When Gerron and I dreamed this online magazine up, we both wanted to be very clear that this would be a magazine that would allow for open and intellectual dialogue on any and all subjects. My fear is that the stigma that would be attached to our site would be that it would specifically and solely focus on African American issues. And this is to say that we won’t because I certainly want the ability to address issues in my community that are pressing and emotional to myself and others impacted. I just didn’t want us to scare or brand ourselves too limited so we have gone through great pains to create an environment where we welcome all and whatever contributions they bring to the table. I had originally typed another article as my initial post, but my frustrations have come to a head and it came out as a stream of conscious, catharsis.
The situation in Baltimore and really much of the racial tension brewing over the past several years hurts my heart. It’s so much conflict and strife and burns me personally because it hits me from so many different angles. It hurts to see and feel that as a black man, my life is expendable and not valued as much as some of my peers. I grew up in a solidly middle class family with parents married over 30 plus years, but even with this wonderful, Americana, background, I sometimes feel is pointless in the grand scheme of things in this world (let me preface this by saying I wouldn’t trade my parents for anything). No matter what I do, my race will be brought up as either a roadblock that I triumphed for my success, or as the diagnosis of my failures. Like being black is some grave symptom, a detriment. How is the image God made for me and created me as how is it flawed? Why is it a sub par image? How can we worship the same God and pray the same gospel but my design my being is flawed by man made and sculpted ideologies?
I’m also bothered by the conflict in my community, not outside by other races. There was a slogan and its still prevalent but not as prevalent as it was in the mid 2000’s called “stop snitching” which essentially is what it say it is: do not speak to law enforcement or police on issues in our community ranging from drug trafficking, murder, and other crimes. Like stepping forward is come cowardly act. And now, with so many public black murders at the hands of officers and others, we are clamoring for any and all evidence, any proof. But when its internal, we clam up. My cousin was murdered on Christmas night 2009 in a crowded club and not one person has been charged or even a witness, at least to my knowledge. Not one fucking person. How in the world is this possible? How? How can we be going on 6 years without one person having any knowledge on this? Where is his justice? Where is his hashtag, his speeches form intellectuals, scholarly issues? Why wasn’t his death a national tragedy? There are black kids daily dying at the hands of black kids and nothing pops up, why do we get so rattled when its outside of our race? Why in hip hop is there this culture of violence and crime that we can justify amongst our own kind for whatever street laws we have assembled in our brains but can in turn denounce the deaths of Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin? Does no one else think this is contradictory?
It’s frustrating like almost being thumbed at. That no matter what I do or say or think or accomplish, I will never out accomplish my skin. It will always be the asterisk to my life . As a black person, there is a sense of paranoia and foreboding sense that I will have to defend my merit as an American at every turn. The American history and “heritage” is stained with more blood shed and brutality then any riot or protest we have seen. Not saying that they have the right or even should turn to senseless vandalism and violence, but in the grand scheme, isn’t that the most American of things to do? To meet injustice and neglect from a power ambivalent about your future?