Archive of ‘Race & Culture’ category

Call Me Pro Black One More Time…

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWwmj7085iQ%5D

So I took the plunge and tried vlogging! It’s definitely not as easy as it seems but I want to stick with it and get better. Don’t chew me out too hard guys I’m still an artist and I’m sensitive about my s@*!

Have you ever been called “pro Black”? Has it ever confused you? It’s certainly confused me, how can you be pro something that you innately are?

Thank You Danielle Watts, You’re Ruining It For All Of Us

Danielle Watts Causing A Scene

It’s terrible when people exploit a real issue and use it to draw attention to themselves at the expense of their race. I’m talking about Danielle Watts, and her recent very public incident with police officers. When I first heard about the incident earlier in the week I was a little confused and chose not to write about it because the details seemed fuzzy. Police approached her, called her a prostitute and her boyfriend a John because they were an interracial couple kissing in a public space? Something just didn’t add up, and if it did, then there really was no hope for racial peace and a change in police behavior. But lo and behold a few days later, the truth of the situation comes to light, and let’s just say what’s done in the dark should have stayed there.

When the story broke, it turned out that the police had actually been called out on a complaint of something in the realm of lewd and lascivious public behavior, my own words. Apparently people had seen them getting a little hot and heavy in the front seat of their car and felt uncomfortable. When the cops approached them, Danielle’s white boyfriend simply handed over his ID. Danielle on the other, well Danielle acted like a damn fool, made an absolute scene, pulled the race card, then proceeded to pull the celebrity card. This all resulted in her subsequent handcuffing until she presented officers with her ID, after which they promptly let her and her boyfriend on their way. Both of them took to social media claiming racial injustice, the issues with America, and just for safe measure her boyfriend threw out a statement about police assuming that they were in fact a “trick” and a “John”. Even with photographic evidence, Watts and her boyfriend claim that it only proves that they were making out and not having sex, whatever it was it apparently made people uncomfortable.

Danielle my dear, you are absolutely ruining it for the rest of us. This is a prime example of when someone messes it up forDanielle W everyone, by diverting attention away from real issues and focusing it on an embarrassing mess like this one. We do not live in post-racial America, I do not think I can make that more clear. While we have made strides, moved mountains, and progressed, we are nowhere near the finish line. Focusing on examples of racial injustice in America serves as a reference point from which to work when we address what to fix in order to move forward. What Danielle Watts did was selfish, to say the least.

Those who claim that there really is not as much racial injustice in the world as people try to make it seem, look for incidents like this one to back up their point. As a Black person in America you should always understand that you are under some form of scrutiny. It doesn’t mean it is fair, warranted, or right, it just happens to be the reality. With this in mind you should also be very well aware of the fact that engaging in battles with cops is a foggy area. It’s extremely important to pick your battles and do so wisely. Essentially Danielle Watts did not pick the right battle, nor did she use the right approach.

Listening to the audio from the situation makes me cringe, because she sounds like a damn idiot. The officer was calm when he approached her, he told her why he was there and simply asked for her ID. To launch into a loud speech about racial injustice and profiling in America, to scream, and cry, was so completely unnecessary. I don’t know if she was trying to get in character for an upcoming role, or maybe she thought she was Rosa Parks re-incarnate, but I can promise you she probably won’t have the support of the NAACP on this one. What’s even worse than the race card was her choice to throw out her “fame card”, spitting out things like, ” I think I’d like to identify you … to my publicist.” Ms. Watts please have a seat. While I did not see Django Unchained, I had a minor in African American studies, I’ve had my fill of slave movies for a lifetime, I can guess that her role probably didn’t make or break the film in any way, particularly if her acting was anything like the scene she caused with the police.

