Here is the link to the full transcript of the speech.
Favorite thing of the day #2. #1 is We Are Not Trayvon Martin :).
This article, Boys with Tender Hearts And Big Dreams In Their Hoodies, and video broke my heart and put it back together again.
I’ve always loved Eve Ensler. She is a phenom, scribe and agent for change, all things closest to my heart. Now, I love and respect her even more for breaking it all the way down like this and doing that thing she does so well, turning passion into purpose. Read and watch… #J4TM #StopViolenceAgainstWomen #Rising
I read this piece by Questlove today and can’t get it out of my mind.
I recognized the honesty of Questlove’s story because it mirrors so many stories told by African American’s across the socio-economic spectrum…for those who have the courage to listen.
Also? As a 6’2 African American female, I have lived a portion of his truth. Many people are jarred when they first see me as they take in my height. Most of these people are White. Some shrink away from me, some don’t answer doors when I make business calls, and some are just rude and dismissive.
Their dislike, fueled by racism, and real or imaginary stereotypes, is hard enough to bear. But to see fear on someone else’s face because of your race and physicality is always deeply disturbing. It always blows your mind and creates cognitive dissonance. Especially, if like Amir describes, you have diligently worked to craft your demeanor, speech, or appearance so as to be less “threatening”…to no avail.
Like I did, for years, slumping in attempt to hide myself and diminish my stature. As if that was possible. Or, crafting my speech to not sound “ghetto” as if I could separate myself from the shadows of neo-racism. Or, most telling and shamefully, the years that I closed myself off from Black friends because of self hate that I failed to recognize and worked hard to overcome.
Disturbing psychological ramifications are manifold…
– The feeling that you will not be judged as individual no matter what you do.
– The knowledge that to some “people” you will never be “right” (or worthy of human consideration) because they have shrunk your human possibility and potential to fit in with what they’ve been told, taught, or see on some stupid ass reality show.
– The fact that you must find a way of coping with this injustice and work around the people and systems who uphold it in order to survive.
…is a pretty fucking horrible feeling.
I feel Questlove and honestly, I doubt there is a single African American who read this story that did not. I applaud him for the courage to speak on this deeply personal subject, in direct contradiction to his famed persona, and reveal his very human, vulnerability and pain.
No one knows the shoes you walk in.
We love to say that but sadly it’s not always true. Some parts of the human experience are not individual but collective.
And when the Zimmerman verdict was announced, the pain, the rage, the shame, the horror and the sadness seemed collectively shared by Black America. You could read it on social media and hear it on TV, all before the search for equality and justice took us to the streets again.
I have no children but if I did this is not the reality that I would wish them to grow up with. Pain, that they did not ask for or deserve. Realities that they must learn to cope with our be broken by. The psychological scars of racism that ‘post racial’ America would like to pretend does not exist, in order for some to assuage their guilt and for others to perpetuate the system which their forefathers created.
I learned of the verdict on Sunday and spent most of it in a black cloud.
It was NOT just another day…for millions of Americans.
I sobbed inconsolably for the Martin family and my people. Some unlucky person tried conversing with me on Twitter about Black on Black crime and how things would not change until we treated ourselves better. So great was my rage and pain that I nearly imploded. before I could combust I blocked her instead.
My overriding thought was how insane it is that my pain must be the lowest possible denomination of what my ancestors must have felt, in the 60’s, in the 50’s, in the 40’s, in the 30’s…going back to the 18th century.
But America has changed, yes?
It has not changed enough and we must demand for future generations that it does.
Yesterday, state prosecutor Angela Corey announced the arrest of George Zimmerman on the charge of second degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin.
Like many others, I was glued to my TV watching the 6pm news conference. By all accounts, Angela Corey performed admirably under pressure, displaying graciousness, professionalism and high ethical standards. That coupled with the feeling that the wheels of justice have finally begun to turn inspired, in most of us, a renewal of faith in the justice system.
But not all of us. There are many people, African Americans in particular, who feel that justice delayed is justice denied. After all, it took fourty five days for the arrest to occur.
Fourty five days. in which the national outcry became incredibly LOUD, in both cyberspace, in the media and on the streets. That’s what it took to get the state of Florida and federal authorities to do their job.
That, in and of itself, is terribly disheartening.
No sane person could possibly think that the Sanford PD’s handling of this case was anything but inept and biased. The Stand Your Ground law enables vigilantism and fosters institutional bias. It must be abolished in all the states where it masquerades as justice.
People can fool themselves by opining that this is an isolated incident but its not.
Just last week, the killers of Sean Bell were finally brought to “justice”. We should be grateful, it only took 2 yrs. The Diallo family never saw justice for the loss of their son, Amadou Diallo.
Since it’s taken me so long to publish this, the 20 yr anniversary of the LA riots incited by the assault on Rodney King has just passed. In his interview on The Last Word, he spoke of how he recognized and understood the “death screams” of Trayvon Martin and how disturbing that was. The sound of a human being minutes from death, fighting for their life.
I broke down and cried.
The details of these cases undoubtedly differ but the end result is the same, innocent, young African American males lost their lives in confrontations exacerbated by deeply embedded racial stereotypes. In a word, the criminalization of African Americans.
It’s heartbreaking, unjust and enraging that such gross
miscarriages of justice have become commonplace. Particularly, because the criminal justice system is charged with the protection of all citizenry.
Is this not a flagrant violation of our constitutional rights?
The social contract that exists between government and citizenry is unspoken, yet it is the very wheels upon which everything works. We agree to submit to the authority of our elected officials and perform our roles as citizens in exchange for protection, freedom, security and dignity which should be accorded to all human beings.
For far too long, these basic rights continue to be constrained by personal, social and institutional biases. But why quibble about such a minor thing?
Because, as so beautifully illustrated by the power of our collective voices crying for justice for the Martin family, if we do not injustice continues to be commonplace.
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