Imagine growing up in a world where you’re forced to learn a subject but never taught why it’s important or why you need to learn it.
Crazy right? Like what could that possibly be, and why would that even happen. Think about it…we learn a lot of things in school but never really understand their use.
Today we have people who have careers being influencers, content creators, jewelry makers, etc. And a lot of us had to learn certain subjects like calculus, algebra, physics, etc. Things where when we grew up, we looked back and wondered, “why did I need to learn this and why was it important?”
I remember all of those things and I also sometimes wonder what was the point or the significance in learning them. There are so many subjects that we aren’t taught that tend to have much more relevance to us on a daily basis. Like say taxes, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, the list goes on.
However, none of that is what I’m talking about. The subject I’m talking about has remained the same throughout my life. It’s relevance has never fluctuated and it’s influence can be felt every single day.
When I was younger, I was considered somewhat of a popular kid in elementary school. People remembered me as someone who made a lot of friends and got along with a lot of people, but there was always something different. And I knew it. I felt it.
Kids ask you questions that they don’t ask their other friends. Teachers seem to hone in on you in a way that they don’t with other students. Girls seem to like your friends more than you. People make comments but tell you that it doesn’t apply to you because “you’re cool” or “you’re not like others.” Subjects in school seem to skirt over certain topics that are “uncomfortable” but glorify others.
And then one day you get pulled over going to a basketball tournament and you don’t know why. You made a left turn but a car clearly going faster than you blows by yet you’re the one who’s being asked for license and registration.
Imagine that feeling at 16, and then fast forward years later and these same occurrences start turning into life or death situations.
So I say it again. Imagine growing up in a world where you’re forced to learn a subject but never taught why it’s important or why you need to learn it. And that subject is racism.
I didn’t ask to learn it. No one sat me down and gave me a study guide on how to navigate racism in society. I learned it by experience. I learned it by feeling. I learned through other people. But I never learned why I needed to learn it. Until I got older. Until I learned about Troy Davis. Until I watched George Zimmerman’s trial like it was “The Decision.” Until I saw Eric Garner die on camera. The list goes on.
I used to be real argumentative and go back and forth with everyone on topics of race. It used to burn a hole in my soul at times trying to convince my own people about why racism is such a big deal. And I was the crazy one. Me.
And now it’s 2020. And hundreds of dead black bodies later. Hundreds. Remember every time someone says #saytheirname, they are saying the name of someone who got national attention for their death. There are so many other victims who we barely even know about.
**If you don’t understand how significant this shit is you can read more here or here or here. Or how about doing this simple exercise. Think about how many famous black celebrities you know (off the top of your head) and make a list. And then for every black celebrity, next to their name I want you to list the name of a black person who was killed by police in the last 10 years. And I want you to keep going until you can’t. THAT, should not even be a realistic exercise to perform. But IT IS.
I digress. Hundreds of bodies later. Some of those same people are realizing the gravity of the situation. Little did I know that I need to know about racism because it could cost me my life. That’s a significant price to pay for a subject with no real teacher.
A message to my black people: please do not condemn your fellow brothers and sisters, whether they be celebrities or not, for being silent. Silence does not equal compliance when it comes to black people and I will tell you why. No matter what age we are, we ALL have the common experience of racism at one point or another and we ALL are judged on the same scale when it comes to that. Some of us just don’t know what to do anymore. Some of us may just be tired. Some of us may just be needing to recover. I can’t speak for everyone but I don’t want to see anyone be attacked simply for not saying anything. At this point, what more do we need to say? Once should have BEEN enough.
We’ve been reduced to walking in the street, posting on social media telling the world that our life matters. OUR LIFE MATTERS. Do you know how humiliating that has to sound. That your life is considered so insignificant that you have to get out of bed, go out in the middle of a global pandemic, and tell the world that your life has relevance. That’s pathetic. WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO DO THAT. And it’s even worse, people will still antagonize you about it and say “All Lives Matter, not just yours.” You gotta be FUCKIN kiddin me Karen. Fuck outta here.
I believe the full range of emotion should be expressed in this situation. Why wouldn’t it. People are at different stages and experiences in life and these recent deaths will hit in different ways. But if you want to be upset with someone, be upset with the ones who say the wrong thing. Who want to be “different,” and try to downplay what’s going on, who try to take the “high road” and kumbaya everything. Be upset with them. Tell them to shut up, take a seat, and stay home. We don’t need to hear your opinion. Straight up.
Case in point Drew Brees. Shut the fuck up. Michael Porter Jr. Shut the fuck up. There’s a saying that goes “a wise man once said nothing.” Some people need to use that.
At the end of the day, I’m pleased to see more people in joining in on the awareness of the injustice we face. I’m happy to see more people demanding action be taken and coming together. It was a different story about 10 years ago. Hopefully, in 10 years we won’t be in these streets protesting for basic human rights. Hopefully.