As a black man who has been accused of being things I am not; who has been painted to be stereotypes of black men that are inaccurate; whose character has been called into question, I sometimes I feel like I must be twice as nice for people to see past what Americans may be saying about me.
I feel as though I must be twice as compassionate, twice the giver, and make twice the amount of sacrifices to dispel many misconceptions. I must be twice as humble and work twice as hard. Yet and still, many Americans have unfortunately believed misconceptions. Misconceptions of what it means to be black in this country.
A country where structures were systematically created to work against us as black people. A country that consumes our labor and misrepresents our brilliance, resourcefulness and resilience as dysfunction, depression and disease. A country where we are faced with methodical and institutionalized racism in our schools, banks, medical facilities and in employment opportunities. In government buildings where, public policy is drafted, micro-racism is often excused.
For many Americans, believing the lie and losing sight of what black people represent in this country is easy. Ironically it is Americans who believe that all their wealth and comfort came from their own brilliance and hard work, not from privilege and government support. The misconception that black poverty is a result of our own laziness and immorality and not the organized repression of our own development.
Despite the documented and overwhelming evidence of the persistent onslaught of economic, psychological and physical warfare waged against us from the inception of this country. This is precisely why when you try to explain the many dysfunctions apparent within the black community without completely placing blame on black people, folks accuse you of making excuses and will say black people merely fail to take responsibility.
Even when you give them data, evidence and statistics to support claims that the dysfunctions we deal with are common amongst all traumatized, besieged, under-resourced, subjugated and miseducated people. Not just black people, but any people that have endured the same conditions and treatment, individuals shake their heads and believe the delusion that black people are by some means unique in their own depravity and dysfunction.
Even when you show them the resilience, the eternal display of resistance, the unmistakable progress we have made under nearly impossible circumstances, people with will put blinders on to those facts and will focus on the worst aspects of black people. They maintain black youth, single mothers and those who struggle with addiction are the problem. Those with the least amount of agency and influence are somehow the overall cause of the problems within our culture.
And while many Americans say they are willing to work towards solutions, most aren’t. Black people must understand that American culture will not be the solution to the suffering of black people. Many Americans fail to realize their perpetuated behavior validates the very harmful systems, policies and institutions implemented many moons ago.