Why I Can’t Stay…

In 2012, when George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin, I realized that I had better tell my son that he is black because the world would see him that way, and if something awful happened to him, they would blame him, no matter who was actually at fault. I realized that I had done him a great disservice by allowing him to be “himself” which seemed absurd to me, but instantly true. It did not matter how he saw himself, how he felt himself, it only actually matter how the world saw him because his life could very well be at…

Inequitable Equation

While the middle class steadily becomes financially indistinguishable from the working poor, we are repeatedly told that we should be thankful and feel “blessed” for the jobs we do have.  We work harder. Longer hours. Take on more stress. And are rewarded for these efforts less and less. All the while, slapping on a smile of gratitude for the indignity of making anyone but ourselves rich and fiscally carrying the country on our back. It is a heavy burden that we should be grateful to have.  We also have to be mindful that the glitch in our system has turned…

The Great Egress

It is probably daily that I put my hands to my head and say, “I just can’t live in this country anymore.” The surge of frustration washes over me before the words are uttered and continue through me, even as they pass. I know, for now, that I am trapped, and that knowledge is deepening angst. It is not that I believe somewhere else is fundamentally better than America. I am aware that each modern land skillfully hides its flaws in a beautiful game of cache-cache that it plays with onlookers from foreign soils. I am not that daft, as…

The Little Piece of Me that You Cannot Have

My problem with a white woman telling my story as if it were her own is there is no way she could know. Growing up black in America is a shared experience of more than our dark skin and kinky curls. It cannot be put on like a mask.  I cannot explain to you anecdotally what it is to be told from the time of hearing that you are less than another person of whiter skin and silkier hair. I cannot relate to you the physical sting of the word “nigger”. It is visceral. It bites. It is spat at…

External/Internal Rachel Dolezel

I think we all know the certain recently (relatively) tightly curled lady of America today this pertains. I know my own struggles. I will forever share my children’s struggle. But that is not owning another’s struggle. It is what is my struggle as a father of little soldiers in the trenches. I demand no empathy.  My place is this. I am in a place of strength and depth to handle a great many minor indignities. On my own behalf. On the behalf of those incalculably, intrinsically and inseparably mine to bear I make no such compromises. A choice indistinguishable from…

I Know, I Know, A Change Gone Come

Yeah, right. Bullshit. Yesterday, I should in what I could call a small group of beautifully varied people voicing concern over police brutality as it has been violently dropped upon my doorstep. I watched each of them speak, tell their tales of hope and of horror. I yelled. A young man cried. An older woman’s voice broke as she spoke. A girl asked for her humanity. Then a man began to speak of how we move out of this sorry state that we find ourselves in still, in this country that has made so many broken promises, that if they…

Of Mice and Men…

It occurred to me while meditating in my marathon Mother’s Day bath, that white America considers the black man as a kind of a house-pet. Lowlier than a dog, but not as reprehensible as mice. We know how to behave and be servile, but on the whole, we are utterly and ultimately disposable. Not all of white America, of course. There are some that simply hate us outright, and see no real need for us whatsoever. And there are still others that view us as humans, on equal footing and have great difficulty ascertaining why we are not treated as…

Footsteps

My mother was a “radical”. So much so, that after her death, we would discover that she had been on an FBI Watchlist due to her membership in the Black Panther Party. Despite its frustration of my sister’s plans of getting Top Secret clearance during her Naval stint, it gave us all a chuckle. Turns out that skinny woman was as crazy as she had always espoused to be. She had conviction. She stood and stood up for something. While having a soft-heart for most of her family and many friends, she did not show any kindness towards injustice. Often…