I have been very ill for the last few weeks. It was a super-germ likely one of the many which come to our shores every season due to global transportation.
I am rarely sick from a cold or flu but when I get one, it is a beast. While I lay there recovering, I realized an important thing.
Why DID I got sick in the first place?
I got sick because I spend too much time in mental conflict. Too much time trying to remember I am as Human as the White people who spend too much time and too much money making sure I have as little opportunity as possible.
How? Through the manipulation of the media images presented to everyone in this country.
Black men are the bane of the cultural existence of Americans. Violent to the extreme, physically imposing, sexually threatening, diabolical and monstrous in every way.
For the sake of society, Black men must not be shown to be empowered.
They must not be shown to be creative. They must not be shown to be kind or humane unless it is in circumstances where Whites stand to benefit from that sacrifice (see every monster or magical negro movie ever).
They must be shown with limited interests; sports, rapping, misogyny.
They are not shown as scientists, teachers, thinkers, creators, or leaders.
They are not show opposite beautiful and intelligent Black women. They are not in a relationship with those women. Not positive ones, not significant ones, not ones filled with empathy for each other, with love for our children, with hope for the future.
No. We are shown as dysfunctional, barely capable of holding it together, drug abusing, spouse abusing, child abusing psychopaths with no aspirations beyond our next form of debauchery.
This is the message we are subliminally fed, a psychological intravenous drip of poisonous subroutines given to society to ensure that if you were born of Blackness in this society, messages like these always precede you.
When you walk into a room, those messages precede you. People don’t see you, they see your psychological placeholders which pre-define you in their eyes.
Men fear you, though you have done nothing to them. They bristle at your presence, at your personal strength through unimagined adversity.
Women fear you; they avert their gaze as you approach, pretending to see anything but you. They clutch their purses, they lock their car doors as you pass, though you weren’t even aware of their presence.
Perhaps if you don’t know this is going on, you can move through life and simply be blissfully unaware of this subtle, but constant background radiation of hatred, as you die from this, languishing without rationale, failing even while striving for life.
But I think, if you realize it, it is even worse. You watch your efforts sabotaged before your eyes. You watch your children, your neighbors, your kin struggling, failing, dying from diseases, stress-related psychoses, cultural efforts to adapt, all coming up short because what they want, no, what they need is…
Real freedom. The freedom that comes from acknowledging that Black people and people of color did not destroy America. In fact, without people of color, America as we know it might not exist at all.
I have been sick because I recognized, again and again, I am not free. I am free to move, but not to think. I am free to work, but not where I want, doing what I want, bringing my power to bear on problems that matter. I am free but still watched. Still feared. Still loathed, though I have done nothing.
My sickness is a reflection of the trials I endure every day when I wake and remember I am not FREE.
Blacks are not the bane of this country. Every negative stereotype created about us was created by White people. Every wrong perception perpetuated through the media is done so by White people.
Every wrong perception perpetuated through the media is done so by White people.Get over yourselves. If you are not in a position of power, you are at least in a position of privilege. Let me show you how.
Greedy, white men in power, who have always harmed, abused, mistreated, maligned anyone they could not control. If they could not convince you to join their cause (because you are never truly invested, no matter how many lives you lose, no matter how much you sacrifice, it is always THEIR dream you are building, not yours) then you will be destroyed, using whatever means is available and is made acceptable at the time.
It was legal to kill the Native Americans once.
It was legal to enslave the Africans brought here through chattel slavery.
It was legal to murder those same so-called slaves in an effort to control them, to instill fear in them, to break them.
It was legal to punish them in ways no sane man today could stand. (But there are plenty of insane men who would think nothing of waterboarding so, the insanity is still there.)
It was legal to deny people of color property.
It was legal to redline them and prevent them from own property and passing on generational wealth to their children.
It was legal to enslave them in the prison system through trumped up charges.
It was legal to force them into lower quality housing or keep them from being able to live in places fit for human habitation.
It was legal to prevent them from marrying whom they wanted.
It was legal to prevent them from voting.
It was legal to declare the drug war on Blacks.
It was legal to discriminate against them for any reason or no reason at all.
You live with this. You live with this knowledge inside of you. It eats at you as a cancer would. One cell at a time. Redoubling its efforts when you are successfully discriminated against even in an era where such discrimination is now illegal, but tolerated.
You can still be shot and killed by a policeman and he will get a two week paid vacation, return to work, suffer no censure and take no accountability.
Living with this knowledge is what makes such writing on Quora intolerable. Because every person who says Black people are less than, has never turned their eye inward to discover exactly what monsters have lead this so-called nation of immigrants; what fell beasts have fed upon the flesh of the innocents by the millions.
By the millions.
Yes, I am the poster child for the destruction of America, to hear them tell it.
I should be avoided. I should be denied opportunities for meaningful work no matter how qualified I might be.
I should be shunned because of a violent history I have been associated with but does not exist.
I should be fetishized, sexualized, sold into psychic slavery, while the true predators roam free, with their billions garnered through the manipulation of minds, the oppression of opportunities, the extraction of wealth though religious, intellectual and social thuggery.
But I am the threat.
Keep believing that while your air turns to ash and your water to a silty, lifeless morass from which no life springs.
Believe that while a White Man in a suit lays waste to your world while telling you…
I am the cause of your suffering.
The two greatest forces controlling opportunity in America, the American Congress, and the Corporate Boardroom, both mostly populated by White men in power.
Turn your eye inward and know what I know. What I struggle with every day.
We have a world where talented, capable, beautiful, intelligent citizens who could change the world are ignored, replaced by inferior, people convinced of their merit because of a chemical compound called melanin.
Tell me again how I am the cause of the world’s suffering? Right after you pluck those redwoods from your own eyes.
This is the sickness from which there is no escape, only the temporary relief of those who love us. Cherish them. Protect them. Fight for them.
Nothing ever changed because White men found their humanity. We had to fight them to remind them of ours.
So fight. Or don’t. With words, with action, with purpose, with an intensity bordering on mania. You may live your entire life and it may appear to not make a difference for you.
The result will matter to your children even if you never sit in the shade of the trees you plant this day.
Hard words. Not my first. Nor my last. Join me.
This post was originally published on the author’s Medium blog and is republished here with his permission.
Photo credit: Getty Images