It is hard to be Black in America. That’s not a statement of pity or one that warrants pity, it’s just a fact. It is a reality that we have come to understand and one that we work everyday to battle. Danielle Watts has just added another notch in the belt of difficulty, adding to the weight on our backs. People like this are selfish and foolish and deserve whatever is coming to them because they chose to use the pain and suffering of their people to boost their own notoriety. Before this incident I had no idea who this woman was and I’m sure plenty of other people can say the same. What plenty of people can now also say is “see, Black people are forever exaggerating race.” Well the truth is, WE are not, but Danielle Watts, well she’s just a whole different story,

You’re Not Allowed To Throw Shade At Janay Rice

Janay Rice Domestic Violence

If you’re anything like me then every time you see mention, photos, or video footage of Janay Rice something in your skin crawls. There is something that bubbles up inside of you, fast and hard. Go with those feelings. Feel frustrated, pissed off, disgusted, and angry; but feel these things for Janay, not towards her. Since the release of the full assault video and the NFL’s decision to let go of Ray Rice, I’ve seen a lot of misplaced anger directed towards Janay Rice. The operative words here being MISPLACED. If there’s one thing I was taught about violence, it’s that you never blame the victim. Period. To see both men and women getting upset with Janay Rice, calling her an idiot for the decisions she made, is disheartening. Do I hate that this woman is standing by her husband after he physically and publicly harmed her? Absolutely. What I don’t hate, is the woman.

Domestic violence is a woefully neglected topic in society,  and in my opinion right up there with mental illness. Nothing in domesticJanay Rice Domestic Violence violence is black and white, ever. When I re-watch the video of Janay’s apology for “her role” in the incident, I focus on how uncomfortable she looks and my mother comments on her lack of eye contact. I genuinely don’t believe in her heart of hearts that she wants to be there apologizing, but there’s a reason she is. What the reason is we may never know. When she made a statement saying that she would stand by her husband and show everyone what a real marriage and what true love looks like, I couldn’t decide whether she believes her own words or if they were fed to her by her abusive husband. Either way it’s a problem.

When people are abused physically you should automatically assume they are abused mentally as well, because the two go hand in hand. Something in your brain has to have been battered to instill in you the belief that you are deserving of the physical abuse you’re receiving. There are excuses made and defenses go up. It is really easy to be upset at the victim or say that if she stays she deserves whatever she gets, but it really is just not that simple.

Since Janay has been unable to illicit any public display of outrage for the harm done to her, whether she has wanted to or not, feel free to feel that for her. Feel free to feel that outrage for all victims of domestic abuse. I’ve seen way more defense for Ray Rice than I have for Janay Rice. I read a  few posts that said that people understand punishing Ray Rice, but that we shouldn’t be trying to ruin his life, because he definitely isn’t the first celebrity to have been discovered as an abuser. As I browsed the list of other celebrities who had been exposed as domestic abusers, I must admit I was surprised I didn’t know about a few of them, but I think that what inflates this situation more than the others is the extreme visibility of this case. It’s not a photo of Janay’s bruises and wounds as we typically see in these cases. This time we have a video, a video where we could watch this man cold clock his fiancé and drag her unconscious body, her backside exposed to the camera, out of the elevator and across the floor. We watched this man drag his wife like a sack of potatoes. It’s like watching an episode of Law and Order SVU and feeling like a frustrated Olivia, trying to convince the victim that she is in fact the victim.

The whole ordeal is graphic, I don’t even have to discuss that, but I don’t want to see it echo rape culture, where we start blaming the victim and discussing how sad it is that this situation is ending the abusers prime. No one forced him to hit his wife like he did. Everything in life has consequences and the consequence for hitting your wife so hard that one blow knocks her unconscious, is not being given the opportunity to bask in the glory as an athlete. Past the ability to earn a living, being an athlete is one of the most highly celebrated positions in American society. We revere them as some form of role model. In all honesty, I don’t understand how catching a ball makes you more of a role model than someone who can successfully cut someone open, fix them, and sew them back up, but I won’t even go there. I know people think you shouldn’t ruin anyone’s life over one mistake, and I agree, but you don’t allow them to be celebrated either. Removing him from the league was the right decision.

