…The face of Trayvon becomes an eerie foreshadowing of a global nation that refuses to learn from its considerable mistakes. Universal law is clear. Until we learn the lesson life is trying to teach us, the lesson will repeat until we do.
Note: I wrote this piece shortly after Trayvon Martin was killed. When you think about it, it wasn’t that long ago. For some reason, I was looking for an explanation for why so many (we’ll call them uninitiated) people who happen to not be of color (although, some walk with a good portion of melanin), are so ridiculous in their attempts to shield themselves from the actual truth. Shield themselves. That’s important. There are some people who are so boggled by the idea that they are actually the problem. They work doubly hard to defend this idea because being a racist or any variation of such things, would mean that there is something wrong with them–fundamentally. And because they think themselves superior and maybe pristine, at least to themselves, they fight in the ways we’ve seen played out over the course of the last several weeks in Ferguson. On the front lines and in suspect media coverage. This isn’t new, of course. The things we’ve seen in Ferguson and in countless cities across the world are becoming the staples of something so vile in humanity, I dare not speak its name.
I actually wrote about it in both of my books, to some degree. But nothing is more disheartening than to see one’s fictional words come to actual life in prophetic form. It’s crazy scary. I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t. I came in from a run earlier, trying to clear a space in my experience for some insight. I was searching for a niblet of something. Of some insight that would help my brain wrap around the kind of cognitive dissonance it takes to be so blind to actual reality, that actual crazy happens in people. Cause this shit is crazy. And somehow intentional. We are learning in a global way that lots and lots and lots of people are either losing their minds, or have already lost the fight. So I was searching for insight or answers until something teeny tiny in me remembered that I had written a theory about this exact thing, not but two short years ago. What’s really scary is that in a world designed to evolve, every word that I wrote then, is exactly pertinent to what’s going on right now. If you know like I know that anything that ain’t growing is dead… welp.
To keep the integrity of the original piece, I’m leaving everything as it is. Just know that there are many other faces who are now iconic symbols of what it looks like when prejudice and racism overtakes the value of ALL life. Particularly in America. Trayvon’s name can easily be swapped out for Michael Brown, Ezell Ford, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Kajieme Powell or countless others. George Zimmerman can easily be swapped out for Darren Wilson or any number of police officers (and/or self-appointed vigilantes). With this in mind, the face of Trayvon becomes an eerie foreshadowing of a global nation that refuses to learn from its considerable mistakes. Universal law is clear. Until we learn the lesson life is trying to teach us, the lesson will repeat until we do. Peace be still to our fallen. May your death be our awakening…
First of all. Allow me to say thank you. Thank you for your love and support. AND Thank you for your collective humanity. Some of you anyway. I was going through a rough patch. I was facing the reality of my Uncle Paul’s passing minxed along with the reality that far too many young Black boys won’t make it to that ripe old age of 74, like my uncle damn near got to see. I posted a video about my complex mourning scenario.
My issue was with how one Black man was called “home” after succeeding a life well lived. Meanwhile, somewhere in Florida, a young Black boy will never have that same opportunity my Uncle Paul had because he was a young Black boy. Living in America. Living around other people who don’t value his life or other lives like his. Living in a society so afraid to be called racist that they allow their prejudice against Brown skin to fester and boil over until they act out who they truly are anyway. Let that sit there in your mid neck region for sec.
I said out loud in my video as a preface to this discussion that “this isn’t my fight”. Trayvon Martin shouldn’t be my fight. Calling for George Zimmerman to finally find due process of law shouldn’t be my fight. And yet, the humanity in me could not move from my seat and say nothing.
Now what comes with this. What comes with research and reading other people’s takes on what happened to Trayvon, is suffering through gobs and gobs of other people’s hatred and indifference, masked as reason. Of suffering through their unique brands of excuses and justifications of how horrors play out in society. And how THIS tragedy could not have possibly been about race and racism. AND how we Blacks are so quick to pull the race card. And how THEY, believing George Zimmerman was justified in shooting down a Black boy for no reason at all besides his Blackness, somehow makes US ridiculous and incredulous and a whole bunch of other words they wouldn’t know to use in a sentence. Allegedly. Further, and this is my favorite. There always seem to be a league of supposedly well-wishing “dormants” who preface anything they are about to say with “well what about the… (add your own blah, blah, here)”.
