Black Lives Matter protesters march through the Capitol complex in Harrisburg, PA on June 1, 2020. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)
When my editor, colleague, and friend, John Micek, asked me to address my feelings regarding George Floyd’s murder, I immediately had two reactions.
My initial reaction was me taking a deep breath. For those few seconds of breathing and reflecting, breathing and reflecting.
“Yes,” I said breathing and reflecting, I thanked God for allowing me, a thirty-four-year-old Black person, who some would consider educated, loving, militant, and a voice to still have the ability to breathe unlike George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks.
My second reaction was repeating a line Grammy Award winner Andre 3000 said on recording artist Rick Ross’s song entitled “Sixteen.”
In this song, Andre 3000 questioned how to fit a lifetime full of experiences into just 16 bars and I had the same thoughts about this 750-word column.
In 2020, as a Black man how do I address an audience this fact, my grandparents generation who picked cotton in the south fought for integration, and would have the ability to give my parents generation something different in their upbringing would still witness Black people being lynched nationwide.
In 2020, as a Black man, how do I address an audience this fact, Black people have made a significant amount of progress when it pertains to social and economic growth.
Yet Blacks still lead the polls when you look at poverty and unemployment, and when comparing a white family household to a Black family household well Black family households fall short some $154,000 so what systematic change can we really influence?
As a Black man, how do I persuade my Black mother, Black father, Black sister, Black brother, and Black fiancee not to be afraid every time I leave the house?
As a Black man, I should not pose as a threat to my white peers and my life matters just as much as any other ethnic group who walks on this earth.
Yes, my demeanor may be one that my white peers from time to time may not understand but that is simply because from time to time I do not truly understand my very own demeanor either. As a thirty-four-year-old Black man, I am just now truly identifying with inherited trauma, which explains why my people are so “dysfunctional” and “aggressive” right?
As a Black man, how do I address an audience this fact, yes racism can end but it will take dedication and discipline from our White allies addressing their inherited trauma intimately and publicly.
Also, when our white allies extend their privilege for Blacks to have a space to address our trauma, remember to just listen, refrain from being so judgmental when processing the ways Blacks practice positive conflict resolution and teach and provide resources for your grand and great-grandchildren to successfully deal with their inherited trauma as well.
As a Black man, how do I address an audience this concern? How do I become an ally and speak out for my Black (LBGTQ+) friends and family members without my sexuality and intentions being ostracized well let me show you? Yes, all Black lives matter.
We live in a society that has taught us not only to hate ourselves by our oppressors, but also hate and oppress each other due to messaging, not understanding, and refusing to agree to disagree. Black people we are in this together, period.
As a Black man, how do I address the Black woman and Black child that you are the most important thing in the world and despite a group of Black men letting you down there is a large group of Black men who are constantly lifting you up.
Many Black women question where the good Black men are, and I have to say most of the time we are right under your nose, not making noise but making a difference. The difference we are making would not mean anything if it wasn’t for our Black women fighting for our freedom since the beginning of time. Black women, please don’t give up on us.
These are just a handful of critical questions that I came up with after breathing and reflecting, breathing and reflecting, yes, I said breathing and reflecting.
The sad part is for the last twenty-plus years of my life after breathing and reflecting I seem to keep on addressing the same questions, simply because we have been here before because this is America.
So, until next time, let’s continue to put our best foot forward, period.
Opinion contributor Anwar Curtis, of Harrisburg, tells the stories of Pennsylvania’s capital city. His work appears biweekly on the Capital-Star’s Commentary Page. Readers may email him at [email protected].
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