I have some friends, many of whom I know to be good people with good hearts, that often comment to me that I discuss race too often. They assert that what happens in Florida or Texas or California or New York or any number of states is local business and should not be a national discussion on race.
What I try to convey, and often fail at doing, is that Trayvonn Martin, Duane Brown, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, and dozens of others including the man pictured here: Eric Gardener are all variations of me, my family, and my friends.
Look at the man in the pic, that gets choked to death by police officers for selling loose cigarettes, looks just like me. How can I see that and not speak out? How can anyone see that and not feel pain and anger and that a grave injustice has occured.
Our community has many issues but one huge factor that lends to violence that happens in the Black community is that Black life is not valued by anyone. A Black life can be taken, legally, for: cigarettes, looking suspicious, asking for help, laughing at a police officer, basically anything that someone chooses that day as an excuse to kill them and there are little if any repurcussions.
This irrational fear or Black men and apathy towards Black life is something I want to actively play a part in changing. I have a son that is 9 years old and 5ft 2 inches. tall. He’s going to be “scary” to these same police/ security/ George Zimmerman’s of the world. I want to change that before I’m another father crying at a memorial service because some irrationally afraid white cop kills him because his size intimidates him into pulling a trigger on a traffic stop.