Monday, July 15, 2013

Being A Black Male in America - My Thoughts

The recent high profile case of George Zimmerman, a white-Hispanic male getting a not guilty verdict over the shooting death of a young black male, Trayvon Martin, as Martin was walking home from leaving the store has spurred emotions and tensions about race in America. Zimmerman saw this young man, wearing a hoodie walking in his neighborhood and thought he looked suspicious to the point of calling the police and the eventually shooting of Trayvon. Martin was profiled.

This profiling happens to black males and minorities all the time in the United States from the "stop and frisk" law in New York City to random stops of blacks driving in expensive cars. Just last year in New York City, New Yorkers were stopped by the police 532,911 times. In which, 473,644 were totally innocent (89 percent) and 284,229 were black (55 percent). These numbers alone in what some would say in a very liberal state shows that blacks and mostly black males are profiled everywhere. Need more evidence? In Chicago, 4 young black men who were interning with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition were stopped walking down a street and handcuffed randomly by police. Rainbow Push is filing a formal complaint with Chicago Police.

The death of Martin should be a wake up call to black males in America, that we need to step up and stand right with each other. We need to be in the lives of our children and not running away from the mother and child. We need to be in the classrooms and running the businesses, not wasting away in jail and prison. Yes, there will be struggle, but as Frederick Douglass once said, without struggle, there is not progress. We need to stop saying our ancestors paid my dues, so I will lay on my back and let the system take care of me. No, sir, there was and is the need for the intellectual strength of black males, young and old to foster new ideas and eradicate stereotypes. Our wives, husbands, children and families needs us. Our country needs us to help fight prejudice and racism, for we are as a whole, wasting away to a system that generally doesn't care about our plight with its institutional racism and should neither give us handouts to do so as the black women in our country are, in general, prospering from what is available. We need to prove to ourselves that we are an asset to the community, and an equal human being in society.

1 comment:

Will said...

Beautiful words Keith. I've had and have heard others having more conversations about race lately and it seems that its more than we’ve had in a long time. You’re right. Black males are stopped and questioned all the time. I remember once when my stepdad was at Regan National Airport circling waiting for my mom and a white male police officer stopped him and asked, “Who’s car is this, boy?” I guess in his mind, a black man can’t legally own a Mercedes. These kinds of incidents shock as much as they anger me. To say “oops I’m sorry” isn't ever good enough. We do need to step up and be better examples but I also think we need to check our friends too. Some people stick by their friends even when they are wrong. Well that’s not a real friend in my eyes. If I’m wrong, I expect my friends to be honest with me and tell me and I’ll do the same. And we need to keep supporting one another and encouraging each other through their ventures and entrepreneurship. These are great ways to prove that we are an asset to our communities and to our country. I know people think that they are only one person and their efforts won’t matter. But if everyone makes a change, each little step can make a big difference.