In 2016 an African-American behavioral therapist in North Miami was shot by police as he purposely laid on the ground with his hands raised. He was trying to help his autistic patient who’d created a disturbance in the street. With his hands still raised, Kinsey asked the responding officer, “Sir, why did you shoot me?” To which the officer replied, “I don’t know.”

Deciding whether to engage in conversations about race and racism is much like deciding how you feel about sex.

All things considered, my family is conservative. Save for this blog, I’m a private person. Although I didn’t always understand why the rules existed, I knew why I should follow them—even when I didn’t agree.

I respected the boundaries, but not necessarily the context in which they developed. I thought I knew more than my parents, and I thought they had more faith in me.

I was abstinent until my early 30s. If I hadn’t fallen in love with someone I thought I’d marry, I’d still be today.

The decision was intentional:

  1. Black people have always been associated with promiscuity. I didn’t want to be that.
  2. My friends who were having sex regretted the partners they chose, the outcome, or the consequences. I’ve always learned from others’ mistakes.
  3. I had observed that sometimes there were unintended side effects and distractions. I was studious and self-assured—I didn’t want to waste time feeling slighted. I didn’t want to waste time with appointments and prescriptions. I’d rather be studying.
  4. Unplanned pregnancies incite poverty. That just wouldn’t work for me—I wanted to see the world.
  5. (And finally, although this wasn’t until much much later) I wanted to be obedient to God.

When I was growing up, it wasn’t appropriate to think about, talk about, or have sex. I supported this narrative— I was remarkably asexual.

It wasn’t proper; it wasn’t right to live that way. We were in agreement.

Deciding whether to engage in conversations about race and racism is much like deciding how you feel about sex.

  1. There’s a subset of people who don’t think you should do it (talk about race).
  2. There’s a subset of people who want to do it all the time (talk about race).
  3. There’s a subset of people who feel conflicted about their desires (to talk about race). Sometimes they give in—but they condemn others who do (talk about race). Sometimes they abstain and harbor resentment (because they don’t feel free to talk about race).
  4. There’s a subset of people who believe only certain people should have the right or the opportunity (to talk about race).
  5. There’s a subset of people who only think it’s right in a certain context or with a certain partner (to talk about race).
  6. Not everyone is ready (to talk about race).
  7. Some people want to, but they’re afraid (to talk about race).
  8. Some people tried it before, but the experience was so bad, they decided it was best not to (talk about race).
  9. There’s a subset of people who want to hold their experience (talking about race) over your head in order to make you feel inadequate.
  10. There’s a subset of people who will always judge you and think less of you for it (because you talk about race)—even if they’ve been doing it secretly for years.

Some people just don’t think it’s right or proper (to talk about race).

dont come for me

We Need To Have a Conversation About Race.

Today, June 27, 2018, Michael Rosfeld was charged with criminal homicide for murdering Antwon Rose. He is one of the first to be charged for homicide in a long series of police-related deaths of African-Americans.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Trump’s travel ban. This ban prohibits travel from eight countries, six with majority-Muslim populations.

The U.S. offered a formal apology for Japanese internment during World War II. President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act in 1988. The Act was designed to compensate more than 100,000 people of Japanese descent who’d been affected by these atrocities. An apology was offered from Legislation and each surviving victim was paid $20,000 in compensation.

In 1984, The U.S. issued a formal apology for hiding a Nazi Officer who was wanted for war crimes during World War II.

In 1997, President Bill Clinton formally apologized for the Tuskegee Experiment of 1932. The experiment was uncovered in 1972 and a $10 million settlement was reached for the survivors.

In July of 2008, The U.S. House of Representatives issued an apology to African-Americans for slavery, Jim Crow, and years of discrimination.

I think there’s a myth that people of color LIKE to talk about race.

That we just “won’t let it go,” or that we enjoy “playing the race card.” It isn’t right to talk about race. It isn’t proper.

Was Japanese internment proper? Was the slaughter, rape, kidnapping, and extermination of millions of Native Americans proper? Is the killing of unarmed black men, proper?

