Dear World, We Are Tired
Want to know what this feels like?
Well, do you remember the “knockout game”? Yeah, that story that lit conservative media ablaze with tales of good-hearted, innocent, tax paying white folk getting randomly socked in the jaw on the streets of America? It was a menace. It had to be stopped. It would not be tolerated. Offenders would be hunted down and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Yes, that knockout game.
Well, imagine if people that looked just like you, your cousins, your great grandfathers, and your mother were always the target. Imagine if that game, with all of its random and senseless infliction of harm, was trivialized and splayed across newspaper headlines, social media timelines, and news reports. Imagine that those who participated in said game never faced any real prosecution, and any violence directed toward them, whether perpetrated by those in your community or not, is attributed to your efforts to simply be seen and recognized as human. Imagine if the innocent were blamed for their own deaths.
Now imagine that it had been like that for centuries. CENTURIES. Imagine the practice had become woven into the patchwork of your country so deeply that if you were to remove the thread the entire creation would crumble. Imagine not wanting to be the cause of that destruction and being taught to swallow your own systematic murder for the sake of those with no concern for your humanity.
Imagine carrying a very real and present fear that any police officer, any civilian, and darkness around the corner could be the bearer of your death. Imagine that, in the midst of all of that weighing on your every waking and sleeping moment, you must forge ahead as if that panic is not there. You must work hard, in fact twice as hard as those around you, to carve out a successful life in which you are able to afford comforts to distract you from your chronic fear, anger, and grief. Imagine that with your every effort to educate yourself you only become more aware of the threats to your extinction. Imagine coming to the realization that there are no calculated moves that can protect you from horror, only a game of chance where “winning” is defined only by not losing. But even in “winning” you are subjected to watching the consequences for the losers on repeat. Every day. For the rest of your life.
That’s what it feels like. Kind of. Because in truth, the forces that seek to destroy your body, poison your soul, and make you an example for your kind is infinitely innovative. And every time you think you’ve outsmarted it or found a loophole or even convinced those powers to change, an even worse machination is brought to life.
That is the life I and the entirety of the Black race face every day. Each of us are subjected to our own forms of this slow annihilation, it’s pervasiveness personalized and sinister in the worst ways imaginable. And that’s before we even get to the difficulties you fight in your lives.
Photo credit: David Robert Bliwas Flickr
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