Stopping Starts With You

“I want you to know I honor you and I see you. I stand with you in this fight.”

My response….after I cried and took a nap lol because everybody knows sometimes you just have to ‘go lay down’.

I had to process what for me is simply 42 years of life coming to a head. People are displaying the same anger turned outrage turned outward that I grappled with at 12 years old. You see 30 years ago, I stopped saying The Pledge of Allegiance because I refused to pledge allegiance to a country that had not pledged allegiance to me. Yet the same injustices I witnessed at 12 years old when legislators were attempting to squash Affirmative Action Initiatives that looked like for me at that tender young age a chance to finally be able to enjoy the fruit of some of the black tax I’d been paying since I took my first steps. I at least thought we were seeing progress by having African Americans -Blacks in key places of power and influence. I realized by 18 years old that I was wrong. Things weren’t changing in any way that mattered. Because the more they changed, I looked at our communities and realized the more they stayed the same. I learned that Black people are the highest spending consumers in America yet we do not exploit the power of our dollar and we are seldom afforded enough to attain true wealth. So we are lost in consumer slavery a rat race of smoke and mirrors giving us the illusion of riches but seldom providing us with the opportunity to pass down generational wealth that isn’t systemically snatched away before we can get a leg up.

One doesn’t have to look far to see the mind shackles of racism woven into the fabric of American life:

The Entertainment Industry: Roles and representation of African American’s, people that are allowed to own broadcasting networks… The Music Industry: objectification of our women, adultification of our girls, and again follow the money back to the top and see who occupies most of those seats -while we run around with chains around our necks that were once the shackles around our feet… The Sports Industry: one might argue that there’s no real parallel to scenes of slave auctions past and the physical exam at the NFL draft, but you cannot deny why it was so easy to shut out a Black man who chose to go against the status quo when you scroll through photos of the owners of NFL teams. Just as in days of old, blacks are expected to stay on the field and do as they are told. Oh yeah but they get paid handsomely for it. Sharecroppers were compensated too. But it’s still a trap no matter how elaborate the smoke and mirrors are, they are still making money for someone else and don’t have positions of power to effect overarching change in the multi BILLION dollar industry. I don’t have room to discuss the American Education System or the Judiciary System and how one can arguably be a pipeline for the other for young Black kings.

Being #woke begins with Being #honest…

For those that don’t know what Black Tax is, let me enlighten you: I knew that every room I walked in, I had to run faster, jump higher, work harder, and be the smartest most capable one in the room to even have a chance at a seat near the table. Then once there, I’d have to endure -with grace lest I be labeled militant or ‘Angry’- the uncouth remarks made by non-blacks in response to my blackness. Being greeted with whatever the common day Black slang or catch phrases are in use at the time by people that clearly don’t typically speak like in that way. Now make no mistake about it, I do code switch; after all to navigate the world with any level of success while staying rooted in your culture as a Black person, you typically must be bilingual. While at the same time, I can guarantee you that I prefer to be addressed in a manner that’s situationally and relationally appropriate at all times. You can miss me with the microaggresions.

Look how far we’ve come.

So as life goes, I make my moves endeavoring to live my best life and make my mark as I do in every situation I find. Knowing that actions tend to have ripple effects throughout generations but at the same time not expecting to see real change in a tangible way in my lifetime.  Then come the murders that are constantly televised, turned to hashtags, turned to T-shirts and I begin to wonder are people just being desensitized to the dangers of being Black in America? Is the awareness, the fight for justice for these murdered children as the case has been often times, what is it actually doing?

Then I awoke one morning and the wrong person had been elected into office as our 45th president. I’d said I was going to wear black for 4 years straight if he’d been elected. I’d said I’d leave America for a while because I knew our country was doomed. I just didn’t realize the levity -gravity of the mistake. The country had made. I didn’t leave, I should’ve begun to mourn though because the racial division in our nation became blatantly obvious. The social economical division in our nation became undeniable. This last 3 ½ years has truly been the worst joke ever.

And then a straw laid no pressed in to the back no neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds of a camel no defenseless man in broad daylight witnessed wait committed by the person people that swore to protect him us me broken asphyxiated

Emotions that had been bottled away for decades no centuries broke open and spilled out no marched no exploded no protested no burned outward because they could be contained no longer

all people in this country are guaranteed certain inalienable rights: the right to life, the right to liberty and the right to the pursuit of happiness the right to remain silent? The right for murders genocide enforcers to continue to roam free? All it took was 3 years 4 months 8 minutes and 46 seconds for what I’ve known has been coming to finally happen.

I hope -still- hope that it brings about change to the mindsets so ingrained in the fabric of American society -real change- change for the better of making America … America the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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