America thinks that men who look #StephonClark or me, my nephews, friends, mentors, fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and brothers are monsters who deserve to be judged with death at the slightest so-called “threat”—real or imagined. To law enforcement or the state, women who look like #SandraBland or my mothers, sisters, nieces, my wife, cousins, aunties, and grandmothers are deemed unworthy and ugly due to their complexion and hair texture.
Our lips, our hips, our rhythm, our skin tones, are all seen as a “threat” simply by their mere existence. We can march peacefully in the streets and sing “We Shall Overcome” and still be considered a threat. We can say, “Freedom of everybody or freedom for nobody,” or “All Power to the People!” Yet we are still seen as a threat. We can kneel, stand, raise our fist, or say “Black Lives Matter!” We are always the threat.
We’re baby mamas, baby daddies, thugs, hoodlums, hoodrats, jigaboos, criminals, darkies, hoes, gangstas, ratchet, monkeys, and niggers. I reminisce the lyrics that haunt my dreams …
I used to wonder about people who don’t believe in themselves
But then I saw the way they portrayed us to everyone else
They cursed us to only see the worst in ourselves
Blind to the fact the whole time we were hurtin’ ourselves.
—Immortal Technique “Caught in the Hustle”
We’re taught our history began in bondage and that we were “civilized” by a stronger and wiser people. In this society, “one drop” gives you the Scarlett Letter of blackness. For whiteness is to be pure and good, blackness must be dirty and evil. White vs. black: A social construct that is based on an ideology of supremacy, a legacy that started in 1776 and continues to this very day.
At its core, the racial construct is a lie. But it is a lie that has had a profound impact on the Divided States of America.
Ultimately, the real monsters sit in the White House, the Pentagon, police departments, DEA, FBI, NRA, and state legislatures. They own the prisons and head the boards of prominent corporations—who all benefit from the systematic destruction of black people in the era of the New Jim Crow. Why do they hate us? Is it because if they let go of their own hate, they’d have to deal with the pain of their own existence?
If the hatred vanished, I guess they wouldn’t be able to get fat and rich off the misery and suffering of black folks. After all, that’s America’s oldest hustle. Remember, the Slave Trade was the capital for capitalism.
To #StephonClark, #TamirRice, #OscarGrant, #SandraBland, #RekiaBoyd, #FreddieGray, #WalterScott, #YvetteSmith, #SeanBell, #KendraJames, and the countless others we’ve lost far too soon in this inhumane system: We see your humanity. We know you all meant the world to those closest to you.
You are loved. You are cherished. We know your lives mattered and will always matter.
You may be gone, but you are surely not forgotten.
Originally published on Evolving Man Project. Republished with permission.
If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project, please join like-minded individuals in The Good Men Project Premium Community.