So many thoughts as I reflect on 2015. It was a time of heartbreak for me and many very dear to me. This year took a friend’s son, paralyzed another, a friend’s brother, my last two grandparents, and a friend…
I went to sleep last night somewhat at peace with the fact that I I don’t live in fear (here) of someone taking my child’s life just because their hue makes them look “threatening.” But, I woke up to the sobering reality that I would have that very valid fear if I was still in the states. I woke up to the sobering, but not shocking, news that a white man, Michael Dunn, could kill a black one (child), Jordan Davis, and we’re still the ones left hung for it.
Only in a country founded upon racial superiority and genocide and built by slavery like America, can a white man be found guilty of leaving three black young men alive, but left in the sea of uncertainty on the charge of actually taking the life of another. Being away from the states, and my home state of Florida particularly, helps me see from such a broader perspective. Being on the outside looking in, I am disappointed, not in the actions of the majority or the system, which is one in the same. Those are not surprising and the country itself was built upon them.
A system cannot fail those it was never meant to protect.
One could even argue that America has improved in matters of race. I mean after all, we have a black president. Right? Haven’t we been pacified enough? That seems to be the sentiment of many non-black Americans, and others I’ve met here. Yet, I am disappointed that we, the prey, the targets, the descendants of those who, without any recognition or compensation for centuries, physically and painfully built the land that houses so much disdain for us, have been lulled into apathy, complacency, and reticence; only using our voice to publicly lament, but not to demand or create the world we wish to see.
We are just as afraid of ourselves as the bigoted sentiment that drives our culture is, and because you cannot love that which you fear, our self-hatred is far more detrimental. We know and understand that being black in America means you have to operate by a completely different and restricted set of ordinances. But, instead of creating our own haven for ourselves, we try our best to lose ourselves, adopt the majority culture, and denounce the rest of us for being the broken product of a hostile environment. There is no safe place, not even in the suburbs to which many of us have tried to escape. All of us, regardless of our zip code, have to teach our children, our sons especially, to: