For me, the hardest part of watching the movie Selma was the first five minutes. It is the scene when the young girls, doing what young girls do in church, were blown up. I have thought of this scene multiple times prior to seeing the movie and just the thought of this scene was chilling, but Ava DuVernay captured it even more poignantly in the movie. So as I woke up this morning, June 18, to hear that 9 black people were shot in a historic church in South Carolina, I couldn’t even imagine what was going on in their minds and hearts as it was happening. As a child who grew up in the church, the thought of some one coming into our sabbath school, choir practice, youth service or a sermon brought me to real tears for so many reasons. Cried for their kids, their families, but also that our people have to be killed in a church, for everyone to find outrage. To utter the words that this IS a hate crime unlike all the other incidents. Because when our people are in the streets, not wearing the right clothes or defending themselves (if only with our words), the life of a black person is not of the same worth. We have to be doing what society deems appropriate for there to be outrage.
See what’s so troubling about this shooting is that the black church is a center piece to black culture. Despite our difficult past, the church has been a place of refuge for us. It IS a place of refuge for us. Despite its faults, because no establishment is perfect, it represents so much for black people. This feels like the highest violation, because almost every black child can relate to some degree when it comes to matters of faith. So now, in 2015, we are still being terrorized in our places of worship like in the days of MLK. How are we supposed to attend our places of worship? Of course, this won’t keep us out of our churches, but it will make some look over their shoulders. And it shouldn’t be this way.
Over the last two years, we’ve seen our young sons and daughters killed, and protestors and activists lambasted for speaking out against the police. Here’s the truth, we are racially profiled, wrongfully jailed, unjustly sentenced, and leniency is rarely given, yet a privilege white boy can receive leniency for a disease called “affluenza”, because he was born in privilege so he couldn’t grasp his actions.
Am I missing something?
I’m not radical. I actually love the police and respect the 5 -0 , the men in Blue. But when I sit here and speak to older black people who are not seeing why we are upset. That in some way, they implicitly say that we are the problem, is when I realize I have to say something. To speak up.
TODAY, we have earned the right to be angry, to be sad, but we must not sit. We want equality in every area. But there are certain things I want right now from three groups of people:
1. The Media and the People Who Watch It
2. “Educated” Black People
3. Everybody else
For the last week, I was saturated about the Rachel “whogivesashit” Dolezeal story. Wake up media and get some respect about yourself. How can this nation grow, the people learn and understand, if the information you give us is horrible. You ARE dumbing down America.
The People Who Watch It
STOP WATCHING IT …
Until its worthy of our attention
2. EDUCATED BLACK PEOPLE
Lately, I’ve heard a lot of my peers talk about how they are numb. STOP. You’re still living, breathing and have a sound mind. Do something. I’m not asking you to move mountains. But all of us need to have a hand in making a difference in our communities. It’s about each of us contributing in some capacity. You don’t need to live in Baltimore, NYC or Cleveland, but help where you are. You can protest, but there are other ways too. Use your unique gifts and talents. More importantly, as I’ve said so many times, have real conversations with your White friends, your Hispanic friends, your Asian friends, your Jewish friends. We need allies. Don’t have any of “those” friends? Well, we can not sit in our little educated black circles and expect people to understand or care if we’re not out here shouting from the mountaintop.
3. EVERYBODY ELSE
Wake the HECK up to the world we actually live in and not the world you think we do. Get out your shell or your/our world will fall apart, and it won’t be the underprivileged, the mistreated, and upset young people’s fault, it will be yours.
Since the day I was born, I have loved America and I have been a Black American. Since the day I was born, I believed I lived in a post-racial America. That is not true. I have been proud to be an American, I just hope those days are not numbered, because we are blind to reality. I now know, since the day I was born, there is still a lot of work to be done about race. I have taken off my rose colored glasses, won’t you?