Friday, March 30, 2012

"There's a War Going on Outside"

"There's  a war going on outside/No man is safe from/You can run but you can't hide forever/From these/Streets that we done took..." -Mobb Deep "Survival of the Fittest"

I have this sinking fear that in about 6 months from now, we're going to wake up in the middle of a war. Looting, rioting, killing, an eye for an eye, and I'm scared the whole point will be lost in the midst of getting the free 3D TV's and expensive shoes. (I'm not saying I don't like expensive shoes; I'm just saying I don't feel comfortable obtaining them in the name of a life being lost). My biggest fear is for the blind. There are so many in denial that war is being declared right now. It's sad, scary, and unhealthy to abstain from reality. It began with Trayvon Martin. A 17 year old was shot for walking away from the store carrying a bag of skittles and an iced tea. The hoody he was wearing made him look suspicious. For that he deserved to die. A person who chased him felt the need to defend himself against his choice of clothing for that chilly, rainy night. Trayvon Martin is dead, and his killer hasn't even been prosecuted. He said the words "F___in' coon" before killing him, yet people - black people especially - want to deny that this is a race issue.

I'm used to those who are not negatively effected by racial profiling and all that comes with it being in denial about what's happening. In fact, there is a large group of people who believe that since slavery is over, racism should be forgiven and forgotten. To them it is no longer existent. It's especially evident in the remarks made about tragic events that are clearly racially motivated. In book reviews regarding the South during the Great Depression comments such as, "There were too many references to prejudice. After slavery, things weren't that bad for African-Americans," let us know what is really thought of our plight. That's to be expected from those who didn't have to go through it. Those who aren't descendants of a people who was dragged from its native land and forced to work on the land of another could never understand. They are not my concern. The people I am fearful for are the ones who say, "Don't make this a race issue. Everything is not about race." An Arabic-American woman by the name Shaima Alawadi was found beaten to death with a note that called her a terrorist and told she should return to her own country. A little girl named Aiyana James was shot to death by police with no repercussions suffered. You can say "don't play the race card...," since the race card was played when the trigger was pulled.

Instead of acknowledging the issue at hand they ask, "Why should we care about them when we haven't done anything about the madness that's going on in our town?" It's because of what these tragedies represent. They signify the beginning of the end for us. After slavery they had no use for us. The gang violence and drug wars help, but they're not killing us fast enough. There are still some of us left who don't want to be involved with that foolishness, and that just won't do. We need to either leave or die. Since America puts us under the impression that we have some rights, we're not going anywhere. Therefore, they have to kill us. The more of us that are in denial, the easier this will be. "Everything is not a race issue." No, it isn't, but when people of color are being killed without their assailants being prosecuted, it's obvious that the murders are racially motivated.

"Where was the outcry for Jon Benet Ramsey and Cailey (forgive the misspelling) Anthony?"
I clearly recall there being heavy disappointment in the outcome of the Anthony case. However, at least there was a trial. George Zimmerman, the Chicago police, and the security guards are all walking the streets. They're free to destroy their next target at will.

"Where was the rally and vigil when that happened to my cousin?" 
Why didn't you let anyone know that happened to your cousin? Why didn't you start a rally? Why do nothing and then get mad at people for getting involved with causes they actually have knowledge of?

"Trayvon Martin's shooting happened a month ago? Why are people just now getting upset about it?"
It takes the spread of information in order for people to become knowledgeable about it. Likewise, it would be impossible to know of every single hate crime that happens against people of color. The person who updates that website would have to have Superman's speed in order to keep up. Besides, who would sit there and read such information all day without having a breakdown and going crazy?

"Why does it take an event like this for people to get angry?" 
Life is all about balance. Sane people become upset when something happens to upset them. Who walks around militant all the time? Life still has to be lived. Children still have to be fed. We still need to be educated. Nobody needs to be angry all of the time, but when something like this happens people need to take notice and be outraged. In addition, they need to be alert. We need to be alert and ready for the war they have started. Robbing Wal-Mart will not make us victorious. Being in denial that what is going on is not going to win.

"Well, I'm only half black, so none of this pertains to me."
I'm sorry to tell you this, but no one cares that you're half black except you and maybe the other people of mixed race who sympathize with your plight. You can identify yourself as whatever you want. To the rest of the country, though, you are black. We have been dictated by the one drop rule. That one drop, or that "half" of a black person in you is what will be targeted. Your other half will not be spared, because you are seen as a contaminated specimen. You'll be tossed like bio-hazardous waste. Look at George Zimmerman. Never in life have you heard of a Hispanic man with the surname Zimmerman, but they were quick to point out that only half of him was white. Only half of him was worthy of being connected to them. They were quick to discard him because he made them look bad. They did it to him, and they'll to the same to anyone who taints them. They'll try to save him. They just won't have anything to do with him.

