Those are just some of
the adjectives and descriptors used of Black people (for the sake of this post
I will be referring to Black men; however, this does not limit or devalue the
contributions, lived experiences, histories, and struggles of Black women).
Black men are COURAGEOUS
in the skin they are in. Permanently tattooed with a shade of denigration,
hate, and worthlessness.
Black men are BRAVE
living in a world that hates the air they breathe and their very existence.
Black men are FEARLESS
as they leave their homes for work, risking their very lives as they try to
Black men speak TRUTH
to POWER in boardrooms and offices across this country, with the very knowledge
that that truth could cost them their jobs. Their homes. Their families. Their lives.
Black men are STRONG
in the face of police brutality. If they don’t kill us, they will humiliate and
This is my daily
So when I watched
Episode 5 of Netflix’s “Dear White People” it struck a chord deep within my
very existence as a Black man, and a human being.
(Spoiler alert. I will
try my best not to give away too much information. Just go and watch the show.)
I see myself in
No, I am Reggie.
He navigates worlds of
Blackness, manhood, opportunity, and privilege.
His multiple identities
and “communities of belonging” are fluid.
He is well educated.
He is well versed in topics other than those that are defined as “Black.”
He walks and talks
He is self-assured and
walks with his head held high in spaces that he is told that he doesn’t “belong.”
He is unapologetically
But he is also Black.
A Black man.
And the system that we
live in and the agents that are sent to uphold and enforce the systemic
dehumanization of Black men, will never let us forget it.
It might be the
silencing of our voices at decision-making tables.
It might be the appropriation
of our physical empowerment or our intellectual capacity.
It might be the eye
rolls. Or the “just the way it is” comments.
It might be us
watching as folks who drip with incompetence get what you worked for. And then
look back and smile and say that we were the “problem.”
Black men have a cloak
of armour of resilience that is unmatched in our society. We are constantly
under attack. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually. Psychologically.
Our hands are tied
behind our backs. We are caged animals, dripping with anger, backed in to a
corner, with nowhere to go.
If we lash out and
Dead. If not physically;
emotionally, psychologically, and financially.
If we sit back and
Our sense of self. Our
pride. Our identity as “strong, brave, courageous” Black men. Gone.
So when Reggie is
staring at that barrel of a gun, I saw myself.
I saw myself with a choice.A choice that was already made for me.
A choice that I have
no control over.
(Or do I?)
A choice that I will
do whatever it takes to make change and live in a society that doesn’t want me
to be here.
A society that the boogie
man is an educated (and unapologetic) Black man. A boogie man that White men
fear more than fear itself; something to be eradicated and destroyed in plain