When There’s Nothing Left to Lose
Have you ever had to go to sleep at night with the image of a black man being murdered seared into your mind?s eye? A vision so horrifying, so heartbreaking, so unimaginable nothing can take it away. It?s burned into your psyche and hovers there like a ghost.
Have you ever tried to understand the vile hatred that lives in the hearts and minds of a race that is so threatened by your existence they won?t let you live in peace? Do you know what it?s like to try to grow and thrive in a world that floods you with too much rain and blocks out the sun?
Do you know what feels like when a cop car gets behind you on the highway and your heart catches in your throat even though you didn?t do anything wrong? And you peer into your rear view mirror and heave an anxious sigh of relief when he passes you by?
Do you have any idea how debilitating it can be to feel like you are an endangered species who no one gives a damn about going extinct? Can you imagine the duality of focusing on the positive but also, somewhere in the back of your mind, keeping yourself ready in case your presence makes someone uncomfortable?
Have you ever had to look into your child?s face, explain to them that some people will hate them just because their skin is brown, and watch the innocence drain from their eyes? And it breaks your heart because you had to break their heart and there isn?t an embrace tight enough to take away that kind of pain.
Can your mind comprehend loving the skin you are in but also fearing it at the same time because, though you see the beauty in it, the world sees your skin color as a violent crime punishable by death?
Do you know the rage that goes through a black person?s body when we see our culture appropriated at every turn by the same people who kill us, watch us die in the streets, yet try to deny that this country has a race problem?
Have you ever been told that your hair is unprofessional? That your body?s voluptuous curves are too offensive to be on television?
Have you ever been walking up to your own car in a parking lot and, while you are getting into your car, hear the click of or the beep of someone locking or alarming their car because you are too close for their comfort?
And then you have the audacity to ask ?Why are your people so angry? Who did this to you??
I live in a country that my ancestors built, yet you look at me and question my right to be here.
We ask for justice, and you build bigger jails to put our black bodies into.
We march for peace and you call in the National Guard.
When the scale of our anger tips and the uprisings begin, you call us violent and tell us ?rioting is not the way. Vote.? But you only gave us that right ? very begrudgingly ? sixty years ago, and voting hasn?t changed a thing.
So…if there are no politicians to help us, if there is no justice system to help us, if there are no police to protect us, and you are actively stripping our civil rights from us one by one so that we can?t defend ourselves against your tyranny…what happens next?
I?ll give you a hint: the most dangerous man in the world is one who has nothing to lose.