This blog post is specifically meant for people who identify themselves as black people in America. If you do not identify yourself as a black person the following information may prove to be a little too real for you and may make you upset. Also if you happen to disagree with what I am saying and you are not black, like the lives of young black males in the United States, I will place a lower value on your feedback. No disrespect, this is family business..This opinion does not reflect the opinion of all black people…
Now that I have had some time to marinate on some of the events that have transpired over the last few days directly related to the young Michael Brown homicide. This post is not designed to outline all the details of young Michael’s case, Trayvon Martin’s case, or any other unnecessary killing of young black males. This post is designed to offer answers to questions that should not have to be answered in 2014.
First and foremost, I understand and you should understand that killing unarmed young black men is not a usual or even accepted practice in law enforcement. Michael Brown’s tragic death along with many others that have ensued are terrible tragedies and uncommon occurrences. The fact that they make front page news is because it does not happen often.
Here’s the issue—there’s usually no real justice for the victims and it insights hopelessness in everybody connected. These types of circumstances leave black males with a plethora of unanswered questions. A life of unanswered questions leads to a life of despair. With that being the case I am going to offer some things to you that I will tell my future son and any other young black men I will encounter. This is going to be heavy. Take it for what it’s worth. Here goes:
We are not equal in the eyes of man.
Dr. King’s famous I have a dream speech is one of the most eloquent, vivid, powerful, and significant pieces of syntax ever heard live. His cause was just. He was a great man. Dr. King famously quoted Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation when he said, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”
Sadly, this writer believes that this will never happen. Though all men were created equal by the hands of GOD, in the eyes of man we are not equal. As tough as that is to type, it’s even tougher to swallow. The value of a young black male’s life is not the same as a young white male’s life in the eyes of many men. If you don’t think this is true I would simply call you misinformed. Black males are not looked at in the same light as their white counterparts. If you say the word thug or hoodlum generally speaking most people will associate a black male to that title. If I tell people that I am 29 years old and I have one wife and I have one child with my wife, people are surprised.
If you don’t agree with me on this that’s fine. I’m not here to debate I am here to offer an answer to an unanswerable question: How not to get killed by the police. If Michael Brown were white would this have happened? If Trayvon Martin was white would he have been killed? Probably not. I worked in law enforcement for 5 years as a detention officer, white inmates are treated differently than black inmates. YOUNG BLACK MALES ARE NOT THE SAME AS YOUNG WHITE MALES!
It does not make it fair. It does not make it right, but that is the way it is. My brothers, my friends, and my family stop fighting for equality in the eyes of man. It will never happen.
After you accept this, adjust your life. Because of this fact you cannot act the same as any other group of people. My dad told me a long time ago, “You have to be twice as good, twice as strong, and once you win be willing to accept half the credit,” does that sound like equality? So here’s the deal. Overdo excellence. Do everything you can to get the best grades, get the best recommendations, workout twice as hard (if it’s relevant to your success), and overdo excellence.
Be extra good.
Now that you know and realize that you are not equal, govern yourself accordingly. Overdo excellence and be extra good in the eyes of man. Don’t just obey the law, get to know a cop. Don’t just get good grades in school, be the teacher’s pet. Don’t just hang around the right people, be the person that others want to hang around. Don’t just respect everybody around you at all times, perform random acts of kindness. Be kind. Be polite. Be extra good.
Whenever I speak to audiences I some time tell a little joke about how I am not exactly from the right side of the tracks, but I stayed in the house when it was dark. I am not from the projects, but people sold drugs in my neighborhood and I knew that. I knew who a few of them were, but I stayed away from them. People who sell drugs, commit crimes, and are a part of gangs should be no brainers as the type of people you should not be hanging around. But there are people in your church that you shouldn’t be hanging around. You are identified in part by the people you hang around and associate with. So hang around and associate with the right people.
Just overdo what’s right and do what’s different from other young black males. Here are a few suggestions that I have: Some of you reading this next part may get a little angry, but I am not here to appease your feelings:
– Pull up your pants! You look stupid!
– Stop getting all of those tattoos all over your body! You look scary.
– Learn how to articulate yourself and be polite AT ALL TIMES!
– Quit cursing and posting stupid and vulgar things on social media!
– Be a model citizen.
– Consider cutting your hair.
If you look at the list above and say, “Whatever dude, I don’t have to stop doing that stuff. That’s me!” My response to that is, you’re absolutely right. You don’t have to take heed to anything I am saying. Just know when you do what everybody else does, you will unfairly get labeled the way everybody else does.
Also if you already have countless tattoos or you do not fall under the model citizen category change what you can right away if you feel it is necessary. Either way, know how you will be viewed if you are not extra good. You’ll be viewed like everybody else. At least if you are extra good they will be hard pressed to treat you unfairly.
Be ready to die.
This is not going to sit well with many of you reading because as you can see I have not offered an answer to the question, how not to get killed by the police…Well here’s the answer, you can’t avoid it 100%. You can know that blacks are not equal. You can do all the right things. You can be on your way to college, and some random weird cop could still shoot you in broad daylight.
Recognize however that the odds are in your favor that it won’t ever happen. Most people never experience getting robbed, shot, or mugged in their lifetime and odds are if you are a young black male you won’t get killed by a police officer. However, there is a possibility that it could happen. Just like there’s an even greater possibility you could meet your maker by way of a car accident.
So my overwhelming deep advice is this: Know you are not equal, do the right things, and be ready to die. This is a cause for faith. If you know that that there is more to this life than just what we see it should help ease a little tension. If you believe that this is all there is then, I really have no words for you. My hope is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by way of GOD the Father, through His Holy Spirit. Does your hope lie in this world? I know we want a full life on Earth and I do too. But if you believe in Heaven as I do, then the joys of this life are just a small appetizer to the main course. Rogue cops, gang bangers, drunk drivers, and other things may tragically take anybody’s life, but none of them can take your soul. Believe that. If you need help, I will be happy to speak with you on that subject. In addition to that, know this….
You are a champion. You’re the strongest, the most creative and intellectually gifted, and the most charismatic. They fear you, so they want to incite fear in you to make you hopeless. Don’t give in. I know it’s tough to see these tragic things happen to the young black youth, my heart hurts for their families, but don’t let it freeze you. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but whatever kills your brother and not you, should make you stronger, wiser, and more thankful.
So what do we do now?….We do what the best of us have always done. No matter what we keep going. No matter what was done, no matter what is being done, and no matter what will be done…Keep living, keep achieving, keep fighting, keep running, keep beating the odds, keep inspiring, keep hoping, and be an unforgettable force for all of us. Don’t you stop. Michael Brown wouldn’t have wanted you to stop. Trayvon Martin wouldn’t have wanted you to stop. Dr. King wouldn’t have wanted you to stop. Emmett Till and countless others that have gone on because of foolish behavior wouldn’t have wanted you to stop.
Don’t stop. #NoMatterWhat