You are fourteen, and despite the childish laughter— the one smoother than the fresh coat of love on a baby’s skin— your mothers must warn you that certain skin tones won’t allow you to flash open innocence.
You are not allowed to purchase candy, tell jokes, or ring the wrong doorbell.
Certain histories won’t let you forget the present or permit childhood to take advantage of your fingertips.
Responsibilities follow you home in warm booties, blankets, and prophecies. If you had known that your existence would give birth to a movement, long before your feet hit the ground. Before your mother’s pelvis danced against your father’s, and his kiss brushed upon her skin…
Did they tell you that you were born for this?
Did they tell you about the cries of Israel when they reached into the heavens like hands just as heavy as your parent’s hearts, knocking against the doors of heaven because too many of their prayers ended in question marks?
Did they tell you that you were destined for this?
That you had the freedom movement stamped to your backside like a receipt back to the soil.
Like your fathers had to spit their seed into a melody, an Amazing Grace and Birmingham Sunday, carving its lyrics and your names into the history books of our yet unborn.
And while you rest they march scripture on the bed of your misunderstood self.
“Do you think that’s air you’re breathing?” – Morpheus, The Matrix
When I logged into my WordPress account a few months ago, back when the Silver back Gorilla was killed, my reader lit up. There were many posts concerning the outrage over, not the saving of a child’s life, but of the killing of this rare animal. I saw many people who were frustrated and devastated in regard to the shooting. Many of them blamed the parents and many people had little sympathy for the child who was saved. Today, things are a little different.
Not even a full stride out of the holiday that is the celebration of America’s freedom, two black men are dead; losing their lives in a way that is all too familiar to the black community. Just two and three days after you waved your flags and sang your songs and celebrated the freedom of a country you are reminded yet again of a question that still hangs suspended in the air. An annoying presence of a question that feels like the erection of tiny hairs on the skin. It is the question of freedom.
What would it have felt like if I was there? If on July 4, 1776 I served at the table of my masters as they swallowed celebratory liquor and sang songs; celebrating the freedom of a country as I served at the table? The interesting connection is that many African Americans celebrated this same freedom just three days ago and yet today we bury the remains of strange fruit we continue to pretend does not exist in this land. Pouring our drink offerings to founding fathers while we stand here in chains reaching out for a tree that, of all our boasting, has never produced anything of value for us. No one can deny that it’s been a long ride for our people in America, and after nearly 400 years and the first black president, we are still sojourners in a strange land that is not ours.
Frederick Douglas said, “Oppression makes a wise man mad.” There is only so many times that a man will lay down and allow someone to press their foot against his neck. There are only so many marches, so many protests, and there is only a certain amount of time that one will allow before they stand up to who and what they perceive to be the bully. I say to prepare yourselves. Before there is a false peace, understand that there must first be war and if it is not already evident today, the racial war is upon us. Do not be surprised when the pressure finally bursts the pipes, and prophecy tippy toes off the pages of scripture and seats itself in our front yards.
…about this story. This doesn’t look like a “disgruntled employee” to me. Vester Flanagan? Really right now? What kind of name difference is that from Bryce Williams? I’ll share my thoughts some other time. Now is the time to listen to the details before they change. Always pay attention when the story first breaks. To be continued….