We don’t talk about race because we want to. We don’t even talk about race because you think we know it makes you uncomfortable.

We talk about race because if we don’t, we don’t prepare our children for the worst. We don’t prepare them for the threat of death by police violence or discrimination. We don’t prepare our children for the discrimination that they will face at your hands.

This isn’t a choice for us. It’s a matter of survival.

To be mocked with “all lives matter” and “blue lives matter” in the face of Flint, Puerto Rico, Mexican babies being torn from their mothers, and Antwon Rose is just so vile and so cruel, I just can’t begin to understand your perspective.

More than that, it’s just not based on facts– things that are actually true. Come at me, bro!

There’s a subset of people who believe that police officers are above reproach. They think their work is difficult. Their lives are difficult. They are assaulted and regularly put in harm’s way. They could lose their lives. They are targeted. Because of their position, their families are vulnerable.

These things may very well be true– but becoming a police officer is a choice.

Being black– and being discriminated against for being black– are not.

I don’t give a flip what Kanye says.

I want desperately to believe that you believe that all lives matter.

I want desperately to believe that my brother’s life matters just as much as Permit Patty’s. My experience shows me that this isn’t true. Public policy, the judicial system, the school-to-prison pipeline, school funding, immigration policies, housing discrimination, special education demographics, show me that this is simply not true.

If all lives mattered, Flint would have clean water and Puerto Rico would have electricity. Plain, simple, and true.

We can’t stop talking about white supremacy, white power, and white privilege because it makes you uncomfortable.

We can’t stop talking about white supremacy, white power, and white privilege because you simply don’t believe it.

This isn’t a choice for us. It’s a matter of survival.

We need to have a conversation about race.

Antwon Rose. Freddie Gray. Sam Dubose. Philando Castile. Terence Crutcher. Alton Sterling. Jamar Clark. Jeremy McDole. William Chapman II. Walter Scott. Eric Harris. Tamir Rice, Akai Gurley. Michael Brown. Eric Garner. The Ku Klux Klan. Stockholm Syndrome. Affirmative Action. Welfare. Dreds. Trap music. Ghetto. Ghetto boys. Government Assistance. GED. Food Stamps. Ungrateful. Lazy. One Drop Rule. Black. Ruler Test. Fraternities and Sororities. School to Prison Pipeline. Willie Lynch Letters. Lynching. Patriotism. Patriot. Flags. American Flags. Confederate Flag. Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria? Ain’t Gone Hurt Nobody. Invisible Man. Notes of a native son. I, too, am America. I am a man. The census. Colorism. Black on both sides. Chopped and screwed. Colin Kaepernick. First generation. Fox news. Fake news. Megan Markle. The Royal Family. James Baldwin. Nikki Giovanni. Sonia Sanchez. Police. Police brutality. Unarmed. Michael Moore. Black Lives Matter. All lives matter. Police lives matter. Protest. Riot. Justice. Injustice. Peace. Freedom. MLK. Malcolm X. Trouble-maker. Monkey. Ape. Black Ape. Jamaica Kincaid. Audre Lorde. Ntozake Shange. Amiri Baraka. Assata Shakur. Black Panthers. For Colored Girls. Freedom Schools. Chicago Freedom School. Harriet Tubman. Washington Carver. Rita Dove. Maya Angelou. Rosa Parks. Bombs over Baghdad. Puerto-Rico. Japanese internment. Chinese Exclusion Act. Native American. Indigenous. Tuskegee. Permit Patty, Barbecue Becky. Rachel Dolezal. Jogger Joe. Aaron Schlossberg. White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Missionaries. Native American boarding schools. ACLU. Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Abolition. Abolitionist. Reconstruction. Hurricane Katrina. Flint, Michigan. Puerto-rico. Reparations. 40 acres and a mule. Redlining. White flight. Racial Restrictive covenants. Outliers. Freakonomics. Passing. Haiti.

I can’t breathe.