As a people of color, we are always re-examining ourselves, questioning if we are too oversensitive in our feeling of not always feeling inclusive as genuine native-born United States citizens. Only God knows how we long to feel we are equally accepted and respected as citizens of this country with all the rights and privileges of our White counterparts.
Regardless of how comfortable we feel at times, reality rears its ugly head and we are catapulted to the real world that reminds us that there are far too many White people who don’t see people of color as equals and have no sense of urgency in correcting their apathetic views on how people of color (especially African Americans) are treated and the need to bring about equity and equality.
It is no secret that many people of color feel deprived of the basic rights and privileges alluded to by our Constitution and even for the protection that is supposed to be provided to all Americans under our national flag.
It doesn’t seem to matter that productive and law-abiding African Americans manifesting all the positive attributes we were taught to relish and abide by as children are not always given the same consideration as those given the dominant population. Time and pending situations have a way of reminding us that regardless of how comfortable we may feel personal, people who look like us are all too often relegated to a second-class status subjected to discriminatory practices and blatant degradation. No matter how successful Blacks may be (thinking they have arrived with all the trappings of their White peers, i.e., living in exclusive communities, economic independence, being executives in corporations, having expensive cars, etc.) doesn’t always make them accepted—only tolerated. Isn’t it ironic how money makes people tolerable to some people, but not necessarily accepted or respected?
All too often, just when you feel that maybe, just maybe, racism and bigotry are fleeting or obsolete for you in your situation, you are exposed to extensive blatant abusive practices toward people who look like you. Run if you must, be in denial if you must, but you cannot separate yourself from blatant discriminatory actions or practices against people of your ethnicity or race. Because when all is said and done, you are bonded intrinsically to people who look like you and their pain and suffering is your pain and suffering. There is no escape.
We can only shake our heads in disbelief for some of our Black brothers and sisters who feel immune to the sting of racism because of extensive sheltering or just blatant denial. We can only hope that they are not totally devastated and traumatized when they are personally visited with or feel the sting of racism when it presents itself in their so-called sculptured lives. It is only a matter of time before it is likely to occur in spite of attempts to be inclusive. Maybe when they personally start crying foul play, they will be able to relate to the deafening cries of their brothers and sisters whom they may have once felt were beneath them.
We can only wish and pray that one-day our White counterparts will love and respect us, but we can’t make them love us. Our basic Christian values dictate that the love we have for each other should be reciprocated. Unfortunately, the Trump era has unleashed the full brunt of racism in this country. There is an unrelenting defiance by so many in this predominately White population to show empathy or right the wrongs fostered onto people of color crying and begging for reform to bring about fairness, especially in law enforcing agencies. How can we not feel ignored and trivialized when the nation has seen so many people of color on video or TV traumatically abused and murdered by law enforcement agencies. Adding insult to injury, these cases are literally ignored with little if any attempt to enact law changing reforms or convict so-called law enforcers guilty of these infractions.
How can African Americans not be in the incendiary mode when the NFL initiates policies that tell its players to stay in the locker room if they don’t want to be fined (or their club fined) if they don’t stand during the national anthem? Can’t they see African Americans are crying out, begging for this country to address and correct police brutality and racism that is disproportionately affecting people of color?
Instead of working to eradicate these practices of profound injustice prevalent among so many our law enforcement agencies, more emphasis is put on deafening our cry of injustice by penalizing us or ignoring us altogether. Many White spectators are basically saying they don’t want to see Pro Black athletes displaying innocent and non-threatening acts of defiance in public during sporting venues. “Play ball, shut up, and entertain us” seems to be the feelings of many of the privileged and entitled White spectators attending these sporting events.
As people of color, we can only come to the conclusion that an alarming number of White Americans are literally telling people of color that our concerns about criminal discrimination and social, political and economic disparities are inconsequential and irrelevant to them. Blacks feel disrespected, unloved, and unwanted in this country. That sentiment is not unwarranted. But many Whites think Blacks, in general, are just too sensitive.
Coming to the table talking about change is paramount to the healing that is needed. The majority of African Americans find the NFL stance concerning athletes and the national anthem a slap in the face to people of color. It’s not about disrespecting the flag. It’s about recognizing injustices rendered towards people of color. It’s a call to correct the problem. Blacks are literally asking to be treated with respect and dignity as citizens in our country.
They are asking for validation by changing unfair laws and discriminatory practices that affect them. Ignoring the concerns of people of color only validates their feeling of being excluded and trivialized when it comes to their White counterparts.