Today was a hard day. As I have written before, me and my wife are going through a very tough spot in our marriage. But that does not mean I can not be there to support her. She buried her cousin today. He was shot while just walking down the street. (I lost a close cousin the same way) No gang activity. No drugs on him. Just shot and the rest of the world will just move on. The community sang lamentations of his work in the area and while I sat there in the pew and listened to the pastor and others speak of his works, my wife’s mind stirred. On the ride home we had a great and long conversation. A question that stuck out in our conversation was “Why do they hate us”? Now I know I am catching the “when they see us crowd late”. BUT, we really wanted to know, why?
We had a 20 minute conversation starting in the early days of slavery to the current days of city/ghetto slavery. From chains to drugs and from whips to guns. All the methods and tools used to keep us down. Then we came to a startling revelation.
I’ll explain it like this. There is a thing called conditioning. It’s why football players can take hard hits and just keep on going. It’s why dogs are able to live in homes with people. It’s the process of teaching a response or method to the point were the one who learned the method teaches it to their offspring, and so on. The conditioning becomes common practice after time.
When I was a kid I discovered I was different at a young age. The only color children see are the ones in a coloring box at this age. Again, I learned early, while in a catholic school, that I was different but didn’t know why? (remember at one time when did not see color). The school I attended had no idea how to deal with the issues I was facing growing up. My problems were very forigen as well as the color of my skin and I can say, in hindsight, I did not help the situation. At the time my aunts were on drugs, my grandmother was on her deathbed, my cousins were trying to survive, my dad did not live with us, and that was all the information I knew about my situation, and it made me upset. When I got older I learned it was more stuff going on around me than I really saw. I can’t blame a cahtolic school in suburbia (in the late 80’s) for not knowing how to handle my needs but they could have did a better job.
As I got older I discovered it was not just Afican Americans, but also, Latins, Asians, Native Americans, and Middle Easterners. We were all disliked. I grew some more and discovered there was hate within our own communities. Then I further discovered there was a “Hierarchy” to all this hate. I think blacks, hispancis and middle easterners are at the bottom currently. I can say this because I am black and don’t live under a rock.
I never write from a position of baseless facts. I have been pulled over countless time. Was I in the wrong?, a few times, yes, but not every time. I have been put on the hood of my car, surrounded by 6 cops in vest (that surprisingly ended with the cops wanting to help me after). I have been told to leave parks, public parking lots, (I was at a Target that closed at 11, it was around 10 when I was told to leave), and my 2 brothers who grew up with me had similar experiences recently (like 2018-2019 recently). On the other side I have meet some officers who were the coolest. I just talk to them like a normal human, some yell at me and some were actually just concerned about my safety, even after pulling me over (like my light was out or I was driving slow because I was lost). I recently had a long and good conversation with an officer while eating at my uncle’s restaurant. Like people, some cops are a**holes and some are actually protecting and serving. But In all scenarios I was willing to have an open dialogue.
I took the long way to explain our conditioning. You see racism is alive because we are letting intelligence die. If we had a little intelligence we could see what really matters, a person’s character (Thank you Dr. King). We are conditioned to hate, to be hated, to hate those who hate us and continue the cycle. One of the hardest things for us to do is sit down and discuss our disdain for pigmentation and different cultures. We all are dealing with the backlash of centuries old issues and very few of us want to learn from those mistakes.
Moving forward is hard. It’s so easy to cling to old methods that don’t work. “But we tweaked those old methods”. Yea, but you should have thrown out the blueprint and started over. Hate is part of society and the intelligent, progressive minds of today have to start to outweigh the lost hate filled minds of yesterday. I’m tired of being looked at as a threat or an easy quota filler for a cop due to the color of my skin. I’m tired of wondering the challenges my son will face because of his views and his skin. I’m tired of being looked at as a threat or a hindrance to society. I pay my taxes, teach kids in an awesome school, take care of my family to the best of my ability, give advice to anybody who ask (if I don’t know something, I point them in the direction of who does), I attend church every sunday, go to bible study, I feed the homeless every christmas, and I respect my country. So why am I hated? Why are my people still hated?