Staring at the television, being “up” on the news, staying informed, reading the paper – it’s all the same! So what can we do. Most of us (oh, us black folk, esp.) are frustrated and I’m guilty of sitting at home and yelling at the television and just when I can’t take it anymore, I write. Why have I taken to this form of activism when I am shouting into a vast sea of endless quotes, memes, articles and blogs coming from different angles but yet all playing pretty much in the same ball park? Truthfully, it’s the only thing that helps. It’s the only thing that allows me go on endless rants without repercussions of marching and “sanging” and risking possible arrest. My hat’s off to those who get out there and do that. If that’s how they vent! Fine! I did that to death when Sean Bell was shot the day before his wedding, and I actually even did it again when Trayvon (yes, we’re on a first name basis because I spent a lot of time on that tragedy), but I just can’t do it again. They say the meaning of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The police keep doing the same thing over and over and get the same results; they must be the sane ones here. They don’t expect anything different; they don’t expect to be punished for theeir happy little fingers that can’t seem to stay away from that trigger despite being trained (this is a guess here) to deal with people who might push back against them. They just keep getting away with it. And life just goes on!!!!!!
For me, this time, I’m on a time-out. I have to pause so I don’t get swept away in the fury of protests and tweets and media coverage that might once again leave me feeling a loss so profound, it literally makes me sick. I don’t want to fight anymore. I want to talk. I want things to change and I want with all my heart to KNOW that I will never get that call. These young black boys dying hits home every time I see their young faces on the screen. The thought (it’s so rude it doesn’t ask) jumps right out front and dares me to entertain it; so I think to myself – that could be my son! Depending on who is nearby, they may even hear me say it. Here’s the thing, though. It’s barely a whisper, because I’m afraid to say it out loud, you know. To give it any consideration because that makes it TOO real – what’s happening, that is – AGAIN. Now I’m wondering… what do I do. I can scream and shout, stomp and protest or I can do what I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember – educate him. That won’t stop the way the world see’s him, but my hope is that it puts him in a place to think long and hard before he makes a move. He has to think about the environment that he’s in, the friends he has, and where he wants to live. This is a free country, but we ain’t that free. Try not to get it twisted. We ain’t really free at all.
Case in point:
I realized later in life that my earlier path wasn’t the right one. I saw it all around me each and every time I left the ‘hood. From a child, visiting my mom on the job at the financial center, as a young adult working in a somewhat affluent area of manhattan, moving to atlanta in pursuit of “a better life;” it was all around me. People were doing thangs and doing ’em big. No reason it couldn’t be me or shouldn’t be me. So I decided to get educated because that’s what we’re supposed to do. Get a “good education” (still don’t understand why there’s bad education), a decent job, take care of my kids. What was left out of the equation was that on that path to a “better life,” no matter what you did or how you did it, the system was going to see you as a black person and attach to you just about every negative stereotype available. Not only have I experienced racism (the very ugly in-your-face kind while I was with my children) first-hand, I now know that when I come up against the system, I’m black first, and all that comes with it, then I’m a person who has done A, B, or C. There is no guarantee that I can travel anywhere I want or live where I want; because there are systems in place that can and will keep me out. It has always been this way and I don’t see any legislation coming down the pipe than will have the ability to legislate “thoughts.” So how does this relate to my son. He’s a young black man with invisible chains. No one in particular holds the keys and you never know the exact length of it or how far you can go, but trust that they are there.
So every time another young black male is killed by an officer or someone who really wants to be one, I shutter a bit, close my eyes and hope to God that I never get that phone call.
It’s time for folks to get the message that #BlackLivesMatter. They matter to Nike, Sony, and Apple, Inc. They matter to grocery stores and retail chains because we are avid consumers and it’s time we realize that our money has power and if we hold on to it long enough, we won’t have to say another word. Those companies will soon connect the dots and advocate on our behalf. To many companies are sitting by silently while our young men are being killed. They have the resources and the influence to speak as loud as we can, they just need incentive. In my opinion, it’s time for a massive movement to boycott the American system and there’s no better way to get their attention than to start fucking with their money!