I wake up every morning with the belief that I am living in 2014, only to turn on the news and be transported back to 1960 and in some instances the 1930s. Living while black is apparently just as dangerous now as it was back then. The difference? The media is quick to report the actual crimes and incidents. The similarity? The fact remains that no one really wants to address the core issue then and the core issue now: That black is “other” and the life of a black man is less than that of a white one. Why do you think the projects are dilapidated areas? Why is the number of uneducated black men not an epidemic? Because that’s just another monkey hanging out on the street corner either slowly killing himself or destined to kill someone else. That’s how some people view my black counterpart. But now the realization is that there is no mercy. You don’t have to be a street thug (and really you never had to be one) to be gunned down or man-handled like an animal by a person who shows no shred of remorse.
You could be allegedly illegally selling cigarettes and then choked to death by the NYPD. Because we all know that is the most heinous crime one can commit in New York City, right?
Or you could be headed home from the store with some skittles and a soda when a psycho who is obsessed with wanting to be in law enforcement, doesn’t quite make the cut, but is still allowed to be on a neighborhood watch team, comes out of nowhere to harass and shoot you dead. Or you could be an 18-year-old who is excited about beginning classes at a technical school in a week walking home and gunned down.
All of these white, armed men felt threatened by these unarmed, black men (some of them not even men yet but on the cusp of manhood.) I’m a woman, and very few 18-year-old boys – regardless of race – threaten me. So let me break it down to you how they and all other black men are threatening.
One, it has nothing to do with stature. If you look at Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, they all have very different physiques. None of them had the physiques of a Lebron James or a Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. In fact they were all very average and nonthreatening looking. So if it is not that, why the danger?
The idea of what the black man (as a whole) is capable of in America has always been the threatening aspect. He COULD rape your white wife and daughter. He COULD rob you. However, he COULD also be smarter than you. He COULD be faster than you. He COULD be richer than you. He COULD be more charming than you. He COULD learn to read and write and go to Harvard and one day become President of the United States. The possibilities are endless, and that is what scares other races the most and is arguably the true cornerstone of real racism.
Black men are seeking asylum, somewhere. Michael Brown was seeing it at a technical college, but never made it. Others seek it in the NFL or NBA. Kanye West seeks it in Kim Kardashian’s arms. Others seek it in places of higher education. Others seek it in summers spent with grandparents away from the cities and suburbs, in “the country” or “down south.”
Every black male is not Bigger Thomas, acting in complete reaction (knowingly or not) to how the world expects him to – violent and with no regard to anyone else’s life. In fact, it is the complete opposite, this latest round of killings have spawned from black men acting contrary to how their captors and killers thought they would. They didn’t fight, but they did request to be left alone. If America wants Bigger Thomas, it will eventually get him if justice is never served and white hands continue to walk free even though they stay stained with black blood.