At the end of the day we have to remember one very important thing. Janay Rice is a victim. She is a victim of an ugly, despicable circumstance. She has been harmed by the person who is supposed to love her the most. She was devalued by her life partner, and as foolish as we all feel it is for her to stand by the sanctity of marriage when her partner clearly does not, we cannot shame her into changing her position.

The Problem With Loving Black Men

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I love Black men. I love their skin, their strong jaws, those heavy lips, and wide-set noses. Black men are these beautiful amalgamations of strength, pain, growth, and determination; which makes them my greatest weakness. I love everything about Black men, everything except their disposability.

As a Black woman who loves Black men, who is the sister to a Black boy, and the daughter of a Black man, my greatest fear is the disposable nature of the Black male life. How can you grow to love something so much only to know that every time they walk out the door it could be their last step, the last time we speak, the  last embrace I feel. Loving Black men is this beautiful tragedy that plays like a desperate concerto through the ages. You never know if you can wake up to them the next day. I’ve kept very quiet on the subject of Ferguson because…well because what else is there for me to say that others haven’t already said. I close my eyes to the images, because it physically hurts my heart. Studying Black history in college, one of my last courses was on the Civil Rights and Black Power movements. A course filled with images of riot gear, fire hoses, tear gas, and dogs. That was over 50 years ago. To quote a protest sign, “I cannot believe I still have to protest this shit.” I could put a photo of Ferguson next to a photo of Birmingham in the 1960s and swear I was looking at the same day.

Ferguson instills a fear in me like no other because it reminds me of why it is so hard to love Black men. It is so hard to know that the life of someone who means everything to you means absolutely nothing to others. It’s so hard to believe that the loss of Black life is still underneath the loss of a dog’s life; even more painful when no one else understands your pain. No one understands the pain that comes with the loss of a Black man like a Black woman because no one loves a Black man like a Black woman does. No one cries over Black men like Black women do. No mother could fear for her son like the mother of a Black son fears for hers. The silent rage you feel from Black women, it’s our hearts breaking. It’s the cracking of our souls as a piece of us is ripped away. You could flood oceans with the tears of Black women’s loss. We lose fathers and brothers and sons, but more than that, we lose love. Loving Black men is so painful because losing Black men seems so inevitable. If Black women ever had a hope of holding onto what they love so dearly it has only been fleeting, short spaces of time to breathe in the scent of Black men’s existence before being plunged back into the battlefield.

Sometimes I get this unending frustration because there just don’t seem to be enough words to convey the pain, the disappointment, and the fear that I feel watching Ferguson unfold. While I know that the whole ordeal spans into more issues than the loss of Black life, I can’t seem to get past that point. I know that police brutality is an issue and that the voice of the press is being muted, but I just can’t bring myself to care. In the midst of this war zone all I can continue to think is that another Black mother is without her child. No amount of media coverage, of protesting, or of riots can bring him back. I want to scream for all the idiots who claim revenge as they loot, that no amount of merchandise pilfered from any place can compensate or measure up to the loss of this life. I want to scream for all the “eyewitnesses” plastered across the screens thinking they are helping bring to justice this atrocity by regaling the tale over and over again as it is broadcast into our homes. All I can really understand or recognize is that just like through history, society has ripped another child from the hands of a Black mother, and just like through history, there is nothing we can do about what has already happened.

There is a solution, out there somewhere. Some way, some how, there exists a resolution, but I’m too hurt right now to search for it. I think Black society is too hurt to think clearly on how to find it. The loud roar of protest exists right now to drown out our tears, because I know, like me, everyone is crying out to Mike Brown; and frankly I don’t know when we’ll be able to stop crying.

 

The Beauty Salon Taught Me Self Hate

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At 6am on a Saturday morning you groggily trudged out of bed, not to pour a bowl of sugary cereal and watch Saturday morning cartoons, but to make the blissful journey to the hair salon, in hopes that your early arrival would yield an early release. As you walked through the door you were greeted by the smell of lye, the heat of the dryers, and the sounds of loud gossip and chatter.  I think almost all black women remember this experience as a child, whether you were the one with the appointment or just being dragged along by your mother, the beauty salon was somewhat of a second home. We all know the notion that the beauty salon is a hub of social interaction in Black culture and that all the gossip and information of the community can be heard over the sounds of hair dryers and sizzling hot irons; but have we ever stopped to think about what else we learned at the beauty salon? The beauty salon itself can easily be a symbol of, “you aren’t pretty until you conform to the standard of beauty obtained within these walls.”

