Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Profile of a Black Man in America

I am a man of color in America living a stereotype of some pre-conceived image.

I may play my music with thumping beats in my SUV, but it doesnt mean I'm a thug or drug dealer
I may walk into a white neighborhood, dressed as a "black man" (a hoodie? A bandana? Backward facecap?), but it doesnt mean I don't belong there.
I may be driving an expensive vehicle, but it doesnt mean I did something illegitimate to acquire it, or that I should be investigated
I may be hanging on my front porch with my friends, it doesnt mean I am hustling or scheming or plotting something illegal

Lil Wayne and the host of crude and vulgar rappers do not represent every black man
The prison statistics does not mean that's the route every black man has embarked upon
When a black man talks about civil rights it doesnt mean he is on the edge of being dissident and violent
Speaking in support for the rights of a fellow black man is not something I need to explain or justify
Expecting to live in the freedom a white man takes for granted is something I have a right to

If I'm living and abiding within my legal freedom, I shouldn't have to become consciously cautious and anxious because I am driving at night and a white cop is driving behind me; I shouldnt have to come up mentally with scenarios of how to act so I appear innocent - I AM INNOCENT!
As long as I am not being vulgar or immoral, I shouldnt have to talk or dress in a way that mainstream seems to find acceptable
As long as I am minding my business, I shouldnt have to always ignore being profiled and stereotyped
As long as I am on my own time, I shouldnt have to "put on" a facade that appears more warm and friendly to white folks.

All I want to do is simply be, and know that I can walk into any neighborhood, and not feel like I have to prove I am innocent. I am not guilty of anything in the first place!
But that's not the America I live in right now.
I can pretend it is, but we all know it isn't. So why should I pretend it is?
It is therefore my right to express how unacceptable this is.

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