The “blah, blah, blah” in question tends most consistently to be “the Black kid who did this to that white guy that time” or “that group of Blacks who did such and such.” As though to tinker around in their brains that whatever we’re talking about is somehow rendered irrelevant because somebody Black did something horrible some other time in history and so now THIS– what we speak of now– is that. THIS Black boy deserved to die because THAT Black boy was bad. THIS white guy is justified in killing him, because another white guy died at the hands of a Black boy at some point in history.
Question: How is it that ALL Black people get to be branded indignantly as bains of society to some whites for isolated incidences, but ALL white people can’t be deemed the same for countless occurrences of treacherous acts that have happened throughout history at the hands of whites, en masse, toward people of color around the world? We could make long lists that would take years and years to sift through. We’re allowed to make logical, justifiable treachery arguments about one race, based on faaaaaar fewer people, but not allowed to do the same for another– even when the facts and sheer numbers alone show a certain notion may actually be TRUE-er?!
The insanity of it burns me to my core. That, dear ones, is the epitome of how the minds of racists work. And yet. That’s another post, for another day. My beef isn’t with history or logistical nuances. My beef is with how human beings can look at loss of life and demonize the victim and justify the behavior of actions they wouldn’t stand for would it happen to them or any of their family. To watch a child’s life snuffed out and somehow say–“Welp, it had to the kid’s fault. Welp, he had to deserve it. Welp, he should have had something else on. Welp, wait for the rest of the “facts” to fall in line. Welp, he was Black, glad Zimmerman didn’t miss. go team!”
They say these things with the cool calculation of a serial killer in wait. People so numb to what reality looks and feels like that they, I believe, must align themselves with the bullshit they’ve been hearing in their heads all of their lives. I liken the process of being a dormant racist living a seemingly normal life as that of a sociopath. Or more neatly, a paranoid schizophrenic. Stifled stuck to the narrow place in their heads that anything at all makes sense.
Where sane people will see bullshit in their path and either pick it up and trash it or walk around it. Dormant racists will walk right in it. No matter if the bullshit reaches their waistcoat. Or up to their ears. It’s almost as though the bullshit is comforting for them. No matter that the bullshit and the subsequent stench seeps into their clothes and skin. Dormant racists walk around smelling like shit. People will hold their noses as they pass. But polite souls won’t say the words, “You Stink.” or “Dude, catch a bath.” Polite souls will just walk around them or avoid them or pretend sharing a room or an elevator or a simple walk from the store with a can of iced tea and a pack of Skittles isn’t a bit like a death march. Let that one sit there in your neck too.
Dormant racists will pretend to themselves that what they think and believe makes sense. Even when simply listening to facts would shatter their inner testimony into the dust from whence it came. No matter to a dormant racist. They play by their own rules, they simply make something else up. They defend their brain waves at all costs. Make excuses for them. See what’s not actually there. “Facts are for cowards and smart people.” They must say to themselves, “The voices in my head are never wrong”. This, I presume, is the bullshit they yet mutter in their sleep. The bullshit that keeps them from ever being able to see what’s lurking in the mirror. Dormant. Passive. Waiting for an opportunity to creep out of that shadowy place it’s hiding and spring forth into the light of the sun or in the comment section of a blog post.
The “R” word is a complex diversion. It’s either used way too much or out of context or not nearly enough. The “R” word has been thrown about and has embroiled many a conversation into so many cockamamie and (dare I say) retarded outcomes of late, I almost hate to even go here. I hate to go here because I’ve discovered that whether it’s true or not. Whether a person can claim their racism in the mirror or not is really a lot like trying to catch a hurricane in a glass bottle. People get very offended, very quickly. And so the conversation we might have on the subject never seems to resolve a damned thing. Racists never actually have to own their rightful mind waves and they can huff off in the silent notion that NO. There’s nothing wrong with THEM. YOU. Are clearly mistaken. And therefore the problem.
You ever read the book Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell? Oh, what a thunderous and mind lifting weave of understanding Gladwell’s book offers. Through science and research, Gladwell shows that most people who participate in this Harvard developed IAT study and show fear or anxiety about a certain complexion, are really that way not because of a lurking racist streak (maybe). But because of a socialized prejudice. Perpetuated, unfortunately, by media and misinformation and not having proper exposure to enough different kinds of people. Essentially, we’ve established ourselves as homogeneous group thinks who fear change of any sort and then make up shit to support said socialized insanity. And teach our kids that same shit, so they grow up to think that shit and teach their kids that shit. Absolutely! We do not judge people by the contents of their character. We judge ENTIRE complexions of people by what we’ve last seen one or two of them do on the Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Where the racism comes in is when our prejudice and insecurity fuels a worldview where we broaden our stroke to limit the lives and livelihoods of entire complexions of people we don’t actually know anything about. When our prejudice becomes the bar for how we live, work, interact, and demonize people, based not on facts. But on red herrings we heard when we grew up and added to over the years. The racism comes in when we don’t challenge our beliefs as irrational–when we would rather face emotional, financial or bodily harm than let someone of a different complexion save our very lives. Solely because of our prejudice. Racism comes in when you must be right because you’re white and I must be wrong because I’m not. AND all the ways that plays out in society.
