February. The month of love and Black History Month. It seems that we would have so much to celebrate, especially Black History Month.
Black History month this year, was fraught with so much drama and crisis involving black folks, that I was apprehensive about logging on to even my facebook account. My concern was that I’d see yet another instance of violence or hate directed towards us. Even more painful, I’d bear witness to yet more of our collective apathy. Some things are just too painful to watch.
I saw a post today involving a black man and police harrassment and brutality. One of the comments posted 4 words that spoke volumes to me. Are you angry yet? Apparently not.
Two years ago, it was Trayvon Martin’s murder. This year, we had the murder trial of Michael Dunn – the killer of young Jordan Davis. Sprinkled in, we’ve had all measures of crime and disrespect; and no one of us is immune. From the average black man walking down the street -all the way up to the disrespectful treatment of our Commander In Chief – The President of the United States, Barack Obama – talked about and treated like no other president treated in history. It pisses me off that we aren’t angry yet.
I’m trying to figure out why our numbers are so lopsided. The percentage of African Americans there are in the population in the whole United States is 13%. Think about the same folks percentage currently in the prison population: 39% and the percentage of Black college students: 14% It makes me worry.
I don’t understand why we as a people have grown so complacent. We are losing the gains made by the generations before us that sacrificed so that we would have a better life. We are losing our grip by refusing to STAND OUR GROUND and fight for our rights. We didn’t lose “the fight” we just haven’t shown up for it – yet. While we are thinking about if we are angry yet, they are taking bits and pieces of important victories by default. Everytime a crazy vigilante or cop decides that the threat of black skin is sufficient reason to shoot someone’s child without provocation – and are exonerated, we lose a little bit of our confidence. Everytime an African American is unjustly arrested and convicted; Everytime a black convicted criminal is given a maximum sentence, compared to a white convicted criminal for an equal or greater offense; Everytime one of these things happens, we lose some of our respect for one another.
Sure, we stew in our anger, post on facebook and grumble under our collective breaths, almost acting as though someone might hear us and punish us. That is certainly what the powers that be are counting on. We’ll grumble a little, maybe tear up some of our own stuff but probably only for as long as it takes for us to scroll to another post, switch a channel – and then we lose our collective steam. The fight pretty much conditioned out of us. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!! If we don’t get angry, and do it in a collective, unified manner, we stand to lose so much. Our rights, the rights of our children; and even just for folks unable to advocate for themselves is cause enough to get angry. Apathy is costing us. We are forgetting how to fight. It’s costing us respect. It’s costing us our rights. In too many cases, it’s costing us our freedom, our drive and our ability to defend ourselves. Freedom, is much too costly and precious to give back without a fight.
Next time you scroll through facebook or some other media site, and you see yet another of those posts, ask yourself: Am I Angry Yet?