It's easier for those who haven't been through it to sweep it under the rug. My concern is those African-Americans who choose to be in denial and make excuses. "What about blacks killing blacks every day? Where's the outrage for that?" Those individuals are helping the cause of the other side. Many of them also choose to live a life that has only two options- death or jail. That's a separate problem to deal with. This sudden swelling in the number of UNARMED people of minority races being gunned down is a bigger problem. The more the real reason for it happening is denied, the more it's going to happen. It's war. We are the survivors. I'm afraid that all we'll be concerned with is the amount of free crap we can get from the riots that amount to nothing. Still they'll be in denial about the fact that they are targets.

How could you look at this dead boy and not immediately think of Emmit Till? An innocent boy was killed by a Caucasian man. His parents are left to grieve. Immediately an excuse is given about why it happened. Emmit Till was killed for whistling at a white woman. Trayvon Martin was killed for looking suspicious. He was wearing a hoody. He knew better than that. He shouldn't have been dressed in such an intimidating article of clothing. Even if it was raining when he walked to the store to get a bag of Skittles and an Arizona iced tea. Even Geraldo Rivera said it: His hoody killed him just as much as the man who pulled the trigger. It's his fault a man sitting in an SUV got out of the car, chased him down, and demanded to know who he was and where he was going. Who cares that we teach our children not to speak to strangers? As a young black teenager, he should have known he had to answer. Why? Because that man was white, and he was black. He was a suspicious intruder in his own neighborhood because he had the darker skin. Just like Emmit Till's, his life was taken because he was a threat to their world. No, the truth his he was killed because Zimmerman knew Florida's law would let him get away with it.

After the tragic slaying of Trayvon Martin, they tried to show us how they were doing us a favor. They wanted to tell us why he wasn't in school that day. He wasn't in school that day because it was a Sunday. Then they wanted to bring up the fact that he was once suspended from school for having an empty bag of marijuana. Excuse me, there was marijuana residue inside of the bag. In addition, his Twitter page was put on display. All that America saw was that he was living a teenage life. Every day they've tried to come out with something else, trying to prove that his life was taken as a gift to us. They were protecting us from a future thug. All that they've shown is that two parents are left to grieve the loss of their son, and they don't care. They didn't care when they left his body in the hospital as a Jon Doe, and they still don't care today. That's why Zimmerman is free, and Trayvon Martin is no longer with us.

Then there's this group who thinks hunting down Zimmerman an taking the eye for an eye approach is the answer. The fact that they will be arrested and sentenced to an unspeakable amount of jail time. Zimmerman will still be free. Some media outlets have already crafted a monster out of Trayvon Martin's childhood events.  In the meantime, Zimmerman's friends and family members are making him a victim. Headlines such as "Zimmerman's Brother Says George's Life Will Never Be the Same" and "Zimmerman Couldn't Stop Crying the Night of the Shooting" serve to form some type of pity party. If the media has already victimized him, don't people take that as a warning? A grown man kills a child, yet it's the grown man who they're trying to get sympathy for. It's not the parents who lost a son. It's not the millions of African-American boys around the country who now fear walking down the streets. We're supposed to feel sorry for a man who shot a boy who was walking home from the store, armed with nothing but an iced tea and some candy. What do people think breaking windows, burning down buildings, and stealing things from stores is going to do? The L.A. Riots after the Rodney King verdict were a mess. I was only 9 or 10 when they happened, but I remember the chill that set over my body as I watched them and grieved for my people. We looked like animals on national television. The riots weren't worth it, and they did more harm than good. What will be accomplished by going to this man's house (or his current location) and beating the life out of him? Once again we will be the thugs he accused Trayvon Martin of being. I'm just as angry as anyone else, and I want justice, but I know that our outcome won't be the same as Zimmerman's.

Finally there's the group who thinks we should comply with what these bigots want. There's even a video going around telling how African-American males should conduct themselves in the world. In my opinion, this group is the worst. Supposedly African-Americans were freed with the Emancipation Proclamation. Freedom means we don't have to follow a dress code or behave in a certain manner. How a person conducts him or herself depends on his or her upbringing. It is up to the parents to tell them what is right and what is wrong. Right and wrong is not determined by a person's style of dress. It's also not determined by who you answer to when asked who you are and what you're doing in your own neighborhood. Right and wrong is determined by action alone. Anyone who wants to fall under a bigot's dictation rather than fight for his or her right to be who he or she is promised to be under the American Constitution is a disgrace. Geraldo Rivera, you are included in this message. You should be fighting for your son's right to wear a hoody without being labelled suspicious, not telling him he's made himself a target by donning one.