There is nothing I can possibly say in this post that will persuade anyone who is defiant about their position that they may or may not be racist. “They” probably won’t even be the type to read my blog to start. No matter. I’ve read so many awesome articles in the last few days about the subject by people of every complexion you can think of. On the one hand, I am inspired by the outcry for Trayvon Martin and the outpouring of love and support by people of every hue and from around the world. On the other, I am still deeply saddened by the ridiculousness of the discourse I have to read in the comment sections of said blogs and articles and videos.
Polite souls just shake their heads and practice blatant avoidance. Meanwhile, not so polite souls like me want to scream out at the top of my lungs–“You *Expletive* *Expletive* *Expletive* Have you no soul? Have you no clue? Who raised you? Satan?” But alas, I don’t. Mostly because I already know the answer to that question. It’s a mixed bag. Yes. AND No.
In my opinion, ignorance is like heart disease. It’s both hereditary and based on dietary factors. If you grew up with people who had some very ignorant and prejudiced views on a subject and you had no reason to dispute such claims for yourself, chances are you’ll grow up to perpetuate some very ignorant and prejudiced views on that same subject. Chances are, unless you’re checked in a meaningful way, you’ll add to those views and find ways to make your views make sense, particularly when they become more senseless under further review. If everyone around you feels the same as you or gives that impression, you feel justified in your views because you’re not a lone in them. Should someone in your “crew” view things differently, they become a threat to your very being and they must either be removed from your circle or silenced. At stake, of course, is the very foundation of your worldview. Wrong, retarded, and completely ridiculous as it may be, it’s all you’ve got to hold on to in a world that was designed for growth and evolution. Far worse for your mentals should you not believe in evolution to start.
The difference between a full out racist and a prejudiced, dormant racist, in my opinion, is basically logistics. Prejudice breeds the festering of hate and confusion irrespective of facts. Racists act on their hate and confusion. How they act, varies and plays out in so many unimaginable ways. Alas. They act. But, should they be able to catch their dormant racism and address it before it becomes an act, lives get saved. Sounds a lot like we’re speaking of a disease doesn’t it? There’s another one for your mid neck region.
Which leads me to the point of this post. We are not put on this planet to try to tame the savage beast that can be some people’s distorted worldviews. They got that way honestly. They stick because they haven’t been challenged in a meaningful enough way that their worldview must evolve into something more valid to actuality. We were put on this planet to tame our OWN savage beast mind waves. To rule ourselves. To expose ourselves to different ways of thinking. To learn big lessons about who we truly are– the good, the bad, and the utterly ridiculous. Once we get to the mirror and SEE who we REALLY are, no matter how painful, that’s when we can grow and change and evolve into MORE.
The trick here is that we’ve tried talking about the perpetuating racism in this country and around the world for decades. Every time we do, the racists or dormant racists in question bristle themselves and shut down because they can’t stand the horror of hearing the “R” word and their name in the same sentence. The stigma of such treachery. *aghast face* Meanwhile, if we continue to NOT have the vital conversation, nothing changes. Nothing grows. The evolution of our thinking stays stuck as it has been since the mind wave first made its way into reality. Looooong before I was born. Maybe it’s time for us to switch the conversation up. Instead of talking about racism as the jump off point, maybe we talk about our prejudices openly and honestly and often to everyone who will listen. Maybe it’s time to force ourselves into the mirror to bare our very souls about our prejudices–which we all have– BEFORE what lies lurking on the inside, plays out tragically in life. Just as it did for Trayvon Martin. And as it does for so many other young Black and colored children around the world every single day we yet breathe. How do we do that? I haven’t the foggiest idea.
The moral of this story? Your guess is as good as mine. Thank you for reading this though. Peace and abundant “rule yourself you prejudiced *expletive*” blessings. Love, -e- #HoodiesUP Some more light reading on the subject… Black Snob:
AND a movie…