Annie Lee “Burn You Baby”

Since I decided to go natural a few years ago I don’t particularity frequent beauty shops the way I once did, but not to long ago, I found myself in need of a blowout and off to the salon I went. While I was sitting under the dryer, I watched two little girls walk into the beauty salon, each to have their hair done. One little girl had a full head of beautiful fluffy kinky hair and the other girl had an equally beautiful wave of curls that fell over her shoulders. I watched the women in the salon fawn over the little girl with the loose curls as they praised the beauty and ease of her hair, reminding her how blessed she was. The other little girl was led to a chair where two women sucked their teeth and chatted trivially about giving her a perm. They proceeded to tell the little girl that she needed a perm so her hair could be “normal”. I’m not embellishing here, these were precisely the words that came out of the stylist’s mouth. Now I bring this up, not as an example of hair hate, but as an example of general self hate that is instilled in us at such a young age. This little girl watched as another little girl was praised for having good hair and was told that her own hair wasn’t normal.

This isn’t uncommon in the world of the hair salon. Everybody seemed to understand the unwritten rules of conduct. As they tugged at your hair stylists would freely criticize the latest celebrity or known around the community woman for any number of “flaws” they had. I can even recall  a very specific debate in a salon I once went to around the time that Beyoncé was just going solo. These women were tearing Beyoncé to shreds, calling her fat, saying her thighs were too big, “who did this high yellow bitch think she was”. That seems like a crazy notion in today’s world where Beyoncé is the envy of millions of women. (I don’t like Beyoncé conversations so that example stops there.)

Beauty shop conversation can be far from harmless banter, it can turn malicious and when you are a young girl consistently

Annie Lee “All That Glitters”

exposed to this kind of conversation you essentially adopt it as acceptable and proper. Even worse than accepting the habit, you begin to internalize the words, scrutinizing every physical detail of yourself. When the stylist told you how ugly your ends were, you cringed as she clipped them off, then went home and obsessed over your hair, ensuring the perfection of your ends for your return trip to the salon. Discussions of how awful that celebrity looked in that color outfit, had you obsessing over which color was right for your skin. Not to mention the occasional straight guy who would hang around the salon, with commentary on how wonderfully fat that girl’s ass was in the last music video; sending you home to crane your neck in the mirror to get a good look at your not so bootylicious butt. Trips to the beauty salon forced you to ponder over trivial things, which over time you internalize into these everyday worries. Of course the beauty salon is not solely responsible for this, but it’s a matter of food for thought to recognize the influence that they did have.

As women, we seem to make a habit of tearing each other down, there is no better embodiment of this behavior then at the beauty salon. There was a time when the beauty salon was a hub of political discourse and planning for social movements. The conversations were led by the movers and shakers, and to be a young girl privy to this conversation was a privilege and somewhat of a right of passage.  Today the beauty salon is a conglomeration of malicious words and gossip, and while I am not condemning beauty salon culture or even saying every beauty salon is like this, I do think it calls for some review. When women tear each other down in front of young girls, it teaches young girls the same malicious behavior and therein lies a circle of self hate.

This post started out as a tweet from under the hair dryer until my friend told me it needed more than 140 characters. Thanks Amir!

