March 26, 2012

An Endangered Species

Depicted as: coon; Americoon; Africoon; Angus; Baboons; Apes.  These are just a few of the pejorative terms, found in The Racial Slur Database, used to describe the Black male.  Hunted for the fun of the sport. Hated just because.

While employed at DAR, the administrator and I had a few discussions on race and the perceived treatment of the black employees.  I loaned him a copy of  Deborah Mathis' book, Yet a Stranger, which I felt would explain to him far better than I could the experiences of Blacks in today's world. Not from a historical viewpoint but things which we were experiencing as a matter of fact: young males being followed throughout stores; jewelry store doors being locked when they approach; being stopped for no reason; and on and on. He returned it a few years later, when President Obama was elected, with the note that perhaps things had changed.

I think not. The murder of our children, brothers, uncles, fathers, friends continues. Not only do we fear Black on Black crime but murder just because the skin color is not right for the person intent on harm. We have had the murders of  Sean Bell, in NYC, NY, James Craig Anderson, in Jackson, MS, and now, the horror of Trayvon Martin's death, in Sanford, FL, and who knows how many more throughout the nation.  Every Black mother's nightmare. Every Black family's sorrow. And more sorrow as we realize that for every Trayvon, there is a mother's child whose name we don't know.

Age has no bearing nor does it offer protection. James Anderson was 49 and killed by white teenagers who made jaunts into Jackson, MS, "hunting" Blacks--for no other reason than to do harm. Nor does the look of affluence, intelligence, "belonging," offer protection from those so inclined. Years ago, while in Miami, SF and I were stopped because we were in a Mercedes sports coupe. A policeman doing his job or...?

We can exhort our Black youth to pull their pants up; be respectful; stay in school; choose friends wisely, etc.   Educate them to the "Black Male Code." But what can we do about the mindset of those who hate...just because?  About the fear of your loved one not returning from the store, the parking lot, the bachelor party because someone decided that they didn't "look right." Geraldo makes the claim that the clothing worn by Trayvon--a hoodie--is to blame. Reality check, Geraldo, it was the color of the skin. Pure and simple.

I am the mother and grandmother of Black males; the sister of another.  A cousin to many. My family is spread far and wide but my fear is not abated. Out of sight does not mean out of mind. My prayers are for their safety and the safety of all of the endangered species. 

Be Safe. Be Blessed.

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