It takes an extraordinary amount of courage to get up every morning knowing that you face an enemy who hates you more than you can ever know and that their hatred of you is so intense, they are consumed by it. And yet, descendants of slaves do so every single morning…or night, depending on when your ‘day’ starts. As heavy as my heart is every single time I open my eyes, I open them and get up to face the next round of challenges that I must face to get me through another day, to run the gauntlet of whites who bombard me with their unrepentant racism, bigotry, hatred and prejudice because I cannot change the color of my skin.
I shake my head in disbelief when on days set aside to honor Black men and women throughout history who have made the ultimate sacrifice, whites insist on pretending to laud their achievements even as they seek to undermine their efforts by taking us backwards in time. And when we peacefully protest the murder of those who look like us at the hands of racist police, we are viewed as thankless and ungrateful because whites believe that those of us who are in America by virtue of slavery, should be grateful that we are here since it is their belief that if we were in Africa, our plight would be a million times worse. Their arrogant and callous disregard for us never wanes since they refuse to accept us as ‘human’ thanks to their enslavement of our ancestors. We are castigated by them every single day if we cannot take nothing and build upon it. We are held in contempt by them because our slave ancestors had no business to hand down to us. We are held in contempt because we own no land on which to build banks and hospitals, schools and grocery stores.
The whites look to areas in the inner cities where violence is a daily occurrence and where drug deals go down and prostitution for drugs is an epidemic and blame us for what ails our communities as though we have ships and planes to bring drugs into our communities. We are the scapegoats for why cuts to social programs are made as though it is a punishment to us for our existence even though whites make use of social programs more so than we do. We were at one time, self-reliant in the 70s and 80s, owning homes and businesses, but because whites always need a scapegoat and must always have the upper hand, our homes and businesses were taken from us through imminent domain and other nefarious laws that were put on the books to disrupt the social structure of Black communities, nationwide as we were herded into subsidized, substandard government housing in projects and ‘ghettos’. Desegregation was not a win for the Black family. It was a loss and we have been losing from the time our stolen ancestors were dragged ashore.
Our Black brothers and sisters are incarcerated inside the new slave pens and for all those who succumb to death at the white man’s hands, millions more still fight to survive. Many are innocent who have been imprisoned for decades and upon their exoneration, do not hold grudges because we are extraordinary people. Whites know this and they hate us for it. Their slave patrols were formed to round us up for existing and to herd us back to the plantation because whites think we never should have been allowed off the plantation and they have made sure that we know that we never really did. We see bars everywhere we turn. It matters not if we are locked behind actual bars, they are there all the same and they are not invisible to us. They place barriers and roadblocks before us to intimidate us and to keep us from coming together as a community and to realize our own potential.
So that we don’t get any ideas about ‘freedom’, we are shown time and time again that whites will stop at nothing, even murder to make sure that our place is somewhere underneath their boot or the ground. We need only look to the headlines, daily to see examples of ways they use to instill fear in us which is why we are shot dead by their uniformed slave patrols who are never held accountable for their actions against us, including murder. They take to the streets with hoods and sheets and guns to show that they can gun us down anywhere at anytime and that there is nothing that we can do about it, and yet, we survive. We carry on. We keep getting up. We live despite them and in spite of them. Yes, many of our brothers and sisters have fallen, but those of us who live are a testament to the courage it takes to bury our fallen brothers and sisters and live on, carrying their memory to the mountaintop as we look over and see that all is not lost. One day, we shall come into our own.
The white man’s days are numbered. He IS his possessions; his things. And like all man made things, they never survive the test of time. Their multi-million dollar beach houses are being swept away. They are forced to flee ever inland by the very arrogance that led them to burn this planet up and still expect an ocean view. Their mountain get-away homes are being burnt to the ground. Their island paradises are being covered in igneous rock or are under water. Their businesses are flooded, their SUVs floating down the street, their boats swept out to sea and their very skin is suffering from the effects of a sun that kisses and deepens ours. In this time of heaviness in our hearts for another of our brother who has fallen thanks to the racism, prejudice, bigotry and hatred that defines whites, we shall carry our memory of him to the mountaintop and show him that he did not die in vain. We, who live will continue to get up and face another day of hatred, racism, prejudice and bigotry and we will not be defeated because we are humanity, defined and we have the extraordinary courage of Black people. To ALL my Black brothers and sisters, though our days may seem dark and our nights even darker, believe me, those who persecute us for what we have no control over are going to reap what they have sown in ways never before imagined. Keep the faith throughout these dark time.
I write this to honor ALL my fallen brothers and sisters and to especially honor Botham Shem Jean. I wish you bon voyage, my brother!