But… You’re Only Technically Black

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So just in case you haven’t heard there is an amazing new movie that is blooming out of Sundance , aptly titled, Dear White People. I won’t go in-depth with this movie, but what I will tell you is that it seems like its going to be the perfect embodiment of an unspoken definition of “blackness” today, with all of it’s faces, all wrapped up in the perfect microcosm of an ivy league school. And I do mean perfect microcosm in the sense that it portrays a community dominated by a White superpower. I’m really excited to get a hold of this movie, but it prompted me to think again about my own experience growing up against the “white wall”. I’ve always loved informing people that I in fact did not grow up “tragically colored”. I, like Zora was proud of the fact that I stuck out among my White peers,

Cast of “Dear White People”

excelling and proudly representing my race; but recently I was having a conversation with one of my White peers and somewhere in our mix of words, she uttered the phrase “Well, I mean you’re only technically Black.” It took me a minute to bounce back from that statement and very politely end the conversation, because here’s what was going through my head: What the hell is “technically Black”? After some careful consideration I came to the conclusion that she meant I was only Black by virtue of the color of my skin. Now in my head this could go one of two ways. On the one hand it seems as if this is a masterful breakthrough in race relations where a White person has realized that race is really just a performative, disciplinary, action based on self-created social order (bear with me I know Foucault is a mouthful). On the other hand, and what I believe to be the more accurate reason, there stood the idea that a Black person who succeeds and even surpasses a White person in something that is not singing, dancing, or sports has somehow found a way to “escape” the daunting oppression of their own blackness! So essentially I am so very lovingly stripped of my “accursed Blackness” by my White peers in an effort to comfort them into the belief that I do not concede to an existence as a Black person because I’m intelligent. My intelligence excuses my Blackness as if it is some sort of accursed chip on my shoulder that only non-Black people have the power to remove. Where do I even really start with this? First of all, this to me is like when people tell me they don’t even see color; contrary to popular belief, this is the rudest statement ever. You should see race, because acting as if you don’t see it brings about situations like this, where one tries to strip you of your race as a result of a characteristic. My skin is Black, that will never change, the end. So to imply that you will recognize my intelligence in spite of my race is such a spit in the face it isn’t even funny. I’m not smart… for a Black girl. I’m smart; Period. It’s times like this that I get frustrated when I hear my Black peers say something like.. well I’m only Black because of my skin. While I wholeheartedly agree that you are not defined by the color of your skin, I also staunchly advocate for the recognition that the color you carry holds a deep, painful, beautiful history. So to chalk up your Blackness to simply the color of your skin is the greatest disservice you can do yourself. With Black History Month right around the corner you should gear yourself up for the firestorm of sympathetic statements from White people in an effort to make an apology to your entire race. My advice, don’t just brush past the statements. Listen to it, analyze, because what they say speaks volumes about how they perceive you as a representation of your race. Are you going to like the reality?

Twerking and the Downfall of the Black Woman

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Let me start by saying that as a black woman who has herself occasionally engaged in a twerk or two it really is easy for most of us to disregard twerking as being anything serious. It’s just another dance sweeping through the clubs, harmless right? Well in early September an op-ed article was published in the New York Times entitled, Explaining Twerking to Your Parents. It defines twerking as “a dance move typically associated with lower-income African-American women that involves the rapid gyration of the hips in a fashion that prominently exhibits the elasticity of the gluteal musculature.” You read that correctly LOWER -INCOME AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN. So to be clear, an article in a major news publication, penned by a white journalist took time to explain to white adolescents how they can shirk twerking off as something black girls do, and that in fact when they are doing it, it’s harmless, and when Miley Cyrus twerks it is due to ” a raft of personal, socioeconomic and third-wave-feminist issues.” So now I ask, is twerking still harmless?

Cinderella Twerking

Credit: hiconsumption.com

An article like this should really be a driving force, no, a wake up call that brings to our attention a cultural relapse the likes of the days of  black face, minstrel shows, and cake walking. Ratchet culture is the new blemish on the face of Black culture as a whole. It’s something else to add to the list of things White people can associate negatively with us, as if the list couldn’t circle the globe twice already. But above all else we should be concerned that it has become so much of a cultural norm. I think twerking is a word that most black people say daily, it’s just become so natural. Meme’s on twerking, jokes about twerking, incorporating twerking into everyday life and everyone seems completely accustomed to it, so what’s the problem here? The problem is that when a black woman twerks or discusses twerking it becomes another reinforcement that twerking is a BLACK thing. When a white woman twerks or discusses twerking it is still a BLACK thing. Twerking isn’t the issue here, the association of twerking with the definition of a Black woman is the issue. Twerking is ratchet, yes, but it is not Black and I need Black women to stop getting upset that Miley Cyrus “thinks she can twerk”. As far as I’m concerned Miley can twerk till her ass falls off, so long as she isn’t out here claiming that it’s her way of indulging in Black culture.

