In my ever pursuit to tread lightly in the words I say and write on social media, I must be up front and say that too often, I feel forced to censor what I have to say in order for it to not come across as this or that or in fear that the words I type/speak now will come back and “haunt me”. But now, I realize that I have nothing to say that will come back to “haunt me”; I only act and speak in a way the Jesus would approve. And, more importantly, I have realized that I am more afraid of keeping my words to myself rather than sharing them with others and putting them into atmosphere.
So, here I am entering the 21st year of life grateful and even more aware of the control I do not have in my own life but also aware that I need to do and say something.
Being in a pandemic has given us time to breathe, be still, eat at the table with our whole family present, and do things we thought we had not had time to do before…But now, this pandemic has revealed (yet again) the longevity of racism. In my 21 years I have witnessed the love of people, the hate of people, the light of people, and the ignorance of people.
There are several things that have been revealed to me…But, before I continue, I want to say that if any feelings of anger, resentment, or uncomfortableness arise or bubble within you, I challenge you to keep reading. If you are nodding your head in agreement, or have curiosity swimming in your mind, I too challenge you to read more.
First off, the duality of the people and the government system in the US constantly baffles me. (That is you and me included.) The dichotomy of how armed citizens can enter the State Capitol (much in the fashion of the Black Panther Party in Sacramento, California in the late 1960’s, but that in simple appearance, not in term of agenda) and not be met with violent force. The dichotomy of how people who can openly and boldly defy police orders and taunt our first responders with words and attitudes of venom, it provokes so many questions and internal emotions.
The duality of screaming ‘Blue Lives Matter’ one day and then the next day those same people are in their face. Chanter’s spit covering their faces. It baffles me. The lack of respect you have for the ones you chant for their protection. I too believe in the worth of first responders. But you cannot pick when and when not to. As I was taught from the Bible, you are either hot or cold; not luke-warm.
Then, the duality of polices’ calmness. The patience. The lack of fear when faced with a citizen armed with a gun larger than their own. I only wish to see that same patience when faced an unarmed Black person.
Secondly, this pandemic has showed me the worth of Black lives…The necessity I feel to remind others and myself, my uncles, my Dad, my little brother, my Mom, my sister of their worth in their Blackness. The necessity I feel to think about how no one else has to justify why Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmad Abrey, and so many others should not have gotten killed.
The duality of necessity…The necessity to defend and recall countless good deeds, only trying to demonstrate why this person did not deserve to be killed. The duality of unearthing petty crimes from 10 years ago to justify the life leaving Earth.
The duality of fear. Fear of a person with Black skin and the fear that Black people have when going out. I must tell you they are not the same.
This pandemic has revealed to some and reminded others the lack of equity. I do not want equality. I want equity.
Too many of us are rooting for officials who are not experiencing our present situation; it is you and I who are entering contaminated spaces. Not them. We are confined to apartments, two-bedroom homes shared with other families, or we are out of jobs, or we are in essential jobs [thank you!], and we are voting for officials who have eight, ten-bedroom homes for two people.
Our values are skewed. Our officials are skewed. Our representation is skewed. Our data is skewed. And we are screwed.
Langston Hughes wrote how he too sings America, Maya Angelou wrote about how she still rises, and Nikki Giovanni wrote of her confidence in her skin, but now, I feel it hard to sing America, I find it hard to encourage others who look like me to rise, I find it hard to encourage Blackness when it ends up killing us, even though we cannot control the shade of our skin.
But, like Langston Hughes, I’ll continue to “eat well and grow strong”, because one day “they’ll see how beautiful [We] are and be ashamed”.