we don’t matter. If this country can’t see and be honest about its racism and hatred problem, then we have no choice but to believe that racism and hatred are being perpetrated and ignored on purpose.
One day I had lunch with Shannon Work, a friend I’ve known since college, who happens to be Native Indian. He’s a lawyer who has argued in front of the United States Supreme Court (I was so proud of him.). He explained to me the Native perspective regarding respecting Mother Earth. I totally agreed with what he was saying. But my experience has been, if man can’t respect his fellow man, he ain’t gonna give a damn about the ozone layer, trees, recycling or anything else, that is good for our environment. I told him, I’ll start worrying about recycling, when I have don’t have to worry about my Black teenaged sons being shot over a broken taillight. I’ll be concerned about global warming when White people can no longer call the police and have them harass me, just because I’m sitting in a park, minding my own business.
Throughout history Black people have had to desperately scream, “Black Lives Matter”. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. The truth of the matter is Negroes had to scream “Black Lives Matter” even back when The Constitution was written, in order to have a special amendment added, because those great words of The Constitution didn’t include the Negro. In fact, many of the men who wrote those great words went back to their plantations and the slaves they owned. Today, just by virtue of being an American, Black people shouldn’t ever have to scream “Black Lives Matter”. But the power of racism, dictates that Black people better scream as loud as possible, “Black Lives Matter”.
Racism’s system of power is so well imbedded in our society, Black folk throughout history have always had to scream and fight against it. Nevertheless, there is one element of racism that is vital to its existence. When people aren’t educated, they can be subjected to any treatment a racist system decides to dish out. I use the word ‘decides’, because racism is never an accident. It is done on purpose and therefore it must be un-done on purpose. To rid this country of racism it will take more than people feeling sad towards horrible, racist acts. It will take direct and deliberate actions and move from non-racist to anti-racist. This country will have to deal with racism in a very deliberate way, because this country’s apathy and systematic killing of young Black folks’ minds, via an educational system that is full of White teachers who have little to no training in the area of racism; continues to kill as many young Blacks as the guns of policemen and racists. This is disheartening. And with all my heart, I wish my words mattered. So, I often wonder, where are our Black heroes? Hell, I’ll even take some White heroes. Where are those anti-racist people who really want to make society a better place? I work, helping low income students and students of all colors, get into college. I was put on this planet to enrich, not get rich. Who knows, maybe one of them will be the next Dr. King or Cesar Chavez.
As I peer out into America’s society, I am confused, much like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Are we real or are we merely shadows of what man is supposed to be? But I am brought back from the shadows, to reality, by the trails of blood and bodies. And yes, having to work so hard to navigate my way through the shadows of racism oftentimes makes me feel like giving up. But the memory of those before me, who fought so hard and died so senselessly, in hopes of creating a day when the land of milk and honey would flow to each man or woman based on the mere fact they are human, prevents me from giving up. So, the piece of knowledge I share with you is, please do not try to make sense of society’s hatred. Don’t waste time peering into hatred’s cave trying to discern if racism is real. Rather, in your own personal society, make definite plans to curtail the hatred perpetrated by racism. And just maybe, before the stage dims, we might begin to feel what being human is truly about. And let’s hope, that if we work hard enough, we won’t need to cry “Black Lives Matter”. But until then, we understand that “Black Lives Matter” at its core, is a serious desire for equal inclusion into the United States of America family.