Side Note: Ratchet culture, is not new. We may have assigned it a new name, but make no mistake, it didn’t pop up over night. The other mistake people seem quite content on making is aassigning ratchet culture to Black culture. Again no! I’d like to re-introduce one of my favorite white families, the Thompsons, better known as the stars of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Just when you thought you couldn’t top this farting, mud wrestling, teenage

Credit: TVRage.com

pregnancy family, in walks the ladies of Gypsy Sisters! I don’t think there is a better definition of ratchet anywhere! Google them, YouTube them, watch them fight and dress up in glitter and marry their first cousins! The best part about all of it though, it’s cultural! They literally explain how fighting and bling is a cultural installation for them, so reassign ratchet to where it belongs.

Let’s make something clear here, black culture is not & should not be synonymous with twerking! It is a dance; and not one in the realms of, something that the slaves did to keep their spirits high in the fields, so why should we be so adamant about claiming it for our culture! Now I’m not calling for a worldwide ban on twerking, because on occasion it can be a fun indulgence when you’re out with your girls. What I am calling for is a halt to the millions of twerking videos posted by black women, the constant cultural references to twerking, and the die-hard claim that twerking is a Black thing. Twerking is a dance thing, not a way of life, and certainly not a black way of life.

Never Seen an Episode of Love and Hip Hop But I Love Honey Boo Boo

If I was being held up and the only thing that could save me was re-capping last weeks episode of Love and Hip Hop, I would be one unfortunately doomed girl, considering the fact that I have never seen an episode. Typically when I tell fellow black women this they seem taken aback, as if I have missed a milestone in black womanhood, but what tends to surprise them even further is that I can in fact tell them how  little miss Alana, star of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, makes “sketti” with her family. I want to be confused about why people react like this but the reality is I understand. Understanding, however is not the same as being in agreement, because I feel  that I can explain my addiction to Honey Boo Boo with very simple reasoning.

My Crazy family If you know nothing about Here Comes Honey Boo Boo then you need only know this much, this reality show centers around a Caucasian lower class family who live in rural Georgia, quite literally on the other side of the train tracks. They live in something like a trailer, are all to some extent relatively overweight, they fart, flick boogers, eat fast food and roadkill (yes I said roadkill), and oh did I mention teenage pregnancy? Sounds like stuff that can only be written for television right? Wrong. The thing I adore so much about this show is the simple fact that in my heart of hearts I do believe it is real, just like I’m sure people believe the things that go on in Love and Hip Hop are real. Of course reality television is a little blown out of proportion but I mean they had to start somewhere right? When Honey Boo Boo first made its debut America just seemed to be up in arms about how crass and disgusting the show was and how it was an insult to America. Umm… but no one is going to say anything about Love and Hip Hop’s horrible characterization of black people with money?

To me the type of people in Here Comes Honey Boo Boo are like America’s handicapped child that they try  to keep inside and away from the neighbors for fear of embarrassment. It’s really hard for America to swallow that, guess what? White people somewhere in America DO ACT LIKE THIS! Honey Boo Boo showcases a whole American community that I think is conveniently neglected in the realm of the media, because they expose a side of Caucasian America that they just wish didn’t exist and I love it. Now it’s not in a venomous sense that I love this but rather it just seems fair! I feel like more than 50% of shows centered around black people just emanate this concept of ratchetness that seemingly exists in the black community. To me shows like Love and Hip Hop send this message to other races that says, “see even when you give them money and put them in expensive houses black people are ghetto, tacky, and incapable of acting like civil people.” I’ve never watched the show but I have seen some of the stars both in articles I’ve read and in person ( a few cast members of the original show shop at the mall in my area). The reality is  that these people are not special and when you see them on the streets, they remind  me of any other tacky person you might see. They neither sum up nor define black culture and for that reason highlighting and promoting them is simply self-destructive.

