I tell you this because I truly love you. I am not a social issue to be solved. Personally, I do not believe you actually want to understand my particular perspective. My perspective takes away your power and vision to influence my life and see me as some intellectual wants you to see me. You actually can’t imagine a world in which I actually do not need your paternalism, your momentary sympathy, and all of your confessions about not being sensitive to the plight of Black people in America.
I am just a po’ black boy.
All it takes is one event. One event shared a million times. Marked with a ridiculous yellow face with a tear. All it takes is one event for you to write some confession about listening and wanting to understand what Black people in America are going through. So a confession is mixed with lament and grief turning into a diatribe with feelings of White guilt and complicity because you have not spoken up. Well didn’t you say this the last time an event like this happened?
Did you not confess, grieve, lament, and reject your Whiteness the last time this happened? Then what did you do with that grief? What steps did you actually take to address the supposed assault against Black bodies and the supposed racist institutions of America? I am still looking for the divestment from financial institutions or withdrawing your support for the educational institutions which were built on racist dollars and perpetuate the marginalization of Black men and women. I mean this is what you are saying MY reality is today. I am trying to understand this reality you claim I live in on daily basis. Apparently I am blind to the oppression and marginalization which continues to pervade every aspect of may society. Oppression and marginalization you have such an intimate knowledge about, yet have not actually done anything end even if it meant the cost of your reputation and treasure.
So my reality is supposedly strewn with black bodies because of a silent race war. Victims of racist, demonic White men and women who wake up daily plotting the demise of Black men and women. Plans successfully executed to satisfy the realization of a world in which whiteness will forever dominate the social, economic, political, and religious aspects of society. It is a war apparently many of us are unaware because some White brothers and sisters are blinded by privilege and the Black American victims are simply too unequipped to respond appropriately.
I guess I am just a po’ black boy because I am unaware of this reality and I am in need of saving.
I do not believe you actually want to understand my particular perspective because it does not jive with your vision of the world. I mean what is the point of all this Black success in America. A Black President. Black Supreme Court Justices. Black financial success in terms of billionaires and millionaires. Owners of sports teams, financial firms, small and large businesses. Can you see the number of college graduates at the bachelor, masters, and doctorate level? We have mayors, congressmen and congresswomen. We have made significant progress in fifty-five years. In the face of difficulties. In the experiences which are actually not uncommon to other ethnic groups, we continue to triumph. But that does not matter. This vision is just not exciting, is it?
So what I am learning from you is essentially my agency is only significant when I am in the position of victim. I am the living and breathing embodiment of racial oppression and my mere presence evokes sadness rather than joy. I am continually reminded in print, in television, and education I belong to a tribe of victimization and the daylight of freedom just continually evades my existence. Imagine if you were approached and looked at in this manner. We are better than this. You are better than this.
So am I just a po’ black boy who apparently is need of saving? The fact, no the reality is I am a po’ black boy who is trying to figure out what it will take for you to see me, to see us as more than a social issue to be solved.