What’s even more destructive is black people’s indulgence in the show, I mean I get it, guilty pleasure and all but that Here Comes Honey Boo Boopleasure is costing the African American image a pretty penny. Too many black people spend their time obsessing over the show and it’s happenings, lets be honest here, white people aren’t really out there obsessing over what Honey Boo Boo and her family are going to do next. Even the hype around Jersey Shore didn’t seem to equal, to me, the hype around Love and Hip Hop and it’s spin-offs. They are a household staple, and that to me is a problem. Black America is way to comfortable with poking fun at themselves and although I think maybe we know this, I don’t think we really KNOW this because clearly we are still fueling shows that blatantly disrespect us. In America image is everything, and right now ours is tainted and getting worse with each television season. Do yourself a favor and support Caucasian ratchetness, it’s just as enjoyable and much less damaging!

I Could Write About Trayvon Martin… But So Could Anybody Else

Ladies & Gentlemen, I could sit here and type for days about the decision in the Trayvon Martin case. I could craft paragraphs about the injustice and biased nature of the American justice system.  I could comment until I am blue in the face about the fact that we allowed a panel of all white women invalidate the basic value of a teenage life and had the audacity to call them a jury of peers. I could write about how I cried when I heard the verdict, how my heart dropped, how my body went numb, and how I was unable to function or sleep. Or I could tell you how I prayed, got on my knees and actually prayed for the first time in years. I could tell you these things, but doing so is not what will affect change.

My Trayvon Martin Tribute Photo (March 2012)

In the coming time you will see hundreds of articles about the Trayvon Martin case, you will see people who will write rants, others who could care less, even more who will explain that people should not care so deeply about this specific case but instead be more concerned that black people kill each other everyday. What I say to them is this: We as African Americans live in a world where we are faced with a hefty laundry list of social, political, and economic issues; this fact shouldn’t be news to anyone. What I feel that Black people should focus on right now, is how to find ways to grieve appropriately and address ALL of these issues as efficiently as possible. This case warrants so much attention because it sets a new precedent in injustice. Just because this is true does not mean it invalidates the crime, death rate, or tragedies enacted on Blacks by blacks. They are still just as important and still should warrant attention on our radar, but understand this, no one will fight for us if we don’t fight for us.

Trayvon Martin’s case warranted attention because we fought for it to do so, we refused to be quiet  about it. If you feel so greatly about an injustice then that is what you do and that is how we should fight for every case of unjust death or prejudice. While this is a highly racially charged case if you take race out of the equation this is STILL a grave injustice. An unarmed teenager was killed, his killer was acquitted to walk the streets, and returned the weapon with which he killed this teenager. When you take color out of that equation it is still an awful and unthinkable thing for a country who is so poised about the “protection” of its people. At the end of the day it sends the message that depending on who you are there are no consequences for your actions.

Legally, this man cannot be tried again for this crime (double jeopardy), but that does not yet mean that all is lost. He can still face federal charges for hate crimes and there are still actions in motion to find Justice for Trayvon. If you want to help, you will not riot, you will not contribute to or allow mass chaos to ensue, simply because all it does is give the group who believes we don’t deserve justice more leverage to say that we are savage and unable to control ourselves.  In this situation we must live b y this thought: take nothing lying down but recognize that you can learn nothing up in arms. If you want to beat the system you must learn it, infiltrate it, and take some control of it and I say this firsthand whilst I study for my law school entrance exams. When your jury duty letter’s come don’t groan and attempt to avoid it, instead take your opportunity to play a role in the justice system.

Please be angry, be frustrated, upset, disappointed, disheartened, disgusted, and every emotion in the plethora that come with occurrences like this, but please do not grow violent and do not let them force ourselves back decades. Stand and fight, the right way. Try this way: